Being in charge of your mind opens untold freedoms to you. Viktor Frankl learned during his Auschwitz internment that even though he was locked up and abused, his mind was free to choose how he responded to those who abused him. Nelson Mandela had the same experience during his 27 years in South African prisons. They both chose to be kind, optimistic, and forgive their transgressors. They both chose to make something of their lives. If they can master their minds, so can you.
The last of your freedoms, they believed, is to choose your attitude. It’s up to you to choose your thoughts as well. That’s a free mind. That’s an energized and engaged mind. That’s the mind that overcomes and avoids indifference and apathy. Make the drive for this freedom a personal revolution.
How do you free your mind and keep it that way? Part of the answer is you do it through diligent effort, especially at first. It’s interesting what people lose sight of as they go about their days and live their lives. People tend to run on the negative side if they don’t weed out the negative thoughts that like to creep in when you aren’t paying attention.
The negative side of life includes forgetting what your strengths are, remembering only the one or two bad things that happened or were said to you instead of the hundreds and thousands of good things that happened, and letting your mind get lazy and believe things you read, hear, and think without much of a consideration or challenge to that input. These are examples of what I’m talking about. Do you see yourself in those examples?
When you have an untrained mind, it lets others’ opinions of you start to rule you. Their untrained minds are stomping all over you, seeing your weaknesses, “knowing” your faults. You deserve better than that, and knowing your strengths is important. Train your mind to stay tuned to your strengths and rely on them. Keep your mind free.
Using your strengths is one way to train your mind to be more discerning of what you let into your mind. You don’t knowingly let people poison you. Yet, when you let their negative opinions of you take root in your mind, you’ve allowed just that — a poisoned mind. Rise up and lead with your strengths.
Here’s another indication of an untrained mind. You’ve seen this, if you haven’t done it yourself. Your day or job is filled with lots of positive action, thoughts, and events. Yet, if someone makes one unpleasant comment to you or places an unreasonable request on you, that’s what you remember and start to focus on. All the wonderful things are gone from your memory and that one negative thing sticks, and festers, and eats away at your mood. You lost — or gave away — control.
You become a captive of your negative thoughts, blocking you from seeing any more of the beauty and wonder that happens to and around you. When you are in charge of your mind you, acknowledge that perceived negative event, process it to find some truth or value, act on it if appropriate, and then dismiss the event. Ah, freedom!
When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, be it about the news, your life, or even your options, you can test those thoughts with questions. Direct your mind with questions, challenging the negative thought. For example, ask yourself if that thought is really true. Ask what the worst is that could happen. Ask yourself how you can make things better. Direct your mind with questions, suggesting positive thoughts that could replace the negative ones. Direct your mind back to a state of positivity.
Another quick trick to fight negative thoughts is to “snap it”. Wear an elastic band on your wrist — rubber band, wristband, or even a blingy elastic bracelet — and snap it when you have a negative thought. You could even change the band to the other wrist to make a bigger statement to your mind about the habit you are changing. Stay present with this technique so that you both “snap it” when the negative thought comes in and register what it is you are doing. That combined effort will help you break your negative-thinking habit.
When you consume information and ideas, like from the news, books, friends, and your own imagination, how discerning are you? Do you believe all that you read and hear? Or, do you question everything? I don’t mean that by questioning everything that you challenge it as if it can’t be true. I mean to toy with it, research it, and seriously consider its true possibilities and ramifications. A lazy mind, one you don’t control, just accepts what it gathers. A managed mind examines everything, adopting what is “true” and beneficial, and rejecting what is “false” and harmful.
You are not what happens to you. You are what you choose to be. It’s the way you choose to see your world that creates the world you see. When your mind is free you can choose in healthy ways and see clearly. Oh, what freedom that is.
Avoid apathy and indifference for a more active mind. That’s one key to being a high performer. Keep your mind free for more energy and engagement. That’s another key to being a high performer. You’ll enjoy the energy and engagement, and you’ll enjoy the freedom. Join the revolution.
Free your mind today!
Helping your learn to free your mind is part of my coaching practice. So, if you need help with this, contact me.