Mind Games

Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical. – Yogi Berra

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I know very little about baseball. The last time I saw the Rockies play, I went with a friend who was equally clueless and we couldn’t figure out who was winning! The scoreboard said “R”, “H”, and “E”. Which one was the points that mean you’re winning?? We ended up calling the categories “rabbit, hamster, and ermine” and when my husband asked who won the game, I told him it depends – is that decided by the rabbits, hamsters, or ermines?

I may be ignorant in the ways of baseball, but I still find Mr. Berra’s quote to be both humorous and accurate for life in general. What I’m discovering is that a huge, huge chunk of our human experience is mental. How we think about things, how we interpret events, how our brain works – these things change everything. In fact, our mental process can change the difficulty of a task! What? True story.

Doing dishes isn’t inherently difficult or easy. Some people actually enjoy washing dishes. Others put it off until they run out of clean plates because it’s just such a huge pain to deal with. Same dishes, different minds. Knowing this, I started to wonder – can we change how we think about chores, and can that change our experience?

 

Yes.

Here’s an example. I thought dishes were a big pain, partly because they seemed to take for.     e.      ver. FOREVER. I felt that if I were to get all of that washing done I would be standing at the sink for half the day! What drudgery! What agony! Cruel and unusual punishment! No one has time for that foolishness! Well, one day I decided to time myself. Starting with a sink full of dirty dishes, ending with a drying rack full of clean dishes. Guess how long it took?

… fifteen minutes.

I remember staring at the clock after I finished. Really, only 15? All this time I had been telling myself that it was a time-sucking drudgery. And because I thought it was, it was. The next time I had a sink of dishes, I told myself it wouldn’t take very long and I’d be done in no time. I could just wash them real quick, no biggie, and be done! Sure enough, it was suddenly much easier. I didn’t dread the dishes as much anymore. It was empowering to know I could make such a big difference in my kitchen in so little time. I jumped right in, got it done, and felt proud of myself for finishing.

So my challenge to you is this. Next time you have a chore that needs to be done, remember it’s 90% mental. Go into it with a good attitude. Remind yourself how little time it takes, how much you enjoy the result, how proud you will be of yourself afterwards. Don’t dwell on negative thoughts about how horrible it will be, just jump in and get it done. You’ll be surprised at how much changing the game in your mind changes your entire experience.

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