Saturday, 23 August 2014

The Mind Makeover

As I mentioned in my last post this summer has given me a great opportunity to get into some new books. Most of these have been gloriously unproductive but there have been a couple of books on my reading list this summer which have made a real impact on me. The first of these was 'The Mind Makeover' by Sharron Lowe which I wrote about a bit in a previous post - The Feisty Fly!

The book explores in some depth how our thoughts can either limit or empower us. In particular I found her mantra 'Expect massive change' a revolutionary idea. I don't know about you but I often think about change as laborious, hard going, a mountain climb. I've certainly experienced that with learning to drive and the ongoing slog can make you feel like you will never really change and this problem will always be with you.

After reading the Mind Makeover I felt a firm nudge of challenge to this idea. I knew what my goals were with driving, why couldn't I make a massive leap forward that week? Why couldn't I experience massive change in one day? I knew that most of my issues with driving were all in my head anyway. Lowe challenges the phrase 'I can't' suggesting that when we say this we usually mean 'I don't want to' or 'I don't know how to'.

I live in a very hilly area and I realised that part of my 'I can't' with driving was 'I don't know how to'. I booked a lesson with my instructor and asked him to spent two hours making me drive up hills, explaining the mechanics of how the car responds in various scenarios. The next day I drove up to my college on my own for the first time up a massive hill. This was a goal I had set to be completed by Christmas and I had achieved it six months early, in a single day. Massive change indeed.

Lowe also puts an emphasis on the importance of hard work, not luck, for success. I put this into practice in Barcelona when I was asked to lead a full service and give the sermon. I have previously been nervy about public speaking and I really didn't want this to show as I have experienced myself that nerves are contagious. I didn't want to put the congregation on edge.

I desperately wanted to succeed and so I went downstairs into the empty church everyday and practiced. Even down to how I would get up from my chair, how I would smile, how I would stand during hymns. I crafted everything to give off an air of confidence and ease. The result? The Vicar told me it seemed like I had done this a hundred times not just once. In reality, with all my practicing, I nearly had! Though I stil lhave much further to go, hard work brought me success that day.

And lastly Lowe talks convincingly about getting out of your comfort zone. It seems to be an unfortunate truth that much of what is worthwhile in life rarely comes easy. While I was packing my bags for Spain, desperately trying to make my baggage adhere to the Easy Jet hand luggage restrictions, my husband found me slumped on the floor tearily clutching a euro plug adapted wailing 'Why am I doing this to myself?!'

I knew full well I could have gone up the road for placement and it would have been much less scary. But it was so much more satisfying to do something I wasn't quite convinced I could do. It was a time in my life I will never forget and one that just thinking of it gives me confidence for the future.

So I very much recommend this brilliant book to you and will be back in a few days with another of my fave summer reads - 'The Happiness Project;.

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