What Are You Allowing In

I’ve been thinking this week about how what we fill our minds with today influences our thoughts in the future.  I’m also surprised at how quickly our mind comes up with thoughts that are influenced by what we’re allowing into our minds.

This can be a great thing if we’re filling our minds with good content that reinforces good thinking.  The other side is that a lack of discernment over what content we allow into our minds can lead to a polluted thought life that will manifest itself in equally polluted speech, attitude and behavior.

Earl Nightingale gave a great illustration of this by comparing our minds to a plot of land for a garden.  If we plant corn seeds in this pot of land, the only crop that we can expect the land to produce is corn.  It will not produce carrots, peas, beets, or potatoes.  We’ve sown seeds of corn.  The only thing the land will produce in return is corn.

Our minds are like that plot of land, and the content we’re allowing into our mind today are the seeds of our future thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.  Like the plot of land, our minds will only return a harvest based on the seeds we sow in it.  If we’re filling our mind with the seeds of positive input, our thoughts will be positive.  Likewise, seeds of negativity will yield and equally negative harvest.

So what are these “seeds” that we plant in our mind?  What do they look like and where do we get them?

These seeds come in many forms, such as:

  • Books we read
  • People we interact with
  • Games we play
  • Movies we watch
  • Music we listen to
  • Media we consume
  • Environments we spend time in
  • Communities we are a part of

Since they have such a significant impact on our thinking, it is so important to be aware of the content we allow into our mind.  We would never intentionally put sand or water into the gas tank of our car, because that would have a damaging impact on the car’s engine.  Our minds should be treated likewise, because the wrong input, which leads to wrong thinking, can have an equally damaging impact.

There are 2 things we can do today to start having better, more positive thoughts:

  1. Be aware of the input we’re allowing into our minds. Pay attention to the content we’re taking in and the conversations we’re having.  If they’re negative, change them.
  1. Be aware of the thoughts you’re having. When you notice they’re negative, replace them with a positive thought.  Left unchecked, we will go where our thoughts take us.  I’d prefer to be taken somewhere positive.

Become aware of the content you’re allowing into your mind and begin sowing the seeds of good thoughts in your mind today.  A harvest of good thinking in the future awaits.

Compounding a Compliment

If you want to make someone’s day, share with them how much you genuinely appreciate something they’ve done for you.  If you want to make their week, share it with someone they work for, or someone close to them.

This week I received a nice email from a department leader that my team and I support.  In the email the department leader shared about a recent meeting one of our business units had with a vendor I support.  Even though I was not present, at the end of the meeting, this vendor made a point to mention to everyone how much he appreciates the support I’ve been providing him.

When I read the email, I felt great!  Not only did I appreciate hearing the comments the vendor made, I thought it was extremely cool that the vendor let others know what a great job he thought I was doing.  It really did make my week.

We also have the same capacity to makes someone else’s week by sharing their accomplishments and our appreciation for them with people they know.  For example, you can:

  • Tell a parent about something their child did that was unique, helpful, or showing of good character.
  • Let the owner or manager of a restaurant know what a great job your waiter or waitress did for you.
  • Tell the spouse of someone you know how much you appreciate something their spouse has done or a character trait of theirs that you admire.

What’s cool about doing this is that not only will the person you’re speaking positively about feel good, so will the person you told.  People like to deliver good news, so you’re also giving the person you told the opportunity to pass along a kind word.  It’s a 3-way-win:

  1. You’ll feel good for passing along a kind word.
  2. The person you told will feel good about passing it along to the person you were speaking well of.
  3. The recipient will feel good hearing your compliment AND knowing that you spoke well about them to other people.

Who has done something good for you recently, or over an extended period of time?  Who has some positive character traits that you admire?  Once you determine who that is, tell someone close to them about it.  The opportunities are endless.  Don’t wait, start today.

What Can I Bring?

It’s a common question to ask when you’re invited over to someone’s house for dinner, a barbecue, or any other get –together, “What can I bring?”  When we ask this question, we’re stating that we want to contribute something to the event that will hopefully make it better and enhance the experience for everyone in attendance.

Have you ever thought of asking that same question of yourself in the context of:

  • Your work
  • Your marriage or relationship with your significant other
  • Your family
  • Your closest friendships
  • Your community
  • Your life

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about what you can bring in the form of snacks or something to eat.  I’m talking about what you can bring of yourself to your life, and the lives of others, that will cause them to be better because you showed up and brought something.

Take your work, school, or community; can you bring leadership, perspective, or vision?

What about your family, friends, or significant other?  How would your relationships change if you brought love, encouragement, compassion, grace, or maybe forgiveness?

And how would your life change if every day you decided to bring to it a positive attitude, a sense of humor and adventure, and an eagerness to learn,  grow, and apply what you’ve learned to positively impact the lives of those around you?

For me personally, I’m eager to find out!

We all have something good we can bring to our life and the lives of others.  Be aware of what you have to offer the world and constantly ask yourself, “What can I bring?”  Then once you have determined what you can bring…BRING IT!

There are untold lives waiting to be positively impacted by what you bring; most importantly, yours.