Hey! I’m glad you’re here! This is episode 2 of An Owner’s Guide for Your Life.
Today we’re going to talk about managing our minds.
This is the foundation of owning your life. Being able to manage my mind has helped me more in life than pretty much anything else I can think of BECAUSE my mind touches everything in my life.
From my interactions with my husband to the way I perform my work. I’m an entrepreneur. I’ve got several businesses and my mind stays busy. It’s filled with thoughts and information and decisions and judgments and all the stuff.
My mind is the filter that I use to see the world. My opinions about my self and my value, other people and their value.
My mind decides what I want to eat and how much and when and if I enjoy my food.
The same kind of things go on in YOUR mind- I can’t come up with anything that isn’t affected in some way by what happens in our heads.
Now ‘managing your mind’. You might not be quite familiar with this idea of managing your mind. It may seem like one of those phrases the cool nerdy kids say or as some people I know might say that’s some hippie-dippie stuff. But let’s start with this.
Here’s what managing your mind DOESN’T look like…
- It doesn’t look like sitting cross legged on your yoga mat in meditation for hours every day, chanting OMMMMM. No, now there’s a place for that but you don’t have to meditate for hours every day.
- Managing your mind doesn’t look like ignoring your feelings or pushing them away. Your goal is NOT to be a robot- well, I don’t think that’s your goal. I think your goal is to be an excellent owner of your life.
- Managing your mind doesn’t mean being so wrapped up in yourself and focused on YOU that everything is all about you and you aren’t any dang good for anybody else because you’ve become so narcissistic that it’s all about you. No. That’s not managing your mind.
- It also doesn’t mean that you’ve got to follow some rigid program for superhuman success. Anybody who knows me knows how I feel about rigid programs. Blech. It goes back to my earliest childhood where I’d pop my little toddler hands on my little toddler hips and say “you ain’t the boss of me”. Nah. That’s how I feel about rigid programs.
[3:25] Here’s what managing your mind looks like.
It starts with being AWARE of our thoughts.
Noticing what we’re thinking.
We have 10’s of thousands of thoughts a day. We’re not going to be able to be aware of them all and able to corral all of them. We’ve got life to live. We’ve got things to do so we can’t just sit around and think about our thoughts all the time. Even people who love to think- and I LOVE to think- we don’t want to sit around thinking about thinking ALL the time. That’s not what we’re after.
You want to pay attention periodically to WHAT you’re thinking and then you start to see patterns of thoughts and feelings that hook together like a daisy chain. Did you ever sit out in the yard and make a little daisy chain? I did. It was fun. But the idea is that one thought leads to another then another.
Here’s a story to show you the impact of thoughts.
Back in 2015, the Dove company (the soap people, you know the beauty company, not the Dove chocolate folks) ran an advertising campaign they called #ChooseBeautiful. They went to buildings in five different cities that had side-by-side entry doors. They put a sign over one door that said “BEAUTIFUL” . The door next to it had a sign that said “AVERAGE”.
Then they tucked themselves away out of sight and filmed people entering the buildings, making the choice about which door to walk through.
Now, stop and think about what YOU would do. Would you even notice the signs? Which door would you choose? I’ll tell you my answers in a minute.
Like you’d expect, some people were oblivious to the signs and they just beebopped on in because they had things on their mind and it was a door.
Now, others would stop and look up and study the signs then make their choice. You could watch them. The body language was so strong for some of them- you could almost see the wheels turn in their head and you could tell when they’d decided which door to walk through.
When they chose the average door- their head would just drop down and their shoulders would slump and it was like a walk of shame through the average door.
But if they chose the beautiful door- their heads were up, their shoulders were back, and there was this confident stride right on through the beautiful door.
Some people would glance up, see the signs and make a quick decision without even breaking stride. It was really funny. I saw footage of this one woman, she was like grabbing her friend and almost dragging her over so they could walk through the beautiful door. Like she was telling her, “I’ve got enough belief for both of us! Come on, let’s do it!”
Which door do you think most people chose?
Most people chose to walk through the average door.
What’s also interesting about this is that once they got inside, surveyors would ask people why they chose the door they chose. One of the few women who went through the Beautiful door said, “I felt empowered. It was my time to tell the world I think I’m beautiful!”
The average door comments were basically along the lines of “Who am I to say I’m beautiful?” and “Yeah, I went through the average door- and it felt bad!”
This story has a very personal side for me because it’s come to mean a lot in my family.
I was telling my husband and our sons about this campaign, hmmm, I guess the year after it happened so five or six years ago.
I told them then I would have walked through the average door.
Well, my oldest son, he’s this big burly construction superintendent who deals with gigantic equipment and dirt moving and tractors and trucks. He is not into beauty things or fashion at all. He just popped right up and said “I’d be strutting through that beautiful door like this! And, Mama, YOU should TOO!”
Well there are three things here that I love.
First, I love that I raised a human who thinks like that. [laughter] I really love it. I just want to sit and enjoy that for a minute.
The second thing isI love that he’s right. We should ALL be able to strut through the beautiful door. How good would that feel?
Third, this has become a catchphrase for us. We’ll ask each other “Hey, are you walking through the beautiful door?” It’s a reminder to check your thinking to see if you’re working off of bad information. Do you have that stinkin’ thinkin’ going on or are we really making a good choice? It’s even so much of a phrase that even in my extended family, my sister even made me a sign that just says “beautiful” to hang over my door.
I highly recommend to use that. Are you walking through the beautiful door?
So those years ago, I wasn’t ready to walk through the beautiful door and I wasn’t happy about it–
knowing the things that I know about brains and thinking and such things-
I looked closely at WHAT my thoughts were.
Now it wasn’t only because of what the word beautiful itself means though I do have a LOT of thoughts about “I don’t look like a cover model”.
I noticed all the things I had attached to the word beautiful.
Here are a few thoughts I had developed over my life thinking, “I’m not beautiful.”
It was kind of sneaky.
“I’m not beautiful“ had daisy-chained into thoughts of
“I’m not valuable.”
“I’m not worthy.”
“I don’t measure up.”
“I don’t matter.”
That’s not what beautiful actually means but I’d started associating things with ’beautiful’. It’s like our own personal game of Jeopardy- I’ll take things associated with beautiful for $500.
That’s what our brains do.
They make pathways of associations.
Now here’s the second step and it’s just as important as the first step of being aware of your thoughts. The second step in managing your mind is realizing that NOT ALL THOUGHTS ARE TRUE.
Just because you’ve got a thought going through your head doesn’t make it true.
It’ s just a thought, just a sentence rolling through.
Now that may be an idea you want to spend some time with. We’re so accustomed to believing everything we think, because we’ve got all these thoughts rolling through our head, after all, it’s in OUR head, in our voice- so it must be true, right?
Thoughts are sentences and phrases that we think.
We do NOT have to believe them all.
We get to DECIDE what to believe.
Since we get to decide what to believe, why not choose to believe thoughts that will help us?
Sounds really simple, doesn’t it?
It IS simple. But it’s not always easy.
It’s a skill to practice.
The more you do it, the stronger your belief muscle will get- just like working out. The more you work out, the stronger your muscles get.
You’re gonna find it’s easier to do with certain thoughts and it’s harder to do with others.
Sometimes you’ll be able to catch yourself really fast “Oh crap, man, that is not helping me. Not at all! Other times you’ll be so FAR down the path, believing all the thoughts you’ve daisy chained together in your mind. After all, you’ve spent YEARS knitting these thoughts together so they’re pretty dang strong.
But it doesn’t mean they’re unbreakable.
And it doesn’t mean they’re true.
Now along with all our thoughts, come our feelings. And our thoughts and our feelings collaborate to bring about our actions and thoughts and feelings and actions- this is what makes up our life.
But for today, we’re going to stop here – just focus on thinking about our thoughts.
Next episode, we’ll talk about feelings.
In future episodes, I’ll be featuring questions from listeners, other life owners like you. If you have a question or a topic or situation you want us to explore, send me an email- doesn’t have to be fancy- just cover the basics and send it to email@example.com with ‘podcast question’ in the subject line and hit send. Can’t wait to hear from you!
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