Parts of the Human Spirit

The parts of the human spirit we discuss here at Growth Mindset Training Academy begins with the components that go into building the spirit of a champion arch. Those parts of the human spirit are a foundation of love, piers of faith and faithfulness, voussoirs of family and friends as well as the mind and body and finally is the keystone the spirit of a champion. The fact that we have the spirit as the keystone shows its different levels, contextual definitions, and connectedness to all the other parts of the human spirit or the mindset of a champion.

We need to begin by defining some terms. Spirit and soul are often used interchangeably so sometimes people will substitute soul for spirit. Your worldview will also play a role in how you define the terms as does your native language. Words have multiple meanings, so we want to be clear on which meaning we are referring to when we talk about the parts of the human spirit.

From the viewpoint of the Christian religion, some argue that the soul is the realm of our emotions and what makes us human while spirit is that entity (part of the trinity) that dwells within us when a believer accepts Christ as their savior and allows for a closer and more meaningful relationship with God. As we go forward with this discussion, we will use spirit to refer to both the emotional realm (soul) and that something special that connects us to our god. We are primarily concerned with the deeply held beliefs and values of a person that are essential to whom they think they are and drive their behavior.

The other aspect of that spirituality is this idea of an entity or power that is superior to our human power. Depending on your worldview some may refer to it as mind, as a god, as God, or maybe even as the Force. Not all people will agree with what it is exactly or how you define it, but many recognize that when you access it through prayer, meditation, or mindfulness practices, we do good things to our health and well-being. Christians, Jews and I believe Muslims as well, believe in miracles, which by definition are the result of some supernatural or in our terms spiritual intervention in the material realm. Those three monotheistic world views refer to that spiritual force that intervenes in man’s affairs as God, Jehovah, Yahweh, or Allah.

In our trainings, we are concerned primarily with the beliefs and values and developing spiritual practices. We leave the figuring out exactly what you believe regarding that religious aspect of spirituality to you. Our company does believe that it is very important to really test your worldview to see if you really believe that what you believe is really real.

You see, what you think you believe or what you say you believe may not be in line with the culture you live in and that culture could possibly cause you to distrust your worldview. You become incongruent. You don’t always act in accordance with what you say you believe. That incongruence creates lots of problems from potentially being viewed as a hypocrite to potential health issues as your body and mind fight against each other.

The final idea of spirit in some cultures is connected to the idea of your animal spirit. It can include phrases such as the fighting spirt, resilient spirit, or willful spirit. In terms of animal spirits, you would have specific personality characteristics associated with your animal spirit. For example, a badger is symbolic of having tenacity, cleverness, security, friendship, and gratitude. These personality characteristics are deeply embedded in you and are believed to be part of your spirit. Let’s look at how this all these parts of the human spirit come together to create the mindset of a champion.

The human spirit, your deeply held beliefs and values that make up who you are,

is influenced by at least nine different mindsets.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: Building a Foundation of Love

While some will argue that love is a fruit of the spirt, we would argue it is what creates and feeds the spirit. It could also be interpreted as the very spiritual force of the holy spirit, after all God is love. It contains both human elements, which are the biochemical reactions in your body from experiencing the emotion, and it has the intangible spiritual aspect of the values and characteristics that become evident when love is acted out. Those ideas are not material; they are spiritual. They are integral parts of the human spirit.

The characteristics of love that we focus on are the most essential parts of the human spirit. They are foundational character traits of all the most highly successful people down through the ages. These traits are patience, kindness, not envious, not boastful, not proud (puffed up or thinking too highly of oneself), not dishonoring of others, not being easily angered, not being self-seeking, not keeping a record of wrongs, not delighting in evil, rejoicing in truth, protective, trustful, hopeful, and perseverant. Notice we have some traits given in the negative while others are stated in the positive. These traits are revered by the vast majority of people from all cultures around the world. Evil people not only do not project these traits, but they despise those characteristics. They have a dangerously cynical view of loving people and would object to the notion that these traits are essential parts of the human spirit.

If these traits truly are, as I have claimed, revered qualities, then it would be wise to do everything in our power to master as many as we can. We should be trying to engrain them so deeply that they are our very nature – our spirit, our essence. We wouldn't be able to separate out these parts of the human spirit from who we are as a person.

We should strive to act patiently consistently. We should strive to act kindly regularly. We should strive to never act enviously. We should strive to not being boastful. We should strive to not act proudly. We should strive to never dishonor (make same feel shame). We should strive to not become angry easily. We should strive to not have a me first attitude. We should strive to not keep a record of wrongs committed against us. We should strive do not take delight in evil happenings even when they happen to evil people. We should strive to always rejoice in discovering and knowing the truth. We should strive to protect those we love, the truth, our good name, and righteousness. We should strive to trust regularly. We should strive to be hopeful always. We strive to be perseverant. These are vital parts of the human spirit, are they not?

If you are going to engrain these vital parts of the human spirit in your being you need to think about them regularly, and do them regularly. The thinking also includes establishing the beliefs and values that support the doing of these behaviors. For that to happen you need to apply HEAT. It are those habits that will drive the emotion and attitudes. The training is the doing of the process that creates the habits and the thinking process thus creating the loving spirit within you. Traditionally, we develop these traits by modeling through our family and cultural upbringing. The training can be, should be better – more purposeful.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: Faith

Napoleon Hill, the author of the classic self-help book Think and Grow Rich, includes a chapter in that book on the power of faith. Faith unquestionably has a religious and spiritual connotation to it. It is immaterial, but it has power to manifest itself materially, which is what Hill discusses in his book. Because of that, faith is one fo the powerful parts of the human spirit.

The faith you have in your abilities, in someone else, in an idea, or in god will manifest itself in the actions you take. Because the power of faith can literally heal a person from a terminal disease or create a miracle, it would be wise to try to understand it and build our own faith. Jesus said if you had the faith of a mustard seed you would be able to cause a mountain to move – create a miracle. A book entitled, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, is a scholarly look at the miracles reported in the New Testament as well as modern times. The conclusion is miracles happen. Faith is typically behind these miracles. 

On a practical, daily existence level, faith is vital for our relationships and our ability to navigate through life. We need to have faith in people, systems, institutions, and even ideas such as hope. Imagine what an organization of any kind would be like if people didn’t have faith in the leadership, the mission, or the systems put in place. If you analyze highly successful organizations of any kind there is a level of faith people have in those three areas that allow for that success. What will happen to a country if the people lose faith in its primary institutions and the people within them? Faith is necessary. Faith is one of the essential parts of the human spirit.

At its core faith is about your beliefs, values, and ability to trust. Trust and faith are inseparable. They are two sides of the same coin. If you do not really believe what you say you believe, if you don’t trust your own faith or beliefs, you will be incongruent in your actions.

You may be surprised how many people struggle with internal conflicts about what they think they believe or want to believe and what their actions say they believe. The apostle Paul discusses this when he writes in Romans, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Theologically, he is arguing that our human nature is predisposed to disobey God’s law. Practically, he is saying the beliefs and values he wants to have are confronted or challenged by the beliefs and values of the culture he is living in and those cultural values often win out. 

Even if you aren’t a Christian living in a pagan culture, your values and beliefs may come into conflict with the culture and or with reality. The longer you spend in a culture that is different than the one you were raised in, the more opportunity the cultural norms have to create internal conflicts within you. Generally speaking, conflict is not good.

Discovering what you really believe about four fundamental questions and comparing those to how the major worldviews answer those questions can be enlightening to say the least. It may cause you to reaffirm and strengthen your worldview. It may cause you to call into question your worldview. It should also help you understand other people’s worldview and thus their actions, which is invaluable in navigating in a world that is shrinking in many regards.

Understanding faith’s role as one of the parts of the human spirit is not only an academic exercise, it is a very practical exercise as well. Becoming more congruent in your beliefs because you know why you believe what you believe and you can give evidence for why you believe what you believe causes you to be much more congruent or to gain integrity – connectedness between your actions and your stated beliefs and values.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: Faithfulness

Faithfulness is about how trustworthy you are and how well you adhere to your personal ethos. Your ethos is something we cover in the training on creating that spirit of a champion, but it shows up in your faithfulness. Trust and integrity are two adjectives that are critical in understanding another of the essential parts of the human spirit - faithfulness.

Your faithfulness is what makes you trustworthy. When you are faithful to friends, colleagues, your employer, teammates, and family, they will trust you. When you are faithful to a moral code, your ethos, that guides your actions, people generally trust and respect you. You can even see this in politics (though I fear this is becoming rarer and rarer), when two politicians with opposing political views and guiding philosophies develop a working relationship built on trust and respect. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neal apparently had such a relationship.

Faithfulness embodies eight specific characteristics. When you train those traits, when you make them part of your identity, faithfulness is the result. Building character is about creating a set beliefs, aligning values, and creating a pattern of thinking that manifests itself in actions that are congruent. When those beliefs or values or character traits are not imbedded into your core you become at risk of engaging in hypocritical behavior and destroying trust. For these reasons faithfulness is one of the three most important parts of the human spirit. Faithfulness, faith, and love make up the two piers and foundation that will support our mindset of a champion arch.

Four highly influential parts of the human spirit include families, friends, the mind, and the body.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: Families

Families have an undeniably important role in the development of the human spirit. Sadly, there have been family situations that I have known first hand that have contributed mightily to breaking the spirit of a child. There should be no doubt that love plays a critical role in a healthy family and its potential as one of the most positive parts of the human spirit.

Families have been the primary structure for developing the important beliefs and values that are necessary to sustain a given society and its culture. If children do not adopt those beliefs and values of the family and presumably the culture they are part of, when they become adults, they will change that culture. The spirit of the nation, state, or people group will be different.

I am not making a value judgement on whether that is good or bad because it most definitely depends on the change that is taking place. There have been times through history where governments have stepped in to supplant the role of the family to either try to maintain their culture or to alter it, which reinforces the claim that families are probably the most powerful tool for shaping mindsets and influencing the human spirit. For that reason, families are what we consider one of the essential parts of the human spirit.

As one of the most influential parts of the human spirit, it would serve us well to look at how our family structure, beliefs, and values have shaped who we are. There are no perfect families. There are no perfect parents. As hard as parents might try to instill values and beliefs and thinking patterns and habits that we believe are important to our child’s well-being and future success, they are still their own person and influenced by the culture and peers. As much as we may love our spouse, there will be conflicts. We will not see eye to eye on every decision that needs to be made. How couples handle these conflicts and how they go about educating and training their children influence greatly how their children will handle life’s trials and tribulations. 

The more parents abdicate this responsibility to the culture, the more the culture will be the primary force that shapes the beliefs, values, and attitudes that will shape the child’s actions. Even when you are trying to communicate certain beliefs you feel are valuable, your communication could be interpreted the exact opposite. Let me provide an example from athletics.

 A well-meaning father from a small rural community kept telling his son from the youngest of age that he can’t let others from the bigger towns think they are better than he is. He can’t let them get in his head. The intent was to instill in his son the mindset that his son was just as good as the kids from larger towns who might have more opportunities. Unfortunately, the belief that got embedded was guys from away are better than he is and they can get in his head. That was an unconscious belief that manifested itself in poor performance late in games when he went to college and was more often competing with guys from “away” and from “the city”.

In an attempt to protect a child from getting emotionally hurt and dealing with rejection a parent didn’t allow their child to take certain risks when they were younger. As they got older, the young adult was struggling with dreams they wanted to pursue, but were being crippled with fear of failing and rejection. That fear was directly connected to the message the parent had unintentionally and unconsciously embedded at a very young age. Well-meaning parents do this unintentionally all the time. I am not even sure it is completely possible to ensure we don’t do that because there are so many variables that go into how a child will interpret communication, but there are definitely principles we can live by and understand that will minimize the risk.

For all of us, we can learn to become retrospective of our upbringing and learn to identify such beliefs that may be interfering with what we want to accomplish. Once we identify them we can go about letting go of them and moving forward. Often we don’t understand what is preventing us from moving toward what we think we want or what is interfering with our ability to attain whatever goal or ideal life we are seeking. In part, it may well be beliefs or emotions we have not dealt with from our childhood that are interfering.

Family values is a term we think of politically, but in reality those family values and beliefs are what make the family such a significant influence and one of the most important parts of the human spirit. Even if your family situation on the whole is a significant positive influencer, there still may be some unconscious beliefs that aren’t helping you achieve what you are intended to achieve. Even if your family situation has contributed to significant obstacles for your own spirit to fully bloom, you can remove those obstacles and blossom into the beautiful human spirit God intended.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: Friendships

The other aspect of human relationships that is one of the most influential parts of the human spirit is your friendships. Your friendships have a tremendous influence on the development and nourishing of the human spirit. That deep connection you may develop with colleagues or classmates, or teammates, or roommates or others you meet professionally, personally, or through civic or religious organizations have tremendous influence on who you become as a person.

Choosing your friends wisely is vital. In our course on developing a mindset of friendship, the reinforcement of how these qualities of love we discuss play a role in your relationships is one key component or objective. The other part is to learn the skills that allow you to, in the words of Dale Carnegie, win friends and influence people. These skills are invaluable in the formation of the mindset of a champion. 

While there most definitely are people who rose to the top of their chosen profession who were not (or are not) very well liked or even honorable people, those people also would not fit our definition of a champion. Our definition of a champion includes the idea of being generally well thought of and respected even by one’s adversaries.

The imagery from literature of Ebenezer Scrooge is a classic example. He was “successful” in business, accumulating great wealth, but was headed toward dying alone with no one to mourn him. Ultimately, that is what changed Scrooge. Dying alone with no one showing any grief is not an idealistic imagery people have of their own death. In The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom wants Huck, Joe, and himself to show up at their own funeral so they can hear all the wonderful things said about them. How likely is that to happen outside having those foundational characteristics of love?

Like family, friendships are one of the essential parts of the human spirit. Understanding how your friendships influence your beliefs and values and how you interact with people is a skill everyone can benefit from.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: The Mind

People occasionally use the mind and the brain interchangeably, but they are two different concepts. The brain operates in the physical or material realm while the mind operates in the spiritual or immaterial realm. The brain is where all the chemical and electrical manifestations of thoughts and emotions are stored, managed, organized, and manifested into material biological components.

The actual thoughts and emotions are immaterial and spiritual in nature. Where thoughts and emotions actually come from is complex, not fully comprehended, and debated in philosophical, scientific, and theological circles. The realm of the mind is the next of the key parts of the human spirit.

For our purpose, we want you to know some theories, proven techniques, and even some techniques that may not be “proven” but have plenty of adherents based on both scientific and anecdotal evidence. Learning some of these facts, theories, and techniques can help you take control of the realm of the mind and thereby control of the brain and your body, which is also one of the parts of the human spirit.

Simply Google scholarly articles on the mind and body connection and you will find countless studies that attest to this connection. One such article is “The Mind Body Connection, Not Just a Theory Anymore.” Studies done on hypnosis and on the placebo effect clearly support this connection between the mind and its influence on the body. Besides the connection to and influence on the body and all that implies, the mind and brain is also deeply connected to knowledge, learning, and wisdom.

According to Napoleon Hill, acquiring specialized knowledge is one of the more important parts to growing rich. Undoubtedly, there is truth to that claim. Think of all the incredibly wealthy people in the world and I can’t think of a person whose wealth can’t be traced back to specialized knowledge.

I have had people make the claim that athletes and entertainers have become very wealthy without specialized knowledge. I will not dismiss their arguments because they are based on narrower definitions of knowledge. For example, there have been countless people gifted with beautiful musical talent who have never become wealthy and athletes when tremendous athletic skills who have never become wealthy. The difference often is in the knowledge of how to best apply or use the talents they have to achieve that wealth.

The point here is not about wealth at all. The point here is how understand basics about the mind and the brain so you can discover what you were meant to do and find fulfillment in doing that. Gaining knowledge, wisdom, and seeking truth are part of that process along with gaining better control over your thinking processes and emotions.

No one dreams about being poor but not everyone dreams about becoming rich. No one wants to struggle to feed, clothe, or shelter their family, but not everyone dreams of having a luxurious home, fine clothing, and an abundance of food. No one wants to be considered ignorant or stupid, but not everyone dreams of becoming an expert in a given field. Ideally, we would hope we can train people to acquire as much knowledge, skills, wisdom, and truth as possible for them to meet their purpose in life and find fulfillment in the process.

My wife always wanted to be a teacher and a mother. Of course, she didn’t want to have to struggle financially, but she didn’t have a goal to acquire a large luxurious home, fine clothes, or be able to travel extensively and eat regularly in fine restaurants. I on the other had have always desired a large luxurious home, fine clothes, to be able to travel extensively and eat regularly in fine restaurants.

We both though recognized our calling was to become respected teachers, coaches, and parents, which we have accomplished. While I know that is my calling, I am now pursuing the other part of my dreams by providing a training system that will help more people not limit themselves but find their purpose, acquire the mindset and character traits that will help them reach their purpose while finding fulfillment in living. There are far too many people who lead lives of quiet desperation and the mind plays a major role in that.

The mind is unquestionably one of the important parts of the human spirit. Take care of it and it will take care of you.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: The Body

People do not desire to be unhealthy. No one wants disease to ravage their body. Many diseases we bring onto ourselves by not caring for our bodies and our mind. Here the focus will be on feeding and moving the body. We will talk about taking care of your physical body regardless of how fortunate or unfortunate you may think you have been in being given the body you have.

When I talk about your body, I am talking about it in its entirety. I refer to every system of your body and trying to get those to work optimally. Not everyone has been born with an optimal body. Take one of my heroes Nick Vujicic, who was born with no arms or legs. He can still be healthy. Take Kodi Lee, a gifted musician who is blind and autistic, but he can still be physically healthy let alone capable of producing beautiful, uplifting music. Regardless then of what kind of condition your body is in now, there are two vital components that will help your body be as influential as any of the other parts of the human spirit. Your human vitality will be influenced by how you feed and move your body.

Nutrition is unquestionably a significant influencer on how your body will respond to disease and how much vitality you will have going through life. Nutrition has an impact on mental health as well as your physical well-being. There are basic principles to nutrition that come through when you break down all the different opinions on diet.

Principle number one is the less processed the food you consume the more nutritional benefits you will likely get. Principle number two is to moderate your food intake – do not over eat. Principle number three is to eat slowly. Principle number four is to balance your diet. If everyone followed just those four principles their health would significantly improve as would their mental outlook on life.

The other area people should focus on to care for their body and their health is to exercise. The ideal would be to be capable of moving weight over a full range of motion and to do so for an extended period of time. Doing that requires exercise.

Exercise should focus on strength, stamina, flexibility, and balance. For athletes, you can include power, speed, and coordination. There are so many different exercises and equipment out there choice is the least of your problems. More often or not the challenge is comfort versus discomfort. Working your body entails short term discomfort that can produce both short-term and long-term comfort.

In the short-term, workouts can produce chemicals that produce what is often referred to as a “runner’s high.” In the long-term, regular exercise can help control brain chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin which all play an important part in regulating your mood. If you are practicing good mental health and thinking practices as well as exercising, your moods and your health will be greatly improved. Negative moods are associated with numerous poor health conditions so anything you do to keep consistently positive, the better.

Besides the impact on many of the systems of the body that help you fight disease, exercise will help you be able to do more things for longer periods of time. You will have more freedom because more choices give you more freedom. Working the neuromuscular system so you have strength and muscular stamina as well as balance and flexibility can significantly push back becoming elderly. My definition for being elderly is not about chronological age but is more about biological age or the ability of your body to move weight over distance for a period of time and its ability to maintain balance and flexibility. All of those things deteriorate with age but not at the same rate. Exercise is the key to being able to remain independent and active throughout your life. 

Exercise and nutrition are two ingredients to care for your body, which, as one of the parts of the human spirit, will either support you or will hinder you as you navigate the storms of life.

The Parts of the Human Spirit: The Spirit of a Champion

In this section, we are talking about the final of the parts of the human spirit, and this part is what I refer to as the spirit of a champion. It is what gives the human spirit its identity.

There are specific activities we can do that will help link all of the parts of the human spirit and that is what makes up this keystone of spirit. It is about the final, finishing process of habit, emotion, attitude training. It links everything together to make it stand strong and firm. It is about internalizing all of it into practices that continually reinforce, repair, or even reconstruct the mindset of a champion arch. 

At its core, the spirit we are talking about here are the ideas of resiliency, perseverance, and congruency. All of those are influenced by all the other components which are also influenced by this spirit. In essence, this spirit comes from finding your big why, identifying the ethos you will operate under, and putting into practice the systems that will allow you to meet life’s trials and tribulations head on and come out on top. 

During this stage of your training you would continue to build the morning and evening ritual. Within that habit and possibly in addition to those times exercise and nutritional practices would be built into your lifestyle habits. Breath work and emotional management and thinking practices become lifestyle habits. Beyond that discovering more about your purpose, beliefs, values, play a role.

All of those things will work on your why and your why needs to become powerful enough to drive resiliency and perseverance. Again, all the work done up to this point would be reinforced in this last part of the training and when completed ideally your lifestyle would have everything in place for you to not only survive but even possibly thrive in circumstances you can’t imagine and probably don’t want to.

The mindset of a champion unfortunately really gets tested amidst tragedy. No one wants that or  seeks that, but it does happen to some people. Those who come out the other side “better for it” epitomize that mindset of a champion and the spirit of a champion is the keystone that keeps all the parts of the human spirit in place to hold you up during those times.

While most of us will never experience some of the deep trying tragedies of some, we will have our own storms and floods that will test the structures of the arch bridges we have built. The four arches, personal, professional, civic, and spiritual will all come into play to keep the five bridges: physical, mental, emotional, intuitive, and Unitatis quattuor (unifying the four or four at once). The five bridges connect five islands – Survivor, Protector, Achiever, Equalizer, and Integrator. Some of you may recognize the five bridges as the five mountains and the five islands as the five personality types or the five plateaus that Commander Mark Divine discusses in his Unbeatable Mind trainings and podcasts. They really are the same, though we have slightly different approaches to how they interplay; the principles are clearly vital in training a mindset and in developing the spirit of a champion.

Maybe at this point you realize you, your child, or even your entire family could benefit from this training. Maybe though you have some fear or apprehension about costs or making the commitment. All of that is normal and to be expected. 

Please consider filling out the form below to schedule a call where we can have a conversation about what your goals might be, current situation is, and to learn if this is fit. It is not for everyone, but it may be for you. 

On this call if there is a significant other in your life or even a teenager you are considering enrolling all of you should be in on the call. It will be about 45 minutes and I can only promise you I will be open and honest about expectations for each of us. Just fill out the form below or maybe you want to listen to the video first.

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