The Boiling Pot: Message from the Morning Man by Kojo Yankson

The Boiling Pot: Message from the Morning Man
by Kojo Yankson
24th May 2016
One of the most atrocious human acts in history was the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler and his Nazi comrade, Heinrich Himmler, had several concentration camps built to confine and torture Jewish people. Many of the victims died in these camps. Another atrocious act that was unfortunately popular in concentration camps was the insane and sadistic experiments Nazi scientists conducted on their innocent prisoners. The experiments didn’t seem to have any practical use or application. They were just aimed at causing as much pain, discomfort and indignity to the captive Jews as possible.
I have been reading about some of the things that went on in these camps, and suffice it to say, I was so disgusted by some of the stories that I was physically sick and had to stop. One story in particular was seared into my mind. It happened at Auschwitz, perhaps the most notorious concentration camp of them all. Auschwitz was also the base of Dr Josef Mengele, known amongst the prisoners as the Angel of Death.
Mengele conducted experiments that made no sense, but were so brutal and barbaric. He injected coloured fluids into children’s eyeballs to see if their eyes would change colour. He took out a boy’s eyeballs and attached them to the back of his twin brother’s head to see if… I honestly don’t know what he wanted to see. Most of Mengele’s experiments are really not suitable for early morning discussions, but there is one in particular, that I think I should tell you about.
He had a 15-year-old boy tied to a chair in the centre of the lab. Then they lit a huge fire in front of the boy, and placed an enormous pot of water on the fire. They made him watch as the water boiled and boiled until it was bubbling hot. Then they hoisted the pot above his head and tipped it slightly, ready to empty its boiling contents over the poor boy’s head. The boy started screaming his head off. Mengele instructed the team to gag and blindfold the boy.
Although the boy couldn’t see, he continued to struggle frantically as he anticipated being drenched in the boiling water. But instead, the team lowered the pot of boiling water onto the ground, and Mengele walked in with a bucket of ice cold water. He poured the freezing water over the boy, and he screamed in terror. Everyone else in the room started laughing, until they noticed something extraordinary. Blisters had started forming all over the boy’s body.
You see, the poor child was convinced beyond even a scintilla of doubt, that he was about to be drenched in hot water. His brain accepted that as a simple fact, so it didn’t matter that it was actually cold water Mengele poured over him, his brain recognised it as hot water, and immediately acted to protect him by forming bubbles filled with fluid on his outer skin to protect the lower layers of skin from heat damage.
My friends, the brain is the single most powerful tool, weapon or defence in the world. Whatever your brain believes becomes the truth. If your brain believes you’re in danger, then you’re in danger. If your brain believes you’re tired, hungry, thirsty, strong or weak, then that is exactly what you are, so it will provide your body with the information you need to optimise your performance in that situation.
So imagine how you would perform if your brain thought you were successful? Imagine if your brain thought you could achieve anything. Imagine if your brain thought you were the smartest person in the room. Imagine if your brain thought you were the best looking, most eloquent, most imaginative person. Imagine that.
There’s actually a name for that state of mind. It’s called confidence. It is the condition that separates winners from losers. Confidence is that ineffable quality that gives you the advantage over your competition. Confidence is not about being capable. It’s about knowing you’re capable. It is the truth your brain accepts about the ability you can demonstrate. And this, my friends, is the key.
There is nothing you are incapable of, as long as your brain believes you can do it. You can form blisters in response to cold water. You can lift a truck to save your baby. You can run faster, jump higher, sing better, learn harder and achieve more than you could ever imagine. All you have to do is let your brain accept the truth that you were made in God’s image. So there is nothing you can’t do.
My name is Kojo Yankson. Please inform your brain that I have confidence in you.