Introduction to Developing a Winning Attitude
How is it that some people seem to go through life winning while the rest of us struggle? What does it take to be lucky? Is there a genetic trait that predisposes people to win? You know the ones I mean. All of us had one of those “most likely to succeed” golden boys in school. Too often at work there is one person who does everything right. How does one train to be that person? How does one develop a winning attitude?
What enables a person to have a winning attitude is a question that has fascinated me for years. It has always seemed certain that a person cannot simply decide to have a winning attitude, but why not? It also seemed doubtful that a person is born with one, so can a person train to have a winning attitude? Current research is indicating that the capacity to win, or at least to be all that we can be, depends on the ability to be consciously aware of the environment. As it turns out, we are unconsciously much more aware of our environment than we are consciously. Even more interesting, everything in our environment appears to emit a subtle energy signal which our unconscious mind routinely examines. Conscious awareness of those signals may be the key to having a winning attitude.
“Call My Number!”
But before I get to that, let’s make sure we understand what I am talking about. One of the very best examples I can remember came about when Lisa and I were sitting with friends, waiting for numbers to be drawn for a lottery. It was in Phoenix, Arizona at a gold mining club’s annual gathering. They must have started with over a hundred prizes, and as people’s numbers were drawn and they picked a prize, they left. When it happened, there were only a few of us left, waiting to see if we would win one of the remaining prizes. None of our group had had their number called and it had become a matter of principle that we stayed.
The way it worked was that one man reached into a bucket to pull a ticket—folded so that he could not see a name or number—and handed it to another man who called the number. Frustrated, one of our group, Pat, shouted “Call my number!” Just as she shouted her request, the man reached for the next ticket as the caller announced the latest number. The very next number—the one that was pulled out of the bucket when Pat called out—was her number. It was as if the gods had heard and arranged for the answer to her request.
Sure, Pat had commented many times during the drawing that she hoped her number would be drawn—especially before a particularly good prize had been selected. The difference was that she meant it that last time. She was not hoping. It was a demand!
To me, that was an expression of a winning attitude, and to this day, I have wondered what made Pat’s request more effective than, say my pleading with the gods for success.
On the surface, “winning attitude” is a good term for what I am trying to describe because it is the winning that we tend to notice. But what I am driving at is the underlying attitude that distinguishes a person who seems to always be on top as a winner while everyone else seems more like supporting actors.
Sports teams are a good example. All of us have seen a movie in which the coach gives the losing team a particularly emotional pep talk at halftime, after which, the team goes on to miraculously win the game. The idea is that the team gained the needed personal confidence to win. It seems that winners have the personal confidence that they can win. I suppose that, by contrast, losers must be those who expect to lose.
The “call my number” incident occurred years ago, and today, we know a lot more about how our mind and psi functioning works. For instance, we know that Electronic Voice Phenomena messages sometimes include answers or comments that came before the person spoke. It seems that our etheric communicators can sense what we are preparing to say. It is possible the person drawing the ticket sensed what Pat was about to request, but then, how did he know which ticket to pull? Was he able to sense which one was hers with psychometry?
From James Carpenter’s First Sight Theory,1 we know that people psychically sense things in their environment before becoming consciously aware of them. Is it possible that Pat psychically sensed her number was about to be drawn? You see, research is showing that we do not directly know information we receive from the environment. Instead, we subconsciously process what we physically or psychically sense and it is the result of that processing that determines if we will become aware of the environmental information … and what we will think about it.
Now, this is a really important point. When we hear something, we naturally assume the sound came to our ears and was changed to a nerve signal for our brain to recognize as that sound. Our body does convert the sound into a representative signal, but contrary to what we were taught in school, that signal is not compared to some gigantic library of sounds in our brain, identified and sent to our awareness with the necessary label. Research is indicating that the sound must go through a number of steps before it is presented to our aware self. Even then, what we become aware of is what we think of the sound and not really the sound.
Once the sound is converted by the brain into a signal the mind can process, it is passed through what might be described as an “Attention Limiter” in our unconscious mind. This is a process that compares information in our worldview about what is happening around us to determine whether or not we need to respond, and if so, how urgent it is. Think of it as an executive secretary that organizes the front office and determines who is allowed into the inner offices. (Note 1)
This process is shared with your body, which is your avatar, so the decision about what is relevant is based on both the needs of your body such as the need to avoid being eaten, to reproduce and to find food, and what is important to you such as inspiration for that book you are working on, a horn honking at you or screeching brakes. Your worldview provides the filter for this process, so that what you have learned is used to identify the sound. As an example, if you are preoccupied with hummingbirds, the sound of hummingbird wings will be given a higher relevance in the Attention Limiter than, say, a passing airplane. In a similar way, a sound that is like that made by a hummingbird’s wings will probably come to your attention as mental image of a hummingbird.
The same is true for psychically sensed information. Everything and every event has a psi signature and it really does not matter where in reality it comes from. (Note 2) According to First Sight theory, it is likely my friend Pat psychically sensed that her number was about to be drawn. In this view, she became aware, not of the upcoming event, but that something about her number was eminent, and naturally related looming potential to what she was preoccupied with. “Call my number” would be a likely way for her to express the otherwise unconscious sense that it was about to be called. Certainly she was not going to announce that she psychically sensed the number was going to be called … not in front of a bunch of Arizona gold miners.
So what about personal confidence? In my elementary school days, I liked to play cards, especially canasta. I was pretty good and it had become hard to find people who would play with me because I always slaughtered them on the card table. So, I began letting people win; not every time, just enough for them to think they had a chance so that they would play with me. A funny thing happened. People could hardly ever win against me, but after I let them win a few times, it was just the opposite. It was as if I gave my power away to them, and with new confidence, they were every bit as good as me.
While this limiting factor can be seen when someone discovers they are able to beat the champion, the effect is present in everything we do such as trusting we are able to cook dinner or make it to work in the morning. None of us could make an appointment with a doctor if we did not have the personal confidence that we would be able to make it there at the appointed time.
Let me clarify a point about self-worth. It is the way a person interacts with their personal reality that I am addressing. If you are familiar with the concept of mindfulness, you will understand that it is all about being true to yourself, but doing so with full understanding of what that means. A house mom or dad raising the kids and keeping a home for the family can be every bit as much a winner as a top-ranked player if the house maker has the sense of personal fulfillment. I enjoyed playing cards much more than I did winning a card game. Being a winner is all in the attitude. What I am talking about here is really mindful living … the tools for mindful living.2
Is personal confidence the same as having a winning attitude? There is one more factor to consider before I can venture an answer. You may be familiar with the idea of personal styles, which are the way in which individuals are accustomed to interacting with their world.3 Because it is so important for a sales person to have a sense of how to approach clients, there are probably as many versions of styles as there are people offering sales classes. However, the majority of them are variations on the four-quadrant them I discuss here.
Styles are like astrological influences, but rather than twelve, they are usually described as four traits. These are the most useful for our purpose. Rather than in terms aimed at sales customers, they are described here in terms of personal confidence:
Analytical: These are people who want all of the facts before making a decision. They are pragmatic and resist taking action until they are confident everything is known. They make excellent statisticians. (Seekers leaning toward this style will tend to gravitate toward more technical systems of thought such as the Hermetic wisdom, the Cabala and the TAROT as it is studied as a guide for progression rather than divination. Information access is via an exhaustive Perceptual Loop process (Figure) controlled by worldview. Analyticals can be expected to be determined researchers, as it is the content of their worldview “database” that they depend on to guide their perception.)
Driver: A person with a driver personality will make a decision with minimum information but has the confidence of being able to make it work should the situation change. The dominant characteristic of a driver is the single-minded determination to accomplish a goal. These are warriors and risk-takers. (Seekers leaning toward this style will tend to gravitate toward more shorthand versions of systems of thought with more objective support such as information access via remote viewing as opposed to less specific intuition. Information access is a relatively short Perceptual loop process defined by more general rules.)
Amiable: A person with an amiable personality is more motivated by a desire to make things work than worrying about who is right. The present is more important than the past or future, and what one learns is more important than the project. These are our counselors and spiritual leaders. (Seekers leaning toward this style tend to prefer energy healing over mediumship. Information access is with an emphasis on psi sensing of the collective response to circumstances.)
Expressive: To a person with an expressive personality, the facts are not as important as how they are understood. Once an understanding is reached, the expressive will see to it that everyone understands them in the same way. Amongst the four types, it is the expressive who becomes the community builders, teachers and actors. (Seekers leaning toward this style are often ministers or opinion setters in paranormalist communities. Information access is with an emphasis on feeling, as opposed to specific identification of environmental input.)
People tend to have one dominant personality style which is modified to some extent by the other three, so that one might be seen as a Driver-Analytical or an Amiable-Expressive. Popular wisdom holds that this composite style is a life-long characteristic of a person, but it is the objective of mindful living3 to develop a balance in style with any one style becoming dominant as circumstances warrant. (Note 3)
To understand the winning attitude, it is necessary to understand that people unconsciously process information and are only aware of the results of that processing. The way people interact with their environment, their personal style, establishes the criterion for that processing—what is important and what to ignore.
As the theory goes, once information is passed into the unconscious mind for further processing, it is examined to determine whether or not it agrees with what the person already thinks is true. This process can be described as a Perceptual Loop (Figure) because it is thought to be a repetitive process something like “Okay worldview, this is what the information looks like. Do you agree?” If the information agrees with what is in the worldview, then it will emerge into consciousness. The important point is that we only become consciously aware of the information as it is understood by worldview and not necessarily verbatim as it is received at the Attention Limiter (Figure).
Most of us become aware of the physical information, probably because that is how we are trained and what we expect. What we mean by being psychic is when a person becomes consciously aware of the psi information being processed by the subconscious before it would normally emerge into consciousness, and is able to translate that into meaningful information: you were afraid yesterday; I think an apple will fall here; please do not be mad at me.
Mental trance is a state of mind in which a person becomes less conscious or aware of the physical environment; referred to as being disassociated. A trance-channel is a person who is able to deliberately enter into a trance with the intention of accessing information by psychic means. In mediumship, this trance can be very deep so that the personality of the communicating, discarnate personality is able to express itself using the medium’s physical body. Thus, a person in trance might be only slightly disassociated or completely unconscious. When a person is unconscious, but his or her body is animated by a different personality, the person is said to be channeling that personality. For instance, Jane Roberts was said to channel Seth.4
A person who is able to enter into a light trance as an inspirational speaker is thought to be able to express information as it is being accessed psychically. In terms of First Sight theory, an inspirational speaker is able to more directly sense psychic and physical information as it is being processed by the normally unconscious mind in the Perceptual Loop.
Even though we think of a person in trance as being more or less disabled because of reduced awareness of the environment, it may be true that a person with a winning attitude is able to enter into a trance-like state at will and without losing conscious awareness to access psychic information. Thus, it is reasonable to think that we are all functional trance-channels without realizing it. In this view, a winner is one who is able to spontaneously enter into a light trance so as to more directly sense the otherwise unconscious presses while remaining fully aware.
Personal Style and a Way of Learning
Much of what goes on in our mind is so automatic that it may as well be restricted to the subconscious part of our mind. For instance, how many times have you set out to do something routine like washing dishes while preoccupied with other events in your life, and then were to realize that you have completed the task? In the same way, we only know about what is normal by comparing notes with other people. A person who easily understands math might be mystified that others do not; a person with a high IQ might assume everyone sees things as they do. Perhaps you have wondered why what is important to you often seems unimportant to your friends.
Accessing information in our head is one of those automatic processes that are thought to be unique to the individual. The four styles probably give us a hint as to how we are different. For instance, an Analytical is likely to consciously wait for understanding, or at least a point of view, to emerge from that unconscious Perceptual Loop. The Perceptual Loop is an iterative process that tends to “home in” on an acceptable perception and it is probably a much shorter process for Drivers than for the other three.
Amongst seekers, it is tradition that people have different ways of accessing information. Some people are said to learn by seemingly knowing the concept from the very beginning, as if they directly understand or perhaps remember what was already learned. Others are said to sense the information as an energetic characteristic of the ethers. If you think of yourself as being empathetic, you will understand this. This belief system can be mapped into the four styles, so you can probably extrapolate where you fit. The point is that some people are more able to directly sense the Perceptual Loop and they do so without realizing that it is an ability not shared by the rest of us.
Not to worry though. I often talk about mindfulness. A person who is learning to consciously examine each action, and make an effort to assure that it is for the greater good, is also a person who is learning to more directly access the Perceptual Loop. If our understanding is correct, mindful living is the stuff winners are made of.
- Carpenter, James C. (2012-03-23). First Sight: ESP and Parapsychology in Everyday Life. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 978-1-4422-1392-0 (ebook), Copyright © 2012
- Butler, Tom (2104), “Mindfulness,”ethericstudies.org/mindfulness/
- Social Styles, changingminds.org/explanations/preferences/social_styles.htm
- Roberts, Jane, Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity Of The Soul, with commentary by Robert F. Butts, Amber-Allen Publication, New World Library; Reprint Edition (1994), ISBN-10: 1878424076.
- Butler, Tom (2013), Principles Governing the Operation of Reality: Agreement, Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/organizing-principles/#Agreement
- Butler, Tom (2013), “Implicit Cosmology,” Etheric Studies, ethericstudies.org/implicit-cosmology/
Note 1: To be clear, all of this is happening in our mind and not in our brain. The distinction is important because, if it was happening in our brain, then it would be limited by what the brain is able to access. Your brain is just a transmitter/receiver for your mind, and because the processing of information like sound in the environment is occurring in your mind, it is part of an etheric or subtle energy process which is able to include input from virtually all of reality.
Note 2: For the detail-minded amongst you, I am speculating based on metaphysical concepts suggesting it is likely your etheric organism will not detect or at least will not react to psi information that does not have some relevance to you. Think of psi information as having different flavors. The psi signature of wonder expressed by a person in India, for instance, will have a rather different flavor of energy than the wonder expressed by a loved one. The Attention Limiter (Figure) is thought to sense the thought from India, but it is assumed the mind ignores it as irrelevant. In a matter of speaking, the psi information is only in “energetic agreement” with minds that are interested or have a need for contact.
A similar limiter is present in communication technology. Your computer has a unique address that it presents to the Internet. When you send a request for something from a website, you must attach the unique address of the computer hosting that website. In practice, your message is routed to the target computer based on that address and probably only a few thousand computers actually receive the message. However, only the computer the message is addressed to will actually open it to see what you want. In a matter of speaking, the message is only in “energetic agreement” with one computer.
Note 3: It is popular wisdom that astrological influences are established at birth and shape the person’s entire life. However, the Implicit Cosmology,6 which is the model developed for the Association TransCommunication at least partially based on lessons learned from Instrumental TransCommunication, suggests that if there is such an influence, it remains subject to changing understanding of the individual. The average person is not very deliberate about daily living choices and astrological influences probably quickly shape habit. As such, personality styles developed in childhood probably continue to dictate the rest of most people’s lives.
In the metaphysics, it is felt that progression is measured by how well a person learns to find balance in daily living. Thus, it is through mindfulness that people learn to balance the four styles to express each or a blend of styles as circumstances warrant, but always from the perspective of a middle way.