I am addicted to success, but my definition of success may be different than most. Rather than a desired destination like accomplishing a goal or achieving a dream, my definition is being able to consistently make choices that bring long-lasting joy and meaning to my life AND the lives of others. Finding excitement and significance in more of our moments, that’s what I’m after.
It rained last night. And while going for a walk this morning holding my newborn baby girl in my arms, breathing in the crisp clean air, I experienced a cleansing.
After a few minutes of allowing my mind to wander in unintentionality, I began to bask in being present to the present. The dirt of yesterday’s regrets and tomorrow’s worries vaporized before my eyes. I felt lighter. I could see more clearly. I began focusing on the things that matter most: my family, my encouraging connections, my ability to deliberately shift my attention; caring for my mind, my body, and my emotional well-being; living for more than just a paycheck, positively contributing to the world, removing the rush and savoring the simple; looking into my baby’s eyes with awe and wonder, being overwhelmed by love, being led by love.
If we’re honest, I think it’s safe to say that most of the time we focus on matters that don’t actually matter. What a horrible way to live! Why on earth do we do such a thing? I think it’s because we buy into the lie that being busy is best. But it’s not. Being perpetually busy is simply a surefire way to burnout.
“You either control your mind or it controls you.” – Napoleon Hill
You Have Permission
Thankfully, you don’t have to walk through the rain to be washed by it. You don’t have to work yourself to the bone before you can take a break. You don’t have to reach a certain level of success before you can begin actually enjoying life. You don’t have to do anything. But you get to do so much.
Work can wait. A project can be postponed. You can take a few days off and it won’t be the end of the world. Need permission? You’ve got it. In fact, if you take a few days off to reconnect with those things that matter most, not only will you perform at a higher level, you will be living at a higher level.
It’s Mind Wash Time
So many people care more about their cars than their minds. To prove it, which would you be more likely to notice needs to be washed first, your mind or your car? I’m guessing you said your car. And that makes sense seeing as the dirt on your car is easier to see. Ready for your mind wash? On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate yourself in each of these areas:
- Family Time
- Cultivating Encouraging Connections
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Spiritual Health
- Emotional Well-Being
- Present Mindedness (Focused Breathing)
- Personal Growth
- Contribution to the World
- Ability to remove the rush and savor the simple
After giving it some thought, what areas were the dirtiest? If you rated yourself less than a 7 in any of these categories, what are some ways you could improve in each? Write it down—RIGHT NOW—while it’s fresh on your mind. It’s way too important to just brush off and say you’ll do it some other time.
Do you have a few hours a day set aside to give your family and those that you love your full attention? How much time a day are you investing in yourself: your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being? Are you able to scatter a few activities throughout each day that you look forward to and are genuinely excited about doing? What areas need your immediate attention, and what are you going to do about it?
Side note: Guess what the number one predictor of one’s happiness is? I’ll give you a clue: it has nothing to do with income, outlook on life, or even the climate in which you live. The number one predictor of one’s happiness is (drumroll please…) your connections, your life-giving links, your social support group. So make sure you remember just how important those relationships are. Life is all about relationships…especially the one you have with yourself!
“The mind reflects the world, and the world reflects the mind.” – James Pierce
The Mind Wash Challenge
I challenge you to wash your mind more than your car. If you don’t wash your car, forget about that analogy! Wash your mind anyway, at least once a week and see how big of a difference it can make. Make it a commitment. Put it in your calendar and set an alarm on your phone. It’s a cleansing that most don’t know they need.