The Placebo Effect

Most of us have heard of drug trials where one group was given the actual drug, while the other group was given a placebo - a fake pill that contains no medicine. Surprisingly, those taking the placebo often improved dramatically, and in a few cases, the group on the placebo fared better than the group taking the actual medicine.

This is a perfect example of just how powerful the human mind can be. Simply believing that we are taking a medicine that will help us makes our health improve, even if we are not actually taking any medication at all. So why can't we apply this to other things? The good news is that we can.

I knew of a retired man who used to build trailers. He would build one, sell it at the side of the road, then be busy building the next one. One day he experienced chest pains and went to the hospital. They ordered a biopsy, looked inside, found him riddled with cancer and gave him a few months to live. He could come to the hospital for treatments that might make his last weeks less uncomfortable, or just go home to die. He chose to go home.

He tried to lay in bed, but his thoughts tortured him, so he got up and went back to work finishing his last trailer. He thought he just might have time and strength to complete this last one. But to his surprise, his pains subsided over time, and he started on another new trailer, then another. Months went by, and then years. He no longer had any pain in his chest. Ten years went by and he was still making trailers, which was what he loved doing.

The moral of the story? Focus on what you love to do and on what you'd like to see in your life. It could be finding a partner who thinks as you do, in a world where everyone seems like the wrong choice. It could be landing a certain type of job, or owning a house, a car, travelling, or just about anything else life can offer.

The placebo effect works like this. The one group has the real pills, but they don't always work. These are the facts, the plans, the mental struggle, following expectations of others, following a pre-planned path, doing what society or family expects from you. The other group dreams and imagines what they'd like. They find hobbies or activities that they love. They follow their dreams. These people only have the placebo, yet they watch their expectations materialize into the life they wanted to live. Their dreams begin to come true.

This happens because the placebo people are using building blocks made out of nothing. They fill these blocks with images and thoughts, and they eventually become solid and real. The non-placebo group has pre-fabricated blocks filled with demands, expectations, tradition and other 'tried and tested' things. The reasons behind their life choices may be based on family expectations, assumptions and other non-important things. They have lost their dreams, their imaginings, and wind up losing themselves over time.

My advice? Take the placebo. Build your solid life out of your thoughts, your imagination and your dreams. You'll become the person you were meant to be, happy and confident.