They do when they are designed around solid principles of nutrition and health. Restricting myself to 500 calories a day of raw veggies is not sustainable over the long term, and I will likely give up, return to my old habits and gain all the weight back. An abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein will not only sustain me, but I am far more likely to continue eating that way for the rest of my life — and enjoy it.
So it is with the 7 Day Mental Diet. Our special assignment for this week is to go for seven days without having a negative thought, spoken or unspoken. Seven consecutive days! Every time we fail, we are to start all over again at Day 1. Thankfully, we have a seven second grace period in which to catch ourselves and substitute a positive thought for the negative one! Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to go more than an hour or two!
The one thing I don’t like about this exercise is that it reminds me too much of the movie, Groundhog Day, where he relives one day over and over and over until he finally gets it right. That’s a quagmire I don’t want to get entrenched in, because it’s all too familiar. Much of my life has been spent feeling like I am stuck spinning my wheel and never getting anywhere.
Like the No Opinions exercise of a few weeks ago, I think the reason for the 7 Day Mental Diet is not to leave anyone feeling frustrated and hopelessly spinning his tires. I think it’s another awareness exercise, where we take notice of our thoughts and quickly substitute the harmful, unprofitable ones with those that will help us break us free and move forward.
CHARLES HAANEL writes:
Emerson loved the good, and his life was a symphony of peace and harmony.
Carlyle hated the bad, and his life was a record of perpetual discord and inharmony.
Here we have two grand men, each intent upon achieving the same ideal, but one makes use of constructive thought and is therefore in harmony with Natural Law, the other makes use of destructive thought and therefore brings upon himself discord of every kind and character.
I used to be part of a church where the leaders put everything under their theological microscope, scrutinizing and analyzing everything, weighing and measuring every belief and action to see if it measured up to their idea of what God’s Word teaches. They hated the bad.
Now I’m part of a church where the leadership encourages us to delve into God’s Word for ourselves and discover His promises and desires for us as His people. They love the good.
I loved my old church, but I spent a lot of time and energy looking over my shoulder to see if I was being watched. I love the freedom of finding out for myself what my loving Father in heaven has for me. The leadership in both churches wanted the same thing — to obey and glorify God. But my goodness, what a difference between the two!
It is evident therefore that we are to hate nothing, not even the “bad,” because hatred is destructive, and we shall soon find that by entertaining destructive thought we are sowing the “wind” and in turn shall reap the “whirlwind.”
I have a friend who says there are no good happenings or bad happenings — they are just what we make of them. I used to have a problem with that, because we’ve all had things happen to us that truly are bad, and hard to get past. The key is in what Haanel wrote. The death of a loved one… the loss of an excellent job… a bad accident or severe disability… are all bad, but it’s what we do with them that makes the difference. Anger and bitterness never help, no matter what short term satisfaction they may give us. They only hold us back from everything we really want.
Og Mandino says the same thing in a different way in Scroll II.
OG MANDINO writes:
Henceforth will I look on all things with love and I will be born again. I will love the sun for it warms my bones; yet I will love the rain for it cleanses my spirit. I will love the light for it shows me the way; yet I will love the darkness for it shows me the stars. I will welcome happiness for it enlarges my heart; yet I will endure sadness for it opens my soul. I will acknowledge rewards for they are my due; yet I will welcome obstacles for they are my challenge.
There is a reason for the rain, the darkness, the sadness, and the obstacles. We don’t always know the reason right now, even when we develop the habit of looking for the good in everything… the silver lining in every cloud. But there is always a reason, and we can choose to walk in that knowledge rather than in bitterness over what isn’t going the way we want.
The 7 Day Mental Diet is a challenging exercise, calling for hard mental labour. But it’s one that will benefit me and those around me. It will stay with me for the rest of my life — and I know I will enjoy it!