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A reflection: The power, potential, and purpose of the human mind

To call it a beast would be deriding it for its potential, but it is definitely powerful enough to drastically change millions of lives. It has always remained and shall continue to be the most influential weapon of all time. This beast is so potent yet underrated because everyone has it.

The beast is, of course, the power of the human mind. The mind can create millions of ideas to change worldwide systems and practices — and above all, change you. Deepak Chopra, an Indian-American author who writes on holistic health, believes one should prioritize developing the mind rather than the brain.

The difference is subtle but crucial.

It is how we differentiate between a blood pumping organ called the heart and another that feels emotions.

This beast that lies within all of us is tame and, if worked upon, can turn out to be one’s biggest strength. It makes a powerful speech stir a crowd or an opponent fold in a game of cards. The biggest challenge is recognizing your own ability and nurturing it.

We have some of the best minds rotting in basements playing video games and watching adult movies. There is no one to blame but themselves for wasting the gifts they possess.

The mind can be one of the most lethal weapons of all. The biggest events in history — from the downfall of empires to the bombing of cities — are outcomes of a few sharp but destructive minds. In “The Art of War,” Sun Tzu said, “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting,” explaining how victory is a result of strategy, not strength.

Unexpected results may also baffle us in sports. An underdog overthrows a top-notch player and emerges as the winner. It is shocking all the more because it takes courage and a balanced mind to outperform someone who is considered the best. Half of the game is played in the minds of the players, making them dominate or surrender to an opponent.

It is a playground for the battle of the sexes. Women are often blamed of playing mind games, but the contrary is also true. Men have also proven to play their cards brilliantly, gaining insight as to how and why girls behave as they do. Because of the glass ceiling that women face in the corporate world, they are compelled to be assertive and shrug off intimidation from their peers.

Many successful people dropped out of college before graduating but later proved others wrong, confirming the belief that every individual has the capability to do more — but it does not mean that academic institutions fail to identify and nurture talent.

Perhaps a human mind’s capability is beyond the understood norm. Grades have never proved to be the yardsticks of measuring competence in the real world. If one has faith in what they do and why they do it, nothing can stop them from excelling in it. That is the strength the mind gives us. No tribulations or odds can make a determined person fall back.

Humanity has seen the best and worst outcomes of this beast. What you think can make you or even break you. It depends on how a person wants to tame it.

Opinion columnist Aishwarya Gogoi is a petroleum engineering graduate student and may be reached at [email protected]

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