Maker Faire Revelation

Now, you wouldn’t think that attending a Maker Faire presentation on the world’s longest paper airplane flight would have anything to do with writing. But, surprisingly, it does.

People tell themselves all kinds of stories. I’m good at math. I’m terrible at science. But so much of what we tell ourselves tends toward the negative: I’m terrible at ___ [fill in the blank].

At the end of his presentation, the paper airplane presenter (Joe Collins) wanted each person in the audience to understand how self-limiting this mindset is. He referred to a recent study showing how amputees who suffer from phantom limb pain (approximately 90% of all amputees) can relieve their symptoms with the following treatment:

Patients sit in a chair with a mirror bisecting their bodies along the vertical midline, so that it reflects a symmetrical image of their good arm/leg. Patients then move only their intact arm or leg, but their eyes—and thus, their brains—see both arms or legs moving in tandem. After four weeks of daily 15-minute mirror sessions, an impressive 100% of study participants reported either complete or significant phantom pain reduction!

Now while scientists don’t understand why this happens, something is clearly happening in the brain. The image of seeing two intact hands or feet moving together somehow tells the brain that it really doesn’t need to send pain signals because the arm or leg is in good shape.

Clearly, the brain is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. Buddhist monks have known this forever. Don’t let those negative thoughts get in the way of your writing. Be the “little engine that could” instead of the “doubtful dodger who can’t.”

Go ahead. You can do it. Let your brain believe it. Write on!

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