Eric Harrison

Arrange Your Time into Meaningful Assets Rather than Careless Expenses

To begin this week, let’s start with a little lesson on business. When running a successful business, most people would agree that the way you utilize your assets and control your expenses will in large part determine the ultimate success or failure of your business. Assets are commonly defined as any property owned by a firm. They can be fixed, current, liquid, or intangible and are balanced against liabilities.

I won’t get too technical here, but the most common forms of assets are cash, inventory, property, and equipment. If you have substantially more assets than liabilities, your business will be in a very advantageous position, but the opposite is also true. To quickly move our conversation from business to life, let’s consider the one thing that no matter how successful we are in either sphere, we will never have enough time.

What do You Really Think When You Capture Your Innermost Thoughts?

I heard someone say over the weekend that the average person has around 6,000 thoughts every day. My immediate thought was, “Is that all?” Allow me to explain. I have been working all year on developing the habits I need to get thoughts out of my head and become better at living from my heart. If you are a person who thinks a lot and doesn’t necessarily feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with others, like me, you know what I mean.

My wife, on the other hand, does not understand. She is very expressive and verbose and likes to discuss the twelve possible solutions to any of our current challenges, such as where to go for dinner. It makes for some frustrating interactions. Thus, my need (after over 30 years of marriage) to adjust and become more expressive.

Here is the bad news about the 6,000 thoughts that I heard. Of the 6,000 thoughts that people have each day, 4,800 of them are negative. In other words, 80% of the thoughts most people think each day are negative, and only 1,200 (or 20%) are positive. The good news is that every one of us has the ability to change our thinking. 

I am certainly not a psychologist, nor am I learned in the ways the mind works. I do know, however, things that you and I can do to help train our minds to develop the habits we need to begin thinking more positively. Like any other purpose-producing activity, developing positive habits is simple, but it’s not easy. It requires daily commitment and daily improvement. But the one thing I do know about our minds is that we can train them to do, learn, or aspire to almost anything.

As my friend Tom Ziglar says, “What you feed your mind determines your appetite.” It works both ways, of course, and our mental diet is no different than our physical diet. The more junk we eat, or the more junk we allow into our mind, the more our appetite for junk increases. And the more our desire for the “good stuff” decreases. Fortunately, this theory also works just like the good, the positive, and the powerful. Develop a diet of the things that build you up physically or mentally, and your body and mind will crave more and more.

I can’t help thinking (pun intended) about a verse from the Bible authored by the Apostle Paul which encourages us “to take every thought captive.” Initially, this may seem like a silly, if not impossible, idea. But I believe it is the beginning of starting your positive mental diet. Simply stated, I believe taking every thought captive means gaining control over what you think about yourself and your life. 

If you think about it (ok, I promise that’s the last bad dad joke), you have experienced this phenomenon your whole life. As a kid, if you watched a scary movie before bed, you likely had nightmares or woke up screaming and crying because of the images and messages you allowed into your mind. It plays out in situations throughout our life. How many times have you thought to yourself, ” don’t do this,” and that’s exactly what you end up doing?

As an avid golfer, I live this every time I play. I am looking at a shot to my target on the green with the innocuous flag flapping in the wind to show me my target. But where does my focus go to immediately? The water I have to hit the ball over to get to my target. In closing, allow me to suggest a few ideas to take your thoughts captive to get you over your water and aiming towards your targets.

First, evaluate what you are feeding your mind. What are you watching, reading, and listening to? I cannot emphasize enough the importance of feeding your mind the best. If you think you can, you will. If you think you can’t, you won’t. Don’t gloss over that last sentence. It is profoundly true. Therefore, consider what influence your inputs are having on your mindset.

Next, I cannot encourage you enough to begin practicing and perfecting the habit of journaling. I prefer good old pen and paper because I believe that when you are physically writing something on paper, it leaves a much greater subconscious impact than typing something into a computer or telephone. Whether you agree or not, don’t make it an excuse not to start. It is like exercising. You are not going to run a marathon on your first day jogging. Just start and build up to proficiency. Your first efforts will be your worst, but they will improve the longer you commit to doing it.

Finally,  I am going to suggest that you pray and/or meditate daily. Of course, as a Christian, I would encourage you to focus on the Word and the promises of God. They are vast, and they are amazing! But certainly, you do not have to be a Christian or a person of faith at all to take time to think and focus on the positives and the things you have to be grateful for in your life. I cannot recommend a better tool to improve your mindset than thinking about, praying, and then expressing gratitude. 

I would love to hear your thoughts (sorry, I couldn’t resist) on how you begin to take your thoughts captive. It is a daily endeavor that won’t be perfect, but it can perfectly begin to change the way you think. And once you begin to do that, the changes you can make within yourself, your family, and your community are as profound as your thoughts.

Did you enjoy this article? If you haven’t already, please be sure to subscribe to this blog, where I post every Tuesday. You can also get additional free content by subscribing to my YouTube channel or following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These precious hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.

Catch and Release: A Powerful Mindset to Employ in Every Role of Your Life

My dad was an avid fisherman. As many times as I tried, I could not develop his passion for fishing. He was able to pass his passion on to me for the game of golf. In fact, the older I get, the more I appreciate the sport and every chance I get to play it. I used to say that I didn’t have the patience to fish. The truth was, I never enjoyed getting my hands dirty to bait a hook and take a fish off once caught.

The other thing that made no sense to me with fishing was catch and release. Perhaps it is my competitive nature and my desire always to know what the score is, no matter what I’m doing. Whatever the reason, I never understood the fun of working for hours to land that one big fish, only to hold it up long enough to admire it before tossing it back into the water. To me, that’s like a game-winning pass, basket, or goal being called back or reversed by a penalty. You work the whole time to win the game at the end, but then you don’t.

While Aiming to be Interesting, Show Others How Much You’re Interested

A dear friend of mine likes to say, “it’s hard to see the whole picture when you’re in the frame.” There is a lot of truth and perhaps a gentle “ouch” in that statement. Think about the last time you took a picture with a friend, family member, or other groups of people. What determines the quality of the photo (in your opinion)? It is, of course, how good YOU look in the photo!

Sure other people may have their eyes closed, mouth open, or other unflattering poses, but if the picture of you looks good, it is a “great shot.” From a very early age, all of us are always consciously aware of not only our appearance but also how others perceive us, at almost any moment in any day. This doesn’t make you a bad or vain person; it makes us human beings.

The Most Incredible Spring Break Ever I Spent With Time, Alone

I begin today’s post with a confession. I invested the previous two weeks in restoring my mental, emotional, and spiritual sanity. I decided several weeks ago that after seven months of not venturing more than a few miles from my home, I needed a respite and a retreat. I didn’t have to think long to determine my destination – a beach community in Northwest Florida that my family and I have been going to for over twenty years.

I drove down myself and drove home alone as well, which with eleven and a half hours of windshield time one way is a fair amount of alone time anyway. I also had a few days at the beginning and end of my time there when my wife joined me to spend time alone and rejuvenate. I tell you all of this not to brag about my beach and golfing exploits, nor to brag about my beautiful golfer’s tan. I brought back several thoughts with me from my time that I think you will enjoy reading about.  

The Untold Benefits of Embracing your Right to Write

Earlier this year, I decided to up my game when it comes to coaching other people. I have had an extraordinary time investing in the people I have been fortunate enough to work with over the last year. I decided that since I am asking other people to invest their time and resources with me, it was time for me to invest in myself by hiring my own coach. 

This is the best decision I have made all year. Not just because I hired a great coach, but because I am learning so much each week for and about myself that I then get to share with others. This week, I want to encourage you, no, I want to implore you to do something that my coach did with me just last week. The results in my life and my mindset in just a week have been seriously life-changing for me.

Now, I know that not everyone is wired like I am, so allow me to briefly set the stage for what I am suggesting you adopt as your next great habit. Thanks to working with my coach and studying the Enneagram, I have learned a lot about myself. For most of my adult life, I have shied away from personality assessments and psychographic evaluations. I say this only to amplify that this is all part of the journey I am on this year to become more authentic.

So, what I have learned about myself is I am a deep thinker. My mind is always jumping to ideas, thoughts, conversations, tasks, upcoming events, etc. In and of itself, this is not a bad thing. So long as I don’t allow my thoughts to prevent me from taking action. In other words, as I have heard it said many times to me over the years, I need to live less in my head and more in my heart. 

This is not to say I am not an emotional, caring, and loving person. I truly believe I am and further conclude that my family and friends would agree. However, my thinking can indeed, at times, lead me to unproductive actions. As simply as I can explain it, oftentimes, my thoughts capture so much of my attention that I feel like doing “something” or “anything” is productive. That can be true, but it isn’t always.

So, I wonder if you are like me – a thinker. Allow me to conclude this setup before moving on to say that the world needs people like us. I am not in any way saying that thinking and even planning in your mind is a bad thing. What I want to suggest to you next is a suggestion I took to heart that has not only helped me free up my mind, but it has set my ability to act every day productively since I started employing it.

My friend, I want to encourage you to start journaling, writing, putting thoughts together. You can call me old-fashioned, but I’m going to suggest using a pen and a journal or notebook. Now, my initial reaction was likely similar to yours, “Ugh, I don’t want to take time to write.” My friend, I want you to commit with me that you will try it for seven days. 

When you commit to seven days, please comment on this post or send me a message on social media and let me know the results. I predict they will shock you. If you’re not yet convinced, let me tell you I am not looking to add one more thing to your “To-Do” list. Just sit down in a fairly quiet place where you will not be disturbed and start writing. There is no magic formula, and there is no agenda. Just start with whatever comes to mind, and even if you only commit to five minutes to start, that’s fine. Many days I have started writing something and have ended up somewhere totally different than where I started. And, as I have already said, the results for me have been life-changing.

No matter where I end up, I gain at least three benefits from writing every morning. First, I have incredible clarity about what is important that I need to focus on that day. It might be a task, or it might be an emotion, but clarity comes. Second, I feel a sense of freedom for getting some of the ideas in my head onto paper. My mind is much less cluttered. And finally, I approach each day with a better mindset and a better attitude. 

So, in closing, my friend, I want to encourage you to start your day right by starting to write. Seven days is all I’m asking. I would love to hear your results, and I am willing to bet it may soon become your new favorite habit that you get better at each day.

Did you enjoy this article? If you haven’t already, please be sure to subscribe to this blog, where I post every Tuesday. You can also get additional free content by subscribing to my YouTube channel or following me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

I also invite you to review my coaching page on my website here. I have only a couple of spots left in my Personal Development Coaching Practice. Each week I offer two free strategy sessions on a first-come, first-served basis to people interested in exploring how to become a person who pursues their goals and dreams. These precious hour-long sessions prove again and again to be invaluable to those who participate. You can book these directly on my coaching page – I look forward to serving you.

How Overcoming Your Biggest Difficulty Will Launch You to Your Best Opportunity

Yes, I recognize that we are already well over a quarter of the way into 2021. As we consider how to move forward into the rest of the year, I have a simple suggestion for you this week that will pay off for you not only for the balance of this year but many years into the future. As with almost anything worth doing, it is simple, but it’s not easy.

Thankfully, as things begin to recover from a year we hope we will never have to endure again, we can begin to gain perspective on all that has taken place in the last year or so. I realize that many have suffered significant losses of freedoms, jobs, and even loved ones. I am not suggesting we forget about those things and those people. I am suggesting we honor them by how we embrace our future.

Transitioning the Joyful Mountain Top into Every Valley’s Challenge

When we stop to think about it, life is lived between mountain tops and valleys. Sometimes we spend an inordinate amount of time in one or the other places. All of us are still emerging from a valley none of us ever expected or knew existed before the beginning of last year. While many of us may still be physically living in that valley, I hope this week’s post helps you mentally rise to the top of the mountain anyway.

The mountain top can represent many things and is likely somewhat different for each one of us. For many, it may be an annual family vacation. For others, it may be as simple as enjoying a sunrise or sunset. Personally, I experienced a mountain top experience yesterday on multiple fronts. For the first time in over a year, I attended a church service with a full congregation. I celebrated Easter with 4-5,000 other folks. That in itself was a delight after months of quarantine. To put your mind at ease, we were fortunate enough to celebrate outside, socially distanced at SMU’s Ford Field. 

The Guaranteed Cure to Overcome Frustration – Finish What You Started

I’ll begin this post with a warning. What I am about to tell you, you are very likely to discard or ignore. Stick with me though, because there is a promise at the end that I believe is worth investing a few minutes of your time. Please know why I can say that you are likely to ignore my words because I encounter so many people in the same situation. 

If you feel stuck, frustrated, unable to get off the hamster wheel of life, and unfulfilled, you are not alone. In fact, I could make a case based on my experience talking to people every day that you are in the majority. Whether the situation you find yourself in is related to work, family, physical, or any other area of your life, I understand your feelings of disappointment or despair. And I offer you a simple solution that you can begin today.

Inspiration vs. Intentionality. When the Going Gets Tough, Which Will Prevail?

Unless this is the first time you have read one of my blog posts or consumed any of my content, chances are you know I am a positive, glass half–full kind of guy. If that has somehow eluded you, let me say that my mission is to inspire you to develop your God-given abilities to become the best version of yourself that you can be.

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with one of the people I am privileged to coach. I am not quoting him verbatim, but essentially what he said was, “We can’t be motivated all the time, so when we don’t feel motivated, we have to have a plan.” When he first said it, I almost dismissed it because it seemed so simple. However, the more I think around it, the more I recognize great wisdom in his message.