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All in the Mind

As I was walking out of my son’s kindergarten the other day, I saw a young mother saying goodbye to her daughter and I was impressed by two things: She made a point of kneeling in front of the little girl, so that they were equal in height, and then she looked straight into her eyes and said, “I want you to have a wonderful day today, OK? A wonderful day!”

As author and speaker Brian Tracy has noted, our minds are extraordinarily powerful and our thoughts determine almost everything that happens to us. They can make us happy or sad, positive or negative, powerful or powerless. They can even go as far as showing us to be heroes or cowards.

As long ago as 1690, the British philosopher John Locke published “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding“, in which he argued that the mind is a ‘tabula rasa’ (a blank slate). According to this theory, we are all born without any thoughts or ideas and everything we think or feel is learned from infancy onwards as all our experiences leave their mark on us. All of you reading this blog post came into the world, like me, with no fears (other than, the scientists say, the fear of falling and loud noises) and all the others are learned as we grow up. This means that everything we are today is the result of all the ideas and impressions we have assimilated and taken to be true since childhood.

We should therefore encourage not only our children but also our partners, our colleagues, our employees and associates, to think positively about themselves and to have faith in their abilities. The best way of doing this is, undoubtedly, to lead by example but, in addition, here are five more tips on how to help give others the best possible start to their life and career:

Positive words

Make sure your children, employees and colleagues have positive expectations by setting them early on in the day. How? In the way you talk to them, especially in your choice of positive rather than negative words. A number of such powerful words that you should have in your arsenal have been incorporated into this info graphic.

Reading

When I was much younger, for every recommended book I read, my father would deposit CY£50 in my bank account. The more I read, the ‘richer’ I became, in terms of money but more importantly, in the amount of education and information I was absorbing. Encourage the people you would like to influence to immerse themselves in books. I would urge you to start with Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People!

First Trainers

I often say in my seminars that our first trainers are our parents or the people who have raised us. I have never forgotten the wise words of my friend Thrasos Tsangarides who, when talking about the need to change our mindset and our mentality for today’s word, once said, “We need to start today as parents and enjoy it 100 years from now.”

Set Goals

Teach your kids (and your employees) to set goals. It doesn’t matter what they are – it could be to save some money to buy something or, indeed, to give away to someone more needy. There is real joy and satisfaction to be had in reaching a goal and it encourages both children and adults to set new ones.

Enjoy what you do

Remember that your children are not clones or copies of you, so you need to encourage them to find and follow a course in life (university degree, job, etc.) that they genuinely enjoy and have a passion for.  Earl Nightingale said it best: “We are our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we have established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile.”

(*infographic by Stella Komninou Arakelian)

The world we live in is not perfect but since it’s the only one we’ve got, it is up to us to make our time here as enjoyable and meaningful as possible. By setting a good example to others, especially our children, and being as positive as possible, we can all make our small but crucial contribution to making this a better place both now and in the future.

With all this in mind, I wish you all a wonderful day!