3. Take Advantage Of The Fact That Your Heart And Mind Are Fully Programmable
It occurred to me last night that we take an awful lot for granted as 21st century inhabitants of this planet, even when it comes to the highly sophisticated pieces of machinery and equipment that are an integral and indispensable part of our everyday lives. Take our automobiles, for example. We get up every morning, turn the key in the ignition and assume that, as long as we’ve done the bare minimum (i.e., put gas in the tank!), they will transport us seamlessly from point A to point B. Even more remarkably, we’ve come to assume that, should we get in an accident, those same cars will completely insulate us from all manner of harm, regardless of the wreck’s severity or foreseeability. We make similar assumptions with respect to our laptops, notebooks, “i-whatevers” and smart phones (i.e., as long as we’ve done “the heavy lifting” and ensured that the battery is charged, the expectation is that, at the touch of a screen or the striking of a few keys, they will instantaneously access people, information, movies, music videos, the “bargain du jour,” books, etc. around the globe). And the truth is: Far more often than not, these “things” do precisely what they’re supposed to do, with almost no input from their end users (that would be us!). In fact, it’s only when they break down that we even begin to consider: just how incredibly complex these devices really are; the time, technology and talent that has gone into programming the intricate web of computer systems that enable them to do what they do; and, as importantly, the consequences associated with failing to routinely and properly service and maintain them.
Regrettably, we tend to have similarly assumptive attitudes when it comes to the most sophisticated of all “machines” known to man – our hearts and our minds! Consciously or subconsciously we believe that they will perform precisely as they are intended and were “designed” with very little input, care and/or daily maintenance from us (e.g., periodically putting “food in our tank” and making sure we steal a little rest from time to time to “recharge our batteries”)! And, I suppose, if mere subsistence were our goal, that “hands-off” approach might work, at least for some period of time. But the truth is: Much of the knowledge and many of the emotive principles that I have come believe are essential ingredients to relationship-building, problem-solving and living a happy, healthy are fulfilling life are not intuitive (i.e., they are not part of the “pre-loaded” software of our hearts and minds). Fortunately, for us, however, unlike their mechanical counterparts (the intricacies of which most of us will never understand), we have the power to program our hearts and minds to maximize their ability to achieve each of those laudable goals. Where our minds are concerned, we have the capacity (indeed, I would argue, the moral obligation) to learn – not only from books, but from our positive and not-so-positive life experiences, as well as from the wisdom and experiences of others who have traveled roads similar to ours before us. We also have the ability to dictate the tenor, content and tone our “self-talk” and the perspectives we bring to situations and to the uncertainties and adversities that are an inescapable part of all of our lives.
The same is true of our heart (i.e., we can program it to facilitate the realization of its innermost desires) and I encourage and challenge you to do that by cultivating:
An expectant heart (i.e., one that is always open to possibility that something good will happen in your life);
An attentive heart (i.e., one that is sensitive to the world around you at all times and constantly on the look-out for “clues” that are intended to point you in the direction of the realization of your dreams and desires);
An adaptive heart (i.e., one that is willing to embrace a path and/or a desire that you might not initially have considered, but, due to a change in heart or circumstance, takes on a special meaning in your life);
A proactive heart (i.e., one that is committed to passionately pursuing all that is good);
A grateful heart (i.e., one that begins each day searching for until it finds something or someone it is grateful for);
A patient heart (i.e., one that appreciates the truth of the timeless adage that good things take time); and
A giving heart (i.e., one that realizes that, at the end of the day, our true beauty, our sense of self-worth and the fullness of our life is determined not by how we look, what we possess or how we compare, physically or otherwise, to those around us, but rather by the extent to which we empty ourselves in serving others).
I also urge you not wait for the life equivalent of the “Check Engine Light” to illuminate before beginning the process, because it takes considerable time and effort. Start yesterday!