Having the right tools for the job

I recently got in to gardening and bit of landscaping as a hobby since buying our first home. To be honest, I really hope I get the hang of it. Yard work is laborious work! I am not a desk guy and neither am I the indentured labor type. Just a dude who is malleable, I suppose. Although I struggled A LOT at first, I endured through to the rewarding part. I got to see the greener side of things. My dedicated hours left me with bruises, blisters and wrist tendonitis. I didn’t even know that was a thing!

I commend the teams of people who do this line of work daily. They truly steward a gift they have been given well. Throughout this whole process a gut feeling told me that we should tackle everything in our lives exactly like cultivating. Especially our fears. The process of cultivating is a 3-step process: clearing, preparing and planting – then repeat. Developing habits requires a repetition and dedication in order to develop mastery. Eventually, things become simpler, not necessarily easy.

Gardening like most areas of our lives, is an element of growth. Similarly, our mind needs to be consistently engaged in the 3-step process of cultivating. In order to do so effectively we will need the right tools to complete the process. When is the last time have you updated your mental toolbox?

Cultivating positive habits

1. Write 5 things you love in life to start the day

  • Make a list of 5 things you currently appreciate/love in your life. Be mindful that infatuation and lust are not the same thing as love. Example: “I love when my wife takes charge of our nutrition. She is a beast in this department.” or “My son is super kinder than I am.”
  • Practice meditating on each item on your list throughout the day. A lot of us have stubborn memories. Sorry to burst your bubble about your uniqueness. Setting alarms and reminders that you are capable of love requires initiative. Be in moments, not just around them. Yes, this seriously works.
  • Believe that you have the capacity to share this love. Finally, do the hard thing. Share your compassion for the item on your list in your own way. For me, expressing my appreciation for her labor intensive chopping, sauteing and blending means the world to my wife.

2. Set 5 affirming statements as passwords

  • The sillier the password for some thoughts or emotions, the easier it will become to overcome a moment. Let’s take ANGER for instance. Obviously we need to remain calm in order to think clearly. This is however not always the case. One of my passcode for ANGER was, “The green G.O.A.T scores first.” Which means: the calmer person is THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME. So silly I know! A more focused mind can get anything done. Whatever you decide, the key is inviting a sense of humor to aide sharpening the mind. Eventually, you will become more resilience against inside/outside mental threats.
  • You are responsible for affirming your well-being, first, before anyone else’s. As you develop a mastery over each password, make another one. Remember change is inevitable but your growth is optional (Maxwell, J.)

3. Review 5 things enjoyable within your day before bed

  • Reminisce on things we appreciate throughout our day on purpose. Take for example: Our 3 year old son and I bicker constantly over trivial things. This doesn’t mean I love him any less. Why? These are positive and necessary arguments exhibiting an abundance of growth between us. His heightened self esteem is a product of this fact. I fall in love with him even more.
  • Resist the desire to complain. It didn’t work for your granny, yo’ momma and it is not working for you. Instead of complaining about earlier events in our day, let us celebrate the snippets of joy. These are the silver lining to be taken into tomorrow.
  • Examine the small things. Have you ever been permitted by someone to cut the grocery line because you only had one item? That’s kindness. Did you return that missed call from someone who genuinely cares about you? That’s compassion. Cut yourself some slack and give the ‘trapped in your feelings’ a break. We are the ones who hold the true power to be swayed by happiness. So choose it!

Prepare your tools in your shed

1. Being unprepared

  • To get any job done, you will most likely require the right tools in your shed. A digging fork is by far a better tool for digging than a single blade machete. Similarly, spending quality time indulging in personal development for the sake of sharpening that mind of yours is way better than rehearsing a gimmick for the next 48 hours. Step-by-step remind yourself that you are building resilience. It takes quality time to strengthen those weak points. Growth is a process. No one expects us to walk before we can stand. Even the Holy Ghost needs quality time to completely do a good work me.

2. There is no substitute for the truth.

  • I don’t have the right gardening tools at all! At first I tried substitutes from the kitchen but that ran amuck. Imagine tongs for a trowel! What a conundrum. So I went and bought a few things I could afford. The price for tools made my heart cringe. My next resort was to borrowed some from my neighbors until I have build up my shed. Do you see where I am going? A benefit of genuine relationships we build with people is learning to ask for help. There is no shame in this. If you feel ashamed then you may have an underlying pride issue needing to be tamed.
  • More importantly, let grown people decide for themselves they are willing to manage. The word ‘no’ doesn’t hurt as much as your current situation. Grown people can decide for themselves how much help they can manage to offer us. SO BE GROWN AND ASK FOR HELP!