Brian Tracy, Canadian-born American trainer and author, said, “Our mind is the most valuable possession we have. The quality of our lives is, and will be, a reflection of how well we develop, train, and utilize this precious gift.”

It has been said that 2% of the people think, 3% of the people think they think, and 95% of the people would rather die than think. During the first third of my life I thought I thought, but I truly didn’t. I was following in the wakes of workaholics and alcoholics; hard-charging people blindly playing a game of going for more, with no actual knowledge of where more could be found.

The first time I actually used my mind I was sitting in a holding cell at the Alaska State Jail in Anchorage, Alaska. It was the first time I had ever been booked sober. I was surprised by all the things I had to do. After all of the booking procedures were over I made my first call. It was to Russell, a multi-millionaire with an office less than four blocks away.

Once I had him on the line I explained where I was, why I got locked up (a financial matter that I hadn’t paid), and then asked Russell to come bail me out. The silence coming back from him was painful. Finally Russell said, “Dick, you were smart enough to get in … so I know you are smart enough to get out.” And the line went dead. Talk about instant anger.

My second call was to “Freddy, the speedy bail-bondsman.” He agreed to get me out, but it would be awhile – so much for speedy. The tiny holding cell had stark white walls, a wooden bench screwed to the wall, and only one window, that tiny look-through glass in the steel door. There was no noise, nothing to read, and absolute silence had been forced upon me. (I think this is what Russell had in mind when he hung up the phone.)

My first hour was spent working my way out of extreme anger toward Russell, my second hour was spent dealing with ugly dislikes of myself, and my third hour I hit pay dirt. For the first time in my life I began to clearly see how dumb I had become. It was painful, yet relieving.

Prior to being locked up sober and being forced to sit in silence, I had always found many ways to justify my stupidity and run from reality. Minds are highly creative. Awesome excuses and lame escapes can be invented without effort. When has anyone ever run out of excuses?

If you have never been on the inside of a jail cell and heard that steel door close, you should visit a jail and see if they help you understand what it feels like. The clang of that door closing delivers a startling loss of freedom. When it happened to me I got a wake-up call I have never forgotten. And those three hours in that cell – all alone, trapped with my thoughts – have proven to be the most rewarding three hours of my life.

We need to step away from the rat race to remind ourselves of what is truly important, to discover some of the things we are doing wrong and to reset our sails. Without introspective moments we fly blind and sightless flying leads to increased slices of insanity. None of us are dumb. Not one of us. We just get caught up in doing dumb things.

Maxwell Maltz, Canadian-born American plastic surgeon and author, said, “This is where your battles are won -- in the playhouse of your mind.”

And you can go there, right now, without going to jail.

Author's Bio: 

Dick Warn is a proven speaker, author, and coach. His Miracle Minute series is on the air in Southern California and Florida, and can be heard or read by going to His third book "Mystical Mentor" is helping people leave more of their troubles behind. You can read the first chapter by going to