In this book Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari explains that at one 1 point, there were more than just Homo sapiens roaming the Earth . In fact, there were likely as many as six different types of humans in existence: Homo sapiens, Homo neanderthalensis, Homo soloensis, Homo erectus, etc.
There’s a reason Homo sapiens still exist today and the others didn’t continue to evolve: a prefrontal cortex, which we can infer from skeletal structures. Essentially, we had the ability to think more complexly, thus were able to organize, cultivate, teach, practice, habituate and pass down a world suited for our survival. Because of our capacity to imagine, we were able to build Earth as it is today out of virtually nothing.
In a sense, the notion that thoughts create reality is more than just a nice idea; it’s also a fact of evolution. It was because of language and thought that we could create a world within our minds, and ultimately, it is because of language and thought that we have evolved into the society we have today—for better and for worse.
Almost every great master, artist, teacher, innovator, inventor, and generally happy person could attribute some similar understanding to their success. Many of the world’s ‘best’ people understood that to change their lives, they had to change their minds.
These are the same people who have communicated to us some of the longest-standing conventional wisdom: that to believe is to become, that the mind is to be mastered, that the obstacle is the 2 way . Often, our most intense discomfort is what precedes and
necessitates thinking in a way we have never conceived of before. That new awareness creates possibilities that would never exist had we not been forced to learn something new. Why did our ancestors develop agriculture, society, medicine, and the like? To survive. The elements of our world were once just solutions to fears.
In a more cerebral context, if you consciously learn to regard the “problems” in your life as openings for you to adopt a greater understanding and then develop a better way of living, you will step out of the labyrinth of suffering and learn what it means to thrive.
I believe that the root of the work of being human is learning how to think. From this, we learn how to love, share, coexist, tolerate, give, create, and so on. I believe the first and most important duty we have is to actualize the potential we were born with—both for ourselves and for the world.
The unspoken line of everything I write is: “This idea changed my life.” Because ideas are what change lives—and that was the first idea that changed mine.
By Brianna Wiest
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