I always assumed turning inward meant looking at and analyzing and controlling every piece/part of my life. Like, I would have to gather all the data, follow every little thought, document each part of my mind. I turned inward looking for different activities to satiate where my mind was going in that moment. A constant barrage of thought and activity with no real relief or resolution. A week ago, something different occurred to me: I kept getting signs to “reflect on my inner landscape” and I looked at the definition of turning inward differently. If I have a landscape in my mind then it needs to be cultivated and directed. I love a wild garden, but if I’m looking for a certain result, I really need to grow and cultivate the direction that garden is growing. The thoughts need to become intentional.
Part of being intentional means going deep and looking at the darker side. Some call it the shadow side, but in reference to the garden, we can call that the weeds. Sometimes the mind becomes overgrown with negative thoughts or patterns and we need to take them out at the root. Turning inward isn’t a rehashing of every negative thing that has happened to us that we use to justify where we are at, or looking at everything we’ve done. Turning inward isn’t a replay of our lives: it’s an examination of where we are and determining where we want to go. Turning inward is learning to recognize what we bring to the table as ourselves—where our true value is.
If we know who we are and what makes us feel good, if we know what we are capable of, if we know our purpose, then we have created a place where those good feelings, those intentions, that purpose can grow and be fulfilled. All of that stems from turning inward and removing the negative thoughts of who we were told we were. We talked about mindset yesterday in the context of Think and Grow Rich and I want to highlight a few things: one, being rich doesn’t always mean in the monetary sense. We can be rich in myriad of ways. In order to see success in any one of them, we need to tend to our mindset and keep it positive. Two, the latter point means when it comes to our mindset, we really do have to tend it like a garden. Everything that ISN’T who we are must go.
And that leads to turning inward. In order to see who we are we have to differentiate what we are not. That requires the inner work and objectivity to see what does and doesn’t work for us. Once we identify the parts we want to raise, then we focus our energy on that. One of my employees told me that she wanted to focus on the negative in order to improve it. While I understood what she meant, I told her she needed to flip it. Rather than focus on improving the “negative,” why not focus on the positive and allow that to be a complement to other people’s strengths? The same is said for turning inward: focus on what makes you, you, not on what people tell you to be. It’s up to you to decide that. No one gets to charter your course. You get to decide what you do. When you shine the light inward, that’s exactly what you find: your purpose/what to do. So cultivate the landscape of your mind to create the life you want. THAT is what it means to think and grow rich.