If you are interested in personal growth, be that for business or career development, or simply to be more content and fulfilled in life, you’ll understand the significance of remaining positive.
One of the key factors contributing towards your growing positivity is being discerning about who you spend your time with. As one of my great spiritual teachers told me, “You are who you sit with”. Jim Rohn said it this way, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”.
Once you know and understand this truth, you recognise the significance of keeping the mind free of negativity. As Gandhi put it, “I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.”
Positivity and Personal Growth
A positive mind set is one oriented towards abundance, growth, creativity and movement forward. There are many factors that contribute to that positive way of viewing the world: exercise; nutrition; rest; education; spending time on nature; sleep; contribution; hydration; reducing intake of toxic substances such as alcohol, drugs, pharmaceuticals, tabbaco etc; surrounding yourself with people who support, nourish and cherish you and; limiting your contact with those that undermine, erode and corrode your confidence and well-being.
Living with a positive mind set does not happen by accident. It requires intentionality and commitment. To connect to your values and align to them. To live life on purpose, have routines that promote good sleep, health, rest and well-being, find the silver lining of every cloud and seek out the input that inspires uplifting thoughts and a growth mind set. Therefore, sharing your time and space with people who are positive and uplifting, is an essential part of your personal growth journey. Actively seeking those people out and spending time with them not only feels good. They act as role models for who you are becoming. They walk through your mind with clean feet.
Negativity takes just as much intentionality. It seems crazy that someone should intentionally seek out negativity. It’s just that, as a society, we are more practised at negativity than we are positivity. Humans may well be programmed biologically to see the risk and danger in situations, but that is not the same as negativity.
When you see risk and danger, it can empower you to take positive action. But, when awareness of risk and danger lead you to worry, anxiety and depressive thoughts, the mind is now tipping into negative thinking. If you surround yourself with negative relationships or watch entertainment with a negative spin to it, people are walking through your mind with dirty feet. And they leave quite a mess.
Negativity and the Inner Critic
So, on the personal growth journey, you understand that it is important to be intentional about remaining positive. You know it feels better, people respond to you in a more positive way, life is more fun, opportunities open for you and you feel inspired to take them.
And you understand the impact negative thinking people have on how you feel. They can quickly bring you down and then you begin having the dark thoughts that come with negative thinking. Before you know it, your inner critic’s voice is in the driver’s seat and directing your thoughts, decision making and actions.
Be mindful that watching too much News, soap operas and other things that bring you down will have a negative impact on your mind set and mental health.
Mind Management for Personal Growth
Guard your mind. It is one of the gateways to a fulfilled and meaningful life. And it will orient itself towards what you focus on.
Dirty Feet in the Mind
I have been working on a project in my garden recently, carefully creating a beautiful space for us to enjoy and share the late afternoon and early evening sun. It has been a labour of love. The other day, I was making some noise, drilling paving stones and concrete out to make way for more aesthetically pleasing shingle. As I was working, I heard someone complaining from over the fence. The neighbour concerned became very abusive almost immediately. It left a bitter taste in my mouth and very quickly, my mind was becoming abusive towards me too. My neighbour’s dirty feet had left a trail in my mind and my inner critic was all over it.
I have been here before. Perhaps you have too. People’s bad mood or negative thinking can infect my mind and very soon I am feeling down too. That negative mind set can take hold and build momentum, by which time I am being cruel to myself and to those I love. Therefore, I have learned that I have to take action quickly to turn it around.
Cleaning up the Mess
In that instance, I focused on what I appreciate about the space I am working on, my life, myself and the people closest to me. I practice gratitude for as much as I can think of in my life that brings me pleasure and joy. Soon, the momentum of the inner critic slows and finally comes to a standstill. And then momentum picks up the other way, towards positive thinking, appreciation and gratitude.
Protect your Personal Growth
The mind is a fluid thing. The pathways and connections are changing moment to moment. Taking care to protect your positive mind set is so important for your on-going personal growth. Do not let dirty feet into your mind. And when they walk in uninvited, do your best to sweep up the mess as quickly as you can once you usher them out.
What I love about Gandhi’s saying is that he is adamant that he will not allow people entry into his mind when they bring negativity. He was an advocate for non-violence and a role model to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. His firm stance about guarding his mind is not passive and weak. It has a strength to it that is non-negotiable. It is a mind set that takes some personal growth to cultivate and is not always easy. Yet, when we get there, we see the world as loving, abundant and generous. No need for fear and a chance to live with an open, loving heart.
Over to You
What impact do other people have on your personal growth journey? How have those relationships changed as you have grown? What new relationships have you cultivated? How have you managed your long-standing, old relationships? How do you guard your mind? What do you do if people walk through your mind with dirty feet? What are your thoughts on Gandhi’s words? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please share them in the comments.
Pass it on
Did you find this blog useful? What did you get out of it? Do you know a friend, relative or colleague who would benefit from gaining that same understanding or learning? If so, perhaps they would appreciate it if you sent this blog to them? I would love it if you did. And I imagine they would too. Thank you.