It's a state of Mind

Two Soldiers stand with heavy backpacks looking up at a hill in Southern Afghanistan; a heavily armed enemy pursues them.

The hill is precisely 400-metres. But after the mental and physical fatigue of fierce combat, the first Soldiers brain judges the hill to be around 900 metres. And the Soldier does more than misjudge the lie land: he sees a 900-metre cliff strewn with impassable rocky ledges, not a 400-metre hill.  

What he perceives becomes his reality. The steeper his brain perceives the hill to be, the more fatigued his body becomes. He collapses on one knee, ready to make a final stand and go down fighting despite being heavily outnumbered. Why Soldier on when his brain tells him success is impossible?

Yet all is not lost. The Soldiers team leader has undergone specific training to lead in the most challenging of situations.

When his team leader looks at the hill, his well-trained brain perceives the hill as 400 metres and thus surmountable in time despite his injuries and fatigue.

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The team leaders’ precise analysis and positive mindset give him the energy and motivation to quickly climb another 50 metres. He notices a less steep and more rubble free path up the hillside leading to a helicopter extraction point.

His brain perceives that a successful outcome is possible, allowing him to summon his cognitive resources to map the best path up the hill.

Now feeling even more positive and convinced that he will get himself and his teammate up to the top of the hill, where an extraction team can rescue them, his brain releases extra energy reserves, called success accelerants.

Eliminating all distracting noises, both internal and external (doubts and gunfire), he drags his partner toward the extraction point. As they climb, he tells him repeatedly that they will make it until he too finds the energy and drive to keep climbing.

It is not long before they reach the top. Success became their reality – “Its a state of mind”.

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