Your mind is a wondrous part of you. It’s what gives humans the ability to feel and think and learn and evolve.
And your brain space is infinite. Truly, the only finite part of our lives is time.
But the kicker is that we aren’t just born being able to tap into that mental infinity.
When we’re little, the imagination our minds can conjure up seems to know no bounds.
At some point, we learn to tamp that down. To close off creative thinking and just “go with the flow”.
Which ends up doing us a massive disservice because it begins to place an upper limit on what our brains can reasonably handle.
We tell ourselves that certain things in life aren’t possible because we aren’t able to hold that vision in our mind.
The great thing is you can train your mind to do so much more than you can.
The key word there is TRAIN.
You have to prepare and develop your brain’s elasticity and strength. Just like any other muscle – bicep, hamstring, courage, grit.
It’s not like all of a sudden you decide, “I’m going to have all this brain power, all this mental capacity to solve super complex problems day in and day out without some consequences.”
You might not start our being able to mentally handle all these different situations, but you can get yourself there.
Last week, I got to the end of my usual stopping point in my workweek. It was Friday afternoon and I only had one item left on my list – the Friday workout.
I was dreading it.
Let me share with you that I don’t naturally love working out (that’s my husband), so I really need to psych myself up. And I work out with my husband so that I can borrow his motivation most days.
I was glancing over the list of exercises and my heart sank. The exercises were not difficult – I had done them all before. But this week in particular, each seemed sooooo tough.
What was happening?
Turns out, I had gone extra hard in my business and my workouts that week, so physically I was drained. I could feel myself teetering on the edge of my mental bandwidth, too.
My mind wanted to preserve me, keep me safe, and the excuses crept in.
I know that my mind is the ultimate trickster so I pushed my excuses aside.
By the time the workout began, though, it was clear that my brain space was tapped.
Almost by sheer magic, I finished the workout. A few near-tears instances included.
Although it was my mental capacity quickly draining to zero that had me in shambles, it also dawned that I did this to myself.
During the week, there were many instances of decisions and situations that held tremendous amounts of brain space. And I could have easily said no and let them all go.
But I chose not to and my week-ending workout was so much more grueling than it needed to be.
Which got me wondering, where are the places where we our own worst enemy?
Where are we letting unimportant decisions take up mental bandwidth, so that we aren’t fresh for the important situations, like writing a sales page or training for the marathon or making dinner with our daughter. Or deciding to stop when it gets a bit harder than we’d like.
Yes, the workout was difficult. And yes, I almost broke down in tears a few times because mentally pushing through some of the more difficult exercises was hard.
But I got through it. It wasn’t my most satisfying, fist-pumping workout ever. Not by a long stretch.
I still call it a success because in that moment, I was growing my mind muscle of what can I handle mentally. I was stretching the bandwidth of my brain to a new set point.
What can you start doing today to work your mental muscles? Share with below – I can’t wait to hear from you.
Photo by Meghan Holmes on Unsplash