How To Keep Your Mind Virus Free

Viruses are wonderful living creatures. I know you wouldn’t expected this as a starting sentence, but this the bare truth: in terms of biological life, viruses are one of the most fascinating and powerful living beings.

Unfortunately, we, humans, seem to have a rather hard time with them. Why? Because we’re on a constant battle to take over the world. Sometimes we win, sometimes the viruses win. But if you take a closer look you’re going to discover some wonderful things about viruses, that even we, humans, can’t say we have at this moment. For instance, the ability to identify and inhabit an appropriate host or to modify some inner key characteristics in order to adapt to new conditions.

Yes, viruses are a very interesting topic but today I’m not going to talk about viruses as living creatures. Not even about computer viruses. Today I’m going to talk about mind viruses, or, more precisely, how to keep your mind clean from them.

This is the third follow-up to this article: How To Run The Best Version Of Yourself, in which I’m using a computer-human metaphor for personal development. You can find the first two articles here:

How To Defrag Your Mind In 5 Easy Steps
How To Maintain And Upgrade Your Life Device Drivers

What Is A Mind Virus?

The simplest way to describe a mind virus is an addiction. A repeated action, with a consistent harming potential, most of the time performed without our will. Smoking, over drinking, or fighting are good examples of a mind virus. Mind viruses are learned behaviors which are self-propagating and slowly consuming the host. But addictions are only the most visible, and not the most dangerous mind virus.

The most dangerous viruses are those who are spreading without our knowledge and, even more, without easy to spot symptoms. I mean, smoking and over drinking are so easy to spot, they have a very clear pathology. You can’t miss them. But how can you identify a mind virus which constantly prevents you from being happy? Or a mind virus which creates limiting beliefs about money? Or a virus which constantly makes you feel powerless and defeated?

How To Identify A Mind Virus

First of all, a mind virus is something you “caught” from somebody else. Viruses are spreading from host to host. You aren’t born with them. So, the first step in identifying a repetitive behavior as a mind virus would be to identify its origin. Did we have this behavior since we were born? Or we learned it in school, or at work? Most of the time we get mind viruses from social interaction.

Second, a mind virus is able to adjust to various changes of the host. I think in technical terms this is called polymorphism, but we’re just call it adaptability. If you tried various approaches towards a specific toxic behavior, to no success, that could be a pretty good sign we’re dealing with a mind virus and not with an isolated deviation.

And third, a very common characteristic of a mind virus would be its ability to replicate itself. It will actually try to propagate itself onto other people around us. And, to some extent, we will help it big time, without knowing, of course. There will be a certain vibe of “I’m right and you’re wrong” every time we’ll be in that mind virus sequence. For instance, if our mind virus is creating limiting beliefs about money, we will reinforce these beliefs constantly while talking with others : “don’t you know money is so difficult to make?”.

Mind Virus Prevention

The easiest way to cure an illness is to prevent it. That’s equally true for mind viruses so here are some simple prevention measures which could significantly minimize the chances to be contaminated:

  • chose safe surroundings. Don’t join groups which seems “infected” or which are good mediums for mind virus spreading (groups which are indiscriminately propagate all sort of ideas, theories or approaches, without backing them up with solid experience and/or arguments).
  • verify your information sources are often as you can. Many mind viruses are spreading because of your ignorance or laziness. You take for granted anything you read, hear or see and the next second you realize you just caught a nasty mind virus without even knowing it.
  • do your own experiments. In terms of mind viruses, experiments are like vaccines: they allow you to practice a little bit of something, just to get a glimpse of it and, if you don’t like it, you can move on. But because you took the time to try it first, now you’re immune.

Mind Virus Diagnose

Ok, but what happens if we actually caught a virus? How can we tell? How do we know we have a mind virus and not something else?

First of all, try to analyze if there’s something toxic in that specific behavior. If we’re talking about simple things like addictions (smoking, drinking or over-fighting) that’s easy. You already feel at the physical level you’re doing something wrong. But what happens when we’re dealing with a much subtle mind virus, like one who will prevent you have more money by creating limiting beliefs about wealth?

In this case, you should assess your life for longer periods of times. Let’s say you’re a person who never had too much money. You may blame this on your current environment, to the world financial crisis or to bad luck. But if you’re really analyzing what’s holding you back, and see that this lack of money somehow followed you despite the environment, world progress or good luck, you’ll most likely find that at the core of this situation is a mind virus. A toxic, acquired behavior which adjusts if you try to change and feeds itself with your own misery and sadness.

Another way to diagnose a mind virus would be to test its “host” penetration. The biggest challenge in identifying a mind virus is that we can always mistake it as a form of original thinking. No, it’s not a virus, this is how we really are. But testing this “host” penetration will help us see if what we’re thinking it’s just a borrowed pack of nonsenses which are making our life a living hell, or an internal conviction.

Just look around and try to identify the same behavior in other people. Let’s say your mind virus is about relationships. Which you consider something difficult to obtain, maintain and get satisfaction from. Try to see if there are other people having the same approach. Try to see if there are people which are treating relationships the same way you are. If there’s a mind virus involved, you will identify those people, but you will immediately spot the gap between their real potential as human beings and their toxic behavior. Sometimes it’s easy to spot the illness in somebody else before accepting that you’re having it too.

Curing A Mind Virus Disease

Ok, we failed to prevent a contamination, we correctly diagnosed that we do have a mind virus infection, now what? We have to cure it.

A mind virus illness manifests itself in the form of a constant, toxic activity. To cure the illness all we have to do is to put an end to the associated activity. Without it, the mind virus won’t get enough “food” and will eventually die.

Suppose we have a mind virus which prevents us traveling because, well, in order to travel you have to have time. Now, the associated activity of this mind virus is… yes, a job! What do we have to do in order to kill this virus? Kill the job, exactly! Once you won’t have a job anymore (attention: I didn’t say: once you don’t have money, I said once you don’t have a job, because you can make money outside of a job pretty well) the virus won’t be able to manifest, and you can safely start to travel around the world.

Now, not always the associated activity of a virus would be so easy to spot, but most of the time we will get enough hints to look in the right direction. There will be some trial and error, but if we’re really after that mind virus, we will find its associated activity.

How we stop that activity is beyond the scope of the article. Replacing an activity with another one is most of the time a question of habits and their management. If you want to know more about how to create a habit, you may want to start with this article: How To Create A Habit In 15 Days.

Mind Virus Rebounds

As in any other illness, there will be rebounds. Every now and then, our emotional body will be weakened and, since we had this sensitive terrain before, it will be easier to get the same virus again. We grew some sort of sensitivity over a specific virus.

I don’t think there’s a problem with that, as long as we’re aware. If we know we are sensitive to a certain virus, getting it again at certain time intervals won’t be a huge surprise. The good news is that we already beat it before, so every time we get a rebound we’re going to get rid of it easier and easier.

As long as we’re working on it, of course.

A Personal Example

One of the most resilient mind viruses I had was about “not being good enough”. This mind virus infection made me prove all the time that I have to deserve everything I get. Everything worth having was for me something that I had to fight for. Every time I wanted to express my individuality I had to prove something to somebody. Either by making more money than the average, either by acting riskier. Bottom line: because I was thinking I wasn’t good enough as I was, I always pushed things up trying to prove myself worthy of attention.

Diagnose:

At first, I thought this was part of my personality. This is how I am, a bold and courageous individual. I do stuff because I can and because I’m better than others. Alas, that wasn’t true.

At some point, after a few years in which I took more and more risks just to prove myself worthy of… I don’t even remember of what, I realized there’s a pattern. Every time I was feeling insecure and alone, I was pushing it more. Every time I was in need of relaxation and acceptance I was striving more. Yes, there was a pattern.

But this pattern alone couldn’t tell me if it was a mind virus or just… well, a pattern. So, I started to identify the “host” penetration. I started to look around for people exhibiting the same behavior like me. People who were courageous, yet eager to prove themselves worthy of attention at all cost. It wasn’t long until I find them, in the same circles like me (most of them were entrepreneurs too). Seeing them from the outside made me realize instantly that this was a mind virus: it was so easy to spot the difference between what they wanted (acceptance and validation) and what they did (taking more risks).

Cure

Once I realized my company (and my whole approach as an entrepreneur) was the result of some mind virus, making me push things just to prove myself worthy of attention, I just decided to let go. I didn’t need any title (entrepreneur, business man, etc) to make me feel better. I was ok the way I was. So, I decided to sell the company I created, after 10 years of managing it.

In a few months after I sold the company, things started to improve. I realized I survived without pushing it and taking risks in exchange of attention. I realized I can be a decent person without proving my worth every day. I realized I am good enough just the way I am.

Rebounds

Every now and then this mind virus rebounds. It’s less than 2 years since I finished my role as an entrepreneur and I suspect there are still some uncut strings attaching me from the past. Right now, the rebounds are taking a different form: if I’m not able to finish some tasks, I feel sad.

But I’m working on it. 🙂



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 27 Comments

  1. Dragos, thanks for sharing your insight into the world of mind virus’s. I just finished a book called “Virus of the Mind” by Richard Broadie, and while I was taken back considerably by the idea, I realized that it was possible we could be programmed by words and ideas, and then simply allow a new idea to help assist us in our way of life. Without paying attention to the newly formed idea, we can be awfully stubborn when it comes to defending others actions against our infected mind. The theory is fascinating and I am so thankful you are sharing your knowledge with the world. I think this is an essential element, if not the most important one, toward breaking downs barriers in the world(s) we live in. We can recreate ourselves by removing those toxic barriers, which continue to replicate when we communicate with others, and most of the time, we do it unconsciously. Personally, being new to the idea of mind virus’s, I can say that I am working toward identifying those “anchors” which are holding me back, but I now have more insight from you, regarding the observational view of the company I keep. It is quite interesting that we may be better able to identify the barriers, by observing others and what we may have mutually been feeding each other. You are who your friends are speaks volumes! Thanks again, and I look forward toward your further insight.

  2. Didn’t read the book, but sounds interesting. And yes, I do think looking at others can be a very effective (and cheap too) way to identify borrowed behaviors in ourselves. Thanks for the comment.

  3. Hey Dragos!

    Very cool post and so true. I have recently started using EFT (emofree.com) and I already notice positive effects. If you have not heard of it I really recommend visiting the site and downloading the free manual. It is probably the best method to get total control over your emotions, remove fears and anger and any other type of negative emotion.

    Once you no longer spend energy on the negative, you have so much more to spend on the positive like being creative and living life.

    Thanks for the link 🙂
    .-= Diggy´s last blog ..The Definitive Guide On Attracting Hot Girls =-.

    1. Hey Diggy,

      Thanks for the emofree.com hint. I attended a EFT seminar a year ago but didn’t take the time to go further. I will download the manual and see where it goes.

      Have a great day!

  4. Thanks for sharing this Dragos, the personal example also adds a lot to the article, especially that I am sharing the same virus:-(. I agree that this is the most important journey we actually have in life, the path of discovering what’s deep down and unleashing the real us. And more over, accept the real image and embrace it with warmth. And then the pieces of the puzzle start aligning themselves miraculously.
    A good book that relates mostly to relationship viruses is Emotionally Abusive Relationship, by Beverly Engel. http://www.amazon.com/Emotionally-Abusive-Relationship-Abused-Abusing/dp/0471454036/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267603232&sr=8-1
    .-= Madalina´s last blog ..Vrei jobul? Mda.. =-.

    1. Hey, Madalina,

      I can see that you’re starting to get rid of that virus too 😉 Feels good, isn’t it? Thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll put it on my list.

    1. This is what Wikipedia tells me about viruses: “Viruses are found in almost every ecosystem on Earth and these minute structures are the most abundant type of biological entity”. A biological entity has a lifespan. It is born and dies. Looks like a living creature to me.

      But then again, I may be wrong. 🙂

      1. Viruses have no metabolism therefore they aren’t ‘living’. They use hosts in order to keep the virus going by injecting it’s DNA into their cells.

        1. Usually, I don’t go this way, but somehow this alive/non-alive discussion about viruses found me on a rather talkative disposition. So, in my humble opinion, every “thing” which is able to create, maintain and improve a mechanism by which it is reproducing itself is a living thing, as opposed to inorganic matter. A cell is a living thing, a bacteria is a living thing, a virus is a living thing, a tree or a flower are living things. I consider this ability to sustainably reproduce the same container or structure fundamental for the definition of “living”.

  5. Hey Dragos,
    A very thought provoking post. What comes to mind for me as a mother of 3 is that in addition to being affected by our environment we also come into the world with our own unique temperament. I can clearly see that one of my children could be more susceptible to a certain kind of virus than another largely due to this inherent temperament. It would be interesting to discuss that sometime.
    .-= Carmen´s last blog ..Digital Nomad Blog Carnival – Accepting Submissions Now! =-.

  6. Dragos,

    One word for your post, amazing, in fact let me add another one. Absolutely amazing. I am truly grateful to you for sharing this inspiring post and your personal experience. It has certainly add more clarity to my changing path, where I am going and why I am required to make the changes I find myself making.

    Life is good, thank you again.

    Regards

    Paul

  7. I am a fun of Susan Blackmore’s idea of mimetic program replication.
    Some of these mind viruses are toxic and parasitic, ex: “buy this product” or “follow my advice and you will have success in achieving what you want” or “you are not good enough” like you said.
    But some can also be symbiotic and altruistic, ex: “do not cross intersections on red light” or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,,,,”
    Is up to you to make the distinction, the spread of both types is automatic.
    Also is good to remember that vaccination works only for bacteria, not for viruses.

  8. Absolutely love the analogy used.

    In my research and personal experience practicing shadow work I’m glad to see you not skip over the fact that we do absolutely need to identify those initial viruses. Fortunately or unfortunately for some, these programs or shadows were picked up when we were extremely young and had no idea what seeds where being planted.

    These take a lot of work, and when we uncover traumatic experiences we need the help of a “licensed technician,” to add to your metaphor or a professional who can help us in removing these beliefs that influence our self perceptions. That’s a process for some people (not all) and it can be painful but extremely rewarding & liberating on the other side.

    Thank you and I’m glad to see you share your personal experiences with this process as well. I do quite the same thing on my blog.

    Thank you!
    .-= Tony Teegarden´s last blog ..Are You Missing A Step While Gaining Access To Your Inner Peace? =-.

  9. What an astonishing coincidence … er … I mean meme. This is what I read last night thar resonated with me:

    “Perhaps most challenging is the idea that my inner self, which seems to have consciousness and free will, is in fact a memeplex created by and for the replication of memes. “My” beliefs and opinions are survival tricks used by memes for their own perpetuation. “My” creativity is really design by memetic evolution. On this view, human nature is a product of memes and genes competing for replication in a complex environment, and there is no room for mysterious guiding principles or inner selves with free will.” — http://www.susanblackmore.co.uk/Chapters/Aunger2000.htm

    And now you have provided a vaccination program for those suffering from mind viruses. My life is being blessed with all the right people who have all the correct information for me these days. YAY!
    .-= timethief´s last blog ..You Are What You Drink =-.

  10. Ran across this article through Stumbleupon. Gotta say it hit me dead on and gave me lots to think about. This one caught me at the perfect time, right now I am focusing on finding who I am as a person (besides a wife and mom) and growing into what I want to become, an exciting journey!! Tomorrow I will be going back to the begining and read How to Run the Best Version of Yourself. Looking forward to finding new ways to grow!! Thanks for the new way to look at things!!

  11. “Also is good to remember that vaccination works only for bacteria, not for viruses.”

    Hunh?
    Except smallpox (the first and one of the most successful vaccine), Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, rabies, flu, HPV, chicken pox…

  12. Dragos –

    Wow – a very indepth exploration of how habitual thoughts can cause us suffering. I think the first step to curing a mind virus is to acknowledge it exists. Once recognized it is easier to disassociate from the thought(s) and not make them part of our identity. Simple awareness of unproductive thoughts is the starting point here. Great post!

    Phil
    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..What I talk about when I talk about running =-.

  13. Dragos, this has to be in the top 5 ‘Dragos Posts’. It was an exceptional piece of writing. I read it yesterday and then again today before putting a comment down, I didn’t quite know how to express how I felt about it, so ‘exceptional’ seemed the most appropriate word. Thank you.
    .-= Steven Aitchison´s last blog ..How To Make A Quantum Leap =-.

  14. Viruses are one way to bring attention to those terrible things in our minds indeed. And most of the time, we don’t realize it until we set out to cleanse and purify. It is such a difficult task to come to terms with. I think the concept of “not good enough” is one we can all identify with, although I have been blessed with a lot of self-confidence in recent years. Excellent post to follow would be experiments on how to get rid of various viruses and keep them at bay!!

  15. Interesting blog thank you, i found it using search words mind viruses 🙂 because thats what it really is! My virus is a realtionshp virus , an impossibility to have a realtionship. anybody can think about something in regards to it?
    “A mind virus illness manifests itself in the form of a constant, toxic activity. To cure the illness all we have to do is to put an end to the associated activity. Without it, the mind virus won’t get enough “food” and will eventually die.”

    what is the “associated activity” with relationships? :))

  16. Dragos, There was a saying I heard while doing contract work years ago: “A good virus keeps it’s host happy.” Weigh that.

  17. Hey dragos u still there ? i have a different kinda virus in my mind :/ like i feel that if i don’t move my leg something bullshit will happen and sometimes it becomes true ( i am not sure if it is coincidence ) but still i can’t get rid of this habit ? and moreover i feel like that something is flashing out of my leg , mind and it hurts there ( not physically but it feels like that and everytime i see a random person and that is very annoying i cannot concentrate on what i am doing :/ and there is no way to stop it , it’s been 2 years since i got that virus and it didn’t effected me that much 🙁 please help me ? i am very sad

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