Part 6: Managing your Mind
I happen to be a person who exists in the world, but live in my head. Do you know what I mean? I realize part of it has to do with the OCD, but part of it is how I process and filter my experiences. My head is a busy place with lots going on. At school, I get to co-teach a mindful class where we are teaching the kids how to calm their thoughts and feelings and listen to themselves. It’s been a great reminder to me that I need to do the same things.
Page 159 of the book has a quote I’ve loved before:
Sow a thought, reap an action.
Sow an action, reap a habit.
Sow a habit, reap a character.
Sow a character, reap a destiny.
What you put in your mind shapes your life! Elizabeth suggests a few ways to be mindful of you mind.
- Develop yourself. A few years ago, I was taking a class, and the instructor spoke about being stuck. He compared it to a pond where the water has been dammed up. The edges at first become a bit mossy and more weeds fill in the spaces. Slowly, the plants take over and the fish die and the pond becomes a swamp. “Would you want to drink from that pond?” he asked. “Of course not. Pretend that pond is your life. Do you have new ideas coming in, or are you closed off? Are you full of life, or are you becoming swampy?” What a great mental picture that gave me. I’ve always loved learning and reading and trying new things. This section focused on continuing to develop.
- Set goals to give you motivation to reflect an ideal future and to give you energy and direction that will help you measure how to make your dream a reality. Wow! Henry David Thoreau once said, ” If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Goals are those foundation bricks.
- Read worthwhile materials that “provide food for the soul and further mental and spiritual development”. I saw a study on Facebook (because Facebook and the internet are always true) that said most CEOs read about a book a week — 52 books in a year. The fastest and cheapest way to expand your horizons is to read.
- Become a mentor. I will say this over and over and over. We all need three people in our life:
- Someone who is older. Who has been there, done that and can guide us through this stage of our life.
- Some who is at the same stage of life. Not necessarily age. Because I have three sets of kids (age wise) I need someone who has teens, someone who has littles, and someone who has a toddler. This way I can ensure I have access to normal human interaction and I have someone who is going through similar things at the same time to rely on for support.
- Someone younger to pass on wisdom. I’ve realized there comes a day in the life of a child that Mom’s voice no longer holds the importance it once did. I can say something over and over and over, but they have to hear it from someone else for it to be true. I have made my peace with this. I find myself saying the same things to other people’s kids, and watch them take it in as truth. This is why I need my girlfriends!
- Review your progress through journaling. What! Reading and writing championed in the same chapter? And it’s NOT an English Teacher text! What happy madness is this?!? When my students ask me “When am I ever going to use this in real life?” I’m going to start pointing out all the benefits of writing to reflect. If you need a daily journal, check out the Store for some I recommend.
- Be selective. “Life is too short to be wasted on anything that does not help you to live out God’s plan and purposes for your life.” An instructor who helped me through my anxiety and depression used to say, “You are a human BEing, not a human DOing. If you find yourself driven to do things, it’s time to stop and just be.”
Personal Branding moment (you knew this was coming, right?). I love listening to smart people talk when I’m driving. It is almost as good as reading. My friend, DiAne, introduced me to an AMAZING program called Life Leadership where the focus is on building better people. The focus is on reading good books (you see my interest already) and audios that support the reading. Awesome Sauce! If you want to listen to what I’m listening to, head over to the Store and pick up an audio for yourself.
Before you go, what part of this section speaks to you? How are you managing your mind?