Emotional Health

Hello and welcome to Month Three of The Nick James One-Year Success Blog. We hope you are having an excellent week!

What a great time to embrace change, opportunity and hopefulness. If you’re like us, your ambition to get caught up on the past, handle the present and launch into the future may be getting the best of you if—and we say if—you tend to be a little impatient. It’s hard to get it all done in a short period of time. Think of this process like we’re running a marathon and the ultimate goal here is overall success and improvement in the major areas of our lives. Just like compound interest, the slow but continual steps toward your predetermined goals will keep coming more clearly into focus each day.

On the other hand, if you’re not engaged in the above process of cleaning up the past, doing the daily activities and engaging in your future, then by all means start the process.

Cleaning up past messes, projects, etc., releases additional time and energy, and it’s amazing how quickly that time and energy can be redirected and invested into accomplishing more productive and rewarding pursuits and goals.

Doing the daily activities prevents additional cleanups of items that could potentially create new messes, and keeps you from having to pay the penalties of neglect.

Engaging in your future is where the biggest prize awaits. Only 3-5% of people are able to make the future investments of time and planning in the midst of doing their very necessary daily activities.

Let us stress that a little bit DOES make a difference. The first step creates momentum to take the next step, and so on. The act alone of engaging in the three steps above is the critical starting point in spite of how long or far the journey might seem. It’s the consistent, steady movement in the right direction that makes the small, incremental investments seem painless and creates the confidence and excitement to be truly self-motivated and driven toward your ultimate goals and purpose.

Take the first—or next—step, and make it a great week!

Health, Part Two—Emotional Health

Health is our all-important topic this month. When we look at health, we look in the context of humans consisting of three distinct parts or layers: the Body—the physical nature; the Soul—the mind, will and emotions; and the Spirit—the part of us that transcends this world and communes with God.

Our spiritual life is what gives us the foundation for living and provides the strength we need for everything else. Our Soul, the second layer, is the “intangible” part of us. You can’t touch it but it is there, and not only is it there but it is what drives most of whom and what we are! Then finally, our Body, the outermost layer, is the physical shell that houses our soul and spirit. All of these are intricately connected and affect each another.

We cover these three layers in four different parts this month:

1. Spiritual Health: Last week we looked at the benefits and importance of developing a vibrant spiritual life and gave you some easy methods to help take your spiritual life to a deeper level.

2. Emotional Health: The mind, will and emotions. This week we cover the importance of a healthy soul, specifically the mind, will and emotional aspects of life. We will look at how our inner person is such a vital part in making sure we live the kind of life we desire. We will learn how our emotional life can become healthy, strong and lively.

3. Physical Health—Nutrition: In Week 12, we will begin a two-part look at the body and physical health, concentrating on the area of nutrition. It is important that we fuel our body properly because energy comes from the foods we eat. Just like a vehicle runs off of the fuel we fill it with, if we put the wrong kind of fuel into our body, it will not run properly. Put the right kinds of foods in, and it will run like the high-performance engine in an expensive sports car!

4. Physical Health—Exercise: Week 13 will look at the important area of exercise. “I need to exercise” is the first thought that occurs to most people when they think of health. We do need exercise, and three weeks from now, we will take a more in-depth look at this important topic.

This week our focus is on the second aspect, Emotional Health.

As I think through this idea of Emotional Health, there are three main areas: the mind or intellect, the will, and the emotions. These three facets make up the inner life of humans and are a major driving force in who we are, what we do and what we accomplish. Let’s take a deeper look.

The Mind 
The mind may very well be the most amazing thing ever created. The vast depth and breadth of what the human mind can do and comprehend is simply incredible. Think of it, every invention or human creation started as a single thought in someone’s brain. The thoughts, the ideas, the calculations—all fantastic! There might be some who would argue that a computer is a more amazing feat, but it was a collection of human minds that conceived, developed and implemented the computer. Computers run based on how the human mind determines they will run; they are programmed by people!

When a baby is born, their mind is basically undeveloped and is only developed as input and training are given. As children, although our eyes and ears automatically pick up and process information, we are primarily trained and taught to think and process by our parents. They determine much of our input and give us our start. Slowly but surely we learn how the world works, how to think and how to process information. And as we continue to grow, we begin to think in deeper ways, develop critical thinking skills and are eventually able to go beyond the concrete and into the abstract. All of this is part of the natural process of mental development. Initially it is our parents’ responsibility to get us going in the right direction and encourage us to learn and to love learning. Just another reason parenting is the most important job in the world!

Eventually though, this shifts and we assume responsibility for ourselves and our learning. We don’t know everything when we turn 18, as our parents send us out into the world, and much of our success is determined by what we put into our minds once we get out into the world and start making our way. What and how we think determines much of what we are and what we become. This is why it is so important to continually, until the day we draw our last breath, develop our intellect. Sadly, for most people, the learning stops when they get their first job. But imagine what could happen if you kept up an accelerated learning curve for the rest of your life. What could you do, what skills would you develop, what unique philosophies would you adopt if you were one of the few who developed an appetite for constantly looking for good ideas, for new ways of looking at things, etc.? Commit today to that exciting process and see where it will take you.

The Will
The will is certainly one of the most mysterious and fascinating creations ever! We talk about will “power” and yet many can’t even explain or define it. The will can’t be taken out and poured in a beaker, and yet we know it exists and is integral to success and achievement. For our definition, we will say it is the part of us that is the strength of our self-determination. The will is what determines whether we act or not. It is our center of resolve and choice.

I believe the will is something that must be exercised in order to become strong. You can have a weak or a strong will and the determining factor is how often you use it. The ways in which it is exercised, combined with the frequency with which you use it, will determine how strong it becomes. Those who float with the winds of life and make few or no decisions have weak wills. When they need to use willpower they will have none. Those who regularly exercise it to make good, strong decisions will be able to hold fast and be strong and decisive when a major act of the will is needed. Whether it is the power to refrain from something that may not be good for you or the power to choose to do something you know will be in your best interest but are fearful of doing, a strong, highly exercised will can carry you through.

Let’s look at an analogy. If a person works out physically on a regular basis and slowly builds up the amount of weight they can lift, they will be strong enough to handle a crisis that would call for heavy lifting. If a log falls on the legs of a person for example, you want someone who is physically strong to be there. A person who is physically weak will be of no help in that moment. You cannot develop physical strength in a moment’s time. The same is true with strength of will. It is trained, it is strengthened and it is developed. When you do so, it becomes a powerful force of support in your life for success.

The Emotions
Emotions… what an incredible weight they carry in our lives. Sadness, fear, joy, anger, love, gratitude, peace, happiness… all of these are part of the almost immeasurable landscape we call human emotions. From the joy and wonderment of magical moments, like the birth of a child, to the intense sense of sorrow, regret and loss that can accompany the death of a loved one, emotions are at the very core of our existence. They are what provide the “spice of life,” as they say. They are a major piece of what we are and what we become.

“Don’t be emotional.” Have you ever heard that? Have you ever said that? The problem with that statement is that it is entirely impossible. We are, by our very nature, emotional beings. We are intended to be emotional. What most people mean when they use that phrase is, “Get your emotions under control.” Now that would be good advice. We are supposed to have emotion. We are supposed to feel things. You’ve heard me teach that our emotions need to be as educated as our intellect because it is important to know how to feel, how to respond and how to let life in so that it can touch us. Our emotions will either serve or master, depending on who is in charge. And when we have our emotions under control, they will be a powerful tool in driving us to accomplish amazing things!

The key is balanced emotions. You see, some people are virtually emotionless and that will not serve them well. Emotions can be a powerful fuel for us. The idea is to stay in balance with our emotions, to feel strongly and passionately but not get out of control. We would be wise to measure our emotions and intelligently manage them. You see, the trick is to let our emotions be a key factor in what drives us, but not the primary factor—to let our emotions be tempered and balanced with our mind.

Think of the unique and powerful blend of emotions, will and intellect that drove some of the major accomplishments of history:

– The compassion of Mother Teresa drove her to dedicate her life to caring for the poor of Calcutta.

– The passion of Martin Luther King Jr. drove him to be a beacon of hope and awareness and to help usher in the civil rights movement in America in the 1960s.

– The courage of the allied forces in World War II drove them to stand up to Adolf Hitler and his evil desires of world conquest.

There are so many other examples, but the point is clear: Emotions can and should be a vital yet balanced part of what drives us to accomplish great things.

Now a word of caution: Unbridled emotion can lead us nowhere and oftentimes much worse, to places we don’t want to go. But controlled emotions, governed by the will and focused by the mind, are at the heart of achievement and success.

The emotional life is something to be diligent in your development and care. If you make it healthy, it will take you farther than you could ever imagine.

Until next week, let’s do something remarkable!

Nick James

Be sure to download this week’s workbook pages to complete the Questions for Reflection and Action Points exercises. View

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