Positive Mindset

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.

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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.

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.

Never Stop Pursuing Your Dreams and Never Fail to Start

Perhaps you have heard the old saying, “it’s always too soon to quit, and it’s never too late to start.” Which got me thinking this week about how resolute I and we have become in the face of calamities, uncertainties, and fears that none of us could have ever imagined one year ago. 

Perhaps I am just getting old(er), as I celebrated another trip around the sun earlier this month, nevertheless, time seems to be passing very quickly and a year goes by in the blink of an eye. Yes, even 2020. Sure, we all have long days, but I’m telling you the years keep slipping away.

Will 2020 Make You Better or Leave You Bitter?

Full disclosure, I am using the headline and my message in the year’s final post from Reverend Joy Gonzales of Highland Park Methodist Church in Dallas, where my wife and I attend church online every week. Joy’s message yesterday was too good and impacted me too significantly to not share it with my audience.

Many people I know, watch, and listen to cannot wait to turn the calendar this Friday and waive 2020 goodbye and greet 2021 hopefully. Indeed, a New Year always brings new hope, new ideas, and the promise that we can be and do better than we did last year. The truth of the matter is, however, that even though 2020 will soon be in the history books, its troubles aren’t going away any time soon.

Embrace Your Past to Promote the Present of a Bright Future

As I alluded to in last week’s post, I have recently been spending a fair amount of time learning the intricacies of the Enneagram. While I still have a great deal to learn, for me one of the most interesting discoveries I have made about myself is where my mind is generally focused.

For those of you not familiar with this centuries-old description of personality types, there are nine different types divided into three triads. For each of the three types in each triad, the people in each are generally focused either on the past, the present, or the future. Where do you fall?

Personal Growth is the Reward of a Healthy Self Image

In the past several weeks, with encouragement from my wife, I have begun familiarizing myself with the Enneagram. I have heard many people discuss it in the past, yet never explored it for myself until, like many things I learn, I was encouraged to do so by my mate.

I am still a veritable novice in understanding and grasping all of the intricacies of it, and in fact, am still trying to determine if I know for sure what my Enneagram number is. What is has opened for me, and I want to encourage you with this week, is the desire to take a deeper dive than I ever have into self-discovery.

How do You See the World? What are you telling yourself?

The more I study and coach a positive-mindset lifestyle, the more I realize how key self-talk is to our overall mental health. In fact, I would argue it affects virtually every area of life. In addition to Mental, I would add Spiritual, Physical, Family, Financial, Personal, and Career, to name a few.

If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself. If you feel a certain way, I can almost guarantee you will in that same certain way. For example, if you are convinced you can never do something, you are well on your way to a self-fulfilling prophecy. Of course, the opposite is also true. Steadfast belief combined with ongoing effort is likely to produce remarkable results over time.

Redefining Failure as Merely a Setback with Opportunities

Welcome to the second half of 2020! Ordinarily the first of July allows us to pause for the fourth of July Holiday and evaluate our successes in the first half of the year and plan for how we will endeavor to accomplish even more in the second half of the year. But none of us have ever experienced a year like this one so far.

Matching the frustration and unpredictability of the first six months of 2020, we have no greater clarity into what will happen in the back half of the year from an economic, political, and pandemic perspective, among other things.  

What’s Your Life Worth? Get Clarity on Your Values

Recently, a friend of mine asked me how in tune I was with my values. My immediate answer was to say, “oh, I am totally in touch with what my personal core values are.” Like a good friend, however, he pushed me and asked again, “No, really, how in touch are you with your values and committed to living according to them.”

Perhaps like me, if you are honest, that causes you to pause and really consider the question. If you are able to ask yourself “why is this important” two or three times, I believe you will get into some very important, deep connection with yourself and your intentions for living.