The Mind-Bucket

Picture your mind as a bucket. It’s open and ready to receive and hold whatever the world offers you. Some of what the world gives you is cold and negative, and some of what the world gives you is warm and positive.

The warm things can be words of encouragement, accomplishments, and the results of well used gifts. The cold things can be unwarranted criticism, insults, and failures. At the earliest age, we start having our mind-buckets filled. Maybe you were encouraged and told all the things you’d be and accomplish one day, and the temperature of your mind-bucket was high, or maybe you weren’t and were put down and started with a pretty cool mind-bucket.

The temperature of our mind-bucket has a lot to do with our perspective, confidence, and behaviors. This life and leadership strategy is all about one simple truth; you can change the temperature of your mind-bucket. It is not fixed.

The temperature of your mind-bucket, and self-image, is an accumulation of all the inputs over your lifetime. It comes from what others put in and from what you put in. The way you talk to yourself and think about yourself is just as important as how other people treat and talk to you.

If your temperature is low, change it. Start by stopping to cool yourself down. When you fail, learn that failure is an event and not a character trait. Learn and grow. When you aren’t being the person you want to be or need to be, use your energy changing to be better instead of beating yourself up. Most of us would never talk to other people with the harshness and heartlessness we talk to ourselves. Stop it.

Start putting warm water in your mind-bucket and find other people who will too. It is okay to celebrate your successes, no matter how small they might seem. Practice gratitude to allow yourself to start to see the positive around you and in you more clearly. Find people that are not tearing other people down all the time, that don’t complain for recreation.

There is one caveat; you must be honest. If you really are failing, not living up to your potential or working as hard as you should, own it. You can’t take a bag full of ice, pretend it is hot, and dump it into your mind-bucket and expect it to make you warmer. Your temperature will not change and your self-image will not improve by being dishonest with yourself and others. You cannot take shortcuts to being a warmer and better self.

Our friends, family, coworkers, and community need more warm and uplifting people. We can be those people for them. We just have to become them first.

Westbound Freight

A fully loaded freight train can weigh between 18,000 and 40,000 tons. These trains run at speeds between 40 and 70 mph. The average (29,000 tons moving at 55 mph) would have 467,900,000 pound feet per second or 1/19th of the force of the space shuttle launch.  

This life and leadership strategy is about change, and when the time for change has come. Change happens. Change is life, whether we like it, want it or not.

This can apply to change that you cannot control; in your work place, in your community, and in relationships you are in. This can also apply to changes you know you need to make and control but haven’t committed to yet, but believe you should.

When the majority of people in an organization or group have decided it is time for change, just like a loaded freight train on straight tracks heading west gets up to full speed, there is little or nothing that will stop it.

If there is change coming in your organization/relationship/team/community and the majority is behind it and emotionally committed you really only have three choices.

1.      Get on board. There are times we need to move with the whole even if the direction is not the one we’d choose.

2.      Get out of the way and keep our mouth shut. There are times we need to accept the group is taking a direction we don’t want to go and it’s okay to let it.

3.      Lay on the tracks and try to stop it. This should only be done when there is a moral issue. Emotion and sentiment are not moral issues. This also usually ends in the same manner as if you were to actually lay on the tracks and try to stop some westbound freight.

The personal application, when you know there is a change you want or need to make in your own life is in the power of commitment. We know we need to do something but are afraid of failure so we don’t start. If we were to really commit to the change we have to make and allow the momentum of the commitment to grow, before long the force becomes unstoppable. We are the catalyst to this growth in our own physical, mental and spiritual lives.

If I know I need to be healthier and I fully commit to going to the gym, the momentum of my resolve will keep me from failing. If I know I need to be a better parent or partner and I fully commit to putting the time in, the momentum of my resolve will keep me from failing. If I know my heart and habits are out of balance and it is time to seek that which is greater than me to restore that balance, the momentum of my resolve will keep me from failing.

We cannot stop a change whose time has come.

We can decide when it’s our time to change.