Personal Growth

Maintenance of the Mind

I’ve owned two cars. The first was a 1986 Chevy Camaro, the second is my 2006 Ford Mustang. The cars are twenty years apart, and both served me well.

I bought the Camaro for $1,000 when I was 17. My brother Randy and I put a new engine, transmission, intake, and exhaust into it. During the repairs, my brother forgot to put the oil pump into the oil pan, and when we fired it up, the engine seized up. (It would not operate again without a total overhaul.) To be fair, this was the first time he worked on a Chevy engine.

This was a valuable lesson that he learned from. We paid a professional shop to do the repairs, and the car was well on its way to serve me well through high school, and college.

The purpose of this story is to show that, if you’re going to get to where I have been financially — saving over $24,000 in one year, and able to turn down a $10,000 raise — you must take care of what you have.

  1. Take care of your mind and body, for you will always be with them.
  2. Take care of those you love (family, friends, relatives), for they will always be with you.
  3. Take care of your possessions, for they can serve you well over your life.

The way to accomplish Maintenance of the Mind is just the same as with maintenance of a car and body.

  1. Regular, Scheduled Check Ups.
  2. Repairs (of knowledge and beliefs).
  3. Oil Changes (removing what doesn’t serve us.)

Unlike a car, you cannot buy another mind. Scientists haven’t figured out how to transfer our subconscious and conscious minds, and memories, and motor skills, from one brain to another. Maybe they will some day.

Until that day comes, let’s make sure we perform maintenance of the mind.

Step 1: Regular, Scheduled Check Ups

Let’s say, once a month, you catalog what you know. Make a list of the subjects you know best (say, five, to begin). Write down how well, on a scale of 1-5, you know that subject, with 1 being very little, and 5 being you’re confident you know as much as you can about it.

Then ask yourself of each subject, “Does this knowledge serve me or someone else?” If the answer is yes, then you should nurture and grow your knowledge of that subject. If the answer is no, then perhaps that subject isn’t of much use — why is it inside your mind?

A great deal of us consume information to be intelligent — we think the more we know, the better we are. That’s not always true. You can know all there is about a celebrity, and then spend your life talking about someone you’ve never even met. How does that work?

Step 2: Repairs

If something you believe doesn’t serve you in a beneficial way, then perhaps it’s time to admit you’re missing something. Maybe the belief is entirely inaccurate, or a bit of it was lost along the way. Regardless, take the time to question if what you believe and think throughout the day is serving you.

An example could be, if when you get into your car to go to work, and you sit in traffic your immediate thought is, “Ugh, I have to sit through traffic, again.” Or, perhaps your thought is, “I’m going to be late with all this traffic.” Ask yourself, even with this traffic, has it really caused you a problem, or do you just think that you need to feel this way?

A repair on the mind is performed by putting your thoughts into question to ask if it serves you or not. If it does not, then replace that part with a new thought.

Step 3: Oil Changes

We can’t just change our blood — we’re not vampires. At least, I hope not. If you are, please don’t visit me. I like having my healthy blood. The purpose of an oil change is to remove all the sludge-like oil that occurs from its use. With the mind, the act of an oil change seeks to remove the build up of useless, blocking knowledge.

Useless, blocking knowledge, are thoughts that don’t serve us. An oil change on the mind is performed by replacing our thoughts with new ones. Replacing our beliefs with new ones. These thoughts and beliefs can be similar, but have a higher level of understanding.

When the oil comes out of a car, it is thick, slimy, and has bits of gunk in it. If its really bad oil, it has formed into a sludge that may require more than removing the drain plug to clear out. Then, the technician replaces it with clearer, cleaner oil, that will burn better, and keep the engine running smooth and sound.

Step 4: Test Drive the Car (Bonus Step)

Don’t forget to test drive the car before you commit to purchasing it. In other words, don’t accept information just because it was written in a book, spoken by the news anchor, or posted by your best friend on social media. Question how valid and useful that information is, which is your test drive. It can serve you well in knowing if it will be helpful or not.

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