“The significant problems we face con not be solved at the
same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”
~ Albert Einstein
Much like our physical bodies, we must also exercise our minds. There are studies that demonstrate the impact of continued learning in senior adults. Those who read regularly and stimulate their minds continue to have better memories and greater intellectual capacity than their peers who do not. We live in a culture that invites laziness, that encourages mind-numbing, or mind-distracting activities such as watching television, playing video games, or listening to music. Although none of these activities are inherently detrimental to us in small doses, they are incredibly toxic to our mind when we engage in these activities at the expense of other, more stimulating and mind- enhancing activities such as reading, problem-solving, meditating, creative projects, development of hobbies and new activities that require learning and challenge.
Event + Thought = Behavior
How we view the events of our life is a cognitive process that results in emotional feelings. When “A” happens, we think “B” about it and the outcome “C” is a result of how we think about that which happened. We can subordinate feelings to values, meaning, we can allow our values, or our hoped for outcome to override our emotional response so that we may reach our end goal. Often, it is our reaction to events that creates the greatest challenges for us, not the event itself.
For example, if I am frustrated by the way I am treated by my boss at work there are many ways I can respond. If I choose to respond by being difficult to work with and expressing an attitude on the job I am likely to worsen my situation by giving my boss more reason to respond to me in ways that I do not like. In this situation I have effectively worsened my situation through my own behaviors, and perpetuated that which I claim I want to be better. It is how we think about and respond to life’s situations that guides us, not what we are faced with.
What is a situation you are currently frustrated with? Are your responses adding to the problems you currently face, or are your behaviors helping to minimize the issue or dilemma?
If you don’t know you have choices or don’t believe you have choices, you don’t.
~ Paul, Lunden, Christensen
Invent Meaning That Works
“Inventing a new interpretation is the simplest way to transform something negative into something positive. Everything that occurs in our world is an objective event. It has no inherent meaning. Each of us sees the world through different lenses, so each of us will perceive a particular incident differently. It’s our perceptions and our interpretations that affect our emotions not the incident itself.” ~ Debbie Ford
Everything we experience in life goes through our personal filter which assigns meaning to each event. Because we invent the meaning for all of our experiences, we are in charge of creating meaning that serves us well or meaning that holds us back. Given the choice, it makes the most sense to begin creating meanings for the events in our life in ways that work with and for us, rather than against us.
Take All of The Responsibility You Can!
“Unpleasant facts don’t go away simply because we stop paying conscious attention to them. Denial is effectively a form of disengagement: It means shutting down a part of ourselves.” ~ Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
“The hardest words to own are always related to incidents where we feel someone has wronged us. Our egos resist owning characteristics that would make us give up blaming someone else for the condition of our life.” ~ Debbie Ford
I believe the single greatest life- changing action you can take is to assume responsibility for everything that happens to you in your life when you become an adult and have the power to care for yourself. How you view your situation, and your ability to take responsibility for your part, is critical to self-care and personal wellness. Taking complete responsibility for our lives involves the process of accepting that all of the choices we make open us to various consequences that are often times unpredictable. Some consequences are out of our control, others are not. In the end, however, that we made the choice we did, or engaged in the behaviors we did, renders us undeniably responsible for our outcomes. For example, if I choose to get in my car and go for a drive I am consenting to the reality that there are other drivers on the road that I can not control. How they choose to drive their cars is not within my control, however, I am directly affected by other drivers when I choose to get in my car and join them on the road. If, by chance, my car is struck by another driver – and I have followed all of the rules of the road, it is not my “fault” that I was in an accident, however, it is my responsibility because I chose to get on the road with full knowledge of the risks associated with driving.
I encourage you to think of one thing that you can begin doing today that will increase your intellectual potential. Are you willing to commit to doing this, starting today? Maybe it is as simple as watching less television, reading the newspaper, being aware of the choices you make and taking more responsibility for the outcome. This month, nourish yourself with a commitment to improve your mind. Begin flexing those intellectual muscles today. Remember, there is no greater resource that you will ever have than your very self. Be sure to explore all of the possibilities of experiencing the highest form of who you are and who you can be.