“You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.” — Frank McCourt, Angela’s Ashes
Most problems result from your thoughts about a situation outside of your control.
Allow me to unpack this in more detail.
Reflect on an area of life causing you frustration. What if you were to hand it to an outsider and ask them to assess it from their perspective?
Would they feel the same about it?
Of course not, because they are less invested in it than you are.
Therein lies the problem.
Your attachment to unpleasant circumstances blinds you to seeing it from another viewpoint.
What if there’s a better way of taking ownership of your thoughts?
“The mind is everything. What you think, you become,” Buddha wrote two millennia ago. Your self is nothing more than what you believe it to be. You must remove all the internal and external definitions of self that limit your progress in life,” writes author Jay Samit in: Disrupt Yourself.
Since you cannot see your thoughts until they manifest into reality, you may question whether you contributed to your problem.
The mind is a powerful ally or foe. I liken it to the tale of the Two Wolves Within and The One You Feed. You can feed the good wolf or the bad wolf. Either way, your mind should be tamed with the right stimuli if you want to experience greater success.
It was the late American motivational speaker Zig Ziglar who said: “People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing — that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Therefore, nurture your mind with empowering thoughts if you want it to become a powerful asset.
Author Jay Samit believes we often hold ourselves back from the success we deserve: “The unfortunate reality is that what holds most people back is actually their own belief that they are not good enough or deserving enough to be successful.”
“The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch
It’s no secret that everything out there in your world begins at the level of the mind, as thoughts.
The Hermetic aphorism states: “As within, so without.” What you hold in mind will become your reality whether you like it or not. This is empowering because it allows you to become the architect of your life, not a mere spectator of your destiny.
If you are unconscious to your thoughts or carrying unresolved childhood traumas, they are likely to manifest somewhere in your future.
The father of psychoanalysis Carl Jung said: “Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”
The greatest minds in history knew that success results from mental discipline and knowing one’s self at a deeper level.
It was the Indian spiritual teacher of non-duality Nisargadatta Maharaj who said: “There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. Just be. Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.”
Many people don’t know what they want until it shows up in their life, at which point it’s not as they imagined. Similarly, their reality is built around unconscious thoughts because they are unaware they exist.
They are not clear on their ambitions or dreams but are pulled along by life, hoping they will end up where they need to be. This is the person who proclaims: “There’s a reason for everything,” but has no clue what the reason is.
“By taking just five minutes each morning to visualize success, you train your brain to accept that you are capable of handling success. By visualizing each step of your journey, you are actually getting your mind prepared to handle the opportunity,” avows Jay Samit once more.
For example, most people want to be in a healthy relationship and have a list of qualities their ideal partner should have. They might attract their romantic interest after a while since they have devoted enough of their attention and energy to it.
However, once the partner enters their life — if the individual has not reconciled their unconscious thoughts from the past — it is likely to cause problems in the relationship since the other person will mirror their insecurities.
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind — you are the one who hears it.” — Michael A. Singer, The Untethered Soul
The self-aware person draws to himself circumstances consistent with their highest self, instead of satisfying their egos’ needs.
To discipline your mind, develop a greater sense of self by focusing on your self-development. You’ve heard it said, success is the by-product of the person you become.
The self-aware person spends years developing their strengths while mindful of their weaknesses.
The late American minister and author Norman Vincent Peale wrote: “Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture… do not build up obstacles in your imagination.”
In her acclaimed book Mindsight, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck identifies a person as having either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
A person with a fixed mindset believes intelligence is static. They are absorbed in their problems instead of seeing them as an opportunity to be overcome.
In contrast, the person with a growth mindset considers intelligence can be developed through nurturing and discipline.
“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience,” affirms Carol Dweck in Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential.
Positive thinking does not improve your situation because it is merely a smoke screen for what is simmering below the surface.
The key to greater success is to integrate the fractured aspects of your character into the wholeness of your being.
To discipline the mind, focus on what you wish to see in your world. Hold an unrelenting commitment to make that your reality.
You will be pushed to your limits at times and your inner resolve will be tested. However, your investment in your personal growth will be of great service during these times.
“Goal Laser, the Brainpower Tool that helps you take aim at what you want out of life without allowing the static of distractions and stressors to interfere. It gives you the patience to delay gratification, often for years, without getting sidetracked along the way,” state authors Jeff Brown and Mark Fenske in The Winner’s Brain: 8 Strategies Great Minds Use to Achieve Success.
Success in life results from forging the mind just as a blacksmith tempers hot steel, fabricating it into a finished product.
It was the eminent theoretical physicist Albert Einstein who proclaimed a century ago: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
After all, if you wish to attain greater success, you must develop a new mind. A new paradigm in which to perceive the world around you, instead of being at the mercy of your unconscious mind.
Originally published at medium.com