Habits: Ideas We Embrace or Reject Over Time

(This is a continued education series of wellness mindset stories designed to benefit thinking and mental growth in general. This is not medical advice, simply a general discussion about healthy mindset options to battle today’s stressful environment. Consult a medication professional for specific issues.

By Terry Carter

Today I want to encourage each of you to do the impossible. At least, complete these simple exercises to stretch and flex your mental biceps beyond the rules you live by today.

Some steps may break with convention compared to your normal activity, but we are here to learn  and grow. For we are not just encyclopedias of knowledge; we are distinct, creative beings capable of unique word, belief, thought and behavior.

In 2016, Mindvalley Founder Vishen Lakhiani published a groundbreaking book called The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. In it he wrote that everyone who dares should examine and perhaps challenge their outdated beliefs because they are given to us by tradition, culture and history instead of through our self-discovery.

“You will find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view,” Lakhiani wrote. To challenge your own beliefs, you have to defy your logical mind, which often suggests that change is only necessary during a revolution.

I argue that we all need to search for improvement, both internal and external, on a daily basis, for there is no status quo in mental health, physical health, careers or relationships. However, the discovery process includes a warning that may you may find your current habits are worthy of upgrades and remodeling. That growth is part of a worthwhile life.

The four exercises below help build self-belief, confidence and resilience. They are a wake-up call to being more aware of complacency in our lives. The exercises also demand courage and trust to perform these growth workouts because they are not the routine of 90 percent of the population.

In your youth and perhaps today, you exercise your body for hours with weights, sports, workouts, walking and living. These exercises are daily workouts for your mind so that you are more empowered, decisive, aware, confident and resilient against the challenges of the 21st century.

Remember that every action is preceded by a thought, and that thought is dictated by your subconscious belief system about you, who you are and your world. We all ask similar questions when choosing a path:

  • If your mind is focused on scarcity/lack, you are likely overly concerned with losing control, losing love, losing money or food, and not keeping up with those you admire. This mindset is common and ruled by the fundamental emotion of fear, which limits our joys and achievements.
  • If your mind is focused on abundance and compassion, you give money, food and time away freely, believing that what you share brings a smile to everyone, including you. This mindset is relatively unusual and ruled by the fundamental emotion love, which inspires healing and forward progress on goals.

So here are the 4 Unconventional Exercises To Strengthen Your Mindset:

  1. CREATE A MOVIE: Before you get out of bed each morning, envision the perfect day in your mind on a large movie screen. As the producer/director, you choose the story, the timing and the people you want involved. Create a short, visual story of joy, peace, fun, adventure, gratitude and compassion. Any list of goals should be in writing to ignite the best chance of achievement. This inspiring movie exercise can be done in about five minutes and helps you bounce out of bed with purpose, anticipation and a smile on our face. This is more than visualization. Ask for details if you are interested.
  2. SAY NO AND MEAN IT: To assist you in becoming more aware and decisive, listen carefully to what others say, ask and demand of you each day. This requires heightened focus on your part. When you hear a request that you cannot accomplish while focusing on your joyful movie concept in real life, look that person in the eyes and say with compassion and without anger, “No thank you.”  The ability to say NO to a bad choice is powerful and freeing; it is your right as an adult to choose left or right, yes or no, right or wrong. And you must be strong, independent in this world. Choose your NO carefully. If you need a  reason for saying NO for the first time ever, tell your parents or spouse it’s part of an assignment in being decisive. PS — Telling a kind, loving grandmother “NO!” just to see her cry is not the goal here. It is to grow your awareness of people and the power of words — and to eliminate any hint that you are passive. For you were born to lead, create and embrace a successful and enjoyable life. Anything less is not authentic.
  3. CHALLENGE BRULES: Assuming you are at least a high school student or older, challenge the “brules” in your life by exploring their history and meaning. Vishen’s book calls these brules for good reason. For example, Americans work longer hours each week and take less vacation time than in many other countries. Are 60+ hour weeks mandatory to get ahead? Millionaires have written repeatedly that focus and dedication are crucial. But burning yourself out or taking a lower-level job and working 20-30 years to move up the ladder is flawed strategy and counter-productive. How about your family, cultural or personal rules for you? Examine your habits, routines, rituals. Do they make sense today? How do they benefit you? Or are they just traditions like the great aunt story in my family who cut the ends off of a large piece of meat before baking. Two generations later, a smart granddaughter asked her mom why she had to cut off and disposed of 1/3 of the large, beautiful ham. Her mom said because your great aunt always prepared it that way; it’s part of the family recipe. Later the girl asked the great aunt why when they were cooking. The great and wise aunt said: “My oven was so small I had no choice but to cut the ends off the ham before it would fit in my tiny oven when I was young.” Many rules are only meant to be followed for a short time.
  4. BE PROACTIVE WITH LOVE: In Vishen’s book, he talks of a 2009 9-day meditation retreat at a private resort where he and his business partner were looking for personal revelations. Vishen’s personal model of reality had gotten him worldwide influence, respect, money and a flourishing education company, Mindvalley. But he achieved only to prove that he was special when he felt deep inside that he was not enough yet. On day nine, he met with a monk who explained that Vishen’s problem was low self-esteem. He was defensive and argued with his partner and others because he needed to prove his ideas to be right, not because they were ideas. It’s an inner game of the subconscious mind that we play in the game of life. To encourage you to move beyond the common issues of doubt, shame, fear, negativity, bullying, abuse, neglect and trauma, I help clients see their true potential. And I would free you from any shade, shelter, mask or costume that you wear to conceal your true greatness. Hiding in the shadows is no longer your concern if you do two simple things: Step into the light with awareness and become proactive. Do not allow others to control you or your views. Think for yourself. Be bold: Arrive first, sit on the front row and ask the first question. Grab the microphone near you (figuratively or literally) and speak up. Request what you want and need because you are important. Awaken before others and take command of each day. Show yourself compassion, love, gratitude and forgiveness. And lead at the front of the pack, helping others to move forward with you. That compassion invites friends and strangers alike to also step out of the shadows and reclaim the natural joy and excellence we all recognize

(Next Time: We will dig into the beliefs, models of reality, created in childhood that become life-long foundations for our lives, loves, careers, possibilities and limitations. Thank you for your time investing in this continuing education series of articles from World Wellness Today. To learn more or arrange a free talk at WorldWellnessToday.com. Or call on Mondays or Wednesdays between 1pm-5pm)