Can you be calm during the storm?
Hi guys! Im writing this blog post at the beach in Florida! One of my goals has been to do something fulfilling which adds value and something I love while still being able to travel and experience life as well. Here I am…doing what I love, from a place I love and it’s very fulfilling and I hope it is adding value to you! …. I don’t say that bragging, I say that because the same is possible for you if you want something and you set your mind to it. What is your dream? Have you been thinking about it? Have you maybe given up on it or put it on hold? I want to remind you that it’s there and that if its something you cant stop thinking about then it’s time you decide to do more than think, it’s time to take action. That’s really the ultimate message from me always is that if you have a dream in your heart, it’s meant for you but the only person that can make it happen is you. We each have a purpose but that purpose isn’t going to knock on your door and it probably isn’t going to be handed to you on a silver platter. Your ultimate purpose may stay the same but take you on different paths towards reaching your dream. So work on knowing your purpose and then go after it like your life depends on it. And I know YOU will because if you are reading this blog…you are at least somewhat aware that what you fill your head with affects the outcome of your life.
The idea that your thoughts create your reality is truer than any of us would like to realize until we recognize it is true and then you get excited and really really start watching what you allow into your brain because it affects us so much.
Now, If you’re like me sometimes you hear people say “it’s what you’re focusing on”. Just think about something else, focus on something else and you will change the way you feel. And in the middle of something hard that can be super frustrating to hear, but sometimes it’s true. For example, We had our family here with us all week and the house was full of laughter and joy and when they all left and it was just me and Eric….. I felt a little sad, the house felt a little empty but I know that the reason I was sad was because of the contrast of the house being full of people I love and now it’s quiet. I was focusing on what was, instead of what is right in front of me. I was feeling the contrast….I let myself feel it for a little bit but then we got busy exercising, riding bikes, focusing on other things like reading, talking over lunch about what we would do for the day and dinner, enjoying each others company, and suddenly I felt so much better. Now, that is an easy scenario of how changing your focus can fix your feelings. Start being intentional and aware of the thoughts in your head because that will really help you be able to feel better when the situation just needs a focus change.
But what happens when it’s not that easy? What happens when you are in the middle of a storm that changing your focus isn’t going to fix? Now, I don’t know when you’re reading this but I'll use this year 2020 and Covid as an example. This wasn’t going away any time soon and so many of us were feeling the affects of lockdown, worry for our older parents, worry about job loss, worrying about whatever. It was and remains to be at the time Im writing this a serious issue for the world. It isn’t going away because we change our focus. So how do we remain calm when we are in the middle of a serious situation where simply focusing elsewhere just isn’t going to work.
Sometimes circumstances are there and they are what they are and you have to deal with them. Tony Robbins talks about hurricanes have an eye of the storm that is calm. I liken this year to a hurricane and being able to find the calm in the storm is critical to managing the chaos. Storms there, we aren’t denying that. We just have to be able to manage our thoughts about the storm. I was scuba diving in the BVI last year and we went through a cave that was pretty tight. SO tight that my bcd vest got caught on a jagged edge of one side of the cave. I couldn’t move forward. My brain wanted to freak out but I told myself the worst thing you can do is panic. Stay calm and think about what you need to do to get unstuck. All I had to do was back up a bit and that allowed me to be able to move forward freely. Had I panicked and started thinking about all the things that could happen, It could have been bad. We have to recognize in the middle of the storm, there are things you do not control, you cant do anything about those things and focusing on them will make you crazy, all they do is create fear and anxiety. I controlled my thoughts and was able to think clearly which allowed me to make good decisions…..even though some might say going through a random cave in the middle of the ocean may not be a good decision to start with but that’s a topic for another day…..anyway The key here is asking yourself what CAN you control? So what can you control when you’re in the middle of a storm? Sometimes what you control depends on the situation but You can always control what you feed your mind before, during, and after the storm. What you feed your mind controls your thoughts, your thoughts control your feelings, and your feelings control your actions and your attitude.
Scott Adams (author and Dilbert cartoon creator) has a quote about our brain and how it isn’t designed to process everything in its environment, so it has to set up filters. And those filters are what you pay attention to, what you focus on. Think about that for a minute and maybe pause this for a second if you need to and really think about what it is you are paying attention to regularly. Is it the news? Social Media? Gossip? Are you filling your brain with enough positive input to outweigh the negative? When you focus on filling your brain with positive input, it creates filters for your mind that are positive and the more you do that, the better you are able to feel calm during the storm. At first, your brain is going to want to jump back to the drama, because if you have been used to drama your brain literally has created grooves/patterns that are comfortable for you. Drama can be a drug that you keep going back to. So at first avoiding it will be hard but eventually, you’ll want it less and less. Think of creating a new path through a forest…..at first it’s a lot of work, but once the path is taken a few times, it becomes way easier to use. That is how it is for your brain as well. These filters we create are how we look at the world.
The things we pay attention to affect every aspect of our life. Have you ever decided you wanted a new car and then you start seeing that car everywhere you go? Those cars were there before, you just weren’t aware of them. Your brain is now noticing them because your focus is on that car. The brain filters out the other cars and hones in on that car you want. That’s the power of filters. That’s life. That’s how it works.
So my question to you is “Do you control your filters or does someone else”
My challenge for you this week is this:
Notice what you are paying attention to regularly
Be aware how that affects your thoughts
Choose one good positive input that you start your day with every day. Maybe it’s listening to a podcast like mine to start, maybe you read a chapter or even just a page in a really good book or maybe it’s just deciding to journal 3 things you’re grateful for each morning.
Empowering yourself by choosing the filter you see world through, is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. Let’s see what you’ve got…I love you guys and Ill chat with you in a few days!