Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Life is to be LIVED! Lived in joy, peace, contentment and with ease. But so often it is not that way? Why? Well, we tend to live worried: worried about the future, stressed over money, obsessing over jobs, people and things we cannot change. But where does that leave us? If not broken in the bank, we are broken in spirit. If not happy, we are bitter.
I told an audience while giving a speech on this topic last week that THIS IS NOT HOW WE ARE MEANT TO LIVE! So, how do we remain passionate and in alignment with our "happy" higher selves even in the midst of challenge and change. First, we must decide to do something different than what we normally do when negative situations come up!
Religion aside, I’m a big Joel Osteen fan. In addition to being a New York Times bestseller, mega church leader and successful businessman, the guy is a MEGA-motivator. Through his positive perception-based messaging, Joel magnifies how we (not "God") must motivate ourselves out of the mental pitfalls we habitually tend to slide into. In just about every one of Joel's sermons he talks about how the "God/Universe/Source/Higher Power" energy (however you choose to identify or not) did not "create" us to live on this planet in a continuum of upset, worrisomeness and bitterness. In fact, Joel offers that if we are going to reach our destiny, we must "clear out the clutter" in our minds….easier said than done though sometimes right? That's because we get attached to the s**t that happens (doesn't happen) to us. We all want things to work out a certain way for us and our ego hurts like h*ll when it doesn't. How can we NOT think about that pain right?
However, it is in 'clearing the clutter' from our minds that we find our greatest strength. Working with this "secret" has helped me move from dwelling in the negative to basking in the positive of my circumstances, which feels just as good as money in the bank. The ability to shift my perspective has helped to change feelings of mediocrity I once carried around like a bat ready to swing at each problem the Universe pitched in my direction to now being able to choose to stand in my greatness. Having a clear head and clean heart is the result of that. It's hard to feel bad when you train yourself to feel good. It's hard to get down about anything when you've decided peace and wellbeing come before everything.
The Nitty Gritty:
Our life’s direction is not decided by what happens to us, our life’s direction is determined by how we respond to what happens to us and that starts with how we choose to think about what happens to us.
It was Earl Nightingale, the early personal development pioneer who in his 1956 audio essay 'The Strangest Secret' (now a book), gave us this truth, “we become what we think about most of the time.” In other words, we are what we think. We can’t stop negative things from happening, but we don’t have to allow negative situations to consume us and direct our destiny by dwelling on it. We can’t dwell on the pain.
I learned about the power of not dwelling on pain when I gave birth to my first child. That was a level of pain I had never experienced before and I didn’t have an epidural either. The pain was so great, I had no choice but to relax my body and my mind in order to make peace with the enemy called contractions.
Life is often life that. We are hit with situations we didn’t see coming and instead of allowing our minds to get consumed with worry, we have to find ways to make peace with the problem and have faith that however it works out, we will survive! Labor pains are necessary to give birth, whether we are birthing a child or a new business, labor pains must come first.
When those contractions hit, I was forced to concentrate and focus. I had to force myself to get grounded and think about other things. I couldn’t focus on what was hurting me. So I got real still. Instead of focusing on the pain, I focused on my breath, I focused on being in the silence (which I demanded from everyone in the room:). I directed my thoughts to times I hadn't been in pain and that is what eased it.
But when we mess up, when other people hurt us, when things don’t work out, our natural inclination is to hold on to the pain or fixate on how to solve the problem. Then we get down, get mad, sometimes get even and then we end up all cluttered up with negative emotion. How do we change that? We have to take refuge. We have to be disciplined about going within and intentionally changing the negative "Nancy" thought tapes that play on repeat in our minds and instead choose to pop them out and put in the positive "Paul" tapes (or in my case positive Joel’s 😉)
My point is the only thing we have control over is our minds and to emotionally declutter you must first take control of your self talk - something we work on in my 1:1 coaching programs.
So, I challenge you today to stop dwelling on the negative things and what isn’t working out. I challenge you to change the tape playing in your mind. Joel says fear can’t stay where faith is and discouragement and doubt can’t stay where hope is. So make the choice to keep turning your thoughts in a positive direction - that’s how you clear out the clutter and create forward momentum!
Peace & Blessings,