I used to view humans as rational beings who are corrupted by emotions. With more experience and research, I have come to realize that humans are emotional beings who occasionally think rationally. Emotions are real and ever present. The ability to properly evaluate and understand our own emotions will allow us to use our intelligence to properly address the varying situations we may encounter throughout the day. Ignoring emotions or failing to understand their impact on our life will prevent us from making rational decisions which will impede our growth.
I was told as a kid that if I ate too many watermelon seeds that I would grow a watermelon in my stomach. Maybe that is why it seems that they only sell "seedless" watermelons at the grocery store. I may have been naive to believe that the seeds in my stomach would grow watermelons but the myth wasn't far from the truth. Watermelons seeds reap watermelons. Just as apple seeds bring apple trees or wheat seeds bring fields of wheat. Whatever we sow into the ground is what comes up. The same is true with our lives. When we invest money, we make more money. When we invest in people, we tend to have more friends. When we invest in a sport or hobby or our faith, we tend to grow. Unfortunately, when we invest in negativity, we tend to grow more negative. When we invest in judgment or scorn or bitterness or anger, we tend to be judged or scorned or treated with bitterness or anger. We reap what we sow. So what? Exactly. What do we want to reap, that is what we should sow.
Falling down. It happens. We may trip over our own feet or we may lose balance by carrying too much stuff or someone may get in our way either intentionally or unintentionally and cause us to lose balance. Regardless of the cause, we may find our self on the ground. Now we are faced with a decision. Do we complain? Do we sulk? Do we curl up in a ball and roll around riling in pain? Do we curse? Do we give up and just lay there? Do we get up? Do we shake it off and begin walking again? Do we make the choice to not let our own mistake or our own momentary lack of ability or the intentional or unintentional acts of others dictate the next few moments or hours or days or weeks or the rest of our life? Falling down is easy. It happens more than we may recognize. The intentional choice to get up and take control of our lives after we fall down is what separates us from those who choose to stay down. Please Get UP!
"Not enough time" is considered the number one source of distress and often the first excuse given by anyone who doesn't want to do something. We have a choice to properly manage both scheduled and unscheduled (discretionary time). When managing our time, most of us will discover that we have more discretionary time than we first think that we have. The ability to control and manage and utilize discretionary time will increase the probability of success and greatly decrease distress and a negative mindset.
Consistency leads to success. It is better to do a little each day than to perform any behavior is spurts. We have all tried to cram for an exam in college or lose weight over a weekend so we can fit into that outfit for a special occasion. It may get a short term result but it doesn't last. Anything worth having takes time and effort. Studying a little bit each day helps retain information. Eating right each day creates a discipline but also positively impacts our metabolism. Working out a little each day creates a balance in training and improves fitness gains. Reading our Bible each day provides constant reminders of how we should behave. The more days we can put together without taking a voluntary break will lead us to success. Involuntary breaks happen (that is part of life) whether it is a sickness or a conflict in schedules. Those who avoid voluntary breaks are the ones who can successfully overcome involuntary breaks and reduce the negative impact of "interrupted training".
A hammer can be really helpful if you need to pound in a nail. A hammer can do some damage when you swing it wildly in a room full of fine china. A screwdriver is beneficial when you have a loose screw or even when you need to open a can of paint. A screwdriver can cause some damage to a pair of jeans or even a leg if you aren't careful with it. A rake is helpful when cleaning up after a storm but can be destructive when you leave it out and trip over it when chasing after your three year old daughter. We all realize that tools have a purpose and when used properly, they are beneficial but when used improperly may cause damage. Correctly identifying the tools in our lives and using them properly can be the difference between success and failure or even productivity or destruction. A scale can help us to manage our weight so we don't become too heavy and unhealthy but a scale can be mentally destructive if we allow that number to control or dictate our daily joy. Money can help meet our needs but it can also fuel habits that are unhealthy or focus our attention on something that is not helpful. We need to first identify the tools in our lives and then evaluate whether they are truly tools that help us or have they become weapons against us.
It is often said that the hardest part of any exercise routine is lacing up you shoes. When I was in college, often the hardest part of studying was opening up the book to the first page. Getting started is often much harder than any subsequent step. The truth is that failure for many is a result of never trying. We often get caught up in results and the steps to along the way and it paralyzes us from making the initial movement we need to take. We can help ourselves out tremendously by understanding that getting started will often be enough momentum to move us toward achieving our goals. It seems simple but the solution to procrastination is action..In order to run 3 miles today, I need to first step out the door.
Let go, move on, and allow others (as well as yourself) to make mistakes.
The inability to attribute either success or failure to the correct source will result in future restrictions to growth and success. Properly identifying what lead to the success or failure will greatly increase the ability to succeed in the future. We succeed and fail many times throughout the day. Consciously or unconsciously, we evaluate each action or behavior or interaction as being "good" or "bad" or "successful" or "failure" or a "win" or a "loss". We leave a conversation and think, "that went well" or "that wasn't very good". We make a meal and think, "I enjoyed that" or "that didn't turn out as I wanted". We choose a route to a location and get stuck in traffic and complain "I wish I would have chosen the other way". Small or large, we label our actions as success or failure. The more important aspect of this is that we attribute causes to those results. Did we contribute to that success or failure through our own efforts and abilities or was the outcome determined by outside forces like luck/unlucky or the mere difficulty of the task? I lost the game because I am not good or I "choked" or I lost the game because my opponent was superior and I played well but they were better. I earned the promotion because I worked hard and put in the time and effort or I simply was the next in line and was in the right place at the right time? It is important that we properly attribute the cause of our success or failure because our mindset (usually in the form of confidence or lack of confidence) will dictate how we react or perform in the future.
The ability to motivate yourself and control your emotions, especially when life is not going as expected, is not an easy task. Unfortunately, most people are controlled by the emotions of an unpredictable life. The "Highs" are high and the "Lows" are low. The inconsistency prevents progress. However, being a boat on the sea that is tossed up and down by the waves is not how we should live. We should take control of the sails of that boat and grab a hold of the rudder and turn the nose of the boat into the wind. We need to take control. We should never put too much value in all of the good things that are said about us and we should never put too much value in the negative things that are attributed to us either. The truth is in the middle. We have the ability to filter. We have control of our mind, attitude and emotions and that control will allow us to proceed forward toward our full potential by keeping us focused on reality instead of perception.