How many times in your life have you heard the phrase, "It's just mind over matter"?
Probably more times than you paid attention to (or wanted to).
From childhood: Eat your vegetables. Sure, they are green, just put them in your mouth and enjoy them. It's mind over matter.
From our school years: You can pass that test, make that sports team, become a soloist in the band. It's just mind over matter.
From our early adult years: You will ace that interview. You can finish that project. You can get that promotion. Just put your mind to it and you can accomplish anything. It's just mind over matter.
For years we have accomplished big and important things. Those accomplishments took skill, practice, guts, confidence, support - and a mindset conducive to success.
Bruce Lee once said, "As you think, so shall you become."
Ironically, it seems easier for us to work harder, train longer and study more to change our future than to simply change our minds.
Creating a positive mindset is one of the most difficult challenges we face daily. In a world where quantity seems to nudge out qualitity to the finish line, who has time for the good stuff like positivity and focus?
But we all have the capacity to view the glass as half full or half empty. Either way, you are right.
Try this exercise. Fill a glass to it's halfway point. Now look at it. Say to yourself, out loud, "This glass is half full". Notice how you feel about that. Optimistic? Hopeful? Happier? Read your body language when you say the word 'full'. Do you feel a sense of relief? Like 'Thank goodness! It's still half full!"
Now, look at that same glass and say to yourself, out loud, "This glass is half empty". Notice how you feel about that. Bummed. Somewhat negative. Sad. What about your body language? Do you feel a sense of stress? Like 'Oh man, I have to get up and fill this glass of water. Like I have time for that!'.
Mindset plays a very important part in how we approach our daily tasks, thus impacting our daily outcomes.
For example, you start the day dreading your schedule. Calls, meetings, deadlines - you have them all. Your stress levels rise immediately. Your inclination is to start thinking negatively about the people you work with. From your boss, who gave you all this work, to your team, who can't seem to work fast enough.
Over a cup of coffee, you grunt at your partner/kid/dog as your mind focuses on how awful your day will be. From there, it's off to work.
Think about how this scenario will continue to play out throughout the day. You will feel overwhelmed. Stressed. Incapable. Ultimately these negative feelings will impact your work, your results and your relationships.
What if you started your day thinking differently? Sure, you have a full calendar of calls, meetings and deadlines. Another stressful day.
Lay flat on your back in bed. Take a long inhale in, filling your lungs with air and clearing your head. Exhale slowly, releasing tension from your body.
Now, say to yourself, "I am good at my job. I am only human. And I will do the best I can today - because my best is pretty damn good."
Then, find one good thing about the upcoming day that makes you happy. Maybe it's a lunch meeting with a colleague you really enjoy talking to. Or the time you have set aside for exercise. Maybe it's looking forward to having a nice dinner with your family, or watching your kids sporting event. Find one good thing and think about it. (And if there is not one good thing in your day - well, that is sad. Put one in there!)
I believe that our minds are the strongest muscle we have in our bodies. What we think and what we believe create our reality. Our minds push us to achievement and our minds chastise us when we fail. Our minds control feelings of triumph and happiness while governing our guilt and shame.
Finding small easy ways to reframe your mindset from negative to positive will go a long way toward living a more productive and enjoyable life.
If You Do Just One Thing:
- Ask yourself honestly - are you just being a bit dramatic? Many times we induce our own negative stress by simply being dramatic about a situation. Like my fourteen-year-old niece always says, "Save the drama for your mama." (And then she rolls her eyes.)
- Force yourself to find one good thing in the sea of distress. Even if that one good thing is that you woke up this morning to face your sea of distress, at least you are alive. Right?
- Remember that you DO have control over your thoughts. No one else thinks your thoughts. That's just you. Only you. Change your thoughts, change your life. Everyone can do it. Dare yourself to take control.