Much is and has been written lately about keeping a positive mindset. Even before ‘COVID-19’ was a blip on the radar, not to mention THE daily headline, I was writing in my book, Mustard Seed Faith, about the first step to living a life of significance, began by thinking differently than most other people.
For you see, even in normal circumstances, even when we are not in the middle of a worldwide crisis, the majority of our thoughts and consciousness are focused on ourselves and how we are being perceived by other people. If we are not thinking directly about ourselves, then we are thinking about how to make other people think about us by clamoring for their attention.
Pandemic. Cancellations. Unprecedented. Social distancing. Shelter in place. Postponements.
Words and terms that meant nothing to us only a couple of weeks ago. Did just reading that make you tense? Worried? I understand. There is much to be concerned about these days.
If you allow yourself to get lost in it, your future tripping is likely to cause you a great deal of anxiety. So today I want you to reframe your thoughts and try, as best you can to not focus on the future. By and large, it is out of your control. What you can control is today. How you act, how you react, and how you seek to make a difference in your life and the lives of others.
As the old saying goes, “if you want to amuse God, tell him your plans.” Who could have ever imagined just one week ago that what we feared could come true actually has? Although the last week is unlike anything any of us have experienced in our lifetimes, I can’t help but recall the similarities to how different the world feels today – just as it did on September 11, 2001.
For those of us who live in the United States, we place a huge amount of pride in our freedoms, even if we too often take them for granted. When those freedoms are disrupted, we really have a difficult time knowing how to act and react. Suddenly, we are stripped to our core and our real priorities explode to the surface.
I used to be a New Year’s resolution person. Then I became a person who sets seven to ten goals for the upcoming New Year. This year, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I did neither. Since I just made a split with my old company, it seemed like as good a time as any to change up the template a little bit.
Before you start accusing me, as some of my friends jestingly have over the last several months, of developing a lifestyle of sleeping in every day and playing golf and watching soap operas all day, let me explain a little further.
We are more distracted by technology today than ever before. I am still shocked by the number of times I look at a fellow driver on the highway traveling at high speeds while staring at their phones. It is a disaster waiting to happen.
Today, there are a plethora of things that we can do and/or use to occupy our time. We live in a world of fractured existence. The promise of technology and automation to make our lives more simple and less cluttered is a farce.
I have a small calendar on my desk at my work and home office. The one at home is a picture a day of famous works of art from around the world. My interest in art hit an apex a couple of years ago after I spent a week in Florence, Italy with my oldest son, who is seeking a master’s degree in Art History. The one in my work office is a spiritual/motivational calendar with daily thoughts and/or Bible verses.
Recently, I came across one with the caption, “Never try to cover up your past regrets by making new ones.” I love this. In my book, Mustard Seed Faith, I wrote a fair amount about positive and negative momentum. When things are going your way, it seems like it is almost impossible to lose. Unfortunately, the corollary is also true. When things are not breaking your way, it seems impossible to reverse course. To go from overcoming insecurity to living with an abundance mindset takes a great deal of effort and desire.
Most, if not all of us are motivated by accomplishments and accolades. We spend a great deal of time, effort and money investing in our futures so that we can become something bigger and better than we currently are. That’s why the majority set goals, especially at the beginning of a new year, quarter or month. The problem is, most of them are only good intentions because not only do a scant few percentages of people write their goals down but an even smaller number actually accomplishes them.
The same can be true when we are working and trying to ‘Be Different’ in our communities and through charitable organizations. Often, we start out with very lofty aspirations while neglecting opportunities that are right at our doorstep. We are busy people. And if we are not careful we are apt to miss some great and important opportunities that are right in front of us.
If you’re like me, and most other people, you live your life with way too much fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of rejection. I could take the rest of this post to list out all of the things we live in fear of, but you get the point.
When I first began considering the idea of leaving my company that I had worked at and led for 33 years, I was terrified. I graduated from college on Saturday and started working at the company on Monday. Before that, I worked there after school in high school and on breaks when I came home from college. It was truly the only thing I had ever known.
I recently read an opinion piece by Lee Siegel in The New York Times entitled “Why is America so Depressed?” The subtitle is what drew me in, however, I have to confess that after reading the article that my response to it, through this post, has changed.
The subtitle was “It’s no coincidence that our politics and our mental health have declined so rapidly, at the same time.” I read the article prepared to read another meme about how one party is right and one party is wrong. Or why a certain group of people who believe a certain way are to blame for all of the problems in our society today. What I came away with was an agreement with Mr. Siegel about the mental health problem in our country today.