So many things to consider; giving an allotment of thought time to. Some are simple, while some cause frustration. This is what happens to me when something of a substantive issue enters my mind. Either by the randomness of thought itself, or by one the five senses, it enters and demands attention. I have made an effort over the years to compartmentalize every area of my life, on and with purpose. This works very well for me, and a lot of others I’m sure, and one of the reasons is that the use of this system helps one to be of solid character and not act on a whims. When you make a decision about something that will become a point of your character, you can stand in a strong comfort-zone. A zone you built based on real understanding of not only the issue itself but, that this issue was tested against the appropriate compartments’ supporting thoughts and developed beliefs. An established decision making process becomes a powerful tool to manage the bombardment of random thoughts you receive each day. And the application of established beliefs and principals, the guardrails of each of life’s compartments, becomes the backbone of your character, the strength of your stance on any issue.
The frustration comes in the first area of consideration. Analogues of a hospitals ER, I call it thought-triage. That simply means that I gather the thoughts that came into my life today, or this week, by whatever means, and make the first decision. That being, which ones have a priority deserving of more thought time, which ones are not likely to change my stand on that issue and, which ones may do exactly that?
Is anything faster than thought? Is it faster than light, slower, or does it have no speed, because it just “appears”? Inquiring minds want to …well, sorry. What if you had the chance to see the transmitter that was sending thoughts to your mind’s receiver? Is it God, is it random, is it real? Random just does not work for me, at least not by itself. Very few thoughts “pop up” in an uncontrolled manner. They have a cause, a reason for being but, is it the “sending” of those thoughts that is controlled, or is it some sort of thought triage that happens in our receivers? These things that occur at the incipient stage of every thought will not answer to our desire to know. Whether they are created and sent to us or created in us, we may never find out – as our “own” thoughts seem unable to provide us with the instructions to do so. You can see in this observation that from the very beginning of the slightest mental activity, from any small single thought, if you will, that we are designed reactionaries. We can only react to the thought that enters our consciousness. And only speculate at where it was the split moment before. Was there a before? There is an obvious exception to this premise however, and that would simply be the thoughts that are generated thru the senses; you heard something, saw something, felt, touched, or tasted. All of these create thoughts.
You’ve heard the term “compartmentalize”, before. In the topic of managing things “mental”, it usually refers to suppressed memories; blocked out pains, sights and sounds. Guarded from entry into the conscious where they play out again, and injure, again and, not without its own ill effects, “usually”. Psychiatrists and the like tend to want to open up those places, get the pain out, suffer it again and “Now, let’s defeat it!” Not being one of those persons I’ve always wondered why you would allow someone “in” that wants to overcome the natural defenses of the most magnificent marvel on the planet, our brain. While some come away from such battles with a new empowered position in life, others end up worse than when they began. And rarely is it found to be due to the inadequacies of the mental “professional”, but rather the inability of the patient. In any case, I have realized that to compartmentalize is a natural function of the mind. And like all natural abilities, this one, too, can be manipulated and enhanced for the good of the individual. Like running for developing the strength of legs and endurance of lungs, so can the mental capabilities of the mind be enhanced! Let me say here, to be more clear than my earlier eluding, I am not connected in any way to the mental medical field. I speak only from my own common sense and practice. Having said that, and being in this environment of very diverse subject offerings, I will also state that this is not an offering in the science fiction genre. And, moving along….
Compartmentalizing our minds is something we should endeavor to achieve. Doing this prepares us to act in a consistent manner toward any thought or observance entering our mind, especially the ones deemed as “stray”. In order to initiate this practice, you must first create your compartments. I would suggest that it is necessary to do this on paper, first. Actually, when I did it, I used large poster boards! On each one I put a large print title, one poster for each compartment, and each compartment holds exactly one major life area. Major life area? The basics would be spiritual, family, financial, business, etc… Now, the next thing you must do is to develop that compartment. But, first:
I want to offer a sort of personal factor here. If it helps you, I’m glad, and if it does not, then, by all means, please continue and hopefully no harm done. This has to do with terminology. When I studied the materials and writings of various authors to develop my own personal version of this “system”, I, and they, sometimes used the word area. I now use, as you’ve seen, compartment. When I say this word, my mind immediately shows me two solid walls, one on each side of the subject of my focus. This tends to enhance that focus and block out interference from non-relative things that may be present in my minds vision. It’s like watching someone in a park full of people, you want to focus on someone playing catch with their dog, perhaps, but, your reflexes cannot help but move your eyes toward the violence of a Blue Jay swooping on a squirrel, or toward some other distraction. So, you put up your hand to block your vision, or rather to direct your focus. The point is word variants can vary the pictures, perceptions, and the abilities, of your mind. With that knowledge, and the rest of this paper, you shall have to proceed on your own to develop your compartments. Shall we continue, then?
Inside each compartment you start with the cornerstone of a solid foundation. That should be your life’s goal for this compartment. If you’re in the finance compartment you may want to start with your financial goals for retirement. You will want to know what really is going to be needed according to your projected family situation, health considerations, inflation and the lifestyle you want to maintain at that time. Next, you’ll want to take a hard look at your current income(s), and determine if you need to aggressively change something, or if you’re right on track.
And then, I would recommend that once the foundation is laid, you halt your efforts in this area, and move on the next compartment. You will want to establish the foundations in all of them as soon as possible. The reason being is that you must compare each one with the others to find and eliminate any contradictions. You do not want your actions to be viewed as inconsistent, or “waffling”, as some call it. It is a natural occurrence in the mind that you see two, or more, distinct ways to do something. And, perhaps, when you look around to your friends to see what they’re doing in this area, you see them split evenly on both paths, and with great intent; because the “other” choice must be avoided! And this is why you need a decision process. When you review each choice, and apply your well defined foundations, that do not contradict each other, you will most likely see the choice you want; the choice that will not, in itself, bring further contradiction. Self-contradiction destabilizes character!
The last note on developing your compartments; it is vitally important that you do not leave this out of your development stage! As I mentioned before, the term compartmentalize has been used toward those thoughts that one may want to avoid, to put them so far away from you they can’t harm you, OR influence your actions in any way! If you have any of these thoughts or situations, you must not ignore them, AT THIS TIME. Now, why emphasize that? Because in the future you will learn to react to those thoughts in a very specific way, and some people, if you share your process with them, will try to tell you that you are just ignoring your problems. THAT IS A LIE!! If you’re following this system, it’s a lie. But, I’ll get back to this in a bit, just be sure that you have a compartment, or poster, for the issues you want to avoid or be removed from your life.
On the inside of each compartment, your values and beliefs must act as your boundaries or side rails. You must establish these with great care and intention because once in place, you must intend to never cross them! Yes, the day may come that you choose to modify the boundary itself but, that’s very different than crossing or violating your own character. As you stand at the entrance of each compartment, you must look forward and see a progressive set of goals. These will act as stepping stones toward the major goal of each compartment. And if you will raise your head, get on your toes, and look beyond each compartment, you should see your compartment is actually a vehicle, and it’s on a path. This view must be the same from every compartment. At the end of the path is your destination. This is called your Definite Major Purpose in Life! That phrase came from, I think, Dale Carnegie via Dr. Napoleon Hill. (In fact, let me say that you may find most all this comes “from” somewhere or somebody. I’m not here to promote my intelligence but, rather to share my understanding.) So, therein is the last thing you must do in the development stage of your compartments; what is my life’s purpose, and how will I direct each life area, each compartment, to get me there. By using your compartments you will get there, and you will have no regrets about having crossed your boundaries, violated your values, or compromised your character. That in its self should be the first major life goal of anyone!
When a thought enters your mind, you must immediately place that thought in the “thought triage” area, the foyer, as it were, to all compartments. You will probably see right away into which compartment this thought “may” be advanced. But, before you decide to do so, and allot it that thought time, you must eliminate it from disqualification of entry into your mind. This is done by comparing it against a basic list of rules and/or principles applicable to ANY thought. Is it blatantly immoral, illegal or detrimental to any of your goals? Is it un-Godly, hurtful to your fellow man, or your family, yourself? Whatever your’ personal criteria, put your first amount of thought time into producing this qualifying list, engrain it into memory. When a thought enters, in just a split moment you must know whether to immediately reject and destroy this thought, or just let it hold its place for processing.
Now, the next step, assuming that your new thought survives triage, is to place it into what I would call the compartment common area. This means only that you have you have placed in the proper area for review, as it has not yet been accepted. Acceptance should never be just automatic! For example, I most certainly believe in my God, and His Word, the Bible. But, not even from the Bible is everything accepted automatically. SHOCK!? WHAT? HOW COULD YOU?!?! It’s really very simple; can I trust the source of the thought, even if it’s me? If someone quotes a scripture to me, I must consider the source, them. I must consider their understanding of the scripture, their application of the scripture, the context they use. None of these, again, produce automatic rejection or acceptance; they simply cause necessary careful consideration. To conclude this analogy, if a scripture is finally accepted as being presented in truth, in true context and with the true understanding that God intended, THEN IT IS automatically accepted, and in this case, may be used to challenge and, maybe, requalify previous thoughts in this area. Can you see, now, I never question Gods’ Word, just everyone that handles it, including me.
However, coming back to reality, the point is no thought gets automatic acceptance or rejection, once past the triage area. What it does get is more testing. Use your side rails, your values in this compartment to start with. This is not the final acceptance test, but may produce the rejection. If a thought is rejected in this area, some things must happen immediately: that thought must be bombarded with your values, beliefs, and a release of your established success aligned thoughts. You do this for the immediate dilution of a potentially poisonous affect. Furthermore, you must take a direct action in your mind, to satisfy your inherent need to be in control thru a physical action. This can be done in various ways by the individual but, here’s two I like to use. Every thought produces some kind of picture in your mind. If a thought is to be absolutely guarded against and destroyed, I see that picture as a piece of glass or of paper. One is violently crumpled and thrown away, while the other is shattered all the way to sand-dust, and sent hurling at warp speed into oblivion, as I help the process by turning away and stating out-loud, if appropriate, “NO! This thought will NOT enter!” or something appropriate. I use the word enter realizing that it already entered. But the purpose is to gain some control. It is said that a thought never really goes away, I agree. This is why you must dilute and destroy, and continue to do so until your thought sender/receiver finally stops the reoccurrence of that thought. This does happen.
Now, barring rejection of the thought, you further the process. Can you see yet why there is a real thought time allotment! Furthering the process on to acceptance, you again flow out your previous knowledge, your established thoughts and compare them to the new one and re-store them, noting the absence of contradiction or conflict, the presence of agreement; and this confirms or acknowledges your acceptance of this thought.
This acceptance process can be used even if you find the thought already existed as accepted and stored in the proper compartment. The purpose of reprocessing a thought would be to give acknowledgement to or record an attachment of credibility to the source of the thought, be that a person, or God. Either way, you have just made a deliberate decision, based on your established values. The process for acceptance or rejection is mostly the same process, but you must emotionalize your choice. Don’t be confused; do NOT let your emotions make the choice. And then moving the process onto the physical realm isn’t any more difficult.
When, for example, you must make a business decision your values must be the side rails, your goals the stepping stones and you definite major “business” purpose the destination.
- Compartmentalize the situation to one of your major business areas.
- Know your values, goals and definite major purpose for this area.
- Look at all the potential results of both a yes or no decision. And
Look for a positive effect in one or both of two places:
- Does it clarify, strengthen or otherwise positively build or add to your values? Or,
- Does it, within you values, further your success?
- Does it clarify, strengthen or otherwise positively build or add to your values? Or,
I would like to give you my accepted definition of success: the progressive realization of a worthwhile dream or goal. So, repeating 4.b. above with these words: Does it, within you values, further your realization of your worthwhile dream or goal?
The final process item, going back to an earlier mention of a specific compartment, the one that will contain thoughts that you must guard against. The side of this compartment that contains such thoughts must be kept under lock and key at all times. Weld the doors closed and melt the key! Even so, you may have to wad or shatter these thoughts daily, with violent emotion to subdue their appearing! Just do it, and keep doing it! And on the other side, let flow freely, under high pressure, the thoughts that you want to define you in this area. Don’t deny the area, the compartment, control it! You will have to develop or seek out thoughts that are positive and uplifting and that apply to the person you want to be! After using this process for a while, I realized the importance of this. Some use a particular technique called self-talk, I fully agree. State out-loud positive affirmations and then positively affirm and accept what you just “heard”! I’m about to go against somebodies teachings but, this is the way I see it. If, for example, you have a problem with alcohol, don’t spend every thought minute on affirming that. Spend them building the character of a non-alcoholic, sober individual. Every time you see a mind picture of a bottle, a tumbler or anything you connect to drinking, wad it, shatter it, utterly destroy it with emotional emphasis. And, if you must, scream at the top of lungs, “I DO NOT DO THAT!!” I’m not kidding, and I’m not kidding here either; after a while, you can calmly respond to such thoughts with a simple instant voice, “No.” and move immediately and intentionally to a new mind subject. This takes time to get engrained in you, don’t deny yourself this time. And if these thoughts get any stronger, you can always raise your voice, AGAIN!
The last thing I wish to offer in this posting is something that just seems proper to add under this contextual umbrella; a two part process for problem solving. Again, I will say that I did not develop this process, though I did personalize it. If you happen to recognize the source, give them due credit for me but, I myself never really knew. Anyway,
Detail the situation: Take two steps outside of yourself and look around at the problem situation, the environment of the problem, if you will.
- What was the event? A social gathering, a workplace environment, family meeting, etc…
- What happened? Come in one step to the point of the problem. Be factual, not emotional and don’t try to read someone’s mind. That means don’t assume anything, if someone else is involved, KNOW the purpose of their actions.
- What I did. Coming back to yourself, now, state clearly what you did. Do not justify it, apologize for it, or deny it, just write it down, or have it revealed if you’re applying this to someone else.
- My thoughts. Before, during and after. What were and are your thoughts on this situation?
Formulate your plan: Someone in the future may want to know just what went into your solution of this problem, and that someone may be you! So,
- List the important facts. Again, avoid speculation.
- Clearly identify the problem. Don’t look for why the problem is, who the problem is, just focus only on what IS the problem.
- List possible solutions. Brainstorm if you have to but, the key word is list, have more than one option.
- State the positive AND negative consequences of each solution. If it takes you a while to do this, so be it. You may assign each possibility to a person or team to formulate the possibilities but, they must all be brought forth and considered appropriately. And last,
- State your plan. What is the solution you have accepted and will implement? Put it in your mind (or offer it to your superiors), disseminate it, and stand by it.
As always, I hope this will be of help, in part or in whole, to someone in need of it. Thank you for considering my offering, may the Lord bless you!