STEP SEVEN OF 12 STEPS TO A NEW MIND
“We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes” – Charles R. Swindoll
Just like that, we have passed the half-way mark of 2016 – time flies. As cliché and overstated that sentiment is, it still speaks true and resonates deeply as I reflect back on the past six months. Life is precious because it doesn’t last forever. Despite our many differences, this year has brought struggle for us all in many different ways. We have all been touched by the effects of jobs lost, fires, deaths and births, heartache, and the natural ebbs and flows of happiness. Life is not always easy, but it is in our toughest moments that we are reminded of our strength, we build our resilience, and we deepen our connection with the people around us.
Over the past six months, I have introduced you to some concepts, ideas, metaphors, and books that have played a huge role in my personal development and quality of life. It is important to keep in mind that although we have an urge to support and help others, at the end of the day, we are the only ones who can make qualitative change in our own lives.
I can’t change your neural connections. You can’t be at your friend’s side every time he or she is faced with the choice to continue with an unhealthy habit. I can’t be there to support you every time you are triggered into a reactive and angry state. You can’t uplift your family member out of depression by willing it so. The best we can do as individuals, is lead by example and surround ourselves with greatness.
You may have heard the phrase “like attracts like” or “law of attraction.” These are not magical ways of being that produce great things in your life as a result of positive thinking and wishing. Rather, consider the fact that there are 11 million bits of information being processed in your mind per second. It is not possible or desirable to imagine being conscious of all of that at once. We are only conscious of 15-50 bits of that information at any given second. Everything you could possibly experience in the present moment is available to you, but your conscious thought allows you to choose what you focus on or shine your light of awareness on. Whatever you focus on, you create more of. We are creatures of habit and our neural pathways grow in strength and efficiency the more we fire energy down those connections.
Rather than focusing on the material objects you want to “manifest” into your life, focus on how you want to feel, how you want to show up, and how you want to respond versus react. I know that at the end of the day, when I lay my head down on my pillow, I want to feel grateful, proud of the choices I made, satisfied with my effort and balance, and excited by the things I have created.
Whatever you focus on, you feed.
Whatever you think about, you send energy to.
It is as simple as that.
If you focus on your struggles, you will surround yourself with that negative energy. If you focus on that random intrusive thought and allow yourself to sit in shame, regret, unease, or guilt, guess what – it only feeds that intrusive thought. We can’t always control where our mind goes, but we can control our reactions and which thoughts to invest energy into.
We are attracted to energy. The theory of Law of Attraction, simply states that whatever you put out into the world, you will receive back. You want more love in your life? Be more loving. You want to see more patience, compassion, and connection in the world? It starts with you. Your experience of the world is a reflection of your inner-state.
I often notice this when I do something silly and I assume that others are judging me. Because I have judged others in the past, I automatically assume others must be judging me. At the end of the day, does it matter? Is it not just time and energy wasted by getting into a debate and worried state of mind assuming we know what others are thinking. Unless someone engages in a feedback conversation expressing how they felt when I did something, I allow my own intuition and habit of reflection to guide my growth. And when I notice certain people in my life are not being honest with me and choose rather to talk about me, or others, behind my back, I choose to not spend energy and time in that relationship.
I know I am responsible for my effort to be mindful, open, and receptive. It just so happens that showing up this way attracts people with similar intentions into my life. These are the people that vibrate at the same frequency as I do. These are the people that hold me accountable to greatness and inspire me to work hard and smart on a daily basis. We are stronger when we surround ourselves with people that elevate us.
Create Your Dope-Web:
To support you in creating new habits and to remind yourself of the importance of your surroundings, try using what I call the Dope-Web. This creates a support system that will be there for you on the days that you need it most. Get out a fresh piece of paper and write the three headers: People, Places, and Past-Times.
These are the people that light you up, empower you, inspire you, motivate you, love you, and don’t allow you to sit in victimhood. They can be real people that you know well, new acquaintances that have a light that you are drawn to, authors or leaders that write words that speak to your soul, or people who have come and gone but you still feel connected to through prayer or moments of stillness in nature.
Your People list might be four names long or maybe much more. Keep in mind this is quality over quantity. These are the people you want to aim for more time with and are definitely the people you want to reach out to when you are in need of support and inspiration. As you meet new people and feel drawn to their energy or their story, add them to your list.
Expand your community, one person at a time.
We all have certain areas of our home or city that bring us to a state of calm and cool. These are the rooms in our home that give us space to practice yoga, give us peace and quiet to read or meditate, or give us inspiration to create. It is the area of the city that has an environment conducive to inclusivity, health, connection, and fun. They are the studios or cafés that buzz with positive energy and attract more amazing people. The pathways that allow you to stroll through nature and have provided inspiration and clarity to you in the past. The friend’s home that feels like warmth and love. And maybe even the places or destinations you long to explore and discover. This is your list of soulful places, for when you need that reminder of where you can go to find your people, reconnect with nature, tune into positive energy, or settle into a place of calm and stillness.
This is your list of activities that fills you with energy, that allows you to experience flow and brings your body back to balance. These are your favourite ways to sweat, your hobbies, your passions, and your creative ideas and pursuits. Whether you are feeling a lack of motivation or are full of energy, these are the activities that fuel your body and mind, that fill your reservoir of happy chemicals, and that help you let go of stress or worry from taking life a little too seriously.
Make your list and leave it somewhere you will see regularly. Keep adding to it. Let it evolve, grow, and change as you discover and evolve as well.
After all, you are only one workout, one inspiring conversation, or one flow-activity away from a good mood.
Perfectly Imperfect by Baron Baptiste
The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson