The first step for developing mental control is silencing yourself enough so you can witness what is going on in your head.
“Life should not be a journey to the grave,” said Hunter S. Thompson, “with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, ‘Wow! What a ride!’”
Amazing what you can do if you want to change your life. If you don’t, your life is just going to stay the same until it eventually gets worse.
The development of mental control is the foundation for building an unbeatable mind that will not fail at any worthy goal or task, including a Spartan Race. I’m not talking about developing psychic powers like bending spoons. I’m talking about learning to block out distractions so you can focus enough to operate at an elite level, whatever your goals may be. Your monkey mind refers primarily to your rational, analytical “left brain” mind, especially if it is untrained through higher education and deep concentration. It is estimated that this part of our brain accounts for roughly 12 percent of our total thinking power. The other 88 percent lies in our creative subconscious, our “right brain,” and is poorly engaged by the majority of people.
The first step for developing mental control is silencing yourself enough so you can witness what is going on in your head. As you witness, you gain awareness of the external and internal influences that cause the chatter. The silence is the first layer of training for the mind. Gaining the space to witness our thoughts tames them in the process. We begin to bring our mind back under our control, allowing ourselves longer periods of focus. Then, we have the possibility of removing negative distractions and ensuring that our psychology supports our physiology. Sometimes it’s as simple as breathing deeply, holding for a period, and then releasing slowly.
Epictetus, the great Stoic, defined wealth not as having numerous and extravagant possessions, but as having few wants. When you’ve been to hell and back, food, water, and shelter will suffice to make you happy. It was only after I was broke that I started to appreciate every dollar I had. Working hard all week makes us thankful for Friday. Winter makes us appreciate spring. We need an appropriate frame of reference in order to be happy. The key to true happiness, therefore, is regularly recalibrating your frame of reference. It makes life simpler, healthier, and more enjoyable.
Spartan Up!: A Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Overcoming Obstacles and Achieving Peak Performance in Life
“We all are learning, modifying, or destroying ideas all the time. Rapid destruction of your ideas when the time is right is one of the most valuable qualities you can acquire. You must force yourself to consider arguments on the other side.
— Charles T. Munger”
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