Clean the Barnacles off of Your Mind

Remove What Has Become Attached to Your Thinking

Have you ever seen barnacles attached to a ship? These little crustaceans latch onto a marine vessel and hold onto the ship to feed. While they may seem harmless enough, they cause many problems for the vessel. Similarly, you can have things that become attached to your mind over time. You may not be aware of them at first, but eventually they can cause you many problems.

barnacles

People who work on a ship understand that it’s important to remove the barnacles. In the same way, it’s important for you to get remove these things that have become attached to your mind.

Here’s what you want to prevent becoming attached to your mind, how they are similar to barnacles, and what you can do to clean those things from your mind.

You Can Help Others Be Free

But First You Must Set Yourself Free

In the movie The Matrix (1999), the character Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) shares insights with his protégé Neo (Keanu Reeves) about what it means to be free and what it means to be captive: “Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

free

[Spoiler Warning: In this dystopian world, humans created artificial intelligence that took over the planet and subjugated humans as their source of energy to power the machines. Neo is one of these people who was oblivious about his captivity, but Morpheus offers him the opportunity to escape the captivity and understand what is truly real. Neo accepts the opportunity, and Morpheus proceeds to explain to him what “the matrix” is and what he can do to defeat it—as the fate of humanity depends on him.]

In The Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo:

The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. … It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Like The Matrix, we are all born into a world where our mind is imprisoned. Like Neo, we must learn what “the matrix” is and how we can defeat it in our own lives.

Here are three things you must do to get yourself free from “the matrix” you were born into.

Three Characteristics You Need to Be Successful

But They Are Not What You Think They Are

When you think of the attributes of successful people, what do you think of? Do you think of someone who is a winner-take-all negotiator? Or someone who ruthlessly pursues what will enhance their life? Or someone who desires to win at all costs?

successful

While those characteristics may be the world’s standards for success, God has a very different standard. God doesn’t value a kind of success where you are the only one to win. God values a kind of success where you help others win. Because when others win, you win as well.

Psalm 41:1 (ESV) says

Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the Lord delivers him.

To be truly successful, here are three characteristics from Psalm 112:4 and Psalm 116:5 you need to develop in yourself.

Why Happiness Is a Choice

Three Things to Avoid If You Truly Want to Be Happier

Everyone says they want to be happy. People frequently quote from the Declaration of Independence about the importance of the “pursuit of happiness.” And yet most people today are not truly happy. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” While that may sound surprising, it is nonetheless true. Happiness is a choice.

happiness

You may know people that aren’t happy unless they have something to complain about. Although I’m saying that tongue-in-cheek, you know who I’m talking about. They have chosen a way of life that involves listening to negative voices and looking at the negative side of things. Their negativity is a choice.

A few years ago, an Australian palliative care nurse wrote a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. In the book, Bronnie Ware recorded the themes of regret that repeatedly surfaced in the final days of dying people. And one of the top five: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” Ware goes on to say: “They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives.”

People can listen to the wrong voices in their life. As a result, they think that’s how they need to live their lives. But those voices do not bring happiness. Instead they bring misery.

If you want to be happy, then you have to decide that you will not listen to negativity. If you truly want happiness in your life, then you need to stop listening to these three voices.

How Is Your Attitude during Trials at Work?

How to Take Charge of Your Attitude in the Trials

There have been times I have allowed work to get me down. I can remember many times when I just didn’t want to have to go to work because of what I had to deal with at the office. When the trials from work weighed heavy upon me, those were the times that I needed to take charge of my attitude—but those were also the hardest times to take charge of my attitude.

attitude

Chuck Swindoll, the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, and the voice for the Insight for Living broadcast, said this about attitude: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

What’s your attitude like at work? Are you going through trials at work? Here are three things to keep in mind to help you take charge of your attitude.

Why You Should Cultivate Joy in the Everyday

You Can’t Wait until Tomorrow to Rejoice

The Scripture says that you should cultivate joy every day as a result of your relationship with God. But what does that look like? And why is it so important?

cultivate joy

To rejoice means to be cheerful or calmly happy, according to Strong’s Concordance, particularly in reference to your relationship with God. It means always having a peaceful delight in your soul. It doesn’t necessarily mean jumping up and down over something. Instead, it’s about having peaceful delight—in the midst of whatever is happening to you at the moment.

Having that perspective is not easy to do—and it’s impossible if you’re trying to do it without God. But it is nonetheless important to cultivate that perspective all the time.

Here are three reasons you need to have joy in your everyday life.

How Often Do You Get Brainwashed?

Take Time Regularly to Cleanse Your Mind

When I was a young man, I had a very selfish and self-centered paradigm. I believed the world revolved around me. Eventually, that paradigm broke down for me. It left me feeling empty and lonely, and I realized there had to be another way. Knowing that my paradigm wasn’t working, I was willing to explore Christianity. In reading the Bible, I saw that Jesus’ teachings were antithetical to my way of doing things, but I also saw how it would provide the peace that I didn’t have. As a result, I was willing to be indoctrinated into a way of thinking that went against my current belief system. I was willing to make a paradigm shift. I was willing to be brainwashed by myself.

brainwashed

Brainwashing is usually defined as a process of indoctrinating someone into a way of thinking that goes against their current belief system. Brainwashing is reprehensible practice—unless the person getting brainwashed is also the person doing the brainwashing. In that case, people can choose to indoctrinate themselves into a new way of thinking because they realize that their current belief system is not working for them. They realize it is important for them to actively remove that old way of thinking that is not working and replace it with something else that will work. They need to make a paradigm shift.

People view the world through a paradigm. It’s how they make sense of the world. There are times that people may realize that their paradigm is not helping them and they need to make a change in how they think.

Perhaps you’re at a point where the way you’re doing things isn’t working for you. Perhaps it’s your paradigm about God, or about yourself, or about others. Perhaps you’ve been believing things that haven’t been helpful for you. As a result, you may see it’s time that you brainwashed yourself.

You may have been a follower of Jesus for a long time, but you may find your paradigm isn’t working for you. You may realize your views about God, your views about yourself, or your views about others need to change.

If that’s where you are, then I invite you to explore how you can get brainwashed by yourself. Here are some questions to ask yourself and some practical steps to take for changing how you think.

No Self-Condemnation for Failure

Failure is a Great Teaching Tool

It is not an option whether or not you will fail in life. I guarantee that you will fail at something. The question is: How will you process that failure? Will you let failure teach you? Or will you respond with self-condemnation?

Self-Condemnation

Failure can be a great teaching tool if you let it, but many people respond to failure as if it is a final declaration. They look at failure as a judgment about themselves. As a result, they respond with self-condemnation.

Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Failure is not a destination. Failure is not a place to stay. Because failure is just the starting point of the next leg of the journey.

Here are three reasons why you should not respond to failure with self-condemnation.

Cold, Hard Facts and Blue-Sky Optimism Help You Win

Three Steps to Put a Paradoxical Governing Philosophy into Practice

Have you ever been in a meeting with these kinds of people? On one side of the table you have the guy who exudes optimism. He gushes about how the team can achieve what you have never been able to do before. You want to believe him, until the guy on the other side of the table speaks. The other guy says how it’s not possible to do what the first guy says and gives a laundry list of reasons. He brings everyone back to reality based on his cold, hard facts. But what if you could use both of their thinking to your advantage? What if you combined their thinking into what seemed like a paradox? What if you looked at the situation with grounded realism, but you also believed in your ability to succeed anyway? That combination of cold, hard facts with blue-sky optimism can make any venture get off the ground.

blue-sky optimism

 

Here are three steps you can take to put this paradox of a governing philosophy into practice in your life or in your work.

Self-Awareness Is Key to Good Leadership

You Cannot Lead Well If You Do Not Know Yourself Well

If you are to become a good leader, self-awareness is something you must develop. In fact, self-awareness is one of the key fundamental building blocks of good leadership.

self-awareness

There are many powerful and wealthy heads of companies in the world who are not good leaders. They are driven by ego and are blind to their own weaknesses. As a result, they do not know themselves well.

As Polonius said in Hamlet,

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

To be true to yourself, you must know yourself. Developing self-awareness will help you in all areas of your life—not just with your team at work, but with your family relationships at home.

Here are three levels of self-awareness to develop as you progress as a leader.