Each morning a battle rages as my eyes open, signaling the start of a new day. One eye stares at the clock trying to determine if night had truly ended and morning arrived or is my brain still slightly in a dream state. As I muster the energy to throw at least one foot over the side of the bed, it starts. The most crucial conversation of the day begins…it’s the one that is taking place in between my own ears, consisting of the thoughts I convey to myself.
Psychologists believe we have as many as 70,000 thoughts in a day. Given there are only 86,400 seconds in a 24 hour period, the mind controls the flow of traffic, streaming information, data, and visions at warp speed for my psyche to process. Studies have shown that up to 80% of the deluge coming at me is negative in nature rather than positive. I find this frustrating as it is not intentional or even requested. So given the miraculous power of the brain, how do I win the war?
If you met Mike Scimemi, you’d find the answer. Mike was the father of one of my friends in high school. During my freshman year he was riding a motorcycle down a country road when a pickup truck ran the intersection and slammed into him. The impact threw Mike nearly 100 feet where he landed in a ditch. Between the truck and the ditch he broke most of the bones in his body. For over 6 months he remained in intensive care. His condition was so debilitating that he couldn’t even move in bed. After months of treatments and surgeries, he began the road to recovery, eventually gaining his mobility supported by a leg brace he still wears today.
And you know how I found out about the details of his accident? From Marie, his wife. Mike has never mentioned the accident to me. I had a paper cut last week and I told my wife about it. Twice. Mike almost dies and doesn’t talk about it. He is one of the most vibrant, amazing, energetic, fun-loving, compassionate men that I’ve ever met.
One of my favorite memories of Mike was watching him dance. For the record, he has a better attitude than he does dance skills but that’s not what’s important. The example of his life had a profound impact on me: What we look at every day and what we choose to focus our attention on is how our life is shaped and formed.
The battle ground lies in asking yourself “are you focused at work on actions that produce results, considered goal achieving or simply tension relieving?”
Are you focused on the joy that you can have from touching people’s lives? Changing their situation? Providing for your family? Interacting with your kids? Being with your husband or your wife? Doing something that creates value in this world?
What you accomplish each day depends on what you choose to see when you get out of bed. Mike doesn’t see the brace on his leg. He sees the fact that he’s alive and well. We can’t control 70,000 thoughts, but we do have a choice of where we focus our mind and heart.
Where is your focus?