Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week’s message finds you well and encouraged. This week we consider:
Thinking to Distraction
Thinking to Action!
I learned long ago, when in doubt or distracted - take action - be productive - and the momentum will carry you beyond your limiting thoughts.
The mind can either hinder our growth or propel it. Rarely does thinking more about troubling thoughts reduce troubling thoughts. Often, more thinking does more to immobilize than energize. Thinking often begets more thinking while action begets more action. When in doubt, just do something productive. When in the tough moment, it’s easier said than done, yes, I know. All we want in that moment is to close our eyes and that when we open them back up to have all our worries miraculously fixed. That’s what drives some to “social hibernation”. Yes, sleep is very important, but not as a tool for escape. Notice how those suffering from depression have a tough time getting out of bed?
Is more time in bed helping or hurting?
I learned how to get-up-and-go from both my Mother and my Step-Father. Both were very successful in Real Estate. While growing up as a kid, they were building the second largest ERA Real Estate franchise in Florida. My Dad went on to become Florida’s #1 Remax agent selling nearly 600 residential homes in a single year. Both had tremendous work ethics. While some would call my Dad a workaholic - and that is certainly a thing - it takes great strength and discipline to move in the face of resistance - and for that matter, move in the face of criticism. Did he not face tough times? He did, but he directed his thinking on the positive things his extra work can bring and took action!
If your work, however, has drowned out all the other areas of your life, it is important to ask Why, but it’s also important to ask Why you may be sitting more and moving less.
I admire my parents’ hard work and am forever grateful to them for the work ethic they instilled in me.
In the last years of my Mother’s life, I would often ask her how she was doing and she would often respond: “It was a great day, I got a lot done.”
I am an advocate for balance and have found that sometimes just being still is the best thing I can do as long as I’m in a positive mind frame- such as when practicing mindfulness via meditation. This action has led to much more effective doing throughout all areas of my life, but these times of stillness are to check-in, not to check-out. Observing the thoughts that adversely affect the quality of my doing and the why of my action has helped fuel the creation of these weekly posts.
You have likely heard the old saying: “The idle mind is the devils’ workshop.” Our minds are particularly adept at protecting us from danger, which includes danger to our sense of self-worth.
When we take risk, we risk setbacks and how we interpret setbacks determine the future risks we take.
To make this point from stage, I often ask the audience, “How many of you have read the book: War and Peace?” Only a few hands are ever raised. I then offer up that “I have read War and Peace.....I have read the first 30 pages.” I may get a chuckle or two from the audience, but then I ask, “What did I do that most will never do?” And I will never forget when I first heard someone say: “Admit it”.
It caught me off guard - and then immediately revealed to me why so many today don’t even try.
I do hear the occasional: “you started it”, but more often is the sentiment that I admitted I had failed.
Failed? By what definition?
How we define success greatly affects whether we will be successful. Look at where you are now, what your spiritual and material situation is compared to 10-15 years ago. Dr. Elko often says, “I’m not where I want to be, but thankfully, I’m not where I used to be.”
Those who don’t celebrate the action as much as the result, will find themselves taking less action, but expecting positive results.
Consider the perfectionist who doesn’t try in fear that either they won’t finish or that when they do finish, the result won’t be perfect - and then they will feel bad about themselves. Could this be why so few people today are setting New Year resolutions? I think so. Hey, no endeavor, no disappointment, right?
Wrong! Welcome to more fear, anxiety and disappointment for a life not lived. Carl Jung, Swiss Psychologist, stated that:
“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.”
So, I decided to live fully, and I encourage you to do the same.
Kilimanjaro here I come.
I literally fly to Africa tomorrow!
If we define our success solely in results, we can live in the fear of not finishing what we start. Should we find displeasure in labor itself because we live believing satisfaction can only be achieved in a finished product?! Reading 30 pages of War and Peace is more than most people will ever do - and those pages must be read if the book is to ever be finished.
Finishing what we start is powerful and important, but if we can’t enjoy the actions we take along the way, we may come to not bother at all.
If we are not celebrating the first steps, how are we ever to journey the thousand miles? Not to mention, life simply won’t be as fun as it could be.
Consider that disturbing thoughts tend to stick around as long as we think about them. Kick them to the curb by taking action in the direction of a worthwhile goal; celebrate every bit of that action and know that multiple actions will eventually lead to success.
Let those limiting thoughts go and engage the mind elsewhere- read a book, as recommended in last week’s post- and don’t worry about the book’s length- enjoy the journey and know that every page read is a measure of success; it’s progress!
This week consider counting your daily actions – as few or as many as you take – list them in your gratitude list and celebrate progress for its own sake.
Live knowing that Success in life is best defined by what we choose to do with our greatest gift of all:
Another day to live!
Make it a great week!