TIB #27: 6 mental mantras for a tough mind

Written by Arno Jansen

Mindsets and mental frameworks are powerful tools to reframe your worldview. These 6 mental mantras, help stay present and grounded so you can make meaningful progress toward your life goals.

“I don’t mind solitude”

“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.”

Gautama Buddha in “Sayings of Buddha”

Spending time in solitude is a great way to get to know your mind. Being comfortable with silence and solitude makes room to become aware of your emotions and thoughts.

Many people, intro-, ambi- and extroverts alike, unconsciously crave more solitude and silence. Don’t run away from your mind, don’t suppress it. Just as you make time to spend with friends for example, also make time to be alone.

What to do in alone time? Nothing in particular. What you do, should aid your mind. Meditation, journaling, finding ways that work for you to become aware of the stories your mind comes up with. Then realise you are not your thoughts or emotions. Create space between thoughts or emotions and your response to them. That way you stop being a slave to your random thoughts or emotional rollercoasters.

“Today I can make progress, no matter how small”

“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday, the other one is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.”

14th Dalai Lama

I find this one so powerful; ruminating on the past, anxiety for the future is all energy spent on something outside of your control. Sure, making plans and setting goals is important too. But unless you do something today, those plans and goals are worth nothing.

Most think of goals and results as events:

  • “Once I loose 30 lbs, I’ll be happy.”
  • If I have this many clients/customers/likes/subscribers/followers/dollars, life will be good.

All possible future events. All fantasy (for now). Any result, good or bad, is an event. All events are the results of a process. Keeping a process going to keep making progress.

“I am not entitled to a good life”

Earlier this year, I heard a retiree say this when faced with a difficult fact of life: “I have worked hard my whole life and now this. I think I deserve better”.

I wish he had it easier and better. But the truth is, of course, we are not entitled to a good life.

Be grateful for the good things in your life, while at the same time realizing it will not always be this way. No matter how good or bad, this too shall pass.

“I don’t focus on what I can’t control”

Most things you can’t control:

  • The weather
  • What people think about you
  • How high your site ranks in google

.. to name a few. So be careful spending your valuable time and energy on such things.

Where you put your effort, is where you have control. How those efforts are perceived, interpreted, or valued is pretty much beyond your control.

Some people will resonate with what you have to say. There will be people you will rub the wrong way with that same message.

You can optimize your online content, but you have very little control over the algorithms responsible for showing to other your audience.

Not to say you should not put in any effort. For example:

  • Put your message out. Spend time writing well. But don’t worry about getting people’s approval.
  • Create your content, apply SEO, use best practises, but realise you are playing a game where platforms can change the rules mid-game.

“I am not my business”

Starting and running your own business is a lot of work. But, do not tie your identity to your business. It is its own thing. You created it, you may still be building it, but don’t make your self-worth dependent on the revenue.

There is a lot of personal development to go through when building and growing your business. You will run into things you did not know you would find difficult. You will face challenges you might never have faced being an employee.

These are ways you grow as a person. But the business is not who you are, nor is any business metric an indicator of your self-worth or confidence.

“I will not give up, and not run myself into the ground”

It may take several attempts to create a successful business. Most entrepreneurs carry a backpack of failed attempts with them. Or maybe having a business is not the right vehicle for you to achieve your life goals.

Do not give up on your overarching life goals. Change them if you need (or want) to, but do not ditch them entirely.

On the other hand: in order to make progress towards those goals, you need to take risks. Some will pay off, some will not. If a decision turned out differently than hoped or expected, let it go. Try something else, but do not run yourself into the ground.

Bonus: “Fear is temporary, regret is forever”

Speaks for itself. Not doing something out of fear of failure, may lead to having to live with the regret of not doing the thing. Make that choice consciously.

This one is near and dear to my heart. So near and dear in fact, that I dedicated a whole post to it: “Fear is temporary, regret is forever

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