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Saying Can In A Century Of Can'ts

Nov 8, 2007
Imagine the possibility of a knee surgeon conducting an experiment on two groups of patients. A fake operation is done on one group -- the surgeon opens them up then sews them back without doing anything at all. After the other group goes through the real procedure, the surgeon found that both groups were healing just as well! Sounds like hogwash?

What you've just imagined happened on an episode of Alternative Medicines, a series by the British Broadcasting Corporation, which explored the power of the mind. Many of us have repeated the mantra "Mind over Matter" as we try to get through work with the sickest of ailments or endured that last lap in a 10-kilometre run. Does it work? Can we really control what happens to us simply by thinking it?

That's the claim of many self-help books and methods. Authors like Andrew Matthews believe that positive thinking has the ability to shape the subconscious and hence, the power to reap results. Have you ever watched the meteoric rise of someone for whom opportunity seems to always come a-knocking? To the skeptics, there are hard-won successes and then, there is luck. However, to a select handful, luck is the aftermath of clearing their minds of everything but their goals. Once achieved, ways to reach your destination will suddenly surround you.

It sounds wishy-washy, especially to the children of our generation who were brought up to believe that success comes only through toil and sweat. Yet, there is a scientific name for such a phenomenon, the Coue Method. Named after French psychologist and pharmacist, Emile Coue, it describes a method based on optimistic auto-suggestion, rooted in psychotherapy, healing, and self-improvement. Coue noticed the efficiency of medicine was improved whenever he praised its effects to his patients. Simply by replacing the 'thought of illness' in his subjects to the 'thought of cure' his subjects were able to order their minds to obey them by consciously making them repeat words or images.

His method has persevered till today, and can be found all around us in modern pop culture, from books to movies and even computer programmes. We've heard of The Little Engine That Could with his mantra of "I Think I Can, I Think I Can". We've seen underdogs beat their over-sized and better experienced opponents simply by believing they could. One website in particular, Affirmation Success, even has a programme dedicated to the Coue Method. Called Sculptor 3, it is a computer-assisted affirmation technology that prompts you during the day with positive auto-suggestions to help tap into your subconscious.

Have you ever had a day when you woke up and thought to yourself, "Today feels like my day!" No matter what happens throughout the day, that thought carries you through and you find a way to cope. At the end of the day, you find you've done a lot more simply by being a bit more optimistic. Contrast that with the day you wake up to the din caused by your neighbours quarrelling; your toast gets burnt; you miss your bus and end up late for work. You feel listless and don't see the point in doing anything. As you plod along your work, you find your thoughts fuming over the bus driver who didn't wait for you.

It's easy to see how your thoughts affect your work and in turn, how simply by thinking a little more positively, you find yourself saying "I Can" more than "I Can't". All you have to do, is repeat Emile Coue's most famous auto-suggestion, "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better".
About the Author
Estevan lost all self-confidence after his divorce 5 years ago,even contemplating suicide at one point.Then one day,he chanced upon Affirmation Success . Today,he has turned his life around,and is the proud owner of a successful publishing business.
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