Our core and most intimate freedom as human beings lies in our brain’s ability to think an exceedingly wide range of thoughts. Thoughts, that if acted upon, could lead us to our wildest dreams, the grandest of adventures OR the reverse: utter destitution and chaos. Perhaps our most common thread as human beings is this ability to run the gamut of thoughts in any given moment. I mean, to be able to think of something incredible at the exact same time as something so terrible, that if acted upon, could put us behind bars is quite the crazy-human trick, don’t you think?
Now imagine, for a moment, that our minds were entirely incapable of thinking a single negative thought. What kind of life would that be? Would we hail it utopia? Or would it be a hell where we systematically exuded robotic positivity all of the time?
For years, I tried to control the processes of my mind by trying to exert drill-sergeant-level- discipline to force it into thinking only thoughts that I considered “good,” “positive,” and “productive.”
And, you know what? My mind utterly ignored that drill sergeant. In fact, the more I tried to discipline my mind, the more my mind was like a two-year-old, screaming, “I DON’T HAVE TO!”
Needless to say, when a two-year-old screams loudly enough and for long enough, things become miserable for ALL involved.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my mind cares little about my success as a speaker, coach and writer. This is not to say, however, that my mind doesn’t think thoughts that continue to propel me and my career forward. My mind thinks profoundly creative and inspiring thoughts that have enabled my book, talks, branding and website to experience life.
The reason I say that my mind cares little about my success in my chosen field is that my mind also, on the same day it thinks the productive thoughts, has been known to barrage me with entirely unproductive thoughts. Maybe you would be happier if you got a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant at the nursing home next door to your apartment building–Your business will never make the money you want it to make–You don’t know what you are doing in this business and you never will–Maybe you should just throw in the towel on your dreams, already–This all is too much work for you–You are NOT talented enough–You are too lazy–You are too disorganized–Who do you think you are, living your dream like that!
Maybe it’s not that my mind purposely and maliciously doesn’t care about my dreams. Maybe, it’s just that my mind, like your mind, is designed to think thoughts, all kinds of thoughts, all day, and all night. Our minds are like TV’s. Imagine, if every time you were flipping through the channels and found one you didn’t like, you got mad and pounded on the TV or went straight to throwing it out the window.
Or imagine if every time, you flipped to a channel you didn’t care for, you felt obligated to sit and watch it for the next four hours! Thinking, I really disagree with the contents of this show, but it’s what’s happening so, I guess, I better watch it.
Either scenario sounds insane right?
Well, guess what? We don’t have to battle and struggle to get the thoughts we don’t want in our head, out of it. We don’t have a defective mind because it thinks thoughts we don’t want it to. We don’t have to throw our mind out the window. At the same time, we don’t have to spend countless hours paying unending attention to unwanted thoughts.
We actually have the opportunity to observe ALL of our thoughts and to discern the ones we want to focus on and put into action.
For example, let’s say my downer thoughts, which I talked about earlier, air on The Freeman Failure Channel, FFC, for short. I used to tune into this channel all the time. Watching it almost crippled me. I started a war within my mind for daring to view this channel for as long as I did. Now days, I still sometimes experience thoughts from the FFC and that’s OK. The channel and the thoughts it broadcasts have a right to exist and I don’t deny it’s place amongst my brain-channels. The biggest difference between now and then is that today I choose to tune-in to FFC for a much shorter interval, before seeing what else is on.
I have many other channels. One of my favorites is the Jason Success Network or JSN.
This channel updates me constantly, informing me about how I’m at the best point in my career to date with a powerful message that nation-wide audiences have embraced, a brand that can leap tall buildings, and a new book that people seem to genuinely love.
FFC tells of one interpretation of reality. JSN tells of another. Every morning I get to choose which channel to focus on. Most mornings I choose JSN. I’m not perfect at this by any means, but I do my best. I also do my imperfect best not to war with the fact FFC and it’s negative agenda still seeps into my news feed on occasion. I try to find the acceptance for FFC because I’ve learned the hard way that if you go to war to try and eliminate the thoughts in your head you don’t want, you by default end up focusing on them.
Selecting what thought YOU WANT to focus on and avoiding an embroiled battle with those you don’t is not just daily work, but sometimes a minute-by-minute grind.
This isn’t work we ever get perfect at but if we do our imperfect best everyday, through trial-and-error and error-and-trial, may we gently guide our life in the direction we want it to go, while experiencing a boat-load of joy along the way.
HOLY WOW! ‘Awkwardly Awesome’ is a month old already!
They grow so fast . . .
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