As not much sand is left in my hourglass, my primary objective is happily living every day on my dance card. Once I thought I couldn’t be happy until I had checked off the goals on my life list. Now it looks like I had better dump them and just go for feeling happy.
Stop trying to fix people (and animals). Person A rejects my good advice about changing her eating habits (give it up). Person B is mishandling “a situation” and continues to behave in unproductive behavior (give it up). That darn cat turns his nose up at high-quality expensive food and continues to gobble horrible dry food (give it up). Neither the people nor the cat are going to change, regardless of how unhappy I make myself over it.
Stop falling into a tailspin when life gets snarly and uncooperative. Create some space. Walk away and allow the answers to come.
Four hours is the maximum time to spend with anger, resentment, and disappointment. That triumvirate of emotion wastes time and energy.
Life is speeding up for me. If I want my end game to be as big and as fun as possible, it is time to change my ways. Thinking new thoughts is the easiest way to start, nevertheless it requires effort.
As we move into the realm of “senior citizen” we drag along the engrained habits of thought keep us round and round on the same mental treadmill. Every morning, when I pour my cereal, the thought that crosses my mind is the same one that crossed my mind yesterday. At 10:00 a.m. I relive the annoyance I felt during a conversation with my friend fifteen years ago. Rigidity of mind ages us more than stiff joints and sore muscles.
PLAYING THE GAME
Play this game daily. You don’t need to spend more than ten minutes with this. Lack of time is no excuse.
Step One: Sit down in your favorite chair.
Step Two: Set a timer for a minimum of ten minutes.
Step Three: Spend a brief moment watching those old familiar thoughts bubble up, then dump them.
Step Four: Deliberately think thoughts you have never thought before
Step Five: Your mind will struggle to return to familiar ground (don’t buy into boredom; it’s a trick)
What Do I Think About
You can begin by brainstorming a list of topics or questions that interest you, and then use this list as a starting point for your intentional thought practice. Alternatively, you could try using prompts or exercises to stimulate your imagination and generate new ideas. For example, you might try visualizing a hypothetical scenario or problem and brainstorming creative solutions. Or you could try asking yourself “what if” questions, such as “what if I approached this situation from a completely different perspective?” or “what if I tried something I’ve never done before?”
Another approach is to deliberately expose yourself to new and diverse sources of information and ideas. This could involve reading books or articles on topics you’re not familiar with, attending events or lectures on subjects outside your usual interests, or engaging in conversations with people who have different backgrounds and perspectives than your own. Be prepared for your trickster mind. Deliberately thinking new thoughts can be challenging. It’s so tempting to retreat into familiar thought patterns to avoid exploring uncomfortable or challenging ideas. Moreover, the sheer volume of information and ideas available to us can be overwhelming, making it difficult to know where to start.
Whatever approach you take, it’s important to approach intentional thought with a sense of curiosity and openness. Rather than trying to force yourself to come up with new ideas or perspectives, try to simply explore and observe the thoughts that arise in your mind. Pay attention to any patterns or biases that emerge, and challenge yourself to consider alternative viewpoints or possibilities.
Another benefit of intentionally thinking new thoughts is that it can stimulate our creativity. When we challenge ourselves to come up with new ideas and perspectives, we exercise our imagination and creative faculties. This can be particularly useful for those in creative fields, such as writing, art, or music, who rely on their ability to generate new and original ideas.
In conclusion, spending time every day deliberately thinking new thoughts can be a powerful tool for personal growth, creativity, and overall well-being. By intentionally focusing our minds on exploring new ideas and perspectives, we can challenge our existing beliefs and thought patterns, broaden our understanding of the world around us, and cultivate a more open and curious mindset. While it can be challenging to break out of familiar thought patterns and explore uncomfortable or challenging ideas, setting aside dedicated time for intentional thought and approaching it with a sense of curiosity and openness can help us overcome these obstacles and unlock new levels of insight and creativity.