Some years ago, I heard former Pepperdine president Bill Banowsky in a speech reflect on how he considered the people he wished to hire for key leadership roles in his administration. I remember at one point he would ask regarding the various candidates for a position: ”Is he capable of high-level thinking?”What about you? Do you ever let your mind soar? Do you envision contributing to the solution of a problem that seems far above your reach?
Stretch your mind
Are you reading something that makes you think? Do you have to occasionally look up the definition of a word that is used? Are you reading anything that is challenging and that really gives your mind a workout? Far too many people rarely stretch their minds. Instead, they watch hours and hours of mind-numbing television or they will only read something that takes little effort. What about you?
Be intentional with your attitude
There are many factors that affect your attitude. Your upbringing. Your habits. Your situation in life. However, you can choose the narrative you wish to play out.
This is something I’ve had to work on. I remember once realizing that I had chosen an attitude that basically went something like this: ”I know what to do. I would do that if it weren’t for (blank).” Then I would give myself a pass for not accepting that particular challenge because, after all, something was lacking.
Now, when I get up each morning, I consciously think about my attitude as I face the day. I want to remember that each day is a gift from God and my attitude toward the day really can impact how the day goes.
Clear out the clutter
A few times each week, I will stop what I am doing and clean off my desk. For some reason, I do better work when I am not engulfed by stacks of books, papers, etc.. In fact, sometimes I become more creative after doing this. It is also important that I clean the clutter out of my head. If I don’t do this, I can allow my mind to become littered with negative, resentful, and fearful thoughts. Harboring these thoughts is time and energy consuming.
Most mornings, I begin my day with my Bible, my journal, and a book I am reading currently. Part of this time is spent in prayer. I have found that after reading Scripture, in the quietness of the morning, I often realize the clutter that is already clamoring for time and energy. I find that if I pray, and even journal, about these unproductive thoughts, I am more likely to focus on God and his desire for me to be attentive to him that day.
Be deliberate with your time
In a recent podcast, Ray Edwards said that each day when we are working, we typically plan, prepare, or perform. I like the simplicity of this. As I look at my day, I have found it helpful to think in term of blocks of time allotted for various tasks. Usually, I will begin the day with five or fewer tasks that I really want to get done. These tasks often involve some degree of planning and preparation that results in the performance of the task. So, I need to ask myself, when am I going to do these tasks today?
If you are not deliberate with your time, you may find that it is far too easy to spend a lot of time aimlessly texting, reading e-mail, checking the Facebook feed, and looking at various blogposts throughout the day.
Which one of these do you especially have to work on?