It took quite awhile to earn that degree, to go on for graduate studies, to land that impressive job. And somehow, it’s still leaving you with thoughts of defeat, of fear and worry.

Or perhaps that degree and job hasn’t happened for you, it’s not where you put your skills to work. Perhaps you’ve suffered while “functioning in your dysfunction.” Maybe you believe you are in a tough spot and can’t see a way out of it. The link is entirely what you think. You are not in a tough spot at all, it may “seem” that way and you may “think” there’s no way out, but that’s just some bad programming that you’ve filled your thinking with, defeatist and “valley thinking.”

It’s time to figure out how to guard your thinking, your mindset, pack up your possessions and can climb out of that valley you erroneously think you are in.

After all, who are you? Are you what you’ve allowed your programmers to say you are? Your parents, your teachers, your coaches, your co-workers? No. You are not what these negative, envious, sometimes cruel and often dysfunctional people say you are. You are, if you are a believer, who God says you are, and if you aren’t a believer, then at least you are who you say you are.

It’s time to grasp this mindset control lever fully, delete your mental computer, your thinking center, avoid the mental concussions that you’ve allowed life to create, and stop feeding the wrong messages. Put on a Helmut and guard your mind.

This means, stop blaming others for how you feel. They only try to plant a thought in your vulnerable mind. You’re the farmer who brings it into your mind, feeds it, sows it and make sure it grows. Now just how irrational is that, creating a storm and then being depressed, worried or angry because the weather is bad???

So perhaps it’s time to try a simple, yes, even somewhat silly experiment based on the well-known “ear lobe theory.” Well, it may become well known now. In any case, try this. First, ask yourself why you even have two ear lobes? C’mon, they were not given to each human to help sell earrings. Not that there’s anything wrong with wearing earrings. But perhaps there’s another reason for having ear lobes.

Do this. Pull gently and slightly down on each earlobe, and then gently pull them up to cover your ear canal. Get it? Your thumb may help hold it there. Next time you hear negative words about yourself, simply pull up on your ear lobes and shut out those limiting, negative, critical voices.

Just like the great Olympian Carl Lewis did who was repeatedly told he couldn’t jump over 30 feet but did and broke the world record. Or Ray Charles who was blind and was told he couldn’t play but filled generations with terrific music. Or FDR who was told he couldn’t walk, but he ran, and won.

We now have the ability to alter the expression of our genes, through the science of epigenetics. ThEaMo will do it. Thinking well, Eating well and Moving well are the core of the most exciting scientific advance in this century. We can control the physical expression of our genes and just because diabetes, heart disease and depression run in a family, doesn’t mean that must be your destiny. Thinking it is, will only grow those thoughts.

Guess what? You can do the same thing, change the negative expression of what others wish for you, your harm, by reprogramming your mind. Stop circling with the same thoughts while expecting different results. You cannot wake up and predict you’ll have another crappy day and hope to see advance in your life. Keep accepting this negative history of defeat, despair and depression and nothing will change.

I have found that “I can’t….” accompanies more people into therapy than most any other two words. People I see for coaching however, in person or over the phone/Skype, begin with “My goal…” See the difference? Those who carry negative seeds planted by others, who focus on them daily, often live with symptoms of depression, anxiety and/or anger. Those who carry thoughts of what can and will go right, who seek coaching to enhance life, to design a more successful future, are commonly free of these negative, defeatist symptoms.

So it’s time to stop looking at the dirt on the windows in your mind and begin seeing what’s out there beyond the spots on the glass, that’s so beautiful. False beliefs hold you back and limit you in life. It’s time to create auto-reactions to check your perceptions, your thoughts, and be sure they are true, helpful, inspirational, necessary, kind – T.H. I. N. K. When you check these perceptions and beliefs, your thoughts, create an opposite thought that you’d prefer to live with, seeing how it can bring wellbeing, increase and promotion in your life. Perhaps it’s time to visualize, meditate and dream for it – not trying for it, but creating it. Repeat these healthier thoughts throughout the day. Say it out loud. Be sure the people you surround yourself with are promoters but if not, remember those ear lobes. Be a person who says “Thank you” for something, perhaps even before you even have it—that’s why gratitude journals are so helpful in creating a more positive and healthy mindset. Finally, the more active you are, the healthier your chemistry will be and will be of help in your goal of guarding your mind.

Author's Bio: 

Michael R. Mantell earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. at Hahnemann Medical College, where he wrote his thesis on the psychological aspects of obesity. His career includes serving as the Chief Psychologist for Children’s Hospital in San Diego, and as the founding Chief Psychologist for the San Diego Police Department. He served on the faculty of UCSD’s School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry. After 40 years of diagnosing and treating mental illness, he has retired from clinical practice---and as he describes, is now “reFired” and “reWired.”

He provides advanced behavior science coaching for sustainable strategic outcomes in mindful, values driven and positively adaptive ways to business leaders, entrepreneurs, athletes, individuals, families and organizations to reach breakthrough levels of success and significance in their professional and personal lives.

Michael is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Council on Active Aging, the Chief Consultant for Behavior Science for the Premier Fitness Camp at Omni La Costa, and served as the Senior Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for the American Council on Exercise. He travels the world speaking with fitness and health professionals to provide the most current thinking and tools for behavior change. He has been a member of SAG/AFTRA since 1981, having appeared regularly on Good Morning America, as well as numerous talk shows and weekly appearances on TV and radio news.

Michael is an Organizational Advisor to Fitwall, Rock My Run, amSTATZ, speaks for Rancho La Puerta and the Asia Fitness Conference and Expo, in addition to numerous other fitness-health organizations throughout the nation. He is interviewed frequently for fitness and health magazines including Details Magazine, Men’s Health USA and UK, Women’s Health US and UK, Weight Watchers, Shape, Natural Health, Real Simple, Women’s World, MetRx, Better Homes and Gardens and a host of others in the health/wellness/fitness world. He has written for, and spoken for the International Council on Active Aging, the Medical Fitness Association, Athletic Business, IHRSA, and a host of other professional organizations in the health and fitness fields. He has been a keynote speaker for the University of California FitCon and UCLA “Stress Less Week.”

He is a best-selling author of three books including the 25th Anniversary updated edition of his 1988 original “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, P.S. It’s All Small Stuff,” and his 1996, “Ticking Bombs: Defusing Violence in the Workplace.” Heis listed in’s 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.” His fourth book is due out soon.