Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sharpening Your Mental Game


“Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.”


~Proverbs 16:3 (NIV)


Many times I’ve come to a place where the efficiency and efficacy of my thoughts strayed somewhere unknown; like my thinking processes had ground to a halt—even for an hour or a day. Other times it has been stinking thinking that has been the problem; times when rabid thoughts, negative and illogical, clouded my cognitive disposition.


There are numerous other issues that emanate from our minds; sometimes these are informed at a deeper level, by the heart or spirit underpinning.


Whatever the concern, we can address our mental game, sharpening it, by thinking simply about inputs and outputs, and processes of checking and allowing.


Allow What Inputs?


Surely if we are going to control the traffic between our ears we need to check the stimuli we are exposing our minds to.


Myriad inputs for mental dissolution exist in our world; only discipline drives these inputs through a protective filter, by checking. Discipline requires work; effort. The more we are prepared to plan, investing time for forethought, the more we can discern inputs that have insidious or dark features about them—to, hence, avoid them in wisdom.


Sometimes it takes courage to say no. Saying no means upsetting other people, or upsetting our own equilibrium. But discipline requires this. It is an act of faith to sidestep these hazards of the mind.


Perhaps we can picture ourselves as a caretaker for our minds; being studious and prudent regarding what we allow ourselves to see, hear, taste, touch, and even smell.


Checking Those Outputs Before ‘Dispatch’


Despite our best efforts many not-so-good thoughts will buzz through our minds.


Accepting this is one thing, but exercising discipline, again, before attitudes are formed, or thoughts are committed to action, is vital.


When we imagine all our actions are based on thoughts sent from the distribution centre (our minds) we can understand the supervisor (our decisions) giving approval to the truck (the action) leaving the warehouse and making its delivery.


Sharpening our mental game is pausing to stop the process in full swing, to reflect for one logical moment, and to weigh our plans. We ask: is this the right thing to do; the right time; or, the right way?


How often have we regretted an action we committed to because our hindsight informed us, too late, that we should have paused?


***


Disciplining our minds can seem impossible at times, but when we commit our plans to prayer, seeking Divine help, in that deft quietness comes ordered thought.


© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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