Nick Sitzman, was a strong, young bull-of-a-man, who worked on a train crew. It seemed Nick had everything: a strong healthy body, ambition, a wife and two children, and many friends. However, Nick had one fault. He was a notorious worrier. He worried about everything and usually feared the worst.
One midsummer day, the train crew were informed that they could quit an hour early in honor of the foreman’s birthday. Accidentally, Nick was locked in a refrigerator boxcar, and the rest of the workmen left the site. Nice panicked.
He banged and shouted until his fists were bloody and his voice was hoarse. No one heard him. “If I can’t get out, I’ll freeze to death in here,” he thought. Wanting to let his wife and family know exactly what had happened to him, Nick found a knife and began to etch words on the wooden floor. He wrote, “It’s so cold, my body is getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words.”
The next morning the crew slid open the heavy doors of the boxcar and found Nick dead. An autopsy revealed that every physical sign of his body indicated he had indeed frozen to death. Yet, the irony of Nick’s story is that the refrigeration unit of the car was actually turned off, and the temperature inside was sixty degrees. Nick had worried himself to death.
Another story is that of an “experiment” that was carried out by British psychologists in England about a man who was condemned to death by hanging (this was before capital punishment was outlawed there). Shortly before he dies, he is told that he will have his throat cut with a knife instead. A hood is placed over his head and, instead of the sharp side, the blunt side of the knife is run across his throat. He makes gurgling noises as if he has just had his throat cut and dies.
Our belief stems from a conviction that something is imminent (or real) and in doing so it activates corresponding emotional and physiological manifestations of fear or hope.
On one hand, fear is a negative feeling that stems from a conviction that a bad thing is imminent. Hope, on the other hand, is a positive feeling that stems from a conviction that a good thing is imminent.
Sometimes that which we believe might not be imminent (or true) after all. In fact, studies show that most of the things we worry about (or hope for) never actually happen. But that is not the point. The question is not whether what we fear about or hope for will actually materialise or not. The important thing is our conviction. Our inner belief that something is imminent (or true) is enough to make our brain immediately react accordingly and trigger the exact emotional and physiological effect of a materialised thing.
Inner conviction is a product of choice of thought. I don’t know about you, but since I’m free to choose what to believe when fear knocks at the door of my mind I’ll rather let faith answer the door.