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Healthy mind, healthy living

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‘A healthy outside starts from the inside’ Robert Urich
As accurate and amazing as it is, people are assessed, acknowledged and applauded or otherwise, based on the state of their minds. Put differently, we are all the products of our minds. First, we feed, nurture and develop our minds, but once developed, the mind begins to dictate and determine the course of our lives. Sick or healthy, poor or prosperous, foolish or wise, stingy or generous, ignoble or noble, compassionate or insensitive; are all the results of our mindsets.

Consequently, we all ought to give quality and serious attention to the health of our minds. Unfortunately, the opposite situation is prevalent. Most people invest 90% of their resources into developing and nurturing their physical bodies but reserve only the paltry remnant of 10% of their resources for the health and development of their minds. In fact, it has been rightly observed that the predominant and prevailing attitude of most people in the developing nations of Africa and Asia, is consistent with this despicable attitude of poor investment in cognitive and affective domains. No wonder these two continents are full of penury and pestilences, dangers and deaths, ineptitude and inanities.

Consider a simple scenario such as this: what will be the likely attractive investment points for an African who is in possession of a Nigerian one thousand naira (#1000)? Would he eat or buy a book? Would he prefer investing into developing his mind or first attend to his physiological need? Can we Africans spend one tenth of the sum we spend on our mobile devices for pleasure, on buying books or paying for educational and enlightenment programmes which would enrich our minds and consequently, lives?

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Many are eating and drinking themselves to early graves while they waste and wreck their destinies. Many are digging their graves with their teeth while greatness, which was meant for them to attain, like a widow mourns inconsolably.

Abraham Maslow (April 1,1908-June 8,1970), one of the greatest proponents of the modern humanistic school of psychology was right when he postulated that human needs are graded into two broad categories of basic and higher order. These two broad divisions are further subdivided into five others as; Physiological (food, drink, sleep, sex, etc), Security (shelter, protection, etc), Love (sharing, caring, marriage, etc), Esteem (self esteem, worth), and Self-actualisation. This theory termed Hierarchy of Needs, is relevant in various spheres of human experience in assessing the level or degree of personal as well as corporate development. As we can see, many humans are driven by basic or physiological needs. Their decisions and directions, actions and attitudes, perspectives and priorities are driven by basic physiological desires. This is what the politicians in our country have come to refer to as ‘ stomach infrastructure’, which has become the zenith of our dividend of democracy. What a pitable state of affairs! What a regrettable and wretched polity we have evolved!

To be candid, in contemporary times, not only some African and Asian are involved in wasteful living. Equally in the developed worlds of America and Europe, the younger generations are gradually and significantly exchanging the noble and rewarding lifestyle of investing into their minds for the pursuit and possession of quick and easy wealth. The manifestation of this truth is evident in the choices of these youths, as they tend to exchange obtaining quality university education with preoccupation with sports and games and choosing to be on social welfare instead of working. The ladies prefer to have babies out of wedlock instead training for professional careers. On the other hand, young Asians (from China, India and Japan) and from Africa (such as Nigeria and Ghana) are invading the developed world and obtaining quality education while some of the indigenous youths are dangerously engaged in hedonism.

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Dr. Ben Carson and his wife, Candy had severally cried out against this ignoble turn of events. He has made a strong advocacy for the revival of quality education among American youths in his books ‘Gifted Hands’, ‘Think Big’, and ‘ You have a Brain’ as well as established scholarship programmes for American youths who desire to acquire professional university education. One hopes that this conscientious effort yields commensurate positive results.

The goal of developing a healthy lifestyle is desirable but demanding. It is the road less travelled but it is yields great benefits. Let me consider some salient principles and strategies for developing a healthy mind, which will ultimately enable healthy living.

Decision-making is the decisive position to begin from. After taking a dispassionate look at one’s life, take the courageous decision to begin the journey of investing significantly in developing your mind. It is an investment that yields great dividends. Nobody can attract any progress or promotion beyond the level of their mental development. Thinking that one can make progress in any endeavour of life beyond their cognitive and affective domain is like building castles in the air. Take the right decision to redistribute your time schedules, material and monetary resources to favour the development of your mind.

A few of the remarkable testimonials of such positive decisions to develop the mind include, the case of a middle aged businessman who gained admission into the same secondary school with his son, a retired mechanic who graduated from Law school at a septuagenarian and a mother who graduated with her first son from the same university in the same year.

Taking-decision should develop into dedication and devotion to the task of developing a healthy mind. The evidence of the dedication is engaging in the right action in spite of the odds or oppositions. Someone rightly noted that the proof of dedication is remaining committed to the right course of action long after the feelings have ceased. Like the proverbial Woodpecker, keep hitting the hard wood until it yields. Like the Rock Badger, keep hitting the stony material until it opens up. For instance, excelling in a new course of study involves investing several quality hours into the business in order to master both familiar and novel materials. If each of us invests an hour everyday into the sphere of personal development of our minds, both our world and lives would have experienced greatness. If we all read one book bimonthly, our world would have become an haven.

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Most times, the content of what preoccupies us is more important than what distracts our attention. It is a case of garbage in and garbage out. The converse is true too. Inspirational materials in the form of print and audio materials such as; biographies, autobiographies, documentaries, books, specialist and professional magazines are invaluable in developing and maintaining and improving the status of the human mind.

Always and in every life endeavour, the level of success is directly proportional to the degree of personal discipline acquired and maintained. Gift, charisma, or ability is never enough to attain real and lasting success. Neither is talent durable enough to develop a healthy mind. Consequently, everybody who seriously desires to have a healthy mind must wear the garment of self-control. Such person must mind what he or she feeds the mind on. This means making a distinction between poison and nutrient, cutting off all the excesses, which hinder positive growth and development. Furthermore, exercising personal discipline involves being ready to engage in new habits, which will enhance excellent mental development. Ultimately, one must be ready to learn, unlearn and relearn.

Let me end this discourse by reminding the reader the important words of Abhijit Naskar, who said that, ‘A healthy body may or may not lead to a healthy soul, but a sick soul most certainly brings along sickness in the body’. Therefore, feed your mind (soul), on quality diet, nurture, develop and deploy it to serve humanity with dignity. Welcome to greatness.

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