“Such as are your habitual thoughts, such also will be the character of your mind; for the soul is dyed by the thoughts” – Marcus Aurelius.
Where does success in life stem from? Most may look at bank accounts, social media following, or a good career. All these are fine, but true success stems from a healthy mind. Without healthy thoughts, any success achieved on the outside will be infected and eventually stamped out. Our minds are our most valuable assets. Our thoughts are the seeds that make our minds healthy or unhealthy. Unhealthy thoughts can be compared to weeds. Too many and our lives are relegated to dependence on our feelings. Healthy thoughts add value to our mental net worth as they become assets instead of liabilities. When liabilities exceed assets, an individual or company is termed as financially bankrupt. In the same manner, unhealthy thoughts that occupy our minds results in mental bankruptcy. A company that is bankrupt may appear successful on the outside but in actuality, it is falling apart. Mental maintenance is of utmost importance especially in light of the events we have been exposed to this year.
Thinking and Being
We are what we think. And yet again, what we think, we are. Our lives are a function of our thought life. Our mental state determines our life state. The same as an individual or a company intending to come out of bankruptcy has to apply some steps to see change, so do we need steps to improve the health of our minds. Several companies have come back from bankruptcy to become profitable. I believe that mental bankruptcy can also be overcome and we can keep going forward to our destiny with Positive Enhancing Thoughts (PETs). It starts with taking the initiative.
The Better Thinking Initiative Challenge
Bankruptcy can sound like a death sentence. Alternatively, it can also be viewed as a challenge to be better in order to do better. This means confronting our perceptions. “Perception is not always a reflection of truth”, said Martin van Tilborgh, author of Unboxed: Uncovering New Paradigms. The distance between what I perceive and what is true is reflected in my thinking. Our standard deviation of reality is a major culprit in unhealthy thinking. Overlooking our perceptions can be detrimental. Doing this relegates us to default thought and belief systems that keep us trapped in prolonged cycles of what Dr. Daniel G. Amen calls Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs). Subsequently, progress in life is impeded as our perceptions not only cloud our thinking, but also our perspectives. Perfunctory living is the corollary of unhealthy thinking.
Closing the Distance
To close the distance by facing our perceptions is no easy task. But it is worth the effort. Unhinging your mind from unhealthy thoughts expands your capacity for better and constructive thinking. What perceptions are standing in your way to see the truth? At times, perception can act as a pacifier, providing a false sense of satisfaction, with the intent of silencing our desire for truth. Other times, it creates an eclipse in our minds, blocking out the light of truth. Going back to the example of the financially bankrupt individual or company, the perception could be looking at their exterior wealth and think that everything is fine. Only it is not. The light of truth must be invited to pierce through perception. Truth is the main artery through which paradigm-shifting thoughts flow to our minds. The result is optimized thinking.
Optimizing Your Thinking
Do you have truth environments where your mind can marinate and get optimized? I like cooking ribs. But before I stick the ribs in the oven, I season and marinate them overnight. By cooking time, the meat has developed an irresistible flavor. The marinating and seasoning have optimized the taste of the meat. Our minds are optimized when we marinate them in environments that expose us to the truth. Our perceptions are shed as truth becomes prevalent. I begin each day drinking richly from the well of the Bible. Derived from God, the Source of truth, I endeavor to soak my mind in this trusted source for living my best life.
Final thought: After assessing how a game is progressing, a good coach changes plays to position his team to win. Your mind is like a playbook. Your thoughts are the plays that become decisions and actions. Life is the field. Changing your thoughts to think differently, better positions you to win in life. To keep going, adopt the PETs and crush the ANTs. What mental changes do you need to make to see progress in life?
Keep on Keeping on!