Think your way to success. Developing your mind for total self-improvement.
As a control station for all we do, the brain serves an immensely valuable function. Thoughts, feelings and desires, shaped through the attitudes we foster and beliefs we hold, control the decisions we make, which dictate how our lives ultimately unfold.
If we see the world in negative terms - the so-called half glass viewpoint - this perspective is sure to result in negative consequences for much of what we do. A positive mindset, on the other hand, will provide a richly rewarding life.
With the brain being the complex organ it is, our thought process will, however, at some point, stray to the negative - assuming you are positively inclined for the most part (as a Bodybuildng.com reader this is highly likely). To offset this possibility, and to get back on track should it occur, a good framework from which to encourage a healthy mindset is required to ensure you remain as sound of mind as you are of body.
This article provides tips, tricks and strategies for empowering the mind and keeping it so.
Click To Enlarge. If We See The World In Negative Terms, It
Could Have Negative Consequences For What We Do.
Nurture Your Mind For Success
Caring for your mind - the element of consciousness governed by our brain that feels, thinks, reasons, wills, judges and perceives - is equally as important as treating your body well. What we feed our mind manifests in how we view the world and our place in it.
In addition, how we nourish the mind in building on its potential shapes our ability to channel it in the right direction, one geared towards success. On the latter point, external factors such as exercise, diet, environment and rest all play a role in shaping positive thought processes, as they contribute to the overall health of the brain - the strengthening of the neurons and their connections - thus favorably impacting the mind’s potential.
To strengthen the mind to build a neuronal network receptive to new ideas and approaches there must be a constant flow of positive input.
To transform your mind into a receptacle for positive thought, the following three pointers, developed though this author’s experiences in working with thousands of successful people are to be read and understood. I truly believe these hold the key to unlimited personal growth and true greatness.
Click To Enlarge. To Stengthen The Mind There Must Be
A Constant Flow Of Positive Input.
Completely Analyze The Situation
To fully grow as individuals we must develop a mindset that is attuned to building a thorough understanding of any situation in which we find ourselves. Confusion and misunderstanding are breeding grounds for indecision, anger and self-doubt - factors associated with faulty thinking and negative thought patterns.
Therefore, before judging any situation, or problem, it is best to step back and place yourself in the shoes of those involved; gather a complete picture of what has occurred to determine what has happened and why based on objective observation rather than pre-conceived notions and prejudices.
For example, being upset at someone for not responding to a call may lead you to conclude this person is not reliable, and not worthy of your time. A multitude of reasons, however, could be given for why this person did not return the call - car problems, unforeseen work or family commitments, inability to receive the call and so on.
Blaming this person will only serve to foster an attitude of blame, which will lend itself to anger, self-doubt and indecision. A mind receptive to positive thoughts is able to fully analyze a given situation to gain a complete understanding. Determine the cause before jumping to conclusions and your mind will be free to form an understanding of what really happened.
Click To Enlarge. It Is Best To Step Back And Place Yourself
In The Shoes Of Those Invloved.
Remain Calm In The Face Of Adversity
Our attitude under pressure stems from how we decide to respond to a given situation. A friend of mine, a former motocross rider and budding bodybuilding star, was faced with a choice: give up out of frustration and panic, or think things through and develop a mindset geared to achieving success.
This young man with a bright future ahead of him was paralyzed from the waist down after a motocross accident, and his dreams of athletic success were stripped from him. Although this outcome would have thrown many into despair, my friend focused all his energies on facing the future with a positive, composed mindset.
He now is a wheelchair bodybuilding champion, in addition to being a stronger, more focused person, and his attitude is an inspiration to everyone he meets.
Throughout our lives we will all face adversity. How we deal with it ultimately shapes how we view the world. Again, this process of choice stems from maintaining a clear mind, one that is receptive to positive thoughts. The choices we make influence the degree to which problems (or what we perceive to be problems) will affect our thought processes. Remain calm, assess the situation and approach the future in the manner my friend did: with a positive mindset.
Click To Enlarge. How We Deal With Adversity Ultimately
Shapes How We View The World.
Strengthening your mind in preparation for success in any area involves complete focus on whatever we wish to accomplish. Sure there are times to fully relax, and these are important for resting and recharging, but if success is to be realized, we must apply focus in our lives when and where it counts.
Sloppy, disorganized thinking will result in a lazy mind that is less likely to receive positive stimuli. Being acutely aware of our actions and the thoughts that precede these actions will enable us to be better attuned to exactly what is needed for us to accomplish our goals.
Using positive thinking to continually reinforce why we are doing something is a major step toward the strengthening of mind that results in sharp mental focus, as opposed to disorganized thinking.
People with few aspirations and little motivation to overcome fear and undertake new challenges usually lack focus. Focus, at its highest level, requires total awareness of what you are doing and a complete understanding of why.
While having a plan and using this plan to structure your life is a fundamentally important step toward this aim, possessing an ability to channel your thoughts into the moment is equally as critical. This process demands total concentration and complete pride in your performance.
A total commitment to accomplishing your goal is needed, and complete buy-in to what you are doing is essential. This involves having a vested interest in the task at hand; the more significant the project, the more at stake as far as what you will gain from applying total focus.
This is why it is important to aspire to greatness rather than mediocrity. Pursuing greatness involves foregoing the mediocre for what is substantially a more worthy and challenging task. The more worthy the task, the easier it is to apply focus, as the eventual rewards will be much greater, and the bigger will be the fall should you falter.
Having pride in what you are doing is also easier to accomplish if you are involved in the activity on a number of levels, to a greater extent.
For example, managing a store as opposed to working the counter demands, in general, a greater degree of responsibility and skill. The manager is more likely to apply greater focus, as he or she has more at stake in terms of potential career advancement and financial rewards.
Taking this a step further, the owner of this store would likely apply greater focus still, as they have the greater investment. Investment in what you are doing - whether that investment is financial, personal or spiritual - is truly the key to complete involvement in that task or activity. To attain success, we must direct our lives towards complete investment in what we are doing.
It is clear from what we have discussed that the more significant the task, the greater will be the willingness on the part of the participant to more fully apply all they have. In this respect, aspiring to greatness will foster a greater sense of focus. This is likely to enable us to reach even higher in other areas through the positive flow-on effect such thinking engenders. Success begets success.
Click To Enlarge. If You’re Having Trouble With Focus, Remember
That You’re Making An Investing In Yourself.
Keep Your Mind Healthy
As well as programming your mind for success, it is important to maintain its integrity to strengthen its neural connectivity. The strength of connection between brain cells and the health of the cells themselves is an important factor in establishing an environment necessary for continued development of the perception, reasoning, thinking and feeling skills needed to attain success at the highest levels of performance.
In essence, an alert, optimally functioning mind is more receptive to positive environmental stimuli and able to think positively. Practicing valuable methods for attuning your mind to greatness cannot be fully achieved if the mind is functioning sub-optimally. Areas such as nutrition, exercise, sleep and positive living environment will contribute to a healthy, receptive mind.
Maintenance factors that keep the brain healthy and receptive to positive thoughts include:
Regular Physical Exercise
has a remarkable affect on how we think and feel. Stimulating the muscles of the body, aerobically in particular, will allow for adequate oxygen flow to the brain, thereby bathing the neurons (brain cells) from which the impulses of the mind originate, in its life giving properties.
Without oxygen, carried in the blood to various tissues of the body, the very life force of a particular area will be drained. This includes the brain.
The brain needs a plentiful supply of oxygen to survive and function optimally, and exercise is, by far, the best method to achieve this. Increased blood flow to the brain will also supply it with the nutrients needed to build healthy cells, and to supply it with adequate energy to power its thought processes.
While cardiovascular exercise will ensure more oxygen is taken into the body, thus achieving greater oxygen uptake by the brain, anaerobic work - which commonly involves weight training - will stimulate the mind for peak performance through a different set of processes.
Each time we train with resistance, the brain releases endorphins: chemicals, which provide an anaesthetizing effect to suppress muscle pain and to ultimately hasten tissue repair. In addition, these endorphins have a positive effect on how we feel - many liken the effect caused by resistance training-induced endorphin release to a high that facilitates positive emotions.
Thinking becomes clearer and the mind is more receptive to positive thoughts at this time. Exercise, both aerobic and anaerobic, can therefore significantly prepare the mind for positive thinking.
Click To Enlarge. Endorphins Released During Resistance Training Serve
To Speed Muscle Repair But Also Make Us Feel Good.
A Sound Nutrition Plan
The brain needs constant blood flow to supply the nutrients needed for development and energy purposes. Given brain tissue is comprised of fats - which form brain cell membranes - along with various proteins that comprise the different structures within its cells (the organelles), it requires a plentiful supply of these nutrients to reach its potential.
A poorly functioning brain can be attributed, in part, to a lack of the essential nutrients so vital to its function.
A diet rich in essential fats such as omega three oils and complete protein sources like fish, eggs and chicken will supply, respectively, the fats and proteins needed for proper development. The sub-optimal development of the brain may lead to disorganized thinking and poor mental performance, so providing the listed nutrients is a vital step toward the promotion of a healthy mind.
Another nutrient, carbohydrate, is also essential for the proper functioning of the brain. Carbohydrates are known as the body’s primary energy nutrient, and the brain preferentially uses these to function.
Without adequate carbohydrate intake from foods such as brown rice, potatoes, and whole wheat bread (collectively known as complex carbohydrates due to their ability to release energy slowly), the brain will feel groggy and sluggish, not states conducive to the heightened mental alertness needed to facilitate higher thought processes.
Given the important role nutrition has in brain development and performance, it is essential one include a healthy diet - along with a sound exercise plan - in their daily schedule.
Click To Enlarge. It Is Essential To Include Carbohydrates In
Your Diet Because The Brain Uses Them To Function.
Sleep is a restorative process associated with proper mental functioning. During sleep the brain undergoes a series of stages, each specifically timed and structured to rest the mind and body in preparation for the following day’s activities.
As most will attest, a restless night - think the weeks following the arrival of a newborn baby - will leave them feeling tired and mentally drained the next day. Many who do not achieve optimal sleep complain of poor focus and mental performance, and even depression. Clearly these states are not beneficial for the alertness of mind needed to consistently think positive thoughts.
A good night of sleep can range from seven to nine hours, on average, although some can get by on as little as six. Finding the ideal period and consistently maintaining this is an important step towards improving mental function.
In an ideal world we would sleep well every night. However, certain events may preclude this consistency. A 30-minute nap during the day could be one way to compensate for a poor night of sleep, although it should by no means justify regular broken sleep patterns.
It can, however, be used as an occasional measure. Regular, quality sleep, in conjunction with a good diet and exercise program will enable the mind to operate as nature intended: with sharp mental focus and higher level thought patterns.
Click To Enlarge. A Good Night Of Sleep Can Range
From Seven To Nine Hours.
A Positive Environment
One environmental factor responsible for positive thinking is our social context. Associating with negative people and witnessing negative events can, regardless of our disposition at the time, negatively influence our mind.
A major aspect of achieving a success mindset, as reinforced throughout this article, is positive, focused thinking. Enduring a person who has a constantly negative outlook on life will drain us of our mental energy. This energy is needed to accomplish the mindset necessary for personal growth at the highest level, which is developed through the persistent and diligent efforts needed to learn and apply the strategies outlined here.
Without mental energy and concomitant focus and desire to improve, we will find it increasingly hard to apply positive strategies to our lives, and may find ourselves slowly developing a negativity mindset.
Negativity is all around. Much of what we encounter daily is potentially negative: whether it be news-media coverage of events, work-related, or relationship-based. It is often unavoidable.
If we choose to restructure our thinking, however, by transforming our mind into a receptacle for positive thought, we will naturally disregard most of what is negative. Negative people will no longer factor into our thought patterns, as their actions will become inconsequential to how we view the world.
Negative events will have little consequence, as our minds will be attuned to positive self-development. Remember, we can control the events in our lives with the right thought patterns. Eliminating unnecessary negative influences and events will enable our minds to become receptive to the thought patterns necessary for the achievement of greatness.
Click To Enlarge. By Transforming Our Mind Into A Receptacle For Positive
Thought, We Will Naturally Disregard Most Of What Is Negative.
Control Your Mind And Control Your Destiny
The mind controls all we do in a positive manner, when fully developed and attuned to success through positive thought development and careful maintenance. Considering the influence the mind has on all we do, its wellbeing should be paramount as we work to realize the potential we all hold.
Having a definite plan with goals listed in order of importance will enable us to focus on, and distinguish what is needed to attain great success in any of life’s arenas. Aligning with great people will provide vital knowledge and inspiration, which will assist with goal achievement.
Working on our confidence and willingness to face our fears will enable us to put into practice, and capitalize on our mind’s growing potential.
To succeed in these areas, all critical for positive thinking, the mind must be cared for much the same way we would care for a growing child. It needs proper nutrition, exercise and rest along with positive stimulation and reinforcement. Once these maintenance factors are in place, along with the right thought patterns, we can truly realize our full potential.