Many of you have read about my immersive year studying with Tony Robbins. One of the things I learned is that success without fulfillment is failure, and that the key to living a fulfilling life is managing one’s mind. That requires that I manage my internal state, no matter what is happening externally. This has been my quest for the past 18 months and I have to admit it’s the biggest challenge I have ever taken on. I actually refer to managing my mind as my part-time job!
Why is managing one’s mind so important? Our minds are built to keep us safe, not to make us happy. They evolved to spot danger and alert out ancestors to the presence of carnivorous animals so they could run away. Even though most of us today are not under any threat of being eaten by a bear, our minds still hone in on perceived dangers. Many of these things are not real threats, but we react as though they are. This constant focus on the negative permeates our entire existence.
Our minds also store “garbage” from our past. Have you even been in a good mood when all of a sudden something triggers you and puts in a bad mood? Chances are that some old hurt, possibly from your childhood, has been reignited and your past has become your present. Your mind is again in charge of your state! Michael Singer’s best selling book The Untethered Soul addresses this beautifully. In February, I completed his 8-hour online course called Living from a Place of Surrender, and his techniques for releasing old garbage and clearing a path for joy and happiness are phenomenal.
I just finished Shirzad Chamine’s bestselling book, Positive Intelligence. Chamine, CEO of the world’s largest coaching company, created PQ, a quotient that measures how much time our minds spend on positive vs. negative thoughts. You can take a free online quiz here to get a score. Most of us score under the minimum desired score of 75. This means that we focus on problems rather than opportunities. Chamine helps us to identify the “saboteurs” that dominate who our minds and cause us to focus on the negative. We all are afflicted with the Judger saboteur, who likes to judge both ourselves and others, plus one or two more – my biggest saboteur is my need to control. These saboteurs are not who we are, and we can learn to control them and keep our minds from defaulting to the negative.
I have been training my mind to focus on all the good stuff that happens in my life every single day. When ever something small but great happens, like when the light turns green just as I reach the crosswalk, or when elevator appears right after I hit the button, I say, “Wow, a miracle!” I know how silly this sounds, but I am in charge of my mind now and I want it to recognize all the great stuff that happens every day. Managing my mind is a daily practice, and although I am definitely a work in progress, I can honestly say that the tools and techniques I have learned enable me to be in a positive state more frequently, no matter what is happening externally. Our minds are tools – we can decide to manage our minds rather than have our minds dictate how we see our lives. You can have a lot of achievement, but if you don’t feel proud of yourself and grateful, that’s success without fulfillment!