What Happened to Venezuela?
It was shocking to discover that Venezuela was the richest country in South America about 17 years ago. Boasting of what many experts still believe are the richest crude oil reserves on earth it seemed that this country was destined to be as great as the Middle East oil producing countries. What happened?
A Sobering Reality
Graft and mismanagement have drained these rich resources, lowering oil production and leaving the country in an economic free-fall: With an ongoing dearth of food and medical supplies, this country that once welcomed refugees in now experiencing a mass exodus as things seem to be getting even worse. (The annual inflation rate reached 83,000 percent in July). To provide context of this crisis, a roll of toilet paper in Venezuela costs about 2.6 million bolivars which is equivalent to $0.40.
Resources and Opportunities
Just like Venezuela, as human beings we have been endowed with rich resources from God. We have been given a mind. We have been provided with 24 hours each day to use as well as gifts and talents to serve others with and earn an income. The question we must continually ask ourselves is “Are we effectively managing and leveraging our rich God given resources or potential to improve increase value?” Missed opportunities can often be traced back to squandered resources. In this post and the next two, I will use what Stephen Covey called the inside-out approach to cover the natural resources of the mind, time, and talent/gifts with tips on how to increase our value and effectiveness. It combines responsible independence with effective interdependence. Let’s begin with the mind.
Dress Your Mind
Think about a well dressed person. On the outside they look attractive but as soon as they speak their mind, they repel you with negative speech arising from a poor attitude. We often put a premium on physical presentation but mental presentation and preparation is of equal if not greater importance.
Do you give equal or more attention to dressing your mind as you do your body? This question calls for a Self-Assessment Test (S.A.T.). Let’s do a quick one together. There are three sections to the quiz with one question in each one. Ready?
Section One: Mental Filters
A filter can be described as a tool or device used to eliminate what is not needed.
Q: What do you use to control, sift, and sort the information that is coming in and settling in your mind on any given day and how effective is your filter?
Personally, I begin each day with reading the Bible which is my go to filter by which I process what comes my way throughout the day. I have found this effective as it continually renews my mind, refreshes my thoughts, shapes my character, clarifies my motives, and waters my actions and attitude with love, grace, and authenticity. Lately it has become of even greater value as I have found that I can overcome mental fatigue by going back to my filter.
Section Two: Mental Gravitational Pulls
Gravitational pull is the attraction or influence that the earth has on an object.
Q: What are some negative systems or processes of thought that are halting you or pulling you back down when you want to move up? Where are they originating from?
Mindsets are like default scripts that have been affirmed over time through continuous actions and have become just as strong as the earth’s gravitational pull, keeping us down. Think about the amount of fuel and power required by a spaceship at the beginning of its journey to break through the earth’s gravitational pull. Through re-scripting we can break free from negative mindsets, elevate our thinking, and change our habits into positive ones.
Section Three: Mental Mapping
I define mental mapping as the thoughts that create a guide for where you are headed.
Q: Do your thoughts provide you with the confidence that you are headed in a direction that is leading you to a desired destination? If not what mental diet do you need to adopt to change this reality?
This is really a trust issue. When you type an address in Google Maps, you trust that the directions provided will take you to your intended destination. The bottom line is whether you trust the thoughts in your mind. If you are unsure, go back to your mental food and determine if it’s generating the thoughts that will lead you where you want to go. Your life generally flows in the direction of your strongest thoughts.
Final Thought: By doing this simple S.A.T, you can have a greater awareness of how effective you are mentally and how you can start the process of dressing up your mind or as Stephen Covey called it, “Sharpening Your Saw.” Whether by books, listening to talks, or interacting with positive thinkers, find ways to convert the capital of your mind into equity for your life and impact those you interact with. If an idle mind is the devil’s workshop then a sharpened one is the laboratory to engineer a successful life.
Keep on Keeping on!