“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” —biographer Robert D. Richardson Jr. about his subject in the biography Henry Thoreau: A Life of the Mind (1988)
The phrase, “I’m busy” or “My life is full of tasks and to-dos” is an understatment in the most grandest of numerical terms if we include the mind in our definition of what quantifies as “busy”. While there is some debate on exactly how many thoughts we have a day, there seems to be little debate that it is at least in the five-digit range – 15,000-60,000. Now that is a busy mind. So why don’t we put it to good use?
In the first season of the podcast, episode #20, I shared 10 ways to master your mind. So I am going to jump ahead now, having applied these ideas, to share five ways to use these tools to improve our lives.
1.Be able to see what has the potential to materialize
Our ability to see what can be is often called foresight or imagination. And while some may think so far out of the box that it may seem absurd, every situation is dependent upon the person and the situation and the experiences they bring to the table to bring to fruition what they see in their mind’s eye.
For example, I appreciate interior designers, architects and anyone who can walk into a home, a room or onto a plot of land and envision what it can be and then actually do what they have described. That takes a well-trained mind that has seen such realities and can combine and then put those visuals into a different space.
I currently shared in my weekly newsletter last week that I am house hunting at the moment, and one skill that I am realizing is not as applicable for everyone is the ability to see the potential in a home that is not visually presented to them (which is why home staging is such a booming business). But such a skill is often a gift of seeing a diamond in the rough, which can save you quite a bit of money in some instances.
In any situation in which something does not physically exist yet, but you can see it in your mind, the other skills a well-toned mind will have to utilize is patience and perseverance. Once you harness these two skills which exercise the mind, you will eventually be able to see your vision come to life.
2. Cultivate habits that contribute positively to the life you want to live
“ The law of the subconscious mind works for good and bad ideas alike. This law, when applied in a negative way, is the cause of failure, frustration, and unhappiness. However, when your habitual thinking is harmonious and constructive, you experience perfect health, success, and prosperity.” —Joseph Murphy
From becoming healthier due to what you eat, the routines you keep, the exercise you are motivated to regularly partake in, and the willpower you exert by default, when you subconsciously accept the norms of the surroundings or the environment you are in, if they are positive, you will see positive results.
A small, yet simple example is living in Bend. Admittedly, part of the reason I moved here was the active lifestyle, the ability to work out regularly without a gym membership as the outdoors fulfills the role of the gym. And when you look around, you see others who are active, physically fit and enjoying the outdoors – all in their own way, but actively so. The norm in my mind has become even more solidified of moving my body, outdoors no matter what the season, and the culture I live in supports this. Subconsciously this is something I have accepted as habit, and the positive results motivate me to keep it habituated.
An important part of using our mind is to do an assessment of what I share in episode #20 – point #1 – Examine Your Core Beliefs. Examine every belief you have that drives your decision-making and determine if it actually a positive contribution or a hindrance. Beginning with this step is a helpful place to start to determine which habits you want to keep and which new habits you want to create.
3. Improved Relationships
Default behavior settings, when left unchecked, when not assessed as shared above in #2, can sometimes be the wrench in attaining the quality relationships we seek. Do we have a fixed idea of relationship roles without considering the person we are in a relationship with as a unique individual? Do we use the same language – i.e. diction – to speak to everyone and thus do not take into consideration what would show true respect and knowledge of who people are and how they wish to be treated? Being aware of how we speak and how we engage with others is exercising a strong emotional intelligence to be fully present, to recognize life and people are dynamic and to acknowledge we must be observers and listeners twice as much as we are talkers. Quality over quantity when it comes to talking and acting pays off in the long-haul when it comes to relationships as it reveals we care about those with whom we are involved.
4. More peace of mind and contentment
When we are the master of our minds, we become aware of whether a thought is helpful or detrimental. We become aware, after assessment, of where certain thoughts have been bred – media, family, culture, traditional, etc.. And when we finally begin to know the difference between thinking for ourselves and being influenced to believe something instead of thinking critically, then we can also know what is worth our worry and what is not. More often than not, we reduce our worries significantly.
When we reduce our worries, we have more energy to focus on what we want to cultivate. We have more energy to focus on what we have control over because we recognize those outcomes that are out of our control will reduce our reserves for doing what we can to positively influence the outcomes in a favorable way due to our engagement.
The shift to being a critical thinker, to letting go of what cannot be under our control is both liberating and empowering (or power revealing as the power has always resided within us). And when we gift ourselves with these, we come to realize contentment is indeed within our reach each and every day.
5. Discover the path you were meant to travel
Self-confidence requires the mastery of our mind. Self-awareness and a strong EQ (emotional intelligence) requires the mastery of our mind. Creativity requires the mastery of the mind. All three of these abilities release the mind to gain clarity and dive deeper into our subconscious, and when we free our mind from the artificial constraints that we have unknowingly placed upon it, we unleash its potential to lead us to our fullest potential.
“ If you correct your mind, the rest of your life will fall into place “ — Lao Tzu
Each one of us will have our own path to discovering that indeed harnessing the mind is vital to living a life of quality over quantity and thus enabling us to live our best lives. There will be obstacles we will have to either push through or creatively work around, but all of this will strengthen your mind and reveal to you how impactful mastering your mind will be on the overall quality of your everyday life and your life’s legacy.
~SIMILAR POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Confidence – How to Gain It & Why It Is Invaluable, episode #5
~Examining the Benefits of Self-Awareness, episode #143