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You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind – Joyce Meyer
A healthy mind is as important as a healthy body. The mind has created some of the most spectacular things we have seen. From bridges to skyscrapers to the new desire for space travel, it seems what the mind can bring to existence is endless.
Your mind not only thinks but also speaks. Your mouth is simply the portal through which your mind, which is a construct of thought patterns, speaks. Your thoughts become your words, which is why most of the time we start by saying, “I was thinking…” Pastor and author Craig Groeschel observed that, “Your life flows in the direction of your strongest thoughts.” Yet, at the beginning of the year very, few say they are resolving to have a healthy mind.
I believe the following three mind settings will contribute to a healthier mind, greatly improve your quality of life, and position you to accomplish your goals:
When I first started reading books, I believed that by sharing what I read I would be losing. I was oblivious to the fact that I was creating a scarcity mindset that hurt me and limited my value to others. Once I decided to take the risk to share what I read, I noticed my capacity to learn more increased while at the same time helping others become better.
Let us do a simple exercise: Breathe in and hold your breath for a few seconds. How long did you last? A few seconds, maybe a minute? No matter how long you hold your breath, at some point you have to release what you are holding, to receive more of what you need. This principle holds in our minds as well. Perception can become the enemy of the mind when it initiates a scarcity mentality. A scarcity mindset runs on the fuel of fear and leads to the destination of passivity. An abundance mindset, on the other hand, has these consistent habits at its core:
a. Consistent gratitude: It is difficult to receive anything when your hands are closed. Gratitude is a positive charge to an abundant mindset. Author Wayne Dyer says, “The first step toward discarding a scarcity mentality involves giving thanks for everything you have.”
b. Consistent generosity: This is the willingness to add to others by giving your time, talent, and treasures. Leadership expert, Dr. John Maxwell calls this being a river, instead of a reservoir. Practicing these two habits every day will result in a tremendous change in your outlook towards life. Try it!
Through mental complacency, we languish in the mire of stagnancy. However, when we choose to engage in mental renovation, we introduce something new instead of operating off old destructive thought patterns. We remove the mental kinks that tether us to the same pattern of beliefs, thoughts, and emotions. This prevents us from reaching our intended places. How do we engage in mental renovation?
a. Commit to Internal (not just external) Growth: You cannot grow where you choose to know nothing new or different. Knowing that you do not know is the beginning of a desire to grow. There are tools everywhere to feed a hunger to grow but the one thing no one can give you is the desire to grow. It must come from within. It must be intentional. Your input (what you feed your mind) determines your output (what comes out in your life).
b. Commit to Non-conformity: Have you ever asked yourself this question, where did ________ come from? Especially, when it comes to a way of thinking or doing something? “It is better to fail at originality than succeed at imitation,” said author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville. Nonconformity is a road less traveled because it requires rocking the boat and questioning the status quo. It could be the only way to break out of ruts of thinking that cause mental asphyxiation instead of transformation. Ralph Waldo Emerson challenges, “One must consider the rich realm they abdicate, when they become a conformist.”
c. Commit to Evaluating: The goal of an evaluation is to assess and improve performance. If you were stranded at the mall, normally you would locate the closest directory to find out where you are and where you want to go. Knowing where you want to go is great but where you are is of equal importance. This is why the next thing you look for on that map in the mall is where you are. This evaluation becomes an aid to reaching your destination as opposed to wasting precious time wandering aimlessly throughout the mall. The late great basketball coach John Wooden was right in saying, “Where there is no self-evaluation, failure is inevitable.”
At the heart of this mindset is deconstructing old thought patterns and constructing new healthy thought patterns.
Successful teams know when and how to make necessary adjustments and adapt at appropriate moments to affect a game. In American Football, an audible, most often done by a quarterback, is a change to a predetermined plan in response to an opposition’s defensive formation. An adaptive mindset is often formed in the crucibles of life.
A crucible refers to as a place where metals were refined. It can also refer to a severe test or trial where the interaction of different elements result in the emergence of something of stronger and higher quality.
As of this writing, my team at work is in a sort of crucible as we work to integrate the tasks of a team member who is leaving. Instead of sulking and complaining, we have chosen to believe that we will adapt and emerge a stronger team. Through this process, I am learning these lessons about making necessary adjustments to emerge better:
a. Choose your frame: This is largely dependent on your attitude. It begins with a reality check about the situation. Then, follow it up with two questions, “How do I choose to see it?” and “Who do I want to become from it?”
b. Choose your voice: To which voice are you listening? Voices lead to choices and the ones we listen influence the future we experience. If you choose the voice of despondency, you will drag yourself down the doldrums of life and have a pity party. Nevertheless, if you choose the voice of hope in the crucible, a lasting confidence and resilience can grow.
c. Choose your pivot: When new Alcoa CEO Paul O’Neill gave his first speech in 1987, investors expected him to explain how he would improve profit margins. Instead, he pivoted to worker safety. Amid unbelief and pin drop silence, he set the agenda of his tenure as, “making Alcoa the safest company in the world.” A year later, Alcoa’s profits hit a record high while drastically reducing safety incidents. Decide which direction you will pivot to, and then focus.
Final thought: Through this first month of 2019, we talked goals. Ultimately, your mindset will play a defining role in goal accomplishment. It is virtually impossible to rise above the level of your thinking. If you will work on your mindset, you will drastically alter the course of your life for the better. Moreover, when the unexpected happens or your enthusiasm and momentum begin to wane, the right mindset will give you the fortitude and resilience to endure.
Keep on Keeping On!