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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Economics of thought

Thoughts flow in our minds ceaselessly except only during stage III or IV NREM ,the stages of deep sleep  probably. Whether we are actively thinking or not, thoughts just never stop, unless of course we control it actively. Thoughts make or break our lives.  Sometimes thoughts are insurmountable and creat a virtual reality, what we call as psychosis or madness. We as humans beings are programmed to remain connected to reality, to think within the relm of realism with momentary allowances to hover in the clouds of virtuosity. Our reality is personal to us. We create our own reality and we dwell in them. So is it just a free flow of thoughts we are controlled by? Sometimes such is the situation. People who have done good things in life, those who have excelled in life have been able to control their thoughts rather than being driven by thoughts and emotions.

The central concept of the economics of thought is letting into the brain only those thoughts and informations which are necessary for growth, development and success and absolutely cutting off unnecessary and useless information. Like the unstoppable flow of a river, our thoughts are unstoppable. We create dams on river to utilize the power of water for varied purposes like irrigation, electricity production etc. Similarly we can put a dam on the free flow of our thoughts and channelize the energy towards better ideas hence better actions.

Ultimately our aim is to produce better action. Life is chiseled into shape by our thoughts and actions. Act for the sake of the sole pleasure of performing the action. If you are a student you should study for the sole pleasure of reading, no need to worry about results. Achieve excellence and results follow.
In today's world information is opulent: switch on the internet and the tsunami of information follows. We encounter information worthless to us. In such a scenario it has become even more important to apply the principle of economics of thought. Rather than just aimlessly searching for something good, we need to first find out what we are looking for and then to search for it. Entirely cutoff the unneeded information. We must remember that we can contribute to our lives and to this world only when we concentrate on very specific goals and excel on those.

So coming back to thought economics. I will tell one instance of mine, I am an interventional cardiologist (simply saying I am one of those doing the angiographies and stenting). Some time back I was going to do a complex cardiac intervention. So I called up my guru ( my teacher) and asked for guidance. He told me to go through all the available literature on that particular topic and I did so. The procedure went off fine. This was a simple day to day instance of how concentrating on specific tasks leads to success. The concept of learning and working needs to change. The concept of extensive knowledge (knowing something of everything) needs to be replaced by intensive knowledge (knowing everything about something). In that process of knowing everything about something, the knowledge and insights we gather are invaluable. Any task we face, any problems we encounter has has a solution. The type of outcome depends on how much time energy and mental focus we have invested in searching for a solution and what we have learned in the process.
Channelizing your energy in a more positive and focused direction needs practice and practice. There are two phenomena in the brain to help us with our selection of thoughts. One is called “GATING” and the other is called “NEUROPLASTICITY”. Gating in simple terms can be explained as two persons trying to pass through a narrow gate. Since it is a narrow gate, only one person can pass through it. Similarly the brain regulates how impulses reaching it. When we are concentrating on something our brain automatically cancels out all the other impulses, otherwise we would have never been able to concentrate on something. Putting in a straight forward way - a bad feeling or emotion can be replaced by a good idea. The good thought has the power to “gate off” the bad thought. Just you have to let the good thought prevail.
There is another term called neuronal plasticity. That means every time some information passes through our brain some micro synapses develop in our brain, and over time as the same type of information passes repetitively, the brain connections become fixed. Flow through such fixed connections occur preferentially to others. This is central to learning and memory. Memory is an exquisitely complex process. Some memory are called explicit memory (like remembering your lessons) and some memory are called implicit (the subconscious performances e.g., skills and habits, emotional responses, habituation, sensitization). Here we have the capacity to master our brains to memorize the positive thoughts. Just like how we remember to balance during bicycling through numerous repetitions and permanent changes in the brain connections, we can train our brain to be happy, positive and to give good response to any situation. No situation is good or bad in themselves, it’s our reaction which makes it good or bad. If we train our brain to behave in a good way rather than react in a bad way to a given situation, we have achieved a major step forward for peace, stability and success in our lives. By repetitively and consciously selecting the right thoughts and discarding the wrong thoughts, we can train our brain to give preference to the good ones. When these thoughts are supplemented with befitting actions we achieve success in that domain.
So remember:
-Everything starts with a thought
-Choose the right thought
-Discard whatever is unnecessary and meaningless for you
-Repeat and repeat your thoughts
-Supplement with matching actions
-Repeat thoughts and actions till becomes a habit
- Keep on doing it.

This is a general discussion on the economics of thought. There are many more to come. Thank you for reading. Your comments are most welcome.