This week I’m offering just two letters that can provide a huge mindset shift.
As I stepped into the shower last night, after another scorching day, I took a sharp intake of breath as the cold water flooded through my hair and down my back. It’s a sensation in growing to like more and more. A sharp refreshing hit after a hot day.
A few years ago, I thought anyone who took a cold shower must be mad. Hot showers are up there as one of my many mini moments of joy, an opportunity for a little solitude and mindfulness. Why would anyone fight all natural instincts to step under a frigid faucet?
I’d tried it before of course, trying to brace myself for the cold as I tentatively tickled the water with my fingers, then wrist, forearm, upper arm, shoulder, and then before I get to my back I decide to bail. Nope. Not today. No thanks. Heat on, that’ll do nicely thank you very much.
So what’s different now?
Two letters. Two letters added to the front of a word.
Now, instead of trying to brace for the cold, I embrace it.
I’d read something similar a while ago in Robin Sharma‘s The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, but it’s taken a while, bubbling under the surface, before it’s become relevant. When undergoing his transition from lawyer to monk, the author is particularly challenged by the icy showers he had to take. He dreaded the daily routine, until he flipped from trying to fight against the cold, trying to ignore it, failing to overpower the overwhelming physical sensation with his mind, to focusing on it. Rather than bracing himself, he embraced it.
The same process has had a huge effect on me. Instead of the fear of throwing myself under the cold water, I embrace it and focus on the sensations rather than trying to avoid them. Now, truth be told, I’m no Wim Hof. I’m not plunging into icy wheelie bins on the daily, the ‘cold’ shower perhaps has more than a touch of tepidity. I also have every intention of knocking this on the head when the balmy weather cools off, but I am enjoying these moments for this moment at least.
The same process can be applied to drier escapades.
My daughter recently commented about her worry of going up another school year and the work getting even harder. I tried to encourage her to understand that every time she does something a little bit harder than she’s done before, she’s learning a bit more. I want her to embrace the challenge, instead of bracing herself against the difficulties she may face.
Having the right mindset doesn’t need to be a seismic shift, it doesn’t have to be perfect and doesn’t mean you have to be completely unflappable. I hope that this brace of letters from me, may just support you through your next fix.
Don’t brace, embrace.