Changing Your Mind
A little over two months ago, I had one of the toughest days of my life. It wasn’t all that trying physically, but mentally and emotionally it was a nightmare. That night, sleep became a foreign concept light years beyond my reach because my mind just wouldn’t stop replaying the day over and over again.
The next morning I shared with my wife what I was going through. She then relayed to me the story of a man she had heard speak days prior on a podcast. The gentleman’s name was Hal Elrod, and I can honestly say that this was the moment when my life was forever changed.
The gist of the story is this: Hal Elrod was a twenty year old highly successful salesman who was involved in a terrifying accident on the freeway. His body was shattered and the man had to be revived several times. After awaking from a comatose state, Hal was informed that it was quite possible that he would never walk again. Nevertheless, this remarkable individual found the inner strength to joke and laugh with the people around him, and was able to maintain a jovial state.
Of course, Hal’s doctor was sure that he was in denial. He expressed his concern to Hal’s father, who took it upon himself to have a serious talk with his son. When confronted, Hal revealed to his dad that he lived by the five minute rule; that no matter how dire a situation was he would allow himself five minutes to react negatively, to scream, kick, curse, and do whatever he needed to in order to process the situation. After that, he would accept the situation and move on to developing a positive way of either changing the circumstance or adapting to it. He then assured his astonished father that if his fate was to never walk again, he would be the happiest guy alive in a wheelchair.
Hal’s story inspired me. It helped me to see that there was a way to live that didn’t revolve around negativity. It taught me that even when circumstances look their worse there still exists the possibility of being happy and not allowing your situation to dictate your frame of mind.
Today, two months after the last bad day I will ever have, I can say that I am a genuinely happy person. I love the life I have and all of the people surrounding me. My life isn’t perfect but I have come to realize that it is mine and I have the power to make it into whatever I want it be. And I choose for it to be great.
Now understand, this change did not come overnight. The day I heard about Hal was merely the beginning. But I used that day as a starting point and eventually reached the point where I am today. I changed my mind. And my life has changed as a result.
Let me be clear: I’m no self-help guru or motivational speaker and I don’t have ten letters following my name. But what I do have is the experience of making a conscious effort to change my mind and the will and fortitude to see it through.
Throughout this journey, I have come across several principles that have definitely worked for me. And because I wish happiness and success for all of my family and friends I am going to share a few of those principles with you now.
Before I begin though, it is imperative that you grasp a few concepts that I will relate as simply as possible in two steps.
The first step towards making any kind of change is awareness; we must be humble enough to admit that we don’t have all the answers and that what we are doing is not producing the effects that we want.
The second step is realizing just how powerful our minds are and that it is essentially the basis for everything in our lives. It is only by changing our minds that we will ever be able to change our lives.
Principle #1: The Five Minute Rule
I know I mentioned this a few paragraphs ago but it bears repeating, seeing as how it has had such a profound effect on my life. No matter what happens during the course of the day I give myself no more than five minutes to react negatively; after that my focus turns to finding a positive way to deal with or change the situation. If the situation cannot be changed, I have learned to accept it quickly and move on.
Principle #2: Crowd Control
There is a saying that you essentially are a reflection of the five people you spend the most time with. This means that you absolutely must manage your interpersonal relationships. Make a habit of choosing your crowd as opposed to letting the crowd choose you. If you are having personal relationships and speaking regularly with people who are not in the same frame of mind as you are, your own mindset will change. Think about it: if you place a clean sheet in a puddle of mud, the sheet will become muddy; the mud will never become “sheety”. Remember, relationships should complement your life, not complicate it.
Principle #3: Create New Influences
We are influenced by everything we allow into our minds. While it can be nearly impossible to stop every negative influence, we can elect to instill in our minds positive influences. Think of it as making food choices; we always have the choice of eating healthy or eating junk. If the majority of the time we are choosing junk, our bodies will reflect that decision. The mind is pretty much the same; more than not our output will reflect our input. An easy way to create new influences is by reading, writing, meditating, or just taking the time to learn something new.
These are just a few of the things I have learned as I make my way down the path of greatness. They have worked wonders for me and I’m sure that if you are willing to apply them to your own life they will take you to new heights as well.
Have a great day! We’ll talk again…