“To live life to the fullest, you must stand guard at the gate of your mind and let only the very best information enter. You truly cannot afford the luxury of a negative thought —not even one…on an average day the average person runs about sixty thousand thoughts through their mind, ninety-five percent of those thoughts are the same as the ones you thought the day before…This is the tyranny of impoverished thinking.”
– Robin Sharma
Over the years I have had in-depth consults with well over 500 athletes, coaches, doctors, lawyers, businessmen, mothers and fathers, as well and sons and daughters.
These consults have morphed and changed over the years, but this morning I was reflecting on if those people had taken just one piece of the information I gave them what would I want them to live? What one thing would I want them to put in play?
The answer bubbled up as a loud smack. A stick hitting my face. Wake up. Start the search. A client recently said, “If there was one word to describe your consults, it would be thorough. How on earth did you learn all this?”
The answer to that question is effort over time. Being patient and the realization that I have attained nothing with nothing to attain. To not just consuming information but being vigilant on what information I am allowing in.
The answer is mindset and don’t get it twisted I still fail every minute, every hour of every day. But I will never stop searching.
“Mind management is the essence of life management.”
When I meet with clients I feel their minds spinning.
● How am I going to make these changes?
● How will this impact my life with my kids?
● Will my spouse hate me?
● Should I throw away this plastic bottle?
● What if I need water later?
● Am I going to die?
● Am I broken?
● Is this guy serious? He needs to shave!
● Why he is wearing gym shorts and working in a garage?
● I generally put my hand on their shoulder and ask them to exhale.
This is the prison of worry and the black hole of mental and physical busyness. To break this cycle, what we have to create is a “gap”.
That gap could be an, “I need to breathe” or “Whoa are those monkeys in that tree?” or “Listen to that cardinal in the distance.”
That gap could be a smile, a cold breeze hitting your face, or that moment when your eyes meet your wife as she comes home from a long day.
We must begin to create this gap. A gap between bites, a gap between thoughts and action, a gap between our old patterns and the present moment. We have to become the watcher and guardian of our thoughts.
“The mind is a wonderful servant, but a terrible master.”
Creating and elongating this gap is our life’s work. If it is not, we become slaves to our emotions and we live our lives as a hyperactive pinball machines of inefficiency.
Creating the Gap…How Do You Start?
My advice find a quiet place and read the wisdom of those who have traveled this path before us. Just ten pages a day for a month, for a year, for a lifetime.
These are some of the books I would start with, I am sure many of you have your own, post them in the comments below!
The Way of the Peaceful Warrior – All of Them
Tao Te Ching
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
The Mutant Message Down Under
A New Earth: Awakening Your Life’s Purpose
Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life
Anything by OG Mandino
Anything by Stephen Covey
The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.
The Long Quiet Highway
Writing Down the Bones
Bird By Bird
The Four Agreements
My Ishmael and The Story of B
The Happiness Project
The War of Art
The next step is the hardest. It is leaving your quiet place and finding other people who are searching just like you. This could be religion, it could be fishing, or it could be a bowling league, but you have to practice with others otherwise none of this matters.
Some of the most vivid moments of my life were when I was practicing at the Original Root Zen Center.
It was addicting, I was sitting zazen, eating simple food, staring at the snow, and spreading pine needles in the garden with other humans who were taking this moment seriously.
I was young and eventually had to leave the nest and find my way. But, this past weekend had that feel. We were breathing, learning, and moving together at the Functional Medicine Costa Rica retreat. People’s walls were broken down and they were paying attention.
They were smiling at one another, playing as children do in the grass, and laughing, I have not heard so much laughter in a long time.
This is life.
Life is not more 4 sets of 10 or setting a new PR. It is waking up happy and excited for the day to come, whether that day be alone or with others. With the underlying knowledge that we are preparing for when that day is our last…because like it or not that day and that last moment will come.