“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
The winter solstice just passed and now, we find ourselves deep in the peak of shortened days, cold weather and lots of time inside with family and relatives. The lack of sun can really damper our moods and take away some of our energy. If we let it. Winter can make it challenging to find inspiration at times. But the days of less sunlight can also lead to great opportunities for solitude, reflection and contemplation.
While it may be tough to feel as inspired, I find that wintertime often is great for planning and refocusing our priorities. Some of my best ideas, as well as my most productive planning and actions have taken place at this time of the year. Following the holidays, there are less distractions. And as a result, there are more reasons to find things that inspire and light the fire inside of our hearts.
In this vein, I urge you to develop an inspirational routine each morning. It may come through the power of meditation, prayer, genuine heartfelt interaction with those that you love or from your favorite song. It could be a video that plays back the piano recital you played to perfection that brought the house down.
It may be the words of this article or a book you find so profound and hold in such high esteem, you get the chills before opening the pages.
Develop your routine. I’ll show you what works for me and how you can integrate this into your life. But first, a story.
A Story To Tell
Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought. — Napoleon Hill
This is a story I know well. It’s the story of my best friend, my brother, Kevin. These days my brother is seen on national television five nights each week on ESPN. He’s a broadcast journalist and celebrity in his own right. Everything he has can be attributed to his natural talents, perseverance, desire and faith in himself.
Kevin worked hard until he reached the pinnacle of his profession. He reached the top because he envisioned himself reaching the top. He dreamed big and thought prodigious, stimulative thoughts. He had the mindset of a winner. But keep in mind, Kevin’s success did not come overnight.
Kevin knew when he was in 8th grade what he wanted to do with his life. He started announcing sports scores over the intercom at our middle school. He did the same thing while in high school. Kevin used his basketball-playing ability to earn an athletic scholarship at the college level, where he attended a school with one of the top Radio & TV programs in the United States.
After graduation, he embarked on what is now a nearly 20-year career in sports broadcasting. He busted his tail for nine long years at a regional television station making meager money. There were moments of doubt, frustration and at times, loneliness. Kevin dreamed of being on national television or working in a big market. But it seemed so far away.
He concentrated on getting better each day. He surrounded himself with inspiring thoughts, stories and images of fellow broadcasters who made the big time, as well powerful stories of athletes. He kept going. Kept believing.
Finally, his big break came in 2006 when he accepted a job with WCBS radio in New York. Less than one year later, he was working on television for WCBS-TV. And in 2008, he reached the big time: he was hired by ESPN. 11 years after graduating college, with a few lean years in between where he thought about quitting or changing professions, Kevin received an offer to work at the worldwide leader of sports.
Chances are, you will not find success or personal fulfillment in your first job. Few people are blessed with both the talent and foresight to know precisely what they want to do with their lives right after college. Even less people know and possess this ability at a young age. My brother, Kevin, is one of those precious few lads who did know.
We all have unique stories to share with the world. Where are you on your journey? Are you going through the doldrums of doubt and fear? Do you see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel — the end-vision of your goal? And if you do, are you running into road blocks of creativity? What are your mental challenges? What are your emotional battles?
Perhaps your path is as open as the Pacific Coast Highway at sunset in Laguna Beach. Maybe it’s a Midtown Manhattan traffic jam. It’s all a state of mind. We need inspiration to help us create the beautiful landscapes of limitless possibility in our mind that serve as the foundation for our magical journeys.
You are the creator of your world. When you are safe in the knowledge that you control your worldly destiny, nothing will ever stop you. Those with a winning mindset are never denied. They inspire themselves to achieve great things.
Develop Your Routine
“Great are they who see that spiritual is stronger than any material force — that thoughts rule the world.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Make your routine an everyday thing. As I’ve climbed the mountain of productivity this year, I realize that I never want to come down. The ascension — the journey — has been a magical ride and it reassures me that all of my progress toward self-actualization, as well as greater harmony and rhythm in living the life of my destiny, has been worth the pain and occasional doubts.
- Dedicate 10 minutes of contemplation time, ideally, at the beginning of each day. This sets the tone for your day and gets you feeling inspired.
- Use this time alone in solitude, in a quiet place. Focus your thoughts on positive, stimulative thoughts such as: romantic love, sexual love for a partner, girlfriend/boyfriend, wife or husband. Also, music, friendship and envisioning yourself attaining success or fame. There’s tremendous power that comes through dreaming and seeing yourself standing “in the winner’s circle.”
- Get these positive thoughts going and keep them going. Write down these thoughts that come to mind. Keep referring back to them throughout your workday or school day. Think of them when you’re out in the social world, during moments of difficulty or times of joy. Look at them again before you go to bed at night and reset your mind. Then rest and get ready for the new day with excitement, anticipation and a clear mind for fresh, new thoughts.
I’ve got a long, long way to go. Chances are, so do you. The way to cultivate and build momentum — which you can then transform into empowered thought and constructive action is through inspiration — the power of “fire” that lifts your spirit and brings you unbridled enthusiasm. Be inspired every day.
What has become truer for me by the day is the concept that we control our own destiny through the power of our thoughts. We emotionalize our ideas with the power of love, faith and hope. We take these thoughts and envision ourselves doing what we desire. And we put it into a plan and take the action that we’ve dreamed of. It really is that simple. Do this and you will never be denied.
There is no shame in any idea, as long as you believe in it and feel it will add value to your life and the lives of others. Don’t concern yourself with the ingenuity of your idea. Your race, your cause is the one that speaks to the desires and dreams of your heart. That’s what makes you unique and special.
Be inspired. Enjoy this holiday season and take some time for yourself to develop a routine that positions you for fulfillment and productivity. As St. Francis of Asisi once wrote, “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
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