How’s the space in your mind?

“The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”

Marcus Aurelius

In today’s age setting aside the time and space to create a “quiet mind” is almost viewed negatively. It is socially more acceptable to be busy all the time than to give oneself space to read, reflect and learn—what a shame. 

Progress and growth aren’t created in the margins of life; it is made when one makes room for a blank page to do the new and creative work. To build strength, you must give yourself space to breathe, think and reflect.

What are you willing to turn off to allow yourself this space?  

a notebook with blank pages beside a pen and cup of coffee
Photo by Cup of Couple on Pexels.com

Are you thinking about acting? Or acting on thinking?

“It’s easier to act your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of acting.”

Jerry Sternin

How many times have you known the right action to take, but for some reason not done so because you didn’t have the energy, the time, or some other ‘excuse?’

What if you took the step, instead of thinking about it and delaying, you were simply focused on the very next right action.

How would your thinking evolve?

What’s the worst that could happen?

What ”habit of committing” are you embracing today?

“The habit of committing far more time to learning and thinking than to doing is no accident.”

 Charlie Munger

Reading a good book, whether for pleasure or to embrace new knowledge, is one of life’s great delights. There are so many incredible texts that have been written through the ages that inspire deep thought and shift one’s perspective on a variety of topics. But, unfortunately, it is harder now to find time to read and apply the learnings to one’s life due to the constant competition for our attention from all variety of distractions.  

I love the phrase “habit of committing” from today’s quote. Doing this is the hard part and the component that requires rigor and intentionality. Purposefully setting aside the time to curate a daily discipline of reading, learning, thinking is the secret of personal growth. If you aren’t deliberately investing your time towards activities that spur learning and thinking, you are simply spending your time. There is a tremendous difference between time expended as an investment and time merely spent.  

How will you curate a habit of intentional investment into learning and thinking? What good book are you going to start reading today?

Pay attention because your thoughts define the person you become…

“Mindfulness can help people of any age that’s because we become what we think.”

Goldie Hawn

Mindfulness is the intentional awareness and examination of your thoughts and the subconscious narrative your mind creates seemingly all on its own.

Simply put, if you aren’t paying attention to what’s going on in your mind, how can you possibly change it?

Thinking before speaking…

“Sometimes when I’m talking, my words can’t keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak. Probably so we can think twice.”

Bill Watterson

There is nothing better than a few moments of silence before one responds and commits to words what are often half-baked thoughts. I am a person who “thinks out loud” and that can often lead to misunderstanding and miscommunication.

The best advice I was ever given regarding thinking before speaking came from a class I took through Ty Boyd called the Executive Speaking Institute. During this class, which I took almost ten years ago, I learned that the moments I paused before responding to a question didn’t feel nearly as long or painful to the audience as they did in my head. That was a profound lesson for me. What I thought was a strength, being quick on my feet and having answers at the tip of my tongue, came across as a weakness because I would answer questions in a rambling or long-winded fashion.

Taking a moment to pause, frame the my response in my head and then answering the question conveyed to the audience that I was carefully considering the question, that it was meaningful and valuable, and it gave me the time to not let my words get ahead of my mind. This was incredible perspective and applies to so many areas of life.

The moral of the story here is that the moments that you take to think before you speak don’t feel nearly as long to the person that you are speaking with as they do to you. And those precious moments allow you to (hopefully) think through your response before you commit to words a thought that is only half baked.

Thinking through writing…

“You don’t really understand your thoughts until you express them in words.”

Elmer L. Towns

I do my best “thinking” when I am actually writing. Putting words to paper, or in my case to the screen, is when I can really find myself thinking through what it is that I am trying to convey. “Thinking out loud” via writing has become my favorite way to clarify my thoughts and truly understand what it is that is rattling around inside my head. This is one reason that I started this blog just over a year ago, to get into a discipline of daily writing and thinking through my writing. It works, at least it has for me. Give it a shot, write daily and see what happens. I’ll bet you find much greater clarity in your thinking.

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dusty

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