There is rarely a time when life smoothly and uneventfully flows from one day to the next (and, to be honest, if it does, you’re usually not living up to your full potential). If your life is anything like mine, there are surprises popping out like funhouse clowns every time you think things have finally settled down.
The past couple of days have been one such circus for me. And as it often does, it has severely affected my emotional stability and ability to power through the day. However, I have also recently started to reread The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and let me tell you, it has made a world of difference.
While I think that the book itself is a goldmine of resources, I don’t feel like it’s just the content in particular that has helped stabilize my emotions. Rather, I know it’s the fact that I have taken the time out of my morning to really reflect on myself and my circumstances, and to focus on where I want to be and how to get there.
In other words, I have taken the time to ground myself before the winds of the day blow in hard and unforgiving, and I am amazed at how much just a couple of days of doing so have already changed my outlook. Grounding is essential for continuous personal growth, and in my experience, needs to follow some guidelines for maximum effectiveness.
Grounding needs to take place in the morning. Growing up, I observed my parents reading their Bibles every morning without fail. While it was commonplace for me, I didn’t really realize what a profound impact it had on them, especially my dad, until I grew up and started interacting with people who neglected this daily time of reflection.
I can never remember one time that I have seen my father angry. Not once. He has been disappointed and upset, of course, especially when I was going through my teenage years, but to this day I don’t even know what he would sound like if he yelled. I thought that this was normal, yet I have learned that for men, this is definitely not that case: playing football with adults who get in each other’s faces and almost fight, being in relationships where raised voices and verbal attacks occur regularly, and seeing the overall inability to regulate negative emotions, especially in the male population, has really shed a light on how impactful that daily time must be.
I don’t feel like this grounding absolutely must include a certain spiritual component, but rather the act of STARTING your day in a calm, centered space is so incredibly important. I feel like when I make time to read at night, it still offers food for thought, but it does not have nearly the impact as it does when I read in the morning.
Grounding needs to be intentional. I feel like the reason that my reading has impacted me so much is that I have been very purposeful with my reading; I felt trapped and lost in my chaotic emotional state, and I have reached out to a source that I knew to be useful.
There have been countless articles and numerous successful people that stress the importance of purposeful action. I am terrified that I will look back on a life of whim and fancy rather than a clearly charted path of steadfast determination. Intentionally putting yourself in a state of reflection and growth every single morning will enable you to exponentially reach your potential in every aspect of your life, the most important being your ability to be proactive rather than reactive.
Grounding needs to be scheduled. If you work earlier in the day like me, you set your alarm no earlier than the amount of time you need to pee, shower, throw on some clothes, and stumble out the door. However, this leaves you vulnerable to any foul winds that kick up during the day, and by the time you arrive home, you are drained and exuding negative reactions.
In contrast, if you make grounding a priority of your morning, you set a course for your day and when the foul winds arise, you can adjust the sails as necessary to avoid being blown off course. It may take extra effort, but those efforts will be repaid in spades throughout the course of your days, weeks, and years.
Grounding needs to take you out of your head. If you were to crack open my skull and lift out my brain, it would most likely vibrate out of your hands and skitter across the floor with the sheer amount of ping-pong thoughts that continuously are produced every single second of the day. I am a classic overthinker (which is why I gravitate towards writing–have to get it out somehow!) and I can sit for hours transfixed by different scenarios that may or (most likely) may not happen.
If you take away the opportunity for those thoughts to fester, however, you lay the foundation for much healthier brain function throughout the day. Like a dog that becomes destructive with no exercise, a brain also can make a mess in your metaphorical house if it is not given something constructive to focus on. Reading forces your mind to calm its self-created tornado and anchor itself in something solid.
In the end, if you want to have any kind of forward momentum in your life, grounding is a non-negotiable. Like anything that brings forth positive results, it is rarely easy. However, once you experience the feeling of going throughout your day in control of your thoughts and emotions instead of the other way around, it becomes clear how invaluable it is to submerge that anchor every morning and take stock of where you are and where you want to go. Indeed, it is the only thing that makes it possible to embrace the winds that roar in our face rather than fear them. And that, in my book, is true power.