All of us with kids know what sponges they are — they soak up everything they see and hear and feel — even when we’d prefer they don’t! As adults, we too continue to soak up everything around us throughout our entire lifetime.
A principle called “The Law of Environment” states that wherever you are reinforces who you are. In other words, our surroundings exert an incredibly strong influence over how we think, speak and act. So when it comes to “positive mental nutrition” — which comes from what we read, watch and listen to on a regular basis — the key is to be intentional. In light of the long-term goals you’ve set, and the person you want to become, you have to decide what you should be feeding yourself mentally.
If you want to be in peak physical condition, you have to eat and drink the right stuff, and avoid certain foods and drinks that work against you. Likewise, if want to be in peak mental condition, there are certain things you just can’t put into your mind.
Do you watch the news right before going to bed, then turn on the radio or TV as soon as you get up and hear the bad news all over again? Then read even more in the newspaper? I’m not saying don’t stay informed about the world around you. But when the negative information that gets put into your brain is so disproportionate to the positive information and reinforcement that will help you reach your goals, it works against you.
We need to constantly shift ourselves toward wisdom. There’s a huge difference between wisdom and information, and in today’s internet world, there’s entirely too much useless information out there, and entirely too little wisdom. So you have to actually plan out your positive mental nutrition on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. You can get up in the morning and read the newspaper… or you can get up and read your goals.
When it comes to people, surround yourself with those that are going to lift you up, and help you be the person you want to be. Drive away those that are going to pull you down. It’s easy to identify who’s who, because you will enjoy being around the “good ones” and find it oppressive being around the others.
One of my favorite techniques to get the message across to the “not so good ones” is to literally walk out of a room if there’s a negative conversation underway. People who know me know I just will not tolerate that kind of unconstructive behavior. It doesn’t mean I surround myself with “Yes-men” and women — nothing could be further from the truth — but I expect barriers to be discussed with a positive, can-do attitude, and criticism to be constructive and given with a spirit of improving performance for the sake of the team.
So bottom line… limit your exposure to information and people that aren’t uplifting and beneficial to “the you” that you’re striving to become.