Guard Your Mind

Volumes of literature have been written about the impact that your thoughts can have upon your life. Although you are not your thoughts, (you are the one producing them) you certainly can become what you think about most of the time. Our thoughts influence our moods and therefore our actions more than anything else. But where do our thoughts come from? How and why do we produce the thoughts we do? Certainly some ideas and notions just “pop” into our head—the product of billions of neurons in our brains making connections without us consciously trying to cultivate such thinking. These random thoughts serve as a great reminder that we are not our thoughts. Our brain is producing them but we get to decide whether we “listen” to them and subsequently if we act of them. I believe that given the fact the brain/mind produces thoughts, it can be likened to a factory. Think of it as sort of a mental factory if you will. How do factories work? They take raw ingredients or inputs and work to turn them into a more finished product. Therefore, it is fair to say that our minds produce thoughts largely in part to the input it receives. Which leads me to this point…

BEWARE OF WHAT YOU FEED YOUR MIND!

If you find yourself having predominantly negative, unproductive or sad thoughts, or, if you find yourself in the same situations you have been facing for sometime without progress, it may be useful to examine what ingredients are going into your mental factory. Consider the input that you are giving your brain day after day, year after year. How many hours of television, social media, or movies is your brain being “fed”? What type of media is it being fed? Dark fictional stories? Negative news programs? What people do you most associate with? Whose ideas do you let influence you? These are all questions that should be answered periodically. If your mind really is a factory, it would be wise to make sure the ingredients it uses are purely appropriate. Can you imagine trying to make a delicious chocolate bar with rocks and dirt? I firmly believe that is what most people are trying to achieve on a daily basis. They would like positive, happy thoughts and emotions—they want the chocolate bar. But they are baking with the wrong ingredients, which leads them to producing negative thoughts and emotions. If it’s true that you become what you think about most of the time, and I believe it is, it’s clear to see how important it is to give your brain the right inputs so that you may have happy, productive thoughts and actions.

IT DOESN’T MATTER WHERE THE BAD INGREDIENTS COME FROM

One of my favorite stories to listen to is businessman and author Jim Rohn speaking to a room of school children. He asked the kids, “What would happen if my worst enemy put sugar in my coffee?” The kids replied that he’d be okay. Jim goes on, “What would happen if my best friend accidentally put strychnine in my coffee?” “You’d be dead!” the kids said. Jim says, “That’s right! Lesson one: life is both sugar and strychnine and it doesn’t matter if it’s your worst enemy or you best friend that drops the poison in your coffee. And that brings us to the next lesson: watch your coffee!” I love this analogy because it’s so simple and easily understood. Even if the people you trust and love were accidentally putting negative ingredients into your mind, the outcome would be as if your enemy was doing it. It’s important to understand who and what is influencing us and that we constantly guard our mind against those who would do it harm, even inadvertently. That doesn’t mean we should necessarily cut people out of our life, although sometimes I firmly believe it is necessary. It would be wise to understand how our brains work and that our minds are constantly being fed information and opinion and images. Sometimes we are receiving information and ideas from people close to us, and those inputs are not serving us. Don’t just let anything into your mind without analyzing it first! It could be strychnine that is poisoning your thoughts without you even realizing it.

In closing I’ll leave you with this Jim Rohn quote. It would do us all well to read it daily:

“Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.”

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