I have written about the Morning Pages and their importance to me when starting my day several times. In short, these are 3 hand-written pages of stream of conscious thoughts, ideally written as soon as possible after waking. There are days where the words won't come. On days like that, I borrow an idea from my Mom, and write mental affirmations in the space remaining.
Positive affirmations are one of those hippy, feel-good ideas that came about with the onslaught of the self-help and positive thinking industries. Despite that, I find them incredibly useful in reaffirming to myself what I am, who I want to be, and how I will get there.
Most of my affirmations are based on discipline, self-control and mental toughness. The focus is here because I believe that if I am willing to do what is hard to do, go without, and sacrifice for the greater good, then any (most) individual situations will work themselves out. The below are examples of what I repeat to myself mentally or on paper:
- "No matter how bad things go, my mind will carry my body when my limbs are too weak."
- "I do the thing that is hard to do, and the power will come."
- "I have trained my mind, and my body will follow."
- "Need nothing, enjoy everything."
- "Embrace the suck," borrowed from Gaijinass.
- "I will believe when others have doubted."
- "Weakness will not be in my heart."
Several of the above were borrowed from from this speech.
Again, most of these are general, and I feel like they fit like an umbrella over most situations that will come up. Some cases that I want to focus on will merit their own statements.
For example, in my work, it is easy to receive a request from a customer that is ridiculous. It may be very difficult to achieve, cause more problems than it will solve, and make my life (and theirs) harder. The temptation to shoot off a hasty and dismissive response is a strong one. Instead, I remind myself that maintaining the relationship is more important than the satisfaction that I would get from that type of response. I do that with the following:
- "I pause between stimulus and reaction to proactively choose a response that is deeply integrated with my recognized principles and values."
Another example would be for boxing. If I have a fight that I am preparing for, a favorite affirmation would be:
- "I work harder, train longer, and fight smarter than my opponent."