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Recently I was reading a passage where the author described how “we are all schizophrenic”. This got me thinking about a number of things including the fact that there is not one person alive today that has not been born or originated out of two. Despite many great advances science still has yet to create a complete human being from just one egg or one sperm, and even if one cell reproduction (or even human cloning) did exist, the original cell would have come from two in the first place. This duality of origin might mean that all humans are naturally split and we all have two sides. We are not a single being or one person; every one’s beginning is dual and divided. Half of you came from one parent (or donor), the other half from another. From the very beginning you have been two.

Schizophrenia is commonly known as a mental disorder, in its extreme it is often characterised by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognise what is real. Common symptoms can include false beliefs, unclear confused thinking, sometimes-auditory hallucinations, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and inactivity. Wow hang on a minute, someone has just described how I can sometimes feel – confused, some false beliefs, at times reduced engagement. Am I to some degree schizophrenic or perhaps just experiencing an element of the symptoms of schizophrenia…? Either way, I am not without such feelings. The other realization this gives me is that no one is perfect, and to stop judging others and just as important stop judging myself.

The origin of the term comes from the Greek roots skhizein (“to split”) and phrēn (“mind”), schizophrenia does not imply a “split personality”, or “multiple personality disorder”—a condition with which it is often confused in public perception,[1] but rather, the term means a “splitting of mental functions”.[2]

Just like me, I am sure there have been times when you were torn between two thoughts, two feelings or even on occasion two beliefs. Our thoughts or minds are indecisive; we are in constant disquiet, anxiety, worry, and sometimes-even torture. Don’t worry; having two minds is just a normal state of affairs. It is not that a few people become schizophrenic, we are all born schizophrenic.

With this duality of mental functions there comes constant indecisiveness and wavering. You’re not sure which way to go, which alternative to take, and you remain ambiguous, before, during or even after the event, it doesn’t matter. You are in two minds – this is true as you come from two minds.

Our duality extends to our mental chatter

Most of us are in constant mental chatter where we talk to ourselves (mostly unconscious – self-talk) about the things we are doing or thinking. Consequently it is our spilt-mind or duality that allows us to have this self-talk. Without something to bounce it back, talk is just noise that keeps going, like a ball without a wall. Our duality is like two walls with many balls bouncing back and forth between the two.

Unfortunately, like any conversation our self-talk frequently has a negative or opposing side to it. The two walls are not aligned. Often this other side is tainted with guilt about our past or anxiety about our future or confusion about the present. This is where the real problem of having two minds rests.

Famous evolutionary scientists such as, Richard Dawkins or Robert Winston would profess our negative senses ring louder and longer than our positive senses. This is an evolutionary trait that has allowed us to survive through the millenniums. Humans have survived and evolved to react faster, more decidedly and with vigor when something negative triggers the emotions than a positive trigger. This intensified reaction to negativity can destroy or usurp any seed of hope that we may otherwise have in striving for our dreams.

It is human nature to seek understanding, awareness and personal growth. By realising that we naturally have two minds, we can practice and ensure more positive self-talk, to out trump the negative. This thinking can help us set in motion actions that will bring us greater rewards. Here are some things to help you increase your positive self-talk.

  • Confront your fear of having two minds
    We often fear most what we do not know, therefore by acknowledging that the condition of two minds is a natural and absolute occurrence throughout humanity we can begin to conquer this fear. Fear brings with it anxiety, hesitations and uncertainties that can often hold us back from success. Understanding this natural phenomena and confronting it through considered thought and more positive dialogue will reduce our fear.
  • Increase Positive Affirmations and Positive Scripts
    Staying with the positive, repeating the positive often, and expanding the positive to future possibilities will all help. Affirmations are positive statements of a desired outcome or goal. They are short, believable and focused statements you make to yourself and by repeating them over and over again, you build inroads into your subconscious mind, opening up the possibility of a new state of thoughts.
  • Reduce the Negative Chatter
    Reduce the negative talk by closing off the conversation as soon as it begins. Push the stop button and move onto the next track. You cannot get frustrated or angry at a song if it is not played. Turn down its volume and don’t let it amplify and reverberate within your mind. It’s like an echo, the louder the original noise the longer and more times the echo is heard. You never hear the echo of a whisper. Undoubtedly it will not be easy to make a switch if you have a long history or negative self-talk.
  • Bring your two minds together – the art of Mindfulness
    As a traditional Buddhist practice and more-so today through the medium of modern pop “positive-psychology” the concept of mindfulness has gained immense popularity. The traditional art of mindfulness involved meditation to reduce the chatter, noise, or the monkeys in your head. Meditation brings your mind to a peaceful harmonious state where the two minds are at rest with each other. There is no competition and the two can become one. Those that have experienced these moments describe themselves as being in flow or in the zone. There are no doubts, no confusion, only clarity of thought. Our two minds are working as one.
  • Be aware (not beware) that we all have a dual aspect to our identity, like a ying-and-yang, but this is normal and natural. In this sense we are all naturally schizophrenic in a peculiar way – we have a “split mind.” By first understanding our “two minds”- our inner chatter – and acknowledging this we are then allowing ourselves to engage in the positive aspects and disengage with the negative. Often our confusion or tendency to lean toward the anxious mindset can have a reflection on our behaviour and attitudes, so be mindful and work towards being in “flow”. This will ensure your two mindsets are working as one.

Picchioni, M.M., Murray, R.M. (July 2007). “Schizophrenia” BMJ 335 (7610): 91–5.
Baucum, D. (2006). Psychology (2nd ed.). Hauppauge, N.Y. Barron’s. p. 182

Ed Benier

Ed Benier

Ed is a director at Modal and delivers leadership solutions that create sustainable, positive behaviour change, with the focus on achieving a “leadership culture” within organisations.