What is the very first thing you reach for in the morning? Be honest. It’s your smartphone. We all do it. It takes a very disciplined person to not reach for your phone. This is a very dangerous habit for a variety of reasons, but most importantly, it sets the tone for your day.
If the first thing you do is look at the news, which is almost never positive, you are feeding your mind mental potato chips. Having a bag of chips every once in a while probably won’t do any long term damage to your body, but eating these deep-fried snacks every day, or worse yet, multiple times a day, will most definitely start to take its toll on your body, your health, and your mental well being. Ditto on checking email or social media. These should not be the first images your mind sees.
When you wake up your brain is in what is referred to as alpha stage. It is in this stage that your subconscious mind is susceptible to whatever messages you send it. Send it negative messages about doom, despair, and problems at the office, and your brain will respond back with dreadful thoughts and runaway fantasies about just that. It can and will do this on autopilot, the same way you can drive to work multitasking not even remembering the route you took to get there. It’s scary how the brain can play these negative novelas in our heads without us even trying.
I have good news for you. If the first thing you do is listen to something inspirational, you are feeding your mind mental protein. All human beings need protein in the literal sense. In the figurative sense, your brain needs mental protein. I’ll speak for myself, but my brain needs it hourly. If I am not careful, my brain has no problem Spielberg-ing one of those negative novelas I alluded to earlier.
Several years ago I decided that I would apply the same practice with my children. Every morning in the car I play motivational speeches by Oprah, Ellen DeGeneres, Les Brown, Joel Osteen, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and many more, as I drove them to school. That 15-20 minute ride is our time. I won’t respond to phone calls or emails and I’ll have them put their phones away. They have to listen to whatever message I’m playing for them that morning.
Then came Alexa. We have multiple Alexa speakers throughout the house so I stream the speeches on all the devices in the home the minute I wake them up at 7:00 AM. I make sure that the very first thing they hear is something motivational and something to inspire them. Occasionally I’ll start with the song “Eye of The Tiger” by Survivor and then transition into the talks. Most of the stuff I play for them has to be set to some type of music or I tend to lose them. I have it playing as they get dressed, as they eat cereal, and as they brush their teeth and groom themselves. I don’t turn Alexa off until we are out the door. Once we are in the car it resumes again.
I’m going to give you three reasons your kids need to listen to inspirational content in the morning.
1. Not Everything is on Prime Now
The Prime Now generation is used to instant gratification. Everything they could ever want is at their fingertips instantly. Food? Order from Grubhub or Doordash. Movie? Stream it or buy it. Video game? Download it. Underwear? On its way. You don’t even have to leave your home if you don’t want to. This is an amazing luxury when you are a consumer and you have money to spend.
You and I both know that the real world doesn’t operate this way. Dear child, you want to master the piano? Prime Now can’t help you. My son, you didn’t make the football team? Bingeing on the entire catalog of football movies on Netflix isn’t going to help you. Our children think reaching a goal is easy. Why shouldn’t they? They’ve grown up thinking everything is instant.
Many, if not most of these talks tackle the topic of failure, persistence, and grit. Children need to hear these messages of resiliency more than ever so that when they do hit their first wall of rejection or failure, and we know they will, they are prepared to handle it and understand that it is just part of the journey.
2. The “F” Word
Most of us were raised in a household where we were taught that to be “the best” you had to make the fewest mistakes. This was then reinforced in school and sometimes even in church. Children are taught at a young age to avoid failure. They are led to believe that coloring outside the lines, risk-taking, and making mistakes are not rewarded.
Failure is my favorite “F” word. If there is anything that these motivational speeches have taught me and my children, it is that failure is not the end of the world. Our kids know about Thomas Edison’s 1000 failed attempts at creating the lightbulb. They know about David Goggins having to complete 60,000+ pull-ups just to be able to break the record of 4030. Our five children know that JK Rowling was rejected by 12 publishers before publishing her first Harry Potter novel. Our kids have a friendly relationship with failure. To them, failure is just a part of the process.
3. Celebs Carry More Weight
I’m just Dad. I’m the guy who asks my kids to take out the garbage or put the dishes away. I’m sure this doesn’t happen to you, but sometimes, my messages fall on deaf ears at home. When my children hear Dwayne Johnson talk about hard work and waking up at 4:30 AM in the morning to go to the gym, it impresses them, because well, look at him. My wife and I wake up at 4:30 AM in the morning to hit the gym too, but I don’t look like him. It sounds intense coming from him. It doesn’t sound awesome coming from me.
The same thing goes for influencers. I love it when I hear influencers share their journey about how long it took to become successful at whatever it is that they are doing. My kids love watching multi-millionaire professional gamer Ninja. I loved watching the video on his rise to fame and his dedication to his craft. Same thing with Ryan’s family from Ryan’s Toy Review. That family had to put out one piece of content every day for a long time before they saw success. One piece of video content every day is not easy, especially when you are not making money to do it.
I hope you enjoyed this piece and look forward to hearing about your results from having your children listen to inspirational messages in the morning!
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Photo courtesy iStock.
This post previously published on Paul Argueta and is republished with the permission of the author.