The Garden of your mind
Word Count: 1570 Read Time: 8 minutes Coffee: Not Needed
James Allen the author of the classic book “As a man thinketh“, often compared the human mind to a garden. The cultivation of a beautiful garden requires care and a critical attention to detail. A gardener must choose the right manure in order to fertilise the land effectively, she will plant the seeds in areas with adequate sunlight. A good gardener waters their garden consistently in order to maintain the verdancy of its plants. The gardener must remove the suffocating weeds that wish to impede the growth of the gardens residents.
Those that are on the path of self-actualization should consider themselves gardeners, however instead of plants, it’s their minds that they wish to adorn. Your mind is fundamental in dictating the type of life that you will live. Perception is everything, no two people see the world in the same light and no two minds are alike. In order to ensure that you get what you want in life you need to tend to your garden, you need to make it sharp. The better you take care of it, the more likely you are to reap the fruits of life.
Fertilising the mind
If you failed to fertilise the soil in your garden you wouldn’t be surprised if nothing grew, so why then are you surprised at your lack of success in life when you haven’t put in the groundwork for your mind? People often assume that the knowledge that they have attained during school is adequate enough to ensure their success in life. This belief is often an erroneous one, school often teaches you just enough for you to live an average life.
Understand that society does not create its educational system to individually suit every person and their specific goals. On the contrary, the educational system has been made to suit generally one learning style ( best for those who can shut up and listen, and route learn their way to an A+). The system is made to equip people with a rudimentary understanding in what has been termed as ‘essential outcomes’, basically some: Mathematics, Science; English, and History.
High achievers often share a common trait of self-education, they don’t allow other gardeners to fertilise their garden, but insist on choosing what is most suitable for their specific goals in life. If your goal is to be an artist you are not going to rely on what they taught you in your Chemistry class, instead you are going do your own education on the great artist of the past, and current trends. If your goal is to be an entrepreneur you are not going to worry about how well you can integrate hyperbolic functions, you will instead read books and attend seminars to better understand your niche market.
The internet has made it incredibly easy for you to educate yourself on anything you want. University degrees will soon be archaic relics as the world advances, and people begin to see the results of the singularity that is the ‘internet information age’. We have kids in Sierra Leone that are teaching themselves engineering and building radio transmitters; 14-year-old entrepreneurs that have leveraged the internet to make millions. Events like this were unheard of only 20 years ago but are becoming common in our modern world. The first step before any great success is self-education.
Sunlight and Rain
The next step is to supply sunlight and water on a consistent basis before anything can grow. Consistency is also key in developing your mind. Many people can understand the logic of exercising the body on a regular basis and keeping track of their nutrition and caloric intake. Why then do people not apply the same rigorous training with their minds? Why do they put such low value on their most powerful tool?
If you want a sharp mind you need to work on it, luckily there are a number of ways to do this. Below are some of the best ways to sharpen your mind.
Learn a new language
Learning a new language is a great way to sharpen your mind, especially a language that is completely different to your native tongue. If you think about it, learning how to understand a language is one of the first things you do. As soon as you were born your mind worked in overdrive to make sense of the gibberish that was coming out of adult mouths.
Learning a new language is such a mentally taxing exercise because it often requires you to learn different syntax structures, and potentially see the world in a different light. This is not limited to verbal languages, you can also learn programming languages such as C++, Java, and SQL if you really want to learn how to think logically.
Reading books allows you to learn new things, but also allows you to see things from the authors viewpoint. There are many different types of books that you can read from Evolutionary psychology to Science Fiction, they all have their place. Fiction novels allow you to use your imagination to paint an image in your mind as you read, this can help you with your creativity. Non-fiction books such as Philosophy, psychology, biographies, and Finance give you general information on subjects you might have been ignorant of, these books can train your critical thinking skills.
Check out this list of my recommended books if you want some ideas on where to start. For those of you who are too busy to read, I suggest you listen to audio books. Audio books allow you to train your mind while you commute to work, clean dishes and a bunch of other mundane daily activities. I personally use Audible for audiobooks, you can check out a 30-day free trial here.
Do you control your thoughts or do your thoughts control you? Many of us are compulsive thinkers, always daydreaming about the future and remembering the past. Meditation teaches your mind to be more present to the NOW, helping you with your focus. Many of us fail because we let our lives be run by the subconscious mind, we live every day on autopilot unable to break free from the invisible chains of habit. If you make this practice a part of your daily routine you will be amazed by the level of awareness you can attain. If you want to break the monotony of life and learn about meditation, and the scientifically proven benefits you can check out my article.
Removing the Weeds
Your garden has finally started growing, however, you spot weeds within your Eden. A good gardener removes weeds before they have a chance to grow and undo all of the gardeners hard work, you must do the same for your mind. The weeds of the mind are the results of: negative programming, limiting beliefs, and occasionally just human nature. Learn to identify these weeds and you will develop a beautiful mind.
Programming is inevitable; our minds are made to absorb the information around us. Our nurture (the environment we grew up in and the people who took care of us), all play a huge role in shaping our worldview. The subconscious mind stores many of the ideas that were inculcated into our minds as children. If you were lucky, you were programmed with empowering beliefs that gave you a foundation of confidence to tackle the vicissitudes of life. If you were unfortunate you were bombarded with negative beliefs that have left you self-conscious and with a low self-esteem in your adult life. Luckily there are ways of changing many of the beliefs that you hold directly through work on the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind governs many of the faculties that your conscious mind doesn’t, these include:
- The beating of your heart
- breathing ( this is both conscious and subconscious)
- Homoeostasis of the body (regulating body temperature)
- digestions and other internal functions
It is clearly more powerful than the conscious mind. The subconscious mind has no filter and will absorb whatever it is exposed to on a repetitive basis. This is why celebrities that are surrounded by ‘yes men’, begin to develop huge egos, and people who are exposed to death on a regular basis become desensitised to it. An interesting observation is that the subconscious mind does not seem to be able to discern the difference between thoughts and reality.
Try and vividly remember a time in your life when you were miserable or joyful, if you spend time on the memory you will notice that those emotions begin to seep into the present moment. Subconscious programming methods have been developed that utilise the tendency of the subconscious mind to mistake thought for reality. Two of the most popular methods are Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) , and Psycho-Cybernetics. Two good books on the subjects are: ‘Pscyho-Cybernetics, A new way to get more living out of life‘ , and ‘NLP: The essential guide to Neuro-linguistic programming’
A green harvest
The steps in this article are simple to follow however, it is the simple things that most people overlook. Your perception of life is governed by your mind; take the time to develop your mind and you will live a good life. Lay the fertiliser of the garden through self-education, ignorance is not bliss it’s dis-empowering. Apply sunlight and rain through consistent work on your mind, treat it as you would treat your body. Learn to remove the weeds that plot to limit your growth. Target your dis-empowering beliefs at the core through work on the subconscious. When you treat your garden well it will reciprocate the favour, take care of your mind and you will live a good life.