When you interact with the world, how does your mind perceive the events? Do you tend to look at things from a positive perspective or do you tend to look at things from a negative perspective? Another way to look at this is to ask yourself if you look at events from a viewpoint that aids in your ability to accomplish your goals? You want to ensure you train your mind to find the opportunities in every situation.
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Train your mind to be your friend
When you train your mind to be your ally and not your adversary, it helps you to quickly recognize the next best decision you can make. When your mind is your adversary, it is going to focus on all the reasons you should never have tried to chase happiness.
Happy and successful people train their mind to understand there are going to be good days and there are going to be bad days. When they talk about good and bad, they are not talking about how they feel as much as they are discussing what they expected. A bad day just means what they expected didn’t happen and nothing more. They do not assign any more value than that. Just because things happened the way they expected, it doesn’t mean the results are the results they wanted. Likewise, if something unexpected occurred, they do not allow that to impact their willingness to chase their goals.
Your mind is like a kid
Training your mind is very similar to training your children; well at least it is for me. Have you ever had one of those moments where your kid was creating a habit you weren’t sure you wanted them to have? That is the struggle I deal with every time my children are sick. On the one hand, I don’t want to them to create a habit of believing if they are not 100%, then the world will stop and wait for them. Yet, I also don’t want them to feel as though their feelings are being ignored or discounted.
That is the same balance you have to strike with your mind as well. You don’t want your mind to feel as though you are ignoring its concerns, but you also don’t want to create habits which are counterproductive to your goals. This is the risk everyone faces when they make inaction feel too good.
Acknowledge but don’t overdo
As a parent, I want my kids to feel comfortable expressing their feelings and a part of that is acknowledging how they feel. If I just ignore or belittle their feelings, they are going to be less likely to share them the next time.
The real issue is the risk of teaching our children that being sick is a good thing. Where they get to stay home from school, watch movies all day, and eat ice cream.
Doesn’t that sound like a pretty good day for a kid? Heck that sounds like a pretty good day for an adult. Some of you train your mind to enjoy being sick and it is not helping you. When you are sick, you call out of work, order your favorite takeout, and relax at home while your kids are gone.
You want to find the happy middle where the first thing you do is acknowledge that your kids are sick. This could be as easy as saying, “I can see you don’t feel well, tell me more about it”. You want to do the same thing with yourself. You always want to come from the position of, I am here to help and I just have a few questions to better aid me in accomplishing that goal.
Who set those expectations?
Next, you want to see if the feelings and expectations make sense. Is it reasonable for your child to feel the way they do? In the case of being sick, it is reasonable for a sick kid to feel like they are going to get some sympathy. It has happened in the past and it is something a lot of people would agree is an acceptable reaction. That would then mean the burden is on me to meet that expectation, while ensuring that I don’t create the belief that the world stops when they’re sick.
Are you confident enough to keep going?
My kids need to know I am coming from a place of confidence in their ability to rise to the challenge. If you talked to my kids today, they would be able to tell you that I preach the need for them to be brave, strong and focused. They understand they can do anything if they do not stop for anything.
That is why I ask my kids when they are sick, do you think you can still perform at a high level? Do you believe you can make it happen or do you think you need a break? Most of the time my kids tell me they can rise to the challenge and conquer the day (their mind is trained to always get back up). However, if they tell me they can’t; then I know they are dealing with something a little more than a common cold.
You are going to need to train your mind in the same way. You don’t want to judge yourself critically when things are not going as planned, you want to ask yourself… can I rise to the challenge? Do I have what it takes to make this happen? Now you are training your mind in a more powerful way. You are asking yourself is this enough to keep me down, and I find that most people will answer no.
What can I do to help?
It is not a question of whether this event was good or bad, it is only a question of whether I can rise to the challenge? Once you believe you can rise to the challenge, the next question to ask yourself is, what can I do to help? In the case of my children, they may tell me they want fruit for breakfast or another 5 minutes to sleep.
In your own personal life, you may need to take a 5 minute walk around the building or to go get a coffee. Whatever the answer, you want to train your mind to know once you have what you need; it is time to get back in the ring.
You have more than you think
I remember running with my dad as a kid and we would run a couple miles and I would be exhausted. Or at least I thought I was. However, my dad would always ask us to sprint as fast as we could the last couple blocks. If you asked me if I thought I had anything left in the tank, I would have said no. I felt the cramps coming, it was hard to breath and I was ready to collapse at the finish line. In my mind, finishing was an accomplishment within itself. Yet, my dad believed that finishing was okay, but finishing strong was the goal.
This is a reminder that you always have more left in you than you think. Sometimes you just need someone else to believe in you enough to motivate you to take action. So if you don’t have anyone in your life that believes in you, you do now. When you are sitting there telling yourself you can’t, know that I am there to tell you that you can.
Train your mind to win
Have you ever seen a sporting event where the better team didn’t seem to have their A game? They were turning the ball over and not capitalizing on opportunities they normally do. Yet, they were still in the game in many ways. They were doing just enough to keep it close. When the game is over and the dust settles, they found a way to win. It is a testament to those who embody greatness when they find a way to win when they aren’t playing their best game. You want to train your mind to win, regardless of the situation. If you must scratch and claw your way to victory, so be it.
You want to train your mind to be optimistic and look for solutions to problems and not problems to solutions. By continuing to be grateful in every circumstance, you are able to recognize opportunities in every situation. It is the people who are happy who are successful, not the people who are successful are happy. I will end with a familiar question, what good is it for a man to gain the whole world if it cost him his soul? By continuing to chase happiness and follow the inner drum beat of your heart, you will ensure you are not sacrificing your soul to gain success.
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self, Better Wealth” Griggs