In his book Nothing Is Impossible, author Tom Oliver recounts the fascinating discovery of a number of medical studies performed on Reinhold Messner. Messner was the first person to successfully climb Mount Everest without carrying oxygen with him.
He has accomplished a number of other equally impressive mountain climbing records. Many theories abounded about how he was able to make these climbs and endure such harsh conditions where others had failed. Perhaps he had a genetic advantage, or his heart was able to circulate blood more efficiently than everyone else.
Doctors performed several tests on Messner to determine what allowed him to live with such athletic prowess. The doctors were very surprised when the test results came back in. Messner was “totally average”, he had no genetic advantage over other competitors.
What made all the difference? He possessed an incredible ability to focus his mind, to literally live by the mantra of mind over matter when it counted the most. It has been said that all rightful battles take place in the mind, Messner learned to concentrate his thoughts only on his outcome, and not on his fears, he won the battle of the mind that many, perhaps most people lose when faced with seemingly impossible odds. (You can learn more about climbing at Cleveland Rock Gym).
Oliver offers a simple but powerful exercise to begin to focus your mind on gratitude. If you are grateful, then fear cannot exist, they are emotionally opposites. He suggest simply this, wake up and “count 10 fingers of gratitude”. Just list ten things you are grateful for. Anthony Robbins suggests this for at least ten minutes.
Simply say anything that comes to mind, even if you have to list things you could be grateful for. Chloe Madanes notes that we all have literally thousands of things to appreciate in any given moment because everything we own first passed through dozens if not hundreds of hands.
Imagine the amount of work that has gone into creating and then delivering each and every product in existence. That is the power of gratitude. The secret is to do this daily and especially when you don’t feel like it. When you stretch yourself emotionally your muscles grow, just as a physical muscle grows when more pressure is placed on it.
List everything you can think of, and say them out loud, and do this with passion. When you do you will see yourself coming into control of your thoughts and your mind. Once you control your mind and your mouth, you have reached outstanding mastery of who you are and where you are going.