“The mind is like a parachute… It only works if we keep it open.” Albert Einstein.
First a question, what needs to change to allow you to change?
I first heard the above quote around 1985 and I didn’t understand the meaning. About 10 years later
when I found myself in much of the same predicaments as 10 years earlier the meaning dawned on me, talk about a delayed reaction. Let me set the scene, I was trying to salvage what furniture I could before I was locked out my office due to the rent not being paid. My helper made some snide comment like “Haven’t we done this before?”. In a flash, the way our mind works, I heard my sales manager repeating the above quote, “The Mind is like a parachute,…It only works if we keep it open.” I remember at that moment thinking to myself, I must be looking at things the wrong way. I vowed to myself to never let this happen to me again. The next morning I got up to start doing the work that was needed, opening my mind.
Unaware, I lived most of my life to that point with a mind that was closed. It was closed to change., to opportunity, to learning, to new ideas. You get the picture. Sure the problems had different names, but my view of life was fairly static. Truth be told, my thinking about the world had not changed much since I was 8 years old. I was not growing because my mind was not growing. I don’t mean that I didn’t learn new tricks, I did. I mean my beliefs were about the same as when I was a kid. My life was being directed by the likes of an 8 year old child. All of his fears, doubts, beliefs, wants, weaknesses, strengths, were my fears, doubts, beliefs, wants, weaknesses and strengths. I had not challenged this child. Have you challenged yours?
Another quote of Einstein’s goes like this. “ The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.”. He understood me. I didn’t want to do the hard stuff, I just wanted the success. And even though success never found a way into my life at that time, I continued to do the things that kept it away, expecting success to find me. Insanity! Even repeating the success cliche’s I had heard did not bring me success. And unfortunately, that is what we clutter our minds with, the instagram quotes that sound good but have no meaning to our day to day existence.
Frankly, most people are closed minded, or should I say, unwilling to change. It is a protective device our brain uses. Our brain does not like change. It likes the status quo where it does not need to expend energy. If we are surviving, our brain is content. It does not have to think, it just reacts. Our brain loves the routine, the well worn, the brain knows just what to do to survive. But you are not reading this because you want to survive, no, you want to thrive. And that may be the first change that causes us to change; understanding that there is a difference between surviving and thriving. What are you doing? Are you using survival techniques when you need thriving techniques? That was me. I needed an open mind if I was going to succeed.
How do you open your mind? Ask yourself this question, “What if everything I know or believe or am doing is wrong?” Now if everything is going well for you, you may think you don’t need have this conversation with yourself. But be careful, it may be your brain tying to keep you content, so even if you think you are where you want to be, have this conversation with yourself. I always say never change a wining plan. But I bet you are not there if you are reading this article. Ask yourself, is what I am doing working? Are you in sales? Is your system allowing you to have more people to talk to than you have time to see? Is your career path working? Is your diet doing what it should be doing for you? If you answer no to any of these question then you need to open your mind. You need to reevaluate what you are doing. And that is a great step towards success.
Truth be told, for a number of years, I have been unhappy with my weight. My belly stuck out and I was ashamed to see what I looked like in pictures. I talked myself into a number of beliefs like I could think my self thin. But, even though I thought thin, I ate fat, I ate my candy and my snacks and my large meals. And my weight kept going up. My doctor never insulted me, he just kept inviting me to start taking statins. I was in a bad rut. And I was living that crazy thing called, doing the same thing expecting different results.
I don’t know if it was that my weight was approaching 240 pounds, or maybe I was just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Or maybe I thought I should put my goal setting to use again. What ever it was, I came to a point where I admitted that what I was doing was not working and I needed to change. I admit it didn’t change over night. But change started. I set my first 13 week goal: I would be candy free for 13 weeks. I was eating a pound of smarties in a week to 10 days. I became Smarter free for 13 weeks, and I haven’t had one since. My next goal was to move: 13 weeks of excersizing 2 times a week. I now exercise 3 times a week. I love how 13 week goals empower us. Movement brought the realization that snacking was counter productive my health. You guessed it, 13 weeks of junk food free. I expanded that goal to dairy and meat free for 13 weeks. I am in the middle of that goal as I write. My change began by asking the question “what if what I am doing is all wrong?” As you can see, that questioned has changed my life. Funny thing here, it was the same question I had to ask myself about my work and finances. I have found that when we open our mind we loose our stubbornness and we open ourselves up to opportunity, what ever that opportunity is.
2020 will bring you plenty if you open your mind. Happy New Year!