“Turn heads, act stupid and play the fool.
Live it up and stick to no rule.
Today or tomorrow, as yesterday’s gone,
Fill in blank spaces and stay up until dawn.”
Do you know that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day? Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, it can also be the most destructive force in your life. The mind has 2 levels: the conscious level that involves thinking, reasoning, choices and the subconscious level that involves belief, attitude, emotions. A fixed mindset evolves around the belief that intelligence and talent are innate and unchangeable. If you’re not good at something, you will never be good at it. A growth mindset evolves around the belief that intelligence and talent can be developed with practice. Hence, your mindset plays a major role in your motivation, consistency and achievement. To master your mind (and more specifically your thoughts) means to influence the way you live your life. The mastery mindset is personal training for the brain – it involves shifting your focus from achieving the outcome to executing on the process.
So, if outcome is about results, why shouldn’t the journey also be? We often forget that little actions taken on a daily basis drive the outcome. If these actions are not backed up by motivation or consistency, or if we do not add any goal to each of them, we might miss the outcome. Let’s take sports for example: you start with a goal in mind (for example building muscle or losing weight), but unless you have a goal for the process as well (eat x calories or run y miles), your overall goal will not be achieved. Same with traveling: you have your destination in mind, but without checking the route, you might not get there. What I also find important, apart from having goals for both process and outcome, is identifying behaviours that could support you on the short and long run.
One example of such behaviour is bravery. Once you realize that bravery is about taking action, although afraid, using wisdom as your safety net, then you are ready to take a step into the unknown. If we are to go more in depth into the topic, wisdom comes with time – learning from past experiences, knowing your vulnerabilities and strengths, distancing yourself from the topic once you self-analyse. On the other hand, bravery consists of all resources that are within us and does not exclude vulnerability – fragile doesn’t mean weak. Another example would be healthy boundary setting, in the sense of creating a mental fence. The limit of what you consider acceptable can be as simple as a “NO”, which makes for a complete sentence. Poor boundaries lead to resentment, anger, burnout, which further lead to loss of respect, control, confidence and inevitably to unmet goals, that can make one feel anxious, depressed, hopeless.
Sometimes, it might not be about willingness, but about readiness to adapt a behaviour or take an action. If willingness has to do with your mental process, readiness is about translating those thoughts into action. Or, to put it differently, if willingness is about calling for something to happen, then readiness is about letting it manifest once it’s there. In my opinion, apart from understanding the distinction between these two terms, there is also something else that comes into picture once one ready: “ability”. Ability is about competence, knowledge, experience gained that drive the action behind the process towards the outcome.
According to Wikipedia, intuition is still knowledge, but acquired through different means. We are mostly used to trust what we see or hear, rather than what we feel. And that makes total sense, because we’ve built that muscle already over time. But what if we let go of the analytical reasoning behind and focus on our deeper senses? It’s not like learning a new language or skill that you haven’t come across in your life yet, but like learning how to use subconscious information from your brain that is already there. Intuition is not always right, but neither is logic. In order to distinguish subtle intuitive signals, you first have to perfect your methods of using intuition and take one step back to analyze: if it comes from past experiences, if you have come across a similar event in the past, or if it is the projection of your own imagination.
With your mind interconnecting all areas of life, here are 10 simple guidelines to master your mind:
- identify thoughts you want to change
- let unwanted thoughts in rather than pushing them away
- sit with your thoughts through meditation
- improve the way you talk to yourself
- put a positive spin on negative thoughts
- journal your thoughts to reduce their intensity
- break the thought pattern with focused distractions
- nurture your mind by practicing self-care
- seek professional support
- embed these steps into a mindful routine
I would take the opportunity to highlight the impact of mindset in the context of purpose, as mindset mastery is essential to developing a healthy purpose. While result-oriented mindset is having a “pushing” force behind it that drives us, the purpose-oriented mindset is having a “pulling” force behind it that inspires us. The transition from result to purpose is translated into a focus change from “doing” to “being” or from “what” to “why”. Some people will come to the passion-purpose-value-action-impact journey with a natural bent toward introspection and reflection. A practical way to asses impact is creating a “wheel of impact” by defining what areas could be influenced by this journey (e.g. education, well-being, growth, etc.).
With this in mind, I shall let you reflect on a question at your own time:
“What would be the behaviours that would keep you going and succeeding in life?”.