“Life Cannot Be Better Than Your Mindset”
– Arvind Krish
Yesterday, I drank a cup of coffee way too light into the evening and found myself a little restless as I was trying to fall asleep. I could feel my heart beating, and it was beating fast and hard. I was just in my bed, wrapped by the darkness of my room, quietly listening to my heart beat. And then I had a thought as I was listening to my heart:
“What if this heart stops beating and I don’t wake up tomorrow?”
Of course that’s a dramatic thought and I didn’t actually think I was going to die, but just observing and listening to my heart beat and knowing that it’s been beating since I was born without missing a BEAT like a true solider.. it made me think about how precious life is. If this heart of mine stops beating, it’s all over. And is tomorrow really guaranteed? It was a beautiful realization I had, and I really felt like it was a blessing to wake up this morning and see the sun shine through my windows.
I was reading the book Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris yesterday and there was a question posed in the book:
“What are some of the choices you’ve made that made you who you are?”
The book interviews a lot of extremely successful people in different fields, so this question was posed to these people to figure out what lead to their success. However, I thought about it and posed it back to myself – what are the choices I’ve made in my past that have lead me exactly at where I am right now? And taking it a step further, what are the choices I CAN and WILL make that will allow me to BECOME the person I will be? When I thought about that, that was an extremely powerful question. Because through the book Conversations with God, there is one concept that keeps repeating itself through the entire series – that life is a process of creation, not a process of discovery.
We’re not here to find something that we’ve been searching for. We’re meant to create whoever we want to be, and we’re creating ourselves in every second of our lives. Literally every choice you make is an expression of who you think you want to be. But the beautiful thing the book mentions is that if you don’t like what you have created, choose something else and create again. It sounds overly simplified, but it’s a fact that we’ve created ourselves to be who we are right now. For most of us, it was probably an unconscious act of creation. But we always have the power to create ourselves and choose again. I think that’s the beautiful thing about life – yes, life is hard and it’s harder for some than it is for others, but each of us is given the power of creation. And creation is not about what you’re doing but it’s about what you’re being while you’re doing. For example, it doesn’t matter that you’re a billionaire CEO if you’re not being happy, fulfilled, inspired, and driven. I think that’s what is meant by creating yourself – not the lifestyle you want or the things you want to have, but the highest state of being and feeling you can achieve in this life. Another beautiful thing is that all of us have different preferences and desires so maybe it IS that having a certain lifestyle and getting a bunch of things will make you reach that state. But it’s never the opposite way around.
Appreciate the fact that your heart is beating right now and even for just today, we can choose to create a beautiful day for ourselves.
“Life doesn’t happen in any other way than that in which we think it will.”
“The only difference between feedback and criticism is how you hear it.”
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by the HYPE Foundation in conjunction with Temple University and their Innovation & Entrepreneurship Institute out in Philadelphia. One of my companies was selected as one of the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world of Sports & Health and we had the opportunity to present and speak with a room full of other innovative startups, executives from Fortune 100 companies, thought leaders, business students, and department heads of the University. I really enjoy meeting new people, especially impressive people that I could learn from and that could inspire me, and so this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
It was a full-day event from 11AM – 9PM and it was nothing short of extraordinary. I was able to speak with startup founders doing innovation at the absolute forefront of sports technology. I spoke with executives from companies such as Intel, IBM, MasterCard, Under Armour, and the NFL. I also spoke to aspiring entrepreneurs that wanted some pointers on how to succeed in the field in the future. The biggest takeaways I got from the event after being exposed to so many impressive people is that:
- You have to always keep pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone.
- Really, truly believe in yourself, because no one else will
- Think highly of yourself, but always stay humble and objectively seek areas where you can improve.
- Take criticism objectively, never personally. Take your ego out of it, and you can only benefit.
- Surround yourself with amazing people and you’ll feed off of their energy and enthusiasm
- Getting ahead in life is about making genuine connections with others. Meet new people, form new relationships/connections, and never start with the mindset of “getting something out of them.”
- Given enough time, your mind will always talk you out of something. It uses logic and avoidance of “change” as a survival instinct. If you make a decision, act before your mind has time to decide. The biggest regret is never being able to experience what could have been.
Life is a people game. Humans are collaborative, social, and emotional creatures and the ones that succeed in life are usually those that have created many, many genuine connections over a long period of time. Just being in an atmosphere of innovation, success, and entrepreneurship really motivated me to think big and do more, and I walked away having met titans in the industry and forming great connections and relationships with many others. Another great thing I realized about myself is that I’ve grown a lot from even just the start of the year. When the New Year turned around the corner, I assessed myself and looked at areas where I needed to improve to reach the goals I wanted to achieve. These areas included being more social/friendly/charismatic, speaking with more confidence, raising the bar of believing in what I could achieve, etc. I started the year lacking in these skills and yesterday I realized I was going up and speaking to directors at Intel, IBM, Under Armour and the NFL and having discussions as if we were equals. And that’s the thing – people will respond to how you carry yourself. If you go up to a powerful person and act like a timid, wide-eyed fan girl, they’ll naturally react and speak to you accordingly to what you believe about yourself. I believed I was a capable, driven, confident business leader and during these conversations, I realized I was having really engaging and interesting conversations with people that have probably made 10,000x and more of what I have. And I got a tingling feeling in my body when I started to think “I could definitely be where this person is some day.” Maybe it’s arrogance and/or ignorance, but to me, it’s an attitude of belief and certainty. Because the last greatest thing I learned from this event and from these people is that to achieve crazy things, you have to be crazy. You don’t achieve great things by accident. As the late Steve Jobs once said:
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Lately I’ve been reading several books which I guess would be categorized as “spiritual books” but an important lesson I’ve learned from these books is of the immense power of the mind, but more so how we are improperly using our minds. Or rather, how our minds are actually using us.
In the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, the author suggests our minds are a magnificent tool for us, but we are not our minds. For most of us, we don’t control our minds – rather, our minds control us. This is apparent in the fact that many of us can’t shut our thoughts off at will and be still, and we’ve become addicted to thinking. The mind has possessed us to the point that we’ve started to believe that we are the possessor! Your mind is a tool in the sense that you pick it up when you need to use it, and place it back down when you’re done. That is how to consciously use your mind, and a great phrase he teaches to help you be aware of your thoughts is by “watching the thinker.” Just simply observe your thoughts as if you were a parent observing a child. What kind of thoughts do you think about on a daily basis? Are they mostly positive or negative?
After practicing this for a bit, I started to realize for myself that actually many of the thoughts my mind produced throughout the day were negative. But that’s OK – you don’t have to attach yourself to your thoughts. They’re just mental constructions produced by your mind, and your mind is not you. But what I did realize is that our thoughts DO help dictate our mood, emotions, direction in life, attitude etc. In this sense, this is an even greater case for figuring out how to control your mind and thoughts, rather than having your mind control you. In the book Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch, he states that our minds are filled with a lot of “Sponsoring Thoughts” which are basically original thoughts about major concepts that we hold as truths. However, our Sponsoring Thoughts are oftentimes wrong, cause us to form biases and prejudices that unconsciously repel us from exactly the things we want, and for the most part have been placed in our minds by others. For example, many of us may have sponsoring thoughts about money such as:
- Having a lot of money is bad
- People with a lot of money acquired it through dishonest means
- Only successful people have money, and because I don’t have money now, I am not successful
- Money is difficult to acquire.
The list goes on and on and many of these thoughts weren’t even placed in our minds by ourselves. For example, our parents place a lot of our sponsoring thoughts about life and the world in our mind from a young age. But my question to you is this: What Sponsoring Thoughts do you have and are they true? Are they true statements that align with reality? Are they serving you? If not, simply replace them.
You see, I’ve realized that most of the thoughts we have on a daily basis really stem from a select amount of our Sponsoring Thoughts. If you have a negative Sponsoring Thought about money, all of your thoughts throughout the day surrounding money or finances will stem from that negative, original thought. To try to refresh my mind and implant new, positive Sponsoring Thoughts in my mind, I’ve created a list of thoughts that I repeat to myself every morning:
- I consciously create abundance in my life
- Everything I touch turns to gold
- I am an intelligent, capable, driven leader
- When I act, all providence and life moves with me
- I can do and achieve anything I decide to
- I’m wealthy financially, health-wise, in relationships, and all of life
- I’ve got more money than I know what to do with and there’s always more where that came from
- I create billion-dollar businesses and change the world.
By replacing my existing Sponsoring Thoughts or Original Thoughts with the list above, all of my thoughts throughout the day will stem from these. I want to use my mind properly and have the bulk of my daily thoughts controlled by the Sponsoring Thoughts that were set by me, not by others. It’s been a great exercise for me so far, and I encourage all of you to try it out as well.