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We have moved to a hosted site.
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Is it me or am I actually believing all the messages I’ve been pumping into my brain for the last 8 weeks? I don’t want to say I’m surprised because that would mean I wasn’t convinced and that can’t be true…or can it?
First, a little background: There have been other times in my life when I thought I was confident, patient, understanding, happy and considerate. Every time I was shown to be lacking. There was still work to be done. I wasn’t as patient and understanding as I hoped when there was a crisis. Nor was I as calm and considerate as I expected to be under pressure.
I’ve never been a really creative guy in any artistic sort of way, never had wild dreams, heck I don’t even recall my dreams after I wake up. I can’t draw a straight line or a circle without assistance of some kind. So you can imagine my reaction when I saw the lecture notes and assignments for this week. They leaned even more heavily on the imagination than in previous weeks. In one exercise I’m to imagine a future final product and walk it backwards in time through assembly, design, concept, etc…I’m sensing a trend here. My guess is there’s more to come.
Recently I’ve noticed people reacting differently to me. Restaurant employees treat me like a long lost relative at our first meeting. Clients and customers are welcoming and cordial even when discussing a point of contention. Authority figures are patient and understanding (nuff said there!). Co-workers are generous and helpful. Is it… my imagination?
Are all these people treating me differently or am I behaving differently? Is it my imagination? Or is it a product of my imagination? Could it be that reading in Scroll II where I promise to love all humanity or part 5 of my blueprint builder where I promise to seek honor in all transactions? Maybe it’s the shapes, colors, or audios? It could be in the Master Key explanation of the key role of imagination in our future. Everything begins with a thought, right? All of these things have probably been inching me down a better path for 2 months now. Whatever the reason I’m really enjoying it and that makes me buy in all the more. This is just the beginning. That’s not a guess or a hope. It’s a fact.
Somewhere along the line my imagination has started to work in ways I don’t ever recall before. I’m a believer. I’m all in, not just in word but in deed. There may be turbulence ahead but I imagine my future self making lemonade…
The journey continues.
Hmmmm…Seven Day Mental Diet. I knew this one would be a tall order when I first heard it. The idea comes from a booklet by the same name written by Emmet Fox. Here’s the idea in a nutshell, “For seven days I must not allow myself to dwell for a single moment on any kind of negative thought”. The key term is “dwell” as situations, circumstances and Negative Nellies will bring many opportunities into our lives on a regular basis. When a negative thought presents itself, it must be turned out or substituted with another thought immediately.
Here’s a little chronology of my week. The timer started on Sunday, November 9, 2014 at around 6 pm. My Pittsburgh Steelers had just lost to the lowly New York Jets. I kept thinking how I don’t understand why the play “down” to their lesser opponents. That’s the second time this year they lost to a bad football team. Oops! That didn’t take long. Did I mention I have to re-start every time I fail my mental diet? My first re-start was before I even got home on Sunday evening. I soon got over my frustration and will be rooting for the Black-n-Gold again on Monday evening.
The diet, like all diets, really runs on the honor system. You can cheat but you still have to deal with The Guy in the Glass if you do…just like a regular diet. In reality there’s no lying to The Guy in the Glass(Mirror) on either kind of diet.
Closer to home those Negative Nellies, who, like Pigpen of Charlie Brown fame, travel with their cloud of negative debris ready to obscure my view of my future. My old pattern would be to respond in-kind, to defend my turf and explain to them how they were sadly misinformed, mistaken or just plain wrong.
Earlier in the week I responded according to my old blueprint and re-started several times. In fact I re-started several times on Monday and Tuesday respectively. A funny thing happened though. I started to become more aware when these circumstances were happening. Soon I was reacting a little slower, a little less viscerally. Things were slowing down a little. I was reacting in a more constructive way more and more. There were still re-starts on Wednesday and Thursday but they weren’t at every turn. I could see progress.
I was also starting to realize the wide range of negative thoughts and emotions we succumb to every day. Finding a way to deal with some of them has been tricky for me. It seems that I see the more obvious ones coming and handle them well. Others are still a work in progress!
I’m sure this was meant to be a learning experience…and it has been. But like all great learning it hasn’t been entirely painless. “Gotta Luv It!” my old high school football coach would say, and he was right then as now. I do Luv It! I see a definite increase in my awareness of what thought flies through my cranium at the speed of light. I’m also reacting well, not “dwelling” on the negative grenades others roll under my tent. Now I just stay clear and substitute another thought. I haven’t made it through seven days but will keep re-starting until I get it right. I’ll get there! NGU! (And No, those aren’t my feet in the photo. lol!)
There are several related concepts here; attention, focus, concentration, determination, perseverance to name a few. They’re all so closely related and intertwined, sometimes their definitions overlap. I look at them like a family; when you marry one, you marry the family – they’re a combo-pack. Our reading this week makes the point that it’s through attention “that you will finally be able to overcome obstacles of any kind…” Haanel
He’s definitely on to something here. Attention…sounds like a simple idea but why does it seem so hard? Aren’t we implicitly taught that we should be good at multitasking, at working on several things at one time, at keeping all the balls in the air? Isn’t that what our 24 hour noise machine advises? Hmmmm….attention.
Is it just me who gets distracted and loses focus sometimes? It feels like it sometimes but when I look around that’s highly doubtful. I think of my social media feeds which are chock full of the latest and greatest new discovery which comes with a ground floor opportunity. Some of the same folks who are always hawking a pre-launch start-up based on an amazing new technology which only induces whiplash upon my psyche’. Sometimes I wonder what they could really accomplish if the paid attention to a single business for any length of time. We may never know.
My brain says paying more attention is sound advice. Now, how to implement said advice may take some contemplation. I can think of several areas where I can be better at this. Right off the top of my head, I can reduce distractions, focus on a single task at a time, plan my work better, say “no” more often to some projects. It seems like the possibilities are plentiful. I’m sure with the added contemplation I can come up with more this is a great starting point.
It just occurred to my I’ve paid attention to this post about paying attention long enough to put my thoughts down in this post. Progress, no? I’ll take it for now and add in some focus, concentration, determination and perseverance. Welcome to the journey. See you at the finish line! NGU!
Opinions are one thing I have plenty of but I really thought I’d be able to control them throughout the week. All I needed to do it slow down and insert a thoughtful pause before responding, right? This turned out to be easier in the planning stage than it was to carry out. Part of the learning here was that it took real effort to hold my tongue and/or converse without voicing my opinion. It got better throughout the week but I’m far from accomplished on this point. Once again a work in progress. And progress I will.
Sometimes I was half-way through asserting my opinion before I realized I had crossed that line. I got a little chuckle out of how quickly it happened without me thinking about it. At first I didn’t want to stop. My opinions are good and they’re well thought out, I said to myself. Then I thought, isn’t that an opinion? Hmmmm…Even funnier was how I later tried to backtrack off my opinions once I realized what I had done. It didn’t help but it was funny.
My reactions were much more constructive in other cases. Soon I was able to control my visceral responses when circumstances may have prompted an animated response full of my thoughts on a multitude of matters. A look, a wry grin or sometimes a constructive redirection of the conversation all did wonders. Then it hit me; how much mental and physical energy had I wasted voicing and debating my opinions and those of others? To what end? Those conversations, whether personal, work related, political or philosophical usually ended in predictable ways because they always followed the same patterns. I’ve found that energy is much more useful focused on positive accomplishments. I knew it in my head but that’s still an “Ah-ha” moment for me.
And another thing; when I didn’t voice my opinions those conversations changed. I asked more questions and I listened more. I started to realize the outcomes were changing too, and good ways. We might be on to something here. This is a behavior worthy of becoming a full-fledged habit so it’s staying in my quiver.
I’m excited to see the learning process in action. The progress this week was noticeable and I like it.
“If I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits.” – Og Mandino – The Greatest Salesman in the World.
Can’t wait for week 6! Giddyup!
Heroes show up. It’s an off-hand comment I’ve heard Mark J. say and it really resonated with me because week four is the week everyone quits. They either quit the MKMMA program or quit giving less than 100%. Maybe Mark is speaking to my subby here but that voice in my head is screaming, “We don’t quit. We don’t give up or give in!” It’s time to go all-in. Outside influences, the thought of procrastination and interruptions don’t stop but my reactions to them have changed. I decide to quit giving myself less than 100%.
That’s what the Master Keys Mastermind Alliance is about – learning that good habits are the key to success and bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Bam! Zing! Pow! (Thanks again Og.)
“Failure is no longer my payment for struggle.” says Og Mandino in The Greatest Salesman in the World. This “struggle” continues but failure isn’t an option. I can be what I will to be. In fact I object to the word “struggle”. Struggle insinuates adversity. I happily receive all that I encounter. This may be work but I’m on the right track.
I recommend this process (and it is a process) to anyone who wants to know why they don’t always show up. Life interferes with our plans and we put aside the dreams we have for our families. Before we know it, life is full of working overtime, piano lessons, swimming practices and a myriad of other obligations, distractions and activities. When we look back we wistfully think of the goals we had and our hopes to change the world. There’s no time like the present to show up and re-think priorities.
Heroes show up and I continue to show up. I can be what I will to be!
I’ve always considered myself a patient person but have been shown over and over I could be even more patient. I’ve had some great teachers. For example my children have taught me well. Every time I thought I was a patient, understand dad, they found a way to strain my last nerve or do something completely unexpected. That education continues and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m truly blessed to have four wonderful, healthy children and I’m grateful to have such great teachers and I’ve learned to enjoy the ride. They’ve also provided me with unlimited opportunities to “be the observer” and consider my responses. Sometimes the observer gets lots of work!
The Master Keys has also shown me I can be more patient, that faster isn’t always better and that I benefit by taking the time to focus and energize my readings. In The Greatest Salesman in the World, Og Mandino writes, “…I must practice the art of patience for nature never acts in haste.” And so I practice. I get the notion we never reach perfection in this area but I can certainly be better…a lot better. And so I am.
I noticed myself rushing through when reading Scroll 1 in TGSITW and then I came upon that sentence about practicing patience. I’ve read this chapter over seventy times before but this time it was like I could hear a car, breaks locked, screeching to a halt in my head. “Slow down, take it in and feel it.” the little voice said. And so I did…and Wow, it was like I’m reading a new book all over! I’ve also slowed down reading my Definite Major Purpose and my Blueprint Builder. Boy am I feeling it now. I may need a roof top to shout from sometimes!
A wise man once said, “We don’t know what we don’t know.” and I’m in the Master Keys Mastermind Alliance to learn. And learn I have. It’s been busy and I’ve had to drop some of my valued time wasters to get the work done but I’m better for it. For the first few days I tried to squeeze it all in so I could get all my assignments done. That made me rush through things and hurt my focus. Lesson learned. One of many and more to come I’m sure. Thanks to Mark J., TF Davene and their staff for being benevolent dictators. It’s what I needed when I needed it. Mahalo!