In a sales training meeting some years ago, we were instructed to cite within one minute our most recent mistakes and errors. Then, we were instructed to cite our most recent accomplishments except we were given two minutes. To mine and a nearly all of our surprise, even with less time, there were more things on the list of errs than the list of wins.
What we learned is that it’s easier to find fault than to find validity in things, but the deeper meaning behind the exercise is that we do this outwardly because we do this to ourselves. This is undergirding a mentality that could be crippling if we’re trying to achieve something simple or something monumental. When our minds easily find our faults, we can lose track of what’s happening now in that, this time may be a great chance for something better for me.
Have you found yourself going about your day-to-day life and suddenly think about a past mistake you made, not recently, but maybe months or years ago? Have those thoughts of your blunders ever altered your mood? Maybe you think of a person involved and get upset with them and they’ve not even present; they’re probably not thinking of it at all anymore.
Think about a time when the opposite occurred and you were suddenly ecstatic about something amazing that happened in the past. Aside from wedding anniversaries, your child’s birth or those kinds of events, when was the last time you became elated just thinking about something you did that made you proud?
We all have these thoughts, but like I’ve learned in meditation, how we respond to them is key to our conditioning. I’ve had to tell myself corny affirmations like, “You’re getting better,” or, “There’s nothing you can do about it, move on,” and those don’t always work. In fact, when I didn’t consciously work on those thoughts I found myself troubled by things that were not happening now, even polluting moments that could have been pleasant ones.
Did you know that the mind is so powerful that we can think thoughts and our bodies can react as if it’s actually happenin? I’ve read Dr. Irving Oyle expound upon this in his book The Healing Mind, when patients of his are told to meditate on certain thoughts while wired to machines that detect physical activity in the body. They may think of an accident or some traumatic event and then they begin to sweat, their blood pressure rises to a dangerous level, and they may even feel pains in their bodies as a response to these thoughts. If our bodies can suffer fatigue, depression, dehydration and a list of other dis-ease because of our thoughts, then how can we ever get over these things?
One practice I’ve used over the years is a coupling method. This isn’t a technical term, but it is used especially during meditation. When a negative thought arises, we say in our minds, “I acknowledge you, but you’re no longer part of me,” then continue to think of breathing or whatever works for you in meditation.
So, while I’m working on a project, I may be reminded of some past errors, but not without acknowledging those errors by accepting that they happened so that I can do better with the chances I’ve earned.
Part of my passion of sharing my experiences is combined with my philosophical and romantic ways of thinking. My love for the arts, music, health and sports all intertwine because they are all relatively connected on this single thread of life, and when I explain things to my wife or with clients, I sometimes use sports analogies. In this case, baseball comes to mind.
As I’ve said, no matter how many times we’ve gotten into foul trouble, we still have chances to swing and make progress. Life throws curveballs, changeups and as many pitches as you can name, yet we still have a chance. No kind of hit is impossible with a mind focused on this pitch, not the ones of past or the next one. Great possibilities are available only when we make ourselves available to them.