Are We Too Weak Mentally?
There is a tendency for us to seek the easy way out. When faced with tough decisions we choose less difficult options. We don’t look forward to struggle, pain and suffering.
Yet: James1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
We dread hard times and have grown lax in the use of our minds. We have become loose in our thinking and allowed our minds to be like unbridled wild horses.
James 3: 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
Lessons from breaking in a horse help us to bring our minds under control. A 5-step process is recommended.
- Gain trust. Develop a personal relationship with your horse before trying to train him.
Our minds have been dominated by a self-image that we hold to be true.
Spend time discovering on a daily basis who you really are. What interests you, what inspires you, what scares you, what frustrates you, what tempts you, what angers you, what embarrasses you, what prompts you to hide your true feelings?
- Practice Safety. You need to be careful around horses.
You are about to discipline a mind that is being influenced by external factors. Don’t get over-confident and careless during the exercise.
Eph 612 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
The fact is that you have to contend with external influences in behaviour modification.
- Take it one step at a time. Each step has to become a habit before moving on to the next step.
Start gaining control of your mind with micro-steps. Conquer things like forcing yourself to get up to exercise when your body says sleep longer.
Those are the battles that we need to win before we can talk about major behaviour modification. We have to let our bodies know who is calling the shots now.
1Co 9:25 Every athlete in training submits to strict discipline, …… 27 I harden my body with blows and bring it under complete control, to keep myself from being disqualified after having called others to the contest. (GNB)
Track down every “can’t be bothered”; “I don’t feel like it”; “It is too much trouble”; “It’s too hard”; and every “I can’t manage it”.
Take one bad habit at a time and work on it until the replacement becomes a habit. Also aspire to develop your mind in new, positive directions. Expand your horizons.
We also have to get our minds ready for the disappointments that we will face:
- Failed relationships
- Financial disaster
- Major health challenges
Commit now to work on one mind building project over the next 60 days.
- Never get angry.
Yelling and beating the horse breaches the trust and bonding.
One huge challenge to behavioural transformation is negative self-talk. An emotional outburst actually reinforces the behaviour.
Instead of “Clumsy!” ask an empowering question: Why do I always take special care on stairs?
Getting angry also causes us to give up in frustration. Be patient. Make progress slowly but steadily.
- Reward successes.
Catching people doing the right thing has proven to be more effective in achieving lasting behavioural transformation than looking out for faults.
The same thing happens internally. Celebrate when you get it right. When you get it wrong, gently provide guidance to get back on track.
Tough times require tough minds.
Stop the drift towards minds that are unbridled, lacking in discipline and without direction.
Work to develop one new habit within 60 days.
Master and coach these concepts with our SHRM-accredited Certified Behavioural Coach Award and 3-D Leader Certification: Leading Difficult People programmes. Earn PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP certifications.
Trevor E S Smith is a Behaviour Modification Coach with the Success with People™ Academy.