“Mind Games” is the title of John Lennon’s fourth studio album, as well as the name of the song that is the title track. It was released in the fall of 1973. The expression, “mind games” is usually defined as a psychological tactic used to manipulate and/or intimidate someone, however, John Lennon’s lyrics for the title song are about playing mind games in a positive sense, to change the world a little bit at a time. The “Mind Games” song and album were recorded during a time when John Lennon was being harassed by the United States government (at the direction of Richard Nixon). The album contained several politically oriented songs and, of course, had a considerable influence on my teenaged view of the world. I have traveled far and wide, intellectually and literally, since I bought “Mind Games” upon its release in 1973, but the song speaks to me now in exactly the same way as it did then. The song is full of positive messages, such as “Love is a flower…you gotta’ let it grow” and “Yes is the answer” and it has always been intriguing to me that John Lennon was able to maintain such a positive view of the world at exactly the time things were at their most negative in his life. I have always tried to live my life with a positive mantra; in fact, my license plate says “MND GAME” and it is an open invitation to everyone who sees it to shout out “Yay! John Lennon”; “Yay! The Beatles”; or some other happy greeting. There are all kinds of mind games and I prefer those with a message of peace, love, and happiness.
Because Melissa is a psychologist, it has been fun over the years to watch people’s reaction to learning this. The question, “Are you psychoanalyzing me?” has been a frequent one. Perhaps as a mind game, and depending who is asking, she often says “Yes.” Truth is, at some level, she can’t help it. But the reality is that chance encounters do not lend themselves to full analyses, so the mind game is being played by the one asking the question, not by her. The MND GAME license plate is a mind game in itself and, while most people get it, surprisingly many don’t. We’ve had a few people really get stumped on it. I guess everyone plays mind games sometimes. In our work, the mind games include those of our clients, and their opponents, who are sometimes trying to “psych out” each other. We get calls like, “The other side just did this; what do you think they are trying to accomplish?” But, there are two bad mind games we have observed in our work. The first is the mind game some attorneys have played in trying to convince a client that the attorney knew more than he or she really did. Whether due to being unprepared, or some other reason, there are times when attorneys have tried to “BS” their way through a discussion with a client using an air of superiority that is more transparent than they realize. The other mind game is similar, using that same air of superiority with mock jurors, or trial jurors, feigning familiarity, or putting on a show that is, again, transparent and obvious, as a show, to those jurors. Being oneself is better than playing these type of mind games.