Time and Change

Many teachers over the centuries have told us that our thinking defines our lives. To change our lives requires us to change our thinking. The first precept of Huna – Ike, states that the World is what you think it is. Our life is the result of our thinking and our thoughts.

There are many ways of saying the same thing. We become and are what we think about the most. The thing is, we spend most of our day and night stuck in the loop of our old thinking patterns. These patterns are embedded in the neural structures of our brains.

Think back to a time when you embarked on a journey of changing your thinking. How much time, each day, did you devote to the change? I would venture, not that much. That the habits of your past thinking patterns soon took back the gains you’d made.

So how do we break out of the old thought patterns? The well trodden neural pathways that support the current thinking?

In a previous post I talked about how many hour, minutes or seconds we have available to us in a day. The thing is, we are mostly stuck in thinking the same old thoughts.

As I mentioned we have 24 hours in a day. That equates to 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds. Take time off for when we are sleeping. That still leaves us with roughly, 16 hrs, 960 mins, or 57,600 secs.

Over a week the numbers look like: 112 hrs; 7,980 mins, or 403,200 secs.

So, the question becomes, how much of this time is spent in the past, or on stories or negative thinking? Maintaining the old neural paths? Focusing on the things that you don’t want verses focusing on the things that you do want in your life. Things life positivity, love, happiness, health, wealth, peace and equanimity, courageousness, persistence, focus, productivity etc.

The more time we spend focused on the new, the new thinking, the new us, the stronger becomes the new neural paths and networks that reflect our new thinking. Spend more than one or two seconds on your new thinking habit. Five to fifteen minutes at a time is good. As it first thing in the morning and last thing at night just before you drop off to sleep

One key point is that the thinking time needs to be focused. Focused solely on the new. No other thinking, no distractions: cellphone, internet, calls, trying to do something else at the same time. Just focused thinking on the new thoughts and thinking patterns that you are wanting to adopt and be.

Another is to remember to smile and be interested in the new you. To have a strong desire for the new you and that you’ve got this!.

until next time

metta

Garth

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Has It Happened Yet?

One of the biggest challenges of personal change is, it doesn’t happen fast enough! Has it happened yet?

How often have you set a goal, maybe a new habit of exercising in the morning, stopping drinking that extra coffee, lasted a week or so, then fallen back in to your old ways of being.

It’s happened to me many times. I have started a new habit with great intentions and then go, why am I still struggling to make it part of my life?

It is now some months since I finished Og Mandino’s The Greatest Salesman In The World book. I am still struggling to make some of the themes part of my daily life. One or two I have made habits of and am reaping the rewards of these. The others? Not so much!

So what am I doing differently for the ones I have created habits from, to the ones that I have left within the covers of the book?

Time and focus is the difference. We have 24 hours in a day. 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. Okay, I know we have to take time off for when we are sleeping. That still leaves us with roughly, 16 hrs, 960 mins, or 57,600 secs.

Yeah, so what’s my point? For the habits I have embedded into my life, I have spent more time and focus on adopting them than the ones that aren’t.

Each morning I write out my intention for how I want to be for the day. Lets take persistence for example. “I persist until I succeed”.

Each morning I wrote, and still do occasionally to remind myself, Be: persistent. I then write I persist until I succeed.

Throughout the day I think about my intention for the day for a minute or so, 4 or 5 times throughout the day.

Think about that for a minute. I sent 5 minutes a day reading and reflecting on the new habit. Plus when I wrote it down first thing in the morning. If I remembered, I’d also think about it before going to sleep.

Each of those seconds add up over a week, then a month. Do the math. 5min x 60 sec = 300 sec per day.

That was 300 sec more a day on the habits that have stuck, than the ones that haven’t.

The more time and energy you consistently put into developing a new habit the more likely it is that you will embed that habit in your life. A good example is a dripping tap will fill a bucket over time. You don’t notice an individual drip, but over time, each drip adds up.

Be patient with yourself. Start the day with an intention to develop the new habit. Stop and reflect and imagine yourself with that new habit throughout your day. See yourself performing the new habit prior to going to sleep at night.

Here’s to your success.

Until next time

metta

Garth

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Post Script to My Greatest Salesman Challenge

So, it has now been a couple of months since I finished my 300 Day Challenge – reading each of the ten scrolls in The Greatest Salesman in the World, 3 times a day for 10 days each.

The challenge continues with maintaining the momentum generated over those 300 days of reading and reflection. How does one maintain the momentum with so many distractions of daily life? Work, family, other goals etc? That is the question and yet another challenge. How easy it is to fall back in to our old ways!

What I try to do each day is to have an intention for that day to think about and action one of the scroll themes.

  • Below are the themes of the ten scrolls:
    • Scroll I – Form Good Habits and Become their Slave
    • Scroll II – Greet Each Day With Love In Your Heart
    • Scroll III – I Will Persist Until I Succeed
    • Scroll IV – I am Nature’s Greatest Miracle
    • Scroll V – Live Each Day as if it Were Your Last
    • Scroll VI – Master Your Emotions
    • Scroll VII – The Power of Laughter
    • Scroll VIII – Multiply Your Value Every Day
    • Scroll IX – All is Worthless Without Action
    • Scroll X – Pray for Guidance

I start each day writing out what I want to think, be and do that day. This sets my intention.

I then review it throughout the day, when I remember! As Scroll one admonishes us, learn to become the slave of good habits. By forming new positive habits we replace the old negative, unsupportive ones as we change our focus and direction of our energy.

Remember that energy flows where attention goes (Makia). The more we focus on what it is we want to be and do, the more energy we direct in that direct. This means that we are also not supplying energy to those habits that no longer support us.

The other thing I do, is think about one of these themes each night before going to sleep and morning before getting up.

Why? These are the times when the subconscious is more receptive to taking on new beliefs.

Until next time

metta

Garth

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The End of the 300 Day Challenge

Well, here I am at the end of my The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino 300 Day Challenge!

In this challenge I have attempted to read each scroll 3 times a day for 30 days. So ten scrolls by 30 days equals 300 days. Did I read each scroll 3 times a day? No! Did I improve and become more consistent in my reading? Again no.

But, hey that is life some times. I may not have read each scroll 90 times, but I did persist and pick the book up and read each scroll each day at least once.

Did I develop new, more positive habits as a result of the challenge? Yes I did. I have become more persistent. I am more focused and concentrate my energy more on what I want to achieve.

I am setting my day up better with goals that I want to achieve each day. Ones that are realistic, and not based on hope or other peoples expectations.

The one scroll I struggled with the most is the Scroll Marked V – I will live this days as my last. This statement didn’t sit well with me. That said, there were a number of good gems in the scroll that have been helpful. Amongst them – I will waste not a moment morning yesterday’s misfortunes, and each moment of today will be more fruitful than hours of yesterday.

Why these? In the end, the book is all about being a better person. Of improving ones self. Christian Larson puts it quite well in his book “Thinking for Results” – “No one can raise any higher than their thoughts.”

To be more and do more requires that we lift our sights to greater things and then to aspire to them. The Greatest Salesman helps to point out some of those greater ways of thinking and being.

Scroll VII is a good one to remember – I will laugh at the world. It is a good reminder to myself to not take life, or myself for that matter, too seriously.

Scroll Marked IX reminds us to act now. Goals are naught without action. Even little daily goals require action just as much as the larger goals of life. Recording those little wins as a result of taking action is a great thing to do. It helps to build a great dossier of successes that a great antidote for procrastination and the self talk that it is too hard, or I can’t do it. Taking action breaks down the habit of not moving forward because “it doesn’t feel right” or “I’ll feel better tomorrow”, the list of excuses goes on.

Is 30 days a scroll enough to embed the new thinking and habits? For me no. But this is only a start, for I intend to keep practicing the habits outlined in the scrolls. There is also recent research that identified that the average time to develop a new habit is 66 days. For some people it takes less time and for others more.

Am I a better salesman? Even though I’m not in a sales role, I still have to sell my ideas. So, yes I think that I am. Just yesterday I sold my boss on a idea. I persisted until I succeeded. Not because I could, but because I knew it was the right thing to do. Would I have persisted in the past? No. I would have accepted the knock back and grumbled about it quietly to myself without speaking up.

So, in summary, was the 300 days of reading the book and scrolls worth it? Yes, most definitely.

until next time

metta

Garth

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The Scroll Marked IX – I Will Act Now

I have now reached the penultimate scroll of the ten scrolls. Scroll IX – I will act now.

I find it interesting after my last post about We become what we think about and that we also become what we repeatedly do, that this is this scroll theme. I chuckled to myself a little when I started reading it.

But what is this scroll really about. It is, as title says, taking action now where you would normally put it off to tomorrow. It is about changing the dialog in your mind from “I’m too tired” or “I don’t know what to do”, you fill in your excuse “——–“, to “I will do it now!”

That’s the key to a lot of life change. Changing our mental dialog and the physical action from the old stories and way of being to the new stories and way of being.

It is changing from living at effect to living at cause. Yes living at cause.

When I first came across the above, I had to hold it in my mind a bit and play with it to truly appreciate and understand its meaning. But more than that, what power lies in being at cause rather than being powerless when being at effect.

In designing and living my life on my terms, not a life of default action and reaction, I am living at cause. Of choosing how I react to situations. Of being conscious of my power to choose my response. Of being conscious I can change how I feel within myself, of being true to myself. But here’s the catch, it is also being true to those around us also. It is not about abusing our power, rather embracing it for our growth.

Acting now is a many faceted jewel. It is not just about taking physical action to move forward towards our goals. It is also about changing how we react to situations we find our selves in. It is about moving when we need to move. About being still when we need to be still.

Well, that is as I see it anyway. We each take our own interpretations about the world we inhabit due to the beliefs we have developed over our lives.

But remember, that to move forward towards a goal requires us to take action, even when we don’t feel like it. It is getting out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes off, even if we don’t feel like it. It is about moving one foot after the other when we are tired. As it says in the scroll, “Happiness, in truth, may not be the fruit plucked by my action yet without action all fruit will die on the vine.”

In other words, it is better to take action, even though you may not get the outcome you were wanting.

Until next time

metta

Garth

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We Become What We Think About Most of the Time

The other night, when I couldn’t get to sleep, I listened to Earl Nightingale’s “The Strangest Secret”. In the recording, he reminds us that what many of the great philosophers all agreed on, is that “We become what we think about the most.”

Interesting that I listen to this at the same time that I am reading “The Greatest Salesman in the World”!

It is not only that we become what we think about, we also become that which we do.

I an earlier post I talked about how we can change the structures of our brains by changing our actions. Sit up or stand with confidence, we become confident.

Taken together, if we think and act in accordance of what we want to become, we will ultimately become that which we are thinking and acting. This reminds me of the “Act as If ” philosophy. Act as if you are already in possession of that you desire.

First you have to decide what it is you desire. This equals your goals.

Scroll VIII tells us that to multiply our value that we “set goals for the day, the week, the month, the year, and my life”.

The previous scrolls give us guidance on how to act each day:

  • to laugh at the world
  • to master our emotions
  • to live this day as if it is our last
  • that we are natures greatest miracle
  • to persist until we succeed
  • to greet the day with love in our heart

It is not just how we think, it is also how we act. Both together, these are a powerful change agents.

To not just think. To not just do. But to think and do at the same time.

Have I been doing this?

Ahhh, that’ll be a NO. Listening to Earl Nightingale’s recording and thinking on it and the actions I am being asked to do in this latest scroll have collided together to create an epiphany.

I have to do the actions as much as I am thinking and absorbing the new way of being and thinking as I progress through the scrolls.

To be successful I must develop a success mindset. We become what we think about the most.

Along side that I must also develop the habits of success! The actions repeated each day become habits.

Both together are a powerful combination. That is also the challenge and the opportunity.

Until next time

metta

Garth

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Continuing to Increase My Value

In my last post I introduced the eighth scroll and its theme of increasing our value and turning knowledge into wisdom through action.

That is not all the scroll talks about. Mr Mandino also talks about feeding our minds and setting goals.

We are where we are through the experiences we have been through and the judgements we have made about them and ultimately what we believe is true for us and our lives. Where we are today is also a factor of what we feed our minds with. This isn’t just limited to information. It is also the environment we are in as well as how we interpret our environment and what happens to us from moment to moment in our day / life.

One of life’s biggest secrets, hidden in plain sight, is that we can change ourselves and our lives. It just takes us to wake up to this fact and then start using tools that are in abundance, if we start looking for them.

This book is one of those tools. Well more of a toolbox really. This scroll is a tool within that toolbox. It acts to wake us up to the fact that we have potential. That if we wake up to that potential, we can take ourselves to a new place, a new tomorrow, if we so choose.

It starts with waking up, it continues with wanting to make a change to our lives, through to starting to set goals. Of continuing to strive for our goals regardless of stumbles along the way. To aim high, to stretch our selves, for we don’t know where we will end up, but it will surely be in a different place and being a different person than where we are and who we are today.

A common theme that runs through all of the scroll so far is about about being better than we were yesterday. Of improving ourselves, of pushing ourselves to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday.

This is a work in progress for me as I am aware that I constantly slip into old habits and the occasional malaise. But each day I am learning to pick myself up, dust myself off and continue on the journey of who I want to become.

But, as I have written elsewhere in my blog, our brains neural connections are plastic. Each day we choose to make a new better decision and behave differently from our past, we are retaining our brains and minds and creating new neural connections that are supporting our new way of being. Of creating our new tomorrows today.

until next time

metta

Garth

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The Scroll Marked VIII – Today I will Multiply My Value a Hundredfold

Scroll VIII reminds us that we have the power to choose what becomes of us. That man’s mind has created many wonderful things. If that is so, can we not also influence and create something better out ourselves.

In this scroll, Og Mandino compares us with a grain of wheat and that one of three things can happen to it.

    1. It can be used as feed
    2. be ground into flour
    3. or planted in the ground to multiply

He points out that we are like a grain of wheat but for one difference. The difference is that we can choose what becomes of us. That we can become more than who or what we are today if we so desire. We are not at the whim of nature to water us or warm us. Nor at the whim of life.

Some may argue that we are stuck where we are due to circumstance. The thing is that we have a mind, and we can use it to get us where we desire to be. As Lovelace wrote from prison: “Four walls do not prison make! ” And as John Milton noted: “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” What would you choose?

Me? I am choosing to become more than I was yesterday and more than today tomorrow and so on.

Our minds have been likened to a recorder of history. If that is so, would it not be great to rewrite our history? I know that I would and I am.

Reading these scrolls is changing me slowly. The thing is, the change is something that I am seeking, desiring and making happen. Sticking to reading them each day. Admittedly I am not managing the 3x a day, but I am reading and thinking about them every day.

As in the instance of this scroll, I am working to multiply my value. To those around me and at the job I get paid for. I am striving to be better each day. Is this easy? Hell no! Is it paying off? Yes. I’d like to think that I am becoming a better partner, father and grandfather. A better employee and coach and mentor.

As Napoleon Hill pointed out in one of his books, the more we feed and challenge our minds, the more that it unfolds. It continues to unfold and we gain new insights to previously read information. There is no end to the minds unfolding as we feed our minds with positive, challenging guides and knowledge.

The challenge is to turn the knowing into NOWing. To turn the knowledge into action. As a species, we learning from doing. By putting into practice the things that we are learning. Improving by using deliberate practice.

A baby becomes a toddler then a child, then a teenager, then a young adult, then an adult. All the while, putting into practice the things that they are learning along life’s journey. Firstly developing their motor skills, then refining them. Then language skills and refining them and so on through life.

These scrolls allow us to develop new skills to become better people and along the way a better person who can sell better. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are all salespeople, we just don’t know it.

Until next time

metta

Garth

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The Scroll Marked VII – I Will Laugh At The World

I am now more than 180 days into my 300 Day Challenge. The scroll I am about to finish studying is about laughing. Laughing out ourselves and at the world. Of bringing a smile to where we are, no matter what.

This scroll follows on from the one that asked me to master my emotions. But now I must learn to smile more and often.

More and often for my own health and the benefits that smiling brings me. We have heard that laughter is the best medicine. That smiling and laughing is good for our health. It strengthens our immune system, boosts our mood and reduces stress, to name just a few of the benefits.

But a smile is also shared. And a shared smile lightens the world and those around us that see our smile.

The scroll reminds us that happiness can’t be stored, put away for another day. Happiness is in the now, this moment and to be enjoyed now, in this moment.

I am smiling as I write these words, as it is true, happiness is in the now. I can’t save this smile for tomorrow. Tomorrows smile will be about something else. A memory of today’s reason to smile, or just for the shear joy that a smile brings to ones self.

A smile lightens ones mood. Do you recall times that someone has tried to make you smile when you have felt grumpy? I do. Many a time a partner or my children have broken a grumpy mood of mine and got me to smile and then laugh. With that smile and laughter, I lightened up. My mood quickly past, but not quickly enough sometimes as I clung on to the back mood for no good reason.

Once I cracked that little bit of a smile my mood started to lift. The smile spread and increased in size, and as it did, my bad mood vanished as if by magic. I was bought back to the now, to the moment and enjoyed life again.

I challenge you to smile today, not once or twice, but many times. Find things to smile about and smile, laugh at the world and yourself.

until next time

metta

Garth

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How Changing Our Actions Impacts Our Thoughts

Scroll VI has this in it:

This scroll is about mastering ones emotions. I find this passage interesting in a number of different ways.

  • It brings to mind Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about power poses
    1. The story of The Prince and the Statue, and
    2. A father stands up straighter after being reminded to do so

Amy Cuddy’s TED talk introduces us to the 2 minute Power Pose to build confidence. This is the body influencing the mind. It ultimately influences the brain and how it is wired.

The story of the Prince and the Statue is along a similar theme. The prince has a crooked back and instructs a sculptor to craft a statue of himself, but with a straight back. We looked at the perfect statue of himself three times a day. Ultimately his back became straight and he had a noble bearing.

Years ago I was told about the impact of reminding someone to stand up straight. The father had become hunched over with age. A friend of the family visited frequently and kept clapping his hand on the fathers back to get him to straighten. This kept happening over a number of months. Eventually the father stood sup straighter. So much so that he now banged his head on a light over the table that previously never bothered him.

In these examples we are seeing the impact of the body on the mind and the mind on the body.

It is showing us that we can influence our brain, emotions and behaviour if we take active action. That we can rewire our brains and the muscles of our bodies to reflect the outcome we are desiring.

Remember that we are just learning to change our habitual way of responding and being. To become friendlier and happier people to be around.

until next time

meta

Garth

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