Renew Your Mind

Garbage in = Garbage out
I read a couple statistics recently that blew my mind.  The average person in America spends 7 hours EACH DAY being entertained by television, social media, etc.  Contrast that with the amount of time the average person spends learning something new.  It is about 4 minutes a day.  Wow!  7 hours vs. 4 minutes a day.  What is the result of that month after month and year after year?  It is atrophy of the mind.  Not a trophy – atrophy.  Your mind isn’t learning and growing when you seek entertainment 7 hours a day.  It’s time to take personal responsibility for what you allow to influence your mind.  Otherwise, garbage in will be garbage out for you.

New in + New out = New You
Back in 2014, I got really disciplined and dedicated my spare time to finishing a degree I started in 2002.  It was a Masters in Divinity which is often called Seminary.  It is three years long if you go full-time but I was taking one class at a time online.  Life was busy and I was raising a young family and working two jobs.  When you are tired from working all day, it is easy to come home and just put on the TV or scroll Facebook posts.  It is also easy to sleep in.  Well, I finally stopped taking the easy route.  I got up earlier and

I basically gave up TV for about 2 years to renew my mind.  I finished in 2016 and flew to Louisiana and walked across a giant stage to pick up my diploma.  I was so excited to finish what I started so long ago.  I was even more excited to apply what I learned.  I continue to use my final project as a six-week class to welcome new members into our church.  Renewing your mind is life changing.  My new equation:  New in + New out = New you.  If it worked for me, then it can work for you too.

Tough Mudder
One of the reasons that most people don’t renew their mind is that they prefer to take the easy path in life.  Many challenges in life require mental toughness, perseverance, and grit.  The way to develop these qualities for your mind is to put yourself in situations that force you to endure and persevere.  A few years back some friends of mine decided to compete in a Tough Mudder.  This race is roughly 14 miles long with about 28 ridiculously, difficult obstacles.  We scaled 15 foot walls, walked a mile through 2 feet of muck, ran through fire trails, submerged ourselves in ice baths, crawled under electric shocking wire (yes, it hurt), and climbed monkey bars over 6ft deep water.  My favorite (after it was over, of course) was jumping two stories into freezing cold water and swimming back to shore.  In the end, we got a few cheers, a glass of beer and lots of smelly, muddy hugs from each other.  The spirit of teamwork throughout the race was amazing.  As I reflect on that race that took us over 3 hours to complete, I can see how much it helped my confidence and mental toughness.  I now know that I can push through pain and fear to reach my goals.  I did it and I can do it again.  That’s a gritty mindset.  I believe anyone can develop it with proper training.  Also, results come quicker with great coaching.

Push, Challenge and Break it Down
I played on many sports teams growing up.  I appreciate today the great coaches I had back then.  They pushed me to go farther than I often believed I could.  If I could run a sprint in 60 seconds, they pushed me to do it in 58 seconds.  If I could do 10 reps, they pushed me for 12 the next time.  I learned quickly that the mind always gives up before the body.  One of the keys for renewing your mind and being mentally tough is to push yourself.  Always strive to do more than you think you can.

Another key is to take on specific challenges.  The Tough Mudder was a great physical challenge.  Is there a race or a class you can sign up for?  Perhaps you prefer intellectual challenges.  How many books have you read in the past year?  Could you increase that number?  How about relationship challenges?  Could you join a new group that has a similar interest as you?  Challenges give you a goal and help keep you mentally focused.

Finally, a third key is to break it down mentally.  Sometimes our minds get overwhelmed with all there is to do and we end up doing nothing.  Every week I spend hours reading and studying to prepare a sermon for Sunday.  I also have to prepare to teach high school math for 7 hours a day, Monday through Friday.  On top of that I am always thinking about many other tasks I need to accomplish.  In order to be the most productive, I break down my tasks into small chunks.  I prioritize them and then find blocks of time that I can work on them.

24 Hours a Day
Everyone gets 24 hours a day but not everyone takes advantage of that time.  You have the ability to make the most of your time.  Will you spend it being entertained for 7 hours or will you renew your mind and accomplish your goals?  Can you push yourself, take on new challenges and break it all down to become mentally tougher than ever before.  I believe you can.  I have been doing it for years.  Make a decision today to renew your mind and be the best you can be.

I hope this helps you and please add your comments below.