#46 The Mind is a Fertile Garden
“The mind is a fertile garden – it will grow anything you wish to plant – beautiful flowers or weeds. And it is with successful, healthy thoughts or negative ones that will, like weeds, strangle and crowd the others. Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind, for they are the weeds that strangle confidence.”
Bruce Lee had a really strong practice of planting seeds of beautiful flowers in the fertile mind. Often we have people come into the office to look through Bruce’s journals and they wonder where his writings on his doubts and struggles are, and Shannon tells them that these don’t exist. Bruce had a regimented practice of keeping his mind on the things that he wanted instead of the things he didn’t.
Sometimes we find ourselves complaining, to others, in our journals, and in our thoughts. Our thoughts are energy, so if you are repeatedly bombarding yourself with negativity, then you are repeatedly creating negative energy.
We are more willing to keep track of our failures rather than our successes. Bruce would turn anything that did not feel like success into a learning moment, converting it into something that would lead towards success. He would keep focused on the things that he wanted saying:
“You will never get anymore out of life that you expect.”
Optimism takes effort, it is a practice, especially in the face of difficulties.
“If you think a thing is impossible, you’ll make it impossible. Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed.”
If you’re constantly worrying about all the possible bad scenarios, it takes you out of the moment. These “what if” scenarios might never happen, but they can distract and worry us.
“Suffering is mostly self-manufactured.”
There is an illusion that thinking of all the ways something can go wrong will somehow defend against it. This is a really depressing way to live and it takes away from your ability to be spontaneous and takes away your faith in yourself to navigate your own life.
“Suffering itself does less to afflict the senses than the anticipation of suffering.“
We waste a lot of time on the anticipation of suffering, and this act actually causes us more suffering. If you’re always guarding against any kind of suffering, you are guarding against the ability to learn and grow. We often go into these thoughts automatically, and part of the practice is to plant the good seeds into fertile mind, make a practice of putting the right things in your mind.
“What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become.”
Your habitual response is in your subconscious mind, so if you make an effort to shape that in a positive direction, then more outcomes will be positive.
You have to become aware of your own negative thoughts and self-talk. Take these negative thoughts and convert them to positive thoughts or to neutral thoughts if that is too big of a leap.
For example change “I don’t have enough money,” to “I am in the process of earning plenty of money.”
It’s good to know your negative thoughts because then you can change those thoughts to neutral or positive ones. The awareness is the first process towards changing those thoughts to positive ones.
Your words have power, whether they’re in your head, written on paper, or said out loud. Bruce was always intentional about the words that he chose and would constantly rewrite and refine his writings. Use the words that you want to use that are positive, because they have power and energy.
The mind is neutral but it will grow anything you plant, including negative or positive thoughts. So much of why people feel distracted these days is because there are so many negative thoughts rolling around in our heads and these thoughts distract us from what we’re supposed to do.
“The thought of a distracted mind cannot be sincere.”
“One who is possessed by worry not only lacks the poise to solve his own problems, but by his nervousness and irritability creates additional problems for himself and those around him.”
Every time we retell our problem stories to others, we are putting that negativity on that person too. It is important to be aware of that, even though it is good to have people close to us we can vent to, if we habitually dump our negativity it can wear down those around us.
“Without frustration, you will not discover that you might be able to do something on your own. We grow through conflict.”
We try and cocoon ourselves against any sort of pain, but it’s through struggle that we learn. It builds your confidence if you pick yourself up after falling, but if you never allow yourself to fall you become too afraid to try anything.
“Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality.”
We create almost all of our own suffering; we manufacture it in our own minds. You have the control over what you allow to make you suffer. It’s not what happens in our life but how we react. We experience pain and hardship, but we can create how we respond to that pain and hardship. Once we’ve worked through hardship, we know that we can do it again and it helps minimize our fear and anxiety.
“I begin to appreciate now the old saying “he can because he thinks he can.” I believe that anybody can think himself into his goal if he mixes thought with definiteness of purpose, persistence and a burning desire for its translation into reality.”
With your mind as a fertile garden: If you imagine yourself in front of a rich soil garden, with a handful of seeds (your thoughts) ask yourself each day, what are these seeds going to grow?
“Every man is what he is because of the dominating thoughts which he permits to occupy his mind.”
Become aware of your negative thoughts. Know what they are, think about any place in your life where you are struggling. Take anything you are having negative thoughts about and make a list on a piece of paper. Then on the other side of the paper take the time to write the negative thoughts as positive ones. Example: Change “I don’t have enough money” to “I am in the process of finding a way to make more money.” Or whatever the positive version of that negative thought is, and then you can return to this list to affirm what you want. Allow yourself to be in the process of attaining what you want and revisit this list once in the morning and once at night. This will help shift everything.
If you’d like to share how you’re doing with this action item you can email us at email@example.com.
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week our #AAHA shout-out goes to Chinese American Steven Ho, martial artist, stunt coordinator, stuntman, director, writer, co-founder of interior design firm, and member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He has followed his passions with a positive attitude, and he came to prominence in martial arts as one of the first martial arts tricksters in open martial art competitions. He is well regarded for his stunt work as Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He and his wife founded Plush home, a successful interior and furniture design firm. Steven, we admire your positive, Bruce-like energy, and we want to say you’re awesome!
This week we our #BruceLeeMoment is from listener Anthony S.:
“Hello Shannon and the Bruce Lee Foundation family,
I just wanted to say thank you for what you are doing, especially with Sharon and the podcasts. I've listened to half of them and they give me motivation through your father's message and affirmations. I've recently graduated college at the untraditional age of 28 and sometimes it's difficult to stay motivated, often feeling like "my time is running out" or "I'm not 20 anymore and the world is not quite as open." I have many ambitions whether it would be music, martial arts, acting etc. and I only seem to get to the "dream phase" of what my life could be. These messages you share give me hope in a way to say to myself "it's never too late," and I am grateful for that. Yet, half of me still wants to settle and take the first job/career that just gets me by. I know I would never find true happiness and serenity choosing that path. I firmly believe if I engrain or instill your father's message over and over my subconscious will take over and I will follow my own path to happiness and peace of mind.
Live long and prosper, Anthony S.”