One particularly interesting event occurred when I was eight. As a kid, I was always climbing trees, poles, and literally hanging around upside down from the rafters of our lake house. So, it came to no surprise for my dad to find me at the top of a 30-foot tree swinging back and forth.
My little eight-year-old brain didn’t realize the tree could break or I could get hurt. I just thought it was fun to be up so high.My older cousin, Tammy, was also in the same tree. She was hanging on the first big limb, about ten feet below me.
Tammy’s mother also noticed us at the exact time my dad did. About that time a huge gust of wind came over the tree. I could hear the leaves start to rattle and the tree begin to sway. I remember my dad’s voice over the wind yell, “Bart, Hold on tightly.” So I did.
The next thing I know, I heard Tammy screaming at the top of her lungs, laying flat on the ground. She had fallen out of the tree.
I scampered down the tree to safety. My dad later told me why she fell and I did not. Apparently, when Tammy’s mother felt the gust of wind, she yelled out, “Tammy, don’t fall!” And Tammy did fall.
My dad then explained to me that the mind has a very difficult time processing a negative image.
In fact, people who rely on internal pictures cannot see a negative at all.
In order for Tammy to process the command of not falling, her nine-year-old brain had to first imagine falling, then try to tell the brain not to do what it just imagined.
Whereas, my eight-year-old brain instantly had an internal image of me hanging on tightly.