In this day of #fakenews, and #alternative facts it's, more importantly, becoming a skill to go over the concept of truths. There are styles of truth and I'm curious to ask you...Which kind of truth? There are hard facts, examples such as organic chemistry. Organic chemistry doesn't care if you believe in it. Neither does the War of 1812. These truths are real, measurable, and happened.
Truth is not always in the eye of the beholder. There are facts that don't change if the observer doesn't believe: Your actual age, not the one you tell everyone ;-P
The temperature in Miami Beach. The number of people on an airplane. You get the point.
On the other hand, there are outcomes that vary quite a bit with belief: The results of the next sales call. Our response to medical treatment. The enjoyment of music...If you believe that this wine tastes better than that one, it probably will. If you believe you're going to have a great day at work, it will surely help. Placebos are very powerful in the concept of what you believe is true. We make two mistakes, all the time. First, we believe that some things are facts (as in true), when in fact, belief has a huge effect on what's going to happen. In the contest between nature and nurture, nurture has far more power than we give it credit for. In countless ways, our friends and parents matter more than our genes do. At the same time, sometimes we get carried away. We work to amplify our beliefs by willfully confusing ourselves about whether the truth is flexible. It makes belief a lot more compelling (but a lot less useful) if we start to confuse it with the truth. But belief is too important and too powerful to be a suspect compatriot of the scientific/historical sort of truth. We can believe because it gives us joy and strength, purpose, and the ability to do amazing things. That's a very powerful place to come from.
I'd like to wrap this up with a scenario I read reading Seth Godin.
"Facing a long plane trip with a nasty cold, I headed over to the health food store. “Excuse me, do you have any placebos? I have a really horrible cold… I’ll take the strongest one you’ve got.” She looked at me with pity. “A placebo?” “Yes, please.” “Do you know which company makes that? I don’t think we have any placebos?” I waited for a second, thinking hard about what was happening. “Hey Sylvia,” she yelled, “there’s a guy out here who wants some placebo, but he doesn’t know who makes it. Do we carry that?” Sylvia didn’t know."
A placebo is a story we tell ourselves that changes the way our brain and our bodywork.
More placebo talk coming in future blog posts. It's fascinating. Let's dive into this together Sweat Nation!