In almost every workshop we deliver, we try to teach the principle that the mind is a muscle. What does this mean? Well, your mind and really your whole life operate on the same growth and strengthening principles as any muscle in your body, and almost everyone misunderstands what it takes to make a muscle grow. Pay attention, here.
I always ask my students “what do you need to do to make a muscle grow stronger or larger?” They always reply with great enthusiasm, “You need to EXERCISE!” That is totally incorrect. You can exercise your muscles all day long and they will never get one iota stronger. To make a muscle grow, you must TRAIN that muscle – work it and tax it beyond what it’s ever done before, and then you must FEED that muscle with the right balance of nutrients so it can recover and grow. In fact, muscles don’t grow while you’re working out. They grow as a RESULT of your workout, but the growth actually happens while you are resting. I’ll suggest that your mind and your life are exactly the same. You’ve got to have both “intense workout” time and proper recovery time in your life if you want to see growth. How do you do this?
The main key here is that in your professional life as well as your physical life, you must push beyond what you are comfortable with. Working a muscle in a growth-inducing manner requires some discomfort, even pain. Apply this principle to the rest of your life. Set goals that are out of your current reach. Think big! Go someplace you’ve never been. If you’re a salesperson, make more calls or appointments in a week than you ever have. PUSH yourself to new levels of focus and effort. Will this require some discipline? Absolutely! In fact, it will actually hurt a little. But that kind of pain is temporary and if you’ll work through it, the growth in your life and your pocketbook will make you forget that pain quickly.
If all you do is push with no recovery, growth does not occur. Quite the opposite, in fact. Once you’ve stretched your limits, it is important to feed your mind and your life just like you eat to replenish your strength. Some “recovery tips” for your Life:
Celebrate your victories. When something goes right when your “pushing beyond” actually gets the results you desire, enjoy it for a little while! Reward your wins and you get charged up to want more of them.
Take time for yourself – by yourself and with those you love. Quiet time alone for a little bit each week is absolutely necessary to recharge your batteries. Just as important as quality time with family or those you care about. This is often the first thing a busy professional sacrifices, which is why so many are burned out. It doesn’t need to be tons of time, but it has to be some.
Feed your mind systematically. The practice of reading an inspiring or uplifting book for 15-30 minutes daily is absolutely the most refreshing and life-changing habit you can develop.
If you want to grow, you must have BOTH the workout and the recovery time. Find the balance and growth is inevitable. Not easy, but inevitable.