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The Power of The Mind

Our brain is a gift. But like any other gift, it has to carefully choose its master.

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“Our brain is a gift. But like any other gift, it has to carefully choose its master”. – sundaewrites

 

 

 

Mind Power.
Brain Power.

Have you stumbled upon these words? Searching it on google would give you numerous results. Try it. You’ll see.

When you get hundreds of search results on a subject, it conveys two basic things.

The subject is important.
The findings are valuable.

The topic of Brain Power has been determined to be very relevant these days, and the discoveries of how it influences a person’s success have proven to be a very useful knowledge.

A friend and I were on the road one night. We talked about the struggles we face every now and then and realized that most of these battles begin inside our head. If we’re not careful and we don’t fight back, the battle could easily be lost, way before it happens in the physical space. Joy gets stolen. Future grows dim.

What we feed our brains can give birth to a platoon of little soldiers who will serve either the good or the bad. Negative thoughts can breed envy, self-pity, worry, blame, hate, vengeance, and fear, to name a few, while positive thoughts can create a garden of dreams, hope, beauty, joy, forgiveness, serenity, and contentment to mention some.

photo credit: Cristina Gottardi
photo credit: Cristina Gottardi

How we look at things, act or speak is determined by the set of thoughts that plays the loudest in our head. If you want some thoughts to be more audible than the rest, you have to lower the volume of the unwanted ones or at best invalidate their entry pass. That way, you maintain harmony inside your head, and you get the results you really want.

Our brain is a gift. But like any other gift, it has to carefully choose its master. If you are to use it to serve the greater good, then, like owning a garden, sow good seeds. Water and nurture your brain by allowing it to grow, to develop, to imagine and to dream. Eliminate the weeds by imposing discipline. Don’t allow it to wander irresponsibly into useless, destructive territories.

Our brain is very vulnerable so we have to guard and protect it to ensure it treads the path leading to meaningful success where our life gains fulfillment and joy, growth and contribution, contentment and peace.

The conversation I had with my friend that night led me to realize that I could have done things differently in the past had I practiced the art of mastering my mind. A lot of bad choices could have been avoided, progress could have been more easy, seamless and fast. But I am not one to live with regrets. It’s water down the bridge and I can still take hold of my future by exercising my power now.

So today, I resolve to discipline my thoughts, to carefully choose what I feed my brain. I resolve to magnify what’s good, pure and meaningful and ignore all other thoughts that don’t fit in. I will “mindfully” do this in the course of three weeks to eventually turn it into a habit. If you’re in, journey with me in the next 21 days and let’s find out together how our lives can change by mastering our mind.

photo credit: Josh Applegate
photo credit: Josh Applegate

 

 

Question:
Was there an experience in your life that made you realize the power of your brain? How are you nurturing this power? How do you intend to use it?

When You Need To Strip Away The Unimportant

With a cup of coffee in hand, I reviewed how my days have been. What have I invested my time for? My energy? And like a subtle cold wind touching my skin, I heard this gentle voice bringing me up to my senses,  a question I haven’t pondered on for quite some time. #sundaewrites

 

 

Be present. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you’re feeling.  Reward yourself with the very gift of this moment. Feel every breath, wake up your senses and savor every minute.

It’s easy to go through our days distracted by seemingly urgent matters. We react to things and fail to exercise our ability to initiate, to begin, to design our lives that way we want it to. Now more than ever is the best time we take responsibility. It’s time to get a grip, to make a stand and resolve how our day will be before it even starts, regardless of what’s going to transpire. 

I realized I have unconsciously allowed the victim mentality to rule my mind these past few weeks.  I don’t know how it even managed to creep in.  I found a lot of reasons to blame something or someone for what I’m feeling, so days have been long, hours have been a drag.  I pushed and pushed harder that I forgot how it feels to walk and just enjoy the sunshine.  My head is flooded with unimportant thoughts.  I miss home, I miss my family, I miss the beauty and simplicity of the olden days, of my childhood, all those years before adulthood.

Is growing up a bad thing? Not at all. It’s just that we tend to forget how it is to be a kid- to laugh often, to play, to not hold grudges, to desire big dreams, to dare, to be fearless, to stand up for what’s right, to be honest about our feelings and our thoughts and not be ashamed of it. 

photo credit: Ben White
photo credit: Ben White

When we were kids, we were bolder, we were free-spirited. Why? Because we knew we are loved. We knew that we matter. We believed that we have nothing to lose. We stumble and fall, yes, but we knew that we can stand up again and run-  such courage, such faith, such willpower.

I woke up to a quiet morning today, to the sound of the birds chirping away and enjoying the warmth of the sun. With a cup of coffee in hand, I reviewed how my days have been. What have I invested my time for? My energy? And like a subtle cold wind touching my skin, I heard this gentle voice bringing me up to my senses,  a question I haven’t pondered on for quite some time. What is this all about?”

More than just fulfilling my life’s purpose, I want to leave a legacy. The day’s reflection delivered these words, “Great sermons aren’t preached, they’re lived.”  So if I am to teach someone, I may do so with fewer words.  

You and I both know it’s never easy. We all start with good intentions but some days some things get the better of us.  When life pulls you in different directions, when you feel overwhelmed, and can’t seem to take one more step, it’s good to remind ourselves of this question, “What is this all about?”  And I hope your answer would give you:

  • comfort when there’s pain,
  • joy when there’s a lot to complain,
  • peace when everything around is in chaos,
  • hope in despair,
  • gentleness in the midst of noise,
  • forgiveness when there’s lack of it.
photo credit: Mehmet Kursat Deger
photo credit: Mehmet Kursat Deger

Then maybe you can strip away all that is not important, simplify things again, and start from there.  That way you narrow down your focus to just a few, the ones that really matter.

Question:

Have you pondered about this question-  “What is this all about”? What answers did you get? Did it change the next days of your life? Share your thoughts here. There’s always a lot we can learn from each other.

Make Room

“If people are not traveling the same path as yours, it doesn’t mean that they are lost”- #sundaewrites

 

I grew up getting almost everything I want.  I was fortunate to have a doting father. Though I’m forever grateful for that, such near perfection didn’t help much in my ability to accept failure, defeat, and rejection during my adult life. I was overly sensitive and had a strong desire to be liked, to be accepted, and be noticed.  For me to get that, I worked really hard to please other people, to be the best that I can be, not because I wanted to, but because I needed to.

I knew then that being Miss Ideal would get me raving fans, and that’s exactly what I’ve got– raving fans.Then I realized there were still other people who I can’t seem to reach– the imperfect ones. The problem kids, troubled teenagers, the unpopular, the nobodies. I thought, if I want to be to be liked by them, I had to be like them.  So I switched sides.  That decision completed my experience on both sides of the world.

After all the hassles and risks, do you think I was accepted, liked and loved?  I believe I was, but it was never enough.  And I figured out why. There was one person left in the room who’s not giving me what I want. That person was me.

Do you wonder why you are unhappy, or dissatisfied?  Why you long so much to find happiness in your outside world?  It’s because your inner world is broken.  It’s not as bright as it supposed to be. It’s dark, dull, empty and confused.

Let me put something on your plate.

Lower your expectations of others.

People make mistakes.  There are days when they are not the best versions of themselves. And some days they couldn’t care about you.  They have issues too you know.  And you can’t compel them to place you at the center of their lives.  They are the center of their lives as much as you are the center of your own. A person who can’t take care of himself isn’t capable of taking care of another human being.  Even if he tries, the fire will soon die if he neglects to add fuel to the furnace. Putting that fuel is something you do yourself. It’s not anyone else’s job.  So own it.

Forgive yourself as often as you can, then do better.

Admit it. You are impatient with others because you are impatient with yourself.  You remain miserable because while others have moved on, you chose to carry the weight around you. Trust me, you’ll never get anywhere if you keep reliving your failures. Feel sorry yes, but don’t dwell on it for too long. Confront yourself with “what now”, enough with “Why, me?.”

Stop projecting your desired realities on to others.

That’s just fair, isn’t it? Because you don’t want others as well to tell you what you should do or supposed to have to be completely happy. Happiness, after all, is an inside job.The fulfillment of such rests on you. So allow people to live a life that is true to them. You have your own to worry about.

photo credit: Aaron Burden

Our life has its own unique design. As a saying goes, “If people are not traveling the same path as yours, it doesn’t mean that they are lost”We have our own space and time to fill.  Respect that and you will learn to lower the bars for other people and adjust the bars you set for yourself.

Don’t fret about getting what you want. Don’t be somebody else’s responsibility. Better than that, give life whenever you can and nourish your inner world as much as you should.

Question:

Was there an instance in your life where you believed someone failed you? How was your journey during that phase? How did it change your perspective in life? Comment here. I want to listen to your heart. Let me hear you.

What Is It Gonna Be?

A mentor once said, “Focus on this. One life, one person at a time. If you can create an impact, a change like that, that’s all that matters”.  #sundaewrites

 

 

Bored.

Burdened.

If you have felt these lately, you are not alone. A  million of us share the same road.

In my small circle of friends, at least half of us feel like life is a drag- a heavy load you need to carry with you wherever you want to go. Each step lands your foot in a mud.  You’ve got to pull your leg a little harder every time so you get to move.  If at all, you get to move.

Why do we have days like these? Why can’t we always feel happy and stay like that all year long?

While we all know that happiness is a decision you make for yourself, it’s easier said than done, or perhaps we don’t really know what that means or what it really takes.

All the successful people you’ve known were once upon a time nobodies. They started small. They struggled but kept on because they were driven by something that’s far greater than themselves. Something noble and beautiful. Something they desire to create not only for themselves but for the world, even if that world only meant a handful of people that they deeply care about. So in time, they’ve overcome the hurdles and eventually became great- famous, wealthy, powerful.

Then it happens. Success made these same people get so engrossed on fame, wealth, and power. The drive is now to maintain the status quo or exceed the same. So, they get to work to produce more success-  toil day in and day out that it becomes an obligation they believe they owe to themselves.

Is that bad? Not necessarily. But weak motivations won’t hold you up forever.  You see, the moment our focus change, we forget about why we do what we do in the first place. Our great WHY vanishes into thin air.

 

photo credits: Jon Tyson
photo credit: Jon Tyson

 

Take for example this writing.  I don’t know how many people will get to read this and how many of those who read it actually cares.  Despite the nagging desire to know, I choose to resist it. One of my mentors actually said, even the greatest writers still have that fear of rejection- you just have to deal with it. Then she spilled out this nugget of wisdom that up to now continues to motivate me. “Focus on this. One life, one person at a time. If you can create an impact, a change like that, that’s all that matters”.  So whenever I scribble something on a notepad or strike letters on my keyboard, I think about that one person that might find these words useful. Then the writing stops being an obligation. It now becomes an opportunity. No longer a drag rather, a source of delight.

Whenever you feel battered in life, one of the ways that can heal you is through your ability to receive love. Most “strong” people forget about that. Does it come from ego or pride? Maybe.

Regardless, you need to break that wall and let love seep through. You’ll always be a child. Even strong muscles or gray hairs cannot change that.  You need love. Don’t be too proud to receive it.

Boredom. Burden. These are real, but you deserve better.

Embrace your great WHY and open up your heart for Love.

 

photo credit: ben white
photo credit: ben white

 

Question:

Have you taken a step back at one point in life to just reevaluate things? To remind yourself again why you do what you do? What did this “pause” reveal about yourself and the life you pursue? I care about your thoughts. Share them here.

 

Some Days When I’m Not Winning

A friend of mine told me once: Pick one thing that you can win today. Once you make it, pick another, then another.”  How I hope I learned this sooner. – #sundaewrites

 

I always make it a point to come prepared. It doesn’t matter which assignments I take, be it at work, ministry, personal goals or any activity set out on my calendar.  You see, I don’t like to be in a place where I’d hear myself mutter “I should have…”  I have high expectations from “me” and fortunately (or unfortunately), I project these expectations towards others.

Half of the time things go the way I envisioned them, and the rest of the time, they don’t. I get so pumped up on those “sunny days”, and well, “rainy days”- they always get me down.  These down moments seem to carry on forever. My heart bleeds, my positivity loses strength, my demeanor and stance obviously mirror defeat.

photo credits: glenn carstens peters

 

Still, I show up.  

As much as I want to analyze my feelings and thoughts piece by piece, I desire so much to just hit the rewind button and start fresh- wish I was better that day, wish I was smarter, wish people were more kind, more responsible, more caring.  When I realized I couldn’t even fulfill the wishes I had for myself, I understood how ridiculous it is to expect my wishes for other people to come true.

As I was driving home one evening I felt the urge to confront myself one question. “Why do you easily get frustrated?” A number of answers came up.

Your standards are too high

You’re trapped in the illusion of a perfect world

You’re over confident

You fooled yourself into believing that people are perfect

You like to operate in your own little world and expect people to fit in there

A lot of thoughts came running like athletes on a marathon pushing towards the finish line. Suddenly it felt too much. These voices. They hit you like a big wave, smashing and forcing you under water till you struggle to breathe and lose the will to swim.

Then it stopped. Calmness stepped in like a sudden quietness, a glimmer of pure silence.

I wrestled with that peace.  Reluctantly I said, “Okay’ I’m going to keep my commitment to those I made it to”.  And that still, small voice answered, “No, keep the commitment you made to Me”.  It’s like He knows, He’d hear me say “I quit” time and time again.

Point blank. I didn’t have the courage to say yes to that. So I argued some more

“It’s difficult”.

“It’s unfair”.

“How can you expect that from me?”

Did I get more answers? No.  I was left with those questions.

photo credits: jean gerber

 

I guess, there’s no easy way to go about it, no easy way to go about uncertainties and the feeling of being let down.

A friend of mine told me once: Pick one thing that you can win today. Once you make it, pick another, then another.”  

Some days we lose, some days we win. I think the outcome is important, but more than that, the process is.  Whether we get a trophy or a zero star rating on any given day, it should not stop us from taking the next step.  We don’t get it all figured out at the start, even as we go on. But do we always have to have the answers? Maybe, but even if we don’t we go out there and keep asking anyway. We go out there and pick ourselves up.  We go out there and show up. Life “wills” you to take risks. When you do, it will define you and redefine you. At the end of it, you can never lose.

 

Questions:

Have you also experienced being let down? Did you wrestle with frustration? How did you come off it and what lessons did you learn? I’d love to hear from you.

Colours

“In the bigger world, we all have roles to fill. Fulfill what is yours and be excellent about it. There’s room for everyone in the Father’s Kingdom”. #sundaewrites

 

Have you ever felt frustrated because somebody else is better than you? Mad because you don’t have what they have or maybe because they’re already doing the things you could have been doing, but never really started?

Well, you’re not alone. In the past, I have beaten myself up about frustrations supposedly caused by people around me. Yes, I blamed everyone else but myself. But the more I look deeper into what I’m going through, the more I figured, it’s my fault and no one else’s.

Here’s the deal.  Whenever you feel the green monster creeping in, you can either do one or a few of these things.

Avoid it.  Facebook is a great platform. It allows people to make connections and gives us a window for self-expression.  The latter, sometimes create a negative impact on most of us.  In my case, seeing other people’s post actually got me jealous at times in the past. You read it right. It’s not actually their fault, it’s mine. You know, we have to take responsibility for what we feel.  So what did I do?  I unfollowed most.  (If you’re one of those, I’m sorry, it’s not really personal). But you see, I recognized my flaw and I took an action to protect my heart. I didn’t want to carry the heavy baggage anymore. The more you allow these little things to build up, they actually get heavier over time.

Celebrate other people’s success. We envy and hate people because we want what they have.  Let’s be honest. We only see the tip of the iceberg, and we don’t know what successful people had to go through just to get to where they are. Just think about one person you know who finally launched a business or have drawn a large clientele. Or just think about Mozart or Da Vinci. Imagine the hours, the late nights, the effort, discipline, failures, and frustrations they had to endure and overcome to be where they are now.  Are you willing to put in the same effort, and the same work? Next time you feel envious, ask yourself that.  Truly successful people put in a lot of hard work to accomplish what they set their mind and heart on. It didn’t just happen overnight. So we ought to applaud them, be inspired by them and not hate them.

Nurture your own success. Admit that you can’t be everyone to anyone, but you can be someone.  In your own unique way, you can bless the world.  Each of us has his own gifts. Our responsibility is to hone this gift and be excellent at it.  You know in a typical office, not everyone is a receptionist. Not everyone is an accountant, an engineer, a sales executive, or a CEO. Everybody gets to be one, and everyone has a part to play. For a company to succeed, the team should be ironclad. No weak link. And everyone should turn up to do the job, else somebody will have to fill in two roles and that may be ineffective in the long run.

Photo by Joe Shillington

 

My point is, in the bigger world, we all have roles to fill. Each of us has been equipped to do what we’re supposed to do. We are here to complement each other not envy one another. It doesn’t matter what work you do, what matters is you do it the best you could. How?  Imagine you’re not just putting one brick on top of the other. See the bigger picture, and recognize that you’re actually building a church.

Go and bless the world!

 

The Bitter Pill

“Your mind and your heart is a battlefield.  You decide what wins, and who wins.”#sundaewrites

 

Disappointment.  It depletes your energy. It saps your motivation. It makes you think and do a lot of crazy things you wouldn’t have thought or done if you were in your happy state.

Remember the times you took out on people who have nothing to do with what you’re going through or the times when you’ve thrown in the towel and sadly exclaimed, “It’s over”? Crazy. Why? Coz often times we make decisions in the heat of the moment, in the height of our feelings.

Everyone has had experienced the weight of being let down. I have my fair share of it in different aspects of life- relationships, faith, service, work, even in the things that I do out of passion- music, and writing.  There would be people who would admire what you have or have accomplished but they never got to see the hard work you’ve put into it.  There would be times when your efforts are valued less, or go by unnoticed.  There would be moments when it would feel like, you’re hardly getting there not getting closer to your dreams or inching forward to what you want to accomplish.

Mind you, it’s tough. But that’s just how it is.  Yesterday you were happy, today you are sad, and tomorrow, you might find hope. The day after that you may feel invincible, the next day, you look at yourself in the mirror and say “What a total loser”.  Sometimes you may experience all these in one single day.  Take for example the old man who worries about money one morning, and wins the lotto in the evening. Just like that.  Or the day when you had a happy get together with friends, just to come home to news of a loved one’s death. Yes, just like that.

One struggling woman shared this beautiful “pick-me-up” kind of reminder that was passed on to her by her grandmother. It says, “Do your best with what’s in front of you and leave the rest to the powers above you”. Beautiful, sensible, comforting.  Indeed, we can only focus on one moment at a time. While the larger world moves around us at the very same instant, we can do something with what’s right before us.  After all, you’re only certain about this time Now, and not the time after that.

credits: nik macmillan

 

Our mind is a battlefield.  Oftentimes we already know what to do but it seems difficult to point ourselves in that direction.  That’s because we insist for things to happen the way it “supposed to”.  We find it hard to let go or we spend too much time asking “Why” and turn our back on the more important and liberating question of, “What now?”.   We’re stubborn like that, and we’re scared to move on.

Our heart is a battlefield too.  We should always guard and defend it from enemy invasion.  One thing I’m learning now is to cry my heart out to God about battles that I couldn’t defeat,  struggles that many people don’t know.  I always used to fix things my way. But not this time, not anymore.  When I surrender everything else to the powers above me, the weight on my shoulders is gone,  my heart is healed, my mind is clear. Then I can focus on what I can do best to what’s in front of me.  When frustration comes again, any time of day or any moment now, I just repeat this thought in my head, “Just do what you can now, tomorrow is another day”.

Hope this helps you get through your seemingly darkest days.  Always remember that you are not alone. There is still so much love in the world and so much love you can give to yourself.