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.”

The Dirty Little Holiday Secret

WHAT NO ONE TALKS ABOUT DURING THE CHRISTMAS SEASON

There is a dirty little secret that no one likes to admit about the holiday season. It’s well known that millions suffer from additional stress and anxiety during the period between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. Some of this anxiety is due to the additional financial stress from the feelings of guilt about purchasing presents for everyone in our lives. Household credit card debt spikes during the holidays leaving a lingering money problems for millions heading into the New Year. Then there is the stress about traveling and seeing all the members of your family you feel obligated to see. Let’s be honest, we all have some family and friends that require us to consume copious amounts of alcohol just to feel comfortable around. For millions others it’s the time off work that becomes a problem. If you are lucky enough to be paid for the time off, great. If not, not only do the stresses of additional purchases come into play, but also the loss of income. For some, all of the issues listed above are applicable. These, however are not the dirty little secret I’m referring to.

What We Think the Holidays Are

The holidays can be many things to many people. Whatever story we tell ourselves about the meaning of the holidays will become reality. Therefore it is very important to consider what you are telling yourself about what the holidays are. Are they about family? Are the holidays about your faith? Do the holidays mean giving to others? Are they about stressing out? Watching movies like Christmas Story or Die Hard? All of these meanings may be great and they may apply to you, but let me suggest to you what the Holidays and all other days are about. In fact, the Holiday Season is not unlike any other season in what it means for all of us. How can this be? If you look at what we really have control over in our lives versus what is outside our control, the answer is clear. You cannot control external events such as how people act at family parties, what movies are on TV, whether or not you come down with an illness or how much stress others have during this season. You only have control over one thing, your mind and how you decide to take action with it. The special feelings and rituals we have during this season are not exclusive to this time of year. Moreover, the positive lessons of the season are not meant to only be learned and remembered during winter. So the question then becomes, “how do we control our minds an keep the lessons of the holidays all year?” In a word, reflection.

What the Holidays Are Really About-

The Christmas season is considered the “season of miracles”. I think the greatest miracle is the human mind and what it is capable of. In the Bible, Jesus states “the kingdom of heaven is within you”, meaning all of us are capable of cultivating heavenly thoughts and therefore a wonderful life. We can also choose to ignore the miracle of our minds and allow ourselves to be overcome with negative emotions. One advantage of having Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and any other special holidays near the end of the year is that we are able to reflect on our actions and thoughts over the previous year. I believe that’s what the Holidays are really about- reflection. It is a time to look back at what we have learned, who we have met, what opportunities have come our way, what we are grateful for. This is not just about New Years. The emotions connected with all the Holidays this time of year can sometimes cloud our thinking, but strong emotional environments can also be useful for internal reflection. Sometimes is takes strong emotions for us to realize what is important. It’s important to reflect on what is in our control and what is not. By reflecting on the past year, we can learn much about ourselves and how we responded to things outside our control. For me, I like to write down situations that I was proud of how I acted as well as the times I am not so proud of. Also, what things were in my control that I maybe neglected? What do I need to work? See, the Holiday season is truly a time for miracles, a time to reflect on the miracle of life and our minds. The fact that humans can self-reflect is itself a miracle. We can choose our values and actions- choice is a miracle.

WHAT NO ONE WANTS TO ADMIT- IT’S ALL ABOUT YOU
So here’s the dirty little secret- the Holidays are really about the most important person in your life…you. Every day is about you. We like to think what we do is for others, but we cannot control others or how they react or feel. We can give all we like, but it’s still for us. We can only control ourselves and our minds. You are the most important person in your life because you are the only one who can control you. If you want to help others this Holiday season, fine, but understand why you are doing it. You are doing it for because it fits with your values and fulfills a need you have to contribute. There’s nothing wrong with that. No reason to feel guilty about it. In fact, it makes you a better person, a better you! Everything you do, even if it’s for others is still for you. Reflect on that this holiday season. Reflect on how you can do more for yourself so that you may help others. Consider what is in your control and what is not so you can live a life with less anxiety and allow yourself to grow. Reflect on what you are grateful for, especially your mind. Reflect on how important you are. To others, to the world, to your loved ones. You are the most important person in your world. So take care of yourself so that you may help take care of others.

Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!!!!

Sean

25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School

I don’t have any regrets in life. I would not go back in time and change anything for fear that it would alter my current reality. I like to think that I drive through life looking mostly out the windshield rather than just using the rear-view mirrors. That said, there are some things I have learned in my life that I wish I had known in high school. Having known these things, I believe, would not have necessarily changed my path through life, but rather allowed me to deal with circumstances with more calm and poise than I have in the past. So here we go… 25 Things I Wish I Knew in High School.

1. You become what you think about most of the time. So monitor your thoughts.
2. The only thing you can control is yourself and your choices, not others.
3. Your friends may not necessarily share you values, so be willing to make new ones.
4. Know that you are not thinking clearly unless your thoughts will lead to a positive outcome for you and you loved ones.
5. Building disciplines now will lead to a life of freedom.
6. The pain of a breakup will not last forever, although you think it will.
7. You family wants you to do well, but may not understand what drives you. Show them by communicating clearly what you are doing and why.
8. Don’t think local. Think global.
9. Be careful whom you take advice from.
10. Seek out mentors rather than jobs.
11. Training your body now will help you for the rest of your life.
12. Alcohol, weed and cigarettes can destroy self-discipline, so be mindful of these substances.
13. Start to build multiple flows of income.
14. Do not go out and “get a job.” Instead, learn how to live and get financial independence.
15. Start developing a philosophy for how to live now! Hard times will come. You will need a philosophy of how to deal with them.
16. Everyone has value. Don’t disregard or underestimate someone. They may become your friend or you may do business with them years later.
17. The highest ideal is individual liberty. Don’t forget that, but don’t waste time lecturing others about it.
18. Never say, “I can’t afford that.” Instead, “How can I afford that?”
19. Be humble but confident. Don’t let your ego control you.
20. Believe you can do anything you set your mind to do, and never, ever let anyone tell you can’t.
21. There is nothing you can’t do if you take enough actions and educate yourself on the right strategy.
22. Don’t operate from a place of scarcity. Your biography is not your destiny.
23. If you want something, give it away first. If you want friends, be friendly. If you want love, give love. If you want recognition, give it first. If you want happiness, be grateful.
24. Sometimes the girl sitting next to you in math class will become the love of your life, your soul mate, your queen. So treat her better all the time.
25. The best revenge is massive success. The best revenge is to “not be like them.”

There you go. These are 25 things I wish I would have known in high school that I know now. Had I know these things would my life be different today? It’s impossible to tell. I will say this: while I can’t go back in time and teach my younger self these lessons, I’m eternally grateful that I have discovered them now. I guess the one thing time affects for all of us is perspective, if you allow it to. Time has given me incredible perspective and I don’t take that lightly. I’m curious, what would you teach your younger self?

The War is On!!!!

The War is Underway. Are You Prepared?

“Circumstance does not make the man. It reveals him to himself.” -Epictetus

There is a war underway. It is happening to us and affecting us all and though you may not have heard a shot fired, I can assure you the war is very real. Do you feel the struggle? I assure you that you do because the struggle I’m referring to is the one for the ownership of your soul. The enemy is one you are familiar with on an intimate level. He or she is the one you look at in the mirror! That’s right, your biggest enemy is you. Your only opponent is you. It’s always you versus you. You are always the maker of your circumstance because of your power to choose the thoughts that you listen to. Your thoughts can be your ally in this war for your soul or they can be your enemy.

“Thoughts can be your jailer, being base. Or, they can be angels, being pure.”  – James Allen

The enemy within is very real. He may never be completely defeated, but he can be subdued and made to retreat every day. How? Every day stand guard at the door of your mind! Be vigilant and exacting about the thoughts that you allow to take root in your mind.   Your mind is like a garden. It must be cultivated regularly, or the weeds will take the garden. Similarly, your negative thoughts, anxieties, fears and will take your mind. They are the weeds that must be cut back. Your mind, your body, your life is your garden. Pay attention to what is taking root or you may wake up one day to realize that enemy has won and that weeds, the weakness, the disease and the unhappiness has taken over.

The enemy is real. You have met him. He is you. So do what is necessary to build up the disciplines to take control of you mind and your life. We are the masters of our lives because we have the ability to disregard our instincts and instead instill disciplines that will improve our own quality of life as well as the ones we love. Discipline has no regard for emotions, which often fail us. Discipline does not negotiate with the whims and desires of the mind. Establishing disciplines that will serve you in life is the only way to combat the enemy of negative thoughts that have the capacity imprison us all. Start the disciplines today so that you can be free in the future.

“Discipline equals freedom” – Jocko Willink

In Health,

Sean

Words Of Encouragement

Words of Encouragement

I’m a huge believer in self-talk to amp yourself up and power through obstacles. That said, I think most of the self-talk people have is negative and doesn’t serve our lives in a positive way. Therefore, here is a list of 50 (yes 50!) phrases that you can tell yourself so that you may achieve the necessary state of mind and body to achieve tranquility, success or whatever you may desire.

  1. I can do this.
  2. I am not rushed.
  3. I am strong.
  4. I am capable.
  5. Keep going.
  6. Discipline equals freedom.
  7. Progress equals happiness.
  8. People love me.
  9. I matter.
  10. I care about others.
  11. I’m a good person.
  12. I can figure this out.
  13. I have all the resources I need.
  14. I lack nothing.
  15. Nothing disturbs or distracts me.
  16. I understand others.
  17. There are good people in the world.
  18. I am blessed.
  19. Every day above ground is success.
  20. I’m proud of myself.
  21. I can learn anything.
  22. There’s nothing I cannot do.
  23. I am grateful.
  24. I know there is an answer.
  25. I see things as they are, but not worse.
  26. I can see how to make things better.
  27. I enjoy my life.
  28. My happiness depends on me alone.
  29. I am not my thoughts.
  30. I can do anything I set my mind to.
  31. I have faith in others.
  32. I have faith in myself.
  33. I respect other and they respect me.
  34. I feel goodness.
  35. I feel loved.
  36. I see beauty all around.
  37. I am present in this moment.
  38. If I can think it, I can do it.
  39. I have courage.
  40. I use fear as a tool to grow.
  41. I dance with fear; it doesn’t control me.
  42. I know what I have to do.
  43. I know what I am capable of.
  44. I don’t negotiate with my mind.
  45. I control my life.
  46. I take responsibility for everything in my world.
  47. I take MASSIVE action.
  48. I create energy, it’s not something I lack.
  49. The only limitations are the ones in my mind.
  50. I am unstoppable!

I sincerely hope one of these sayings, or mantras if you will, will be of use to you. Remember, you cannot always control your thoughts, but you get to decide which ones you listen to. Put some of these thoughts in your head and eliminate the stories that have held you back!

In health

Sean

13 Mind Blowing Facts

13 Mind Blowing Facts

Life is incredible and the universe is truly remarkable. In case you forgot that, here are 13 facts that will blow your mind and perhaps remind you how wondrous this experience really is.

 

1.Time is not universal. The passage of time on a fast moving object has a different effect than one at rest.

2.What we call gravity is caused by the bending of space-time. The size of the Earth and the speed at which it moves causes a distortion space and time, (similar to large ball sitting on a sheet, causing the sheet to sink down. The sheet is space-time.)

  1. You are not the thoughts in your head. You are the one who listens to them and you can choose which ones to listen to.
  2. All matter is energy. The entire universe is energy that is constantly moving.
  3. Your level on consciousness and the philosophies it produces will determine your happiness in life.
  4. Humans are the only life we know of to date that can study itself.
  5. Jellyfish can live forever by reverting back to an earlier stage of life after becoming sexually mature.
  6. Your values and beliefs alter your reality of the world. That is why two different people can look at the same object and see something different.
  7. There are trillions of stars in the universe. Our sun is just one and it will burn out eventually.
  8. A new study has found the brain’s information storage capacity may be around a quadrillion bytes. We actually take in information faster than we can recall it. That’s why we “forget” things.

11.Stress and fear are the same emotion. Stressed? It’s because you’re fearful of something.

  1. The human body is comprised of 37.2 TRILLION cells.
  2. The emotion of love is driven by the release of dopamine and seretonin. You can control your emotions by changing your physiology.