I never noticed how hyper my mind was until I tried to calm it down a bit. For the longest time, I tolerated my mind’s incessant chatter and activity, assuming it was completely normal. My mind swirled with literally constant activity, whether I was reviewing what just happened, trying to remember to-do lists or contemplating what was soon to happen. Even when there was no reason to be thinking and I thought I was relaxed, I found something to consume me mentally. Does this sound familiar? It only occurred to me recently that the mind, like any tool, should be able to rest. In other words, it does not have to ‘work’ all the time. And, only when I actively calmed my mind (using some rudimentary meditation techniques), did I realize what a peaceful and energizing experience it was.Read More »
When we are forced to focus, we actually clear and calm our minds, which is the fundamental discipline of meditation. So, when this ‘focus’ happens during exercise, whether you realize it or not, you are actually experiencing moments of meditation. And, as documented by hundreds of books, experts and web sources, meditation is VERY healthy (link to one of the many documented meditation benefits given below). Many sports including cycling, trail running, mountain biking, water skiing, snow skiing, snowboarding, surfing (and others) are ways that we calm our minds without even trying. Here’s why… Read More »
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies”. That’s what a wise friend once told me and I never forgot it (apparently this is a famous Buddhist quote). It’s so true and accurate and conveys so much. If you hold anger, resentment, grudges or other negative feelings inside, in actuality, you are the one being poisoned and the one who is suffering. Nobody else feels that but you and, most likely, the person you’re angry with is completely unaware of your inner turmoil. You suffer by electing to harbor these negative feelings about somebody or something else. Regardless of what happened and who was right or wrong, you don’t need to hold poison (negative, toxic energy and feelings) inside. Take a deep breathe, exhale and release it. Holding anger (resentment, grudges, etc.) inside does absolutely nothing positive for you. Think about it and be honest with yourself. It doesn’t feel good at all. So, what does one do to change this? Simple… if you’re Smarter Sooner, you’ll LET IT GO.Read More »
Aligned with some of the thinking in a previous blog called Don’t Engage (https://smartersooner.com/2016/06/03/dont-engage/), this blog suggests a very important strategy when dealing with conflict among friends, family and significant others. It’s called “Picking your Battles” and the name conveys it all. Picking your Battles simply means that one should carefully think about which ‘conflicts’ are worth arguing. In other words, if you subscribe to ‘picking your battles’, you’ll only argue, challenge or otherwise ‘dig in’ when it’s a truly important matter. At first glance (in the heat of the moment) lots of things may seem substantial enough to justify arguing, but if you wait a few minutes and really consider it, you’ll often realize that it’s just smarter to keep quiet and move on. There are lots of reasons to be conscious of this. First and foremost, people who argue about ‘every little detail’ (or always have something to say) are annoying and taken less seriously. These people can aggravate their friends and family, and waste a lot energy in the process. Conversely, people who are very selective about their arguments and statements, are much more likely to be acknowledged when they do, in fact, make an argument or have something to day. The Smarter Sooner strategy is obvious here!
In the normal course of a relationship with friends, family and significant others, we can all find lots of things that we don’t necessarily agree with or otherwise have varying opinions about. These can be big and little things. If you made a point to correct or argue each and every issue, it would be quite tiresome and likely a waste of time. So many things will transpire in the exact same manner whether you choose to say something about it or not. On the other hand, if you’re generally more tolerant and only speak up when absolutely necessary, your words will have much more impact. Remember, you’re not put on this earth to police people.
My brother-in-law talked about this a long time ago in relation to his marriage to my sister. I’ve not forgotten it and witnessed his behavior accordingly on a number of occasions. At the beginning of his marriage to my sister, he very frankly said, “I pick my battles because it’s definitely not worth arguing about everything.” That resonated with me and later occurred me to me as being VERY mature (he was being Smarter Sooner!). Finding it a waste of time and energy (and generally unnecessary) to have something to say all the time, he carefully picks his battles. When something TRULY is upsetting to him, he brings it up and my sister is much more likely to listen. My sister has a strong personality and my brother-in-law reads the room well. We all have our threshold for being instructed, ‘barked at’, etc. Think how this applies in so many different circumstances, including in the car when somebody is backseat driving. Backseat driving only really gets annoying when that person has something to say ALL THE TIME even when it’s really unnecessary. When the ‘back seat driver’ is being selective, he’s not annoying and his commentary is likely well-received.
The person who is SmarterSooner is thoughtful about how much or little he engages in arguments, instructing others, etc. Less is definitely more in these circumstances. Try taking a deep breath and being quiet next time you feel compelled to ‘say something’. I guarantee it will be soothing to just observe without saying anything.
We’re all human and when we feel slighted, attacked or threatened in some way, our instinct is to respond in some way (yell, argue, fight, hold our ground or, in other words, ENGAGE). In some (rare) cases, it’s important to engage, but in most cases, it’s a COMPLETE WASTE OF ENERGY and something the Smarter Sooner person would avoid. Why avoid these types of thing? Because nothing good comes from these exchanges, other than unhealthy stress, negativity, embarrassment and more. I most recently saw an episode of this happening in a WalMart…Read More »
In the heat of the moment when you’re upset about something, it’s easy to do things that you might regret. This is a simple concept and most people realize this… but this is an important reminder to really apply discipline here. When emotions are inflamed, nobody thinks very clearly and behavior can be erratic. So, if at all possible, take a deep breath and wait as close to 24-hours as you can before responding / reacting. You’re response may be an email, a phone call or a direct confrontation with somebody – whatever it is, 9 times out of 10, it can wait. Obviously, 24 hours is a target time period because you can technically ‘sleep on it’, but the point is to take some period of time to pause and calm down before reacting (and likely doing something you might regret).
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