You are your parents’ child.
You are your friends’ friend.
You are your partner’s partner.
You are your co-worker’s co-worker.
But have you ever stopped to think about who you really are?
We are defined by our environment. You are what is expected of you. If you change, then you become something different: Something society doesn’t want you to be.
You are expected to fulfill the role that was specifically designed for your life. But if you don’t, you become an outsider.
That’s why you’re terrified of change. Because you want to be accepted by others, and if you change, they will reject you.
But why don’t others want you to change?
Because if you were to change, you would no longer play the role you play in their lives.
That is why you must review your acquired beliefs. Those that have been engraved in your mind since you were a child if you want to evolve.
Henry Ford said:
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”
And he was right. Your beliefs determine who you are and who you will be. Even if these beliefs are not even yours.
They may have originally belonged to your parents, or your teachers, or anyone else. But when you accept them as yours, they are.
Your limiting beliefs turn your reality into a prison of invisible bars that prevent you from progressing.
The problem is that when you live in a jail cell, you don’t know that you live inside a jail cell. For you, it is something normal. It has become your reality.
Worst of all, what you think normal (but is not) becomes the norm for others.
What usually happens is that eventually, you feel bad. That’s when you see the cage and decide to escape. But it costs you twice as much because of the social pressure.
What does this have to do with enriching your mind?
Easy. You are like that oak seed that only grew to the size of a bonsai because it was planted in a pot. You need your roots to expand so you can grow into an oak tree. And you can only do that by taking your roots out of the pot.
You have to get out of the mental prison you are in. If you do, your mind can grow. If you don’t, your mind will at best be the size of your cell.
That is why in today’s article, I will teach you four points that will help you to enrich your mind.
Let’s escape from the jail cell.
I. Clean your room
“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.”
— Jordan Peterson.
Dr. Jordan B. Peterson maintains that the most efficient way to begin to change your life and enrich your mind is by cleaning your room.
According to the professor, the room where you live is a representation of your mind. Therefore, if you want to organize your psyche, start by tidying the place you live in.
You don’t need to spend money on a renovation, just stand in the center of the room and see what you can fix and do it.
In my case, I started by dusting, sweeping the floor, things like that.
When I was satisfied with the cleaning, I threw out all the old clothes and items that were no longer useful but were taking up space.
Then I calculated what my budget was. And I searched Amazon for things I needed to improve my room: posters, shelves, etc.
If you realize this exercise is not silly. When you spruce up your room, you take the following steps.
- You evaluate what are the things you need to fix or improve.
- You fix it.
- You select which things you want to keep and which you want to throw away.
- You review your financial resources.
- You optimize the best way to invest your resources.
- You feel proud of the result.
It is an exercise of evaluation and action. This exercise gets your mind in shape. It is the first step to get your mind out of the box and change your life.
Moreover, it is addictive, like when you used to shine your shoes as a child and then something inside you wanted to shine more things.
You start with your room and move on to your life.
This brings us to rule number six in Peterson’s book 12 Rules For Life.
Rule number 6:
“Set your house in order before you criticize the world.”
As you change your room, the people around you will feel uncomfortable by the changes you made, and friction will arise with some of them.
As we saw at the beginning of the article, people don’t want you to change. They fear that you will no longer represent the role in their lives that you used to play.
This is made clear by a fable.
The fable of the crab
“Once upon a time, there was a fisherman fishing crabs. The man had a pot full of crabs. A person walking along the harbor advises the fisherman, “You’re going to lose the crabs. Put a lid on the pot. The fisherman replied, “Don’t worry. When one crab tries to get out of the pot, the rest grab it by the legs and pull it in.”
The problem with evolving is that you make those around you, who are incapable of doing so, feel bad.
Tidying up your room is a powerful thing. It’s like throwing a pebble into a pond: it produces all-encompassing ripples.
This exercise makes you realize the truth. That if you don’t organize yourself well, you will end up paying for it.
Dr. Peterson says that you will end up caring about getting organized because the price of not doing so is pain, and you don’t want to fill your life with it. Nobody does.
That’s why arranging the room is such a powerful thing. Imagine for a moment that the room exercise is a metaphor for your life. That clutter is pain, and that by organizing it, you eliminate it.
Think about it seriously. Because in the end, you are more comfortable in a tidy room than in a messy one. By tidying it up, you have eliminated a certain amount of unnecessary pain that was going around in your life.
This is the beginning: to realize that your mind tidied up your room, and in return, reduced some level of unnecessary distress and pain that you had in your life.
Then expand this to the rest of your reality. Pay attention to your routines, and fix what you think is wrong, and improve what you think can be improved.
People don’t give enough value to the little actions we repeat every day. But it is precisely these small things that we do every day that most condition our destiny through the compound effect.
Engrave in your head this phrase of Professor Peterson:
“The things you do every day are the most important things you do.”
Sleeping, brushing your teeth, eating, exercising, watching TV, etc… represent more than fifty percent of your life. That’s where you need to focus your attention.
By improving your routines, you improve your life, and all this really enriches your mind.
The traps you fall into every day keep you inside the prison you want to escape.
In my case, it was tobacco. When I quit smoking, after a year, everything changed. I am a different person, with a much better life and with less anguish and stress.
Tidy your room for 10 minutes every day, and you won’t regret it.
II. Reduce your polarity
“If you want to make peace with an enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
— Nelson Mandela.
If you are going through difficult times, it doesn’t matter whether you are to blame for your situation or someone else is. What is certain is that only you can pull yourself out of the pit.
Society is not going to help you to be different. And you need to be different to start feeling good in your own skin.
To be different is to accept yourself as you are.
Society fears the different. Wants everything homologated, standardized, and as homogeneous as possible.
Wants you to lose your individuality because it will be easier to replace you when you break down. As if you were a spark plug and society the whole vehicle.
That’s why they want you polarized. So that you don’t think for yourself and join the herd thinking.
But what is social polarization?
Orienting the members of a society in two opposing directions.
In politics to the right and the left. In pandemics, pro-vaccine and anti-vaccine. In soccer being a Madrid or Barcelona F.C. supporter.
First, they make you belong to one of the two opposing positions. Then you feel identified in such a way that this position becomes part of your identity. Finally, they radicalize positions to distance them as far as possible from each other.
When this happens, people from one extreme or the other are incapable of dialogue and spend the day arguing.
This creates fanaticism. And all fanaticism of any kind (sports, politics, etc.) is bad for the proper functioning of your mind.
A person with critical thinking analyzes the information that comes to him on his own.
Getting out of the media polarization will make you less reactive. And therefore is the second way to enrich your mind.
Confronting other points of view or opinions that make you uncomfortable will not kill you. On the contrary, it will make your mind expand.
Set aside time each week to expose yourself to those opposite discourses that the ones you consume.
If you are a conservative person, find a liberal newspaper and read it. And vice versa. Watch the news on a channel with a different editorial line.
Try to empathize and put yourself in the shoes of people who think differently than you. This will not make you change your mind. But it will make you less emotionally affected by all the information you consume daily.
The path of dialogue is always the path of evolution. But for that, you have to know your opponent.
A clear example of this attitude of “knowing your opponent” is the one practiced by Nelson Mandela.
Mandela, while in prison, took the opportunity to study by correspondence through the external program of the London University.
He graduated in Law and learned the language of the Afrikaners, the language of the white South Africans, those who were supposed to be his enemies.
When he came out of prison and became president of South Africa, he wanted to reconcile the population. He wished to reduce polarization. He aimed to live in peace.
By reducing polarization in your daily life, you reduce your irascibility, and because of that, your mind grows.
Think about it. When you are angry all day long, you lose all the energy you need to get out of the cage.
You need that energy to grow, and for that, you have to be calm, see things with perspective and cultivate patience.
Set aside time each week to expose yourself to opinions different from yours exposing yourself to discomfort will do you a lot of good.
III. Face adversity
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
— Walt Disney.
We, as humans, are made to face adversity. Not to avoid it.
That´s the real key.
Imagine what´s happens if one day you go to bed. And stay in it, three or four months.
You sleep in the bed, you eat in the bed, you don´t shower your body, you do the toilet thing in a basin.
You just stay in that bed doing nothing except watching movies and stuff like that.
What do you think is gonna happen to your muscles?
They will become weak. Because you don´t use it at all.
That´s the same with your mind.
If you don´t use it. You lose it.
Do you really want to rich your mind?
Get out of your comfort zone and face some chaos. This is historically proved by all civilizations around the world.
Why do you think people today have technology, medicines, even hot water
Because like Charles Darwin used to say:
“It is not the strongest species that survives. It is the one that best adapts to change.”
But to do that, you have to face changes. Your mindset is not going to change in your sofá.
Remenber Seneca´s quote:
“To always live in comfort and go without a pain in the soul is to ignore the other half of nature.”
The stoics trained his mindset with the discomfort exercise.
And what is that? You will be wondering.
For stoics was voluntary exposure to adversity doing things like…
- Walking enough.
- Fasting once in a while.
- Lifting weights.
- Exposing themselves selfs to hot and cold.
- Exposing their selves to darkness.
For you, in the twenty-one century, maybe is…
- Stay 24 hours without technology.
- Get up early and exercise yourself.
- Eating healthily.
- To Ask for feedback.
- Admitting mistakes and apologize more often.
- Those things make you stronger in every way.
Remember that your current situation is a reflection of the decisions you have made in the past. Try new ones.
Never forget Albert Einstein advice:
“If you want different results, do not do the same things.”
By doing new stuff, you will grow as a person and rich your mind because of the exposition to the unknown.
IV. Novelty, variety, and challenge
“Just try new things. Don’t be afraid. Step out of your comfort zones and soar, all right?”
Living is hard. Some of us do the same thing every day as we watch our life pass before our eyes helplessly. We get older, and we make money but lose friends and hopes. We ask ourselves:
Is this all there is?
And the answer is no. We can improve our quality of life quickly if we are passionate about what we do. Happiness and physical and mental health are closely related. But for that, we need to learn new habits.
Novelty. Variety. And challenge. These three words are the key. You have to face new challenges that are new and different.
If you get used to doing so. You will not only enrich your mind, but you will also keep future problems such as dementia or Alzheimer’s away from your life.
Imagine you are an engineer. Something new, varied and challenging could be learning a new language, playing the guitar, and practicing cross-stitch.
You have to learn skills that are different from your field of expertise.
In my case, I started by learning to play chess. I write for a living, so chess is something very different from my job. It is something new and a challenge for me.
These are some of the benefits of playing chess.
Chess Main benefits
- Increases your IQ.
- Prevent Alzheimer’s.
- Exercises both brain hemispheres.
- Improves creativity.
- Increases memory.
- Helps solve problems.
- Increases reading ability.
- Facilitates concentration.
I play every night for half an hour on chess.com.
The changes start to show quickly. In a few weeks, you notice how your concentration improves. Your attention span increases, your reading is much deeper, and your memory returns to what it was a few years ago.
Also, you can play against other people and meet new people.
- I. Clean your room.
- II. Reduce your polarity.
- III. Face adversity.
- IV. Novelty, variety, and challenge.
If you have read to the end of the article, I want to thank you for your support. I hope this article has helped you. If so, let me know in the comments. I really appreciate it.
Thanks for reading.
Alberto García (Malafama1981).
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