Mindset is the most important aspect of your professional career; it will dictate more of your success than any other single factor.  So, I need to address it and provide some practical strategies for you to stay sane, positive and productive.

First, let’s start with a precept:

Thoughts are Things

Look around, how many things in your everyday experience were first ideas in someone’s mind?  Most of our world has been manifested by the power of our thoughts.  Some could even argue, that our entire world is a product of our thoughts.

Buddha said, “we are shaped by our thoughts, we become what we think”

Book of Proverbs (ch.23, verse 7), “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”

In fact, most of world’s religions and spiritual teachers focus on right thinking.  Every enlightened spiritual teacher has realized that everything begins as thoughts.  Thoughts can be positive or negative, they can motivate and move you forward to your goals or they can sap energy, hold you back and move you away from your aspirations.

Here are some practical strategies for thought optimization:

Practice the Law of Substitution

If I told you to NOT think of dinosaur, then the first thing you would think about is a dinosaur.  It’s useless trying to not think about negative things or entertaining negative thoughts.  The way you regain control of your mind is by replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts.  When that little voice in your head starts mouthing off about how you’re not good enough, strong enough, smart enough, attractive enough then you must immediately drown out that voice with your own positive message to yourself.  A negative thought is like mold, if you don’t do something, it will grow, entrench and then you will start believing and acting on its influence.  Get in the habit of weeding the fields of your mind.  Start planting seeds of positivity and reap the harvest.

Practice Forgiveness

Forgiveness is highlighted frequently in several spiritual practices, this is because forgiveness frees up valuable brain power.  When you forgive people that have wronged you, you are reallocating your mental resources to focus on other, more positive things.  Nothing robs more people of valuable energy and effort than trying to stay angry or upset.

Practice Responsibility

If I told you that you are 100% responsible for everything that has ever happened to you, would you be upset?  Some people would immediately start listing out every grievance, tragedy and reason for why they are not responsible for their situation.  Responsibility is not accepting fault for circumstances outside your control; responsibility is simply your Response-Ability.  Lou Holtz famously remarked that “Life is 10 percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.”  I would argue its more like 1% / 99%.  Your entire life will be a compilation of your reactions and your thoughts will dictate those reactions.

Practice Decisiveness

Life is wasted dithering, contemplating, procrastinating, debating and talking.  Action is life’s language, everything else is commentary.  At the end of your life, you will be a product of your decisions: the decisions you make and the actions you take.  So make BIG decisions, take MASSIVE action and carve your own story.

Practice Clarity

Decide who you are and what you want.  Do you know who you are?  Do you know what you want?  Is it written down clearly so that a child could understand it and tell you if you’re on the right track.  Only 3% of adults have written goals.  Less than 1% have written plans to achieve those goals.  If you’re not working on achieving your goals, then you are most likely working to achieve someone else’s.

The human body is very complex, but the human operating system is simple: