Parking meters

When you feed a parking meter it gives you exactly what you pay for.  If you need more time you must give it more money.  When the time’s up, it’s up, it’s expired.  Ever been penalized for an “expired” meter?  Of, course.

I was thinking that our minds are somewhat like those parking meters.  When we feed them –  training, instruction, challenge, input, creativity and the like – they’ll run for as long as we ask them to.  When we either don’t feed the mind enough or ignore it, it “expires” to a certain degree.  We must keep feeding our mental meter to engage its purpose, to stretch and reach for greater possibilities.

When you’re challenged and challenge others, the minds rise to the challenge.  When we lack that stimuli we run out of mental purpose.  How many people do you know whose energy levels decrease when they don’t have anyting to do? When boredom sets in?  It’s fact, we need to feed our mental meters – continuously- or they will run out of purpose.

Our minds run the world.  Each of us puts in a unique talent base that helps others and ourselves move the world forward, even if it’s in the tiniest manner.  We are creatures of knowledge, and with education, training, creativity and challenge that knowledge grows.  With knowledge, hopefully, wisdom arrives.  And with wisdom we then help others attain their goals, and they help others, and on and on. 

What are you doing today to feed your mental meter?  Reading more? Asking for help? Helping others, and in turn learning more of what you need to know?Challenging yourself with a new project or tool? Or are you coasting; waiting for the world to do something for you?  Entitlement goes only so far; it’s up to you to attain the right amount of energy and expertise in order to forge ahead in your personal and professional life after you have been given the initial training and opportunity.

Creativity is food for everyone’s mental meter.  We are born creative: we learned to draw before we could actually write a sentence. (What happened to those pictures on the door of your parents’ fridge?)  How do you express yourself?  Whether you’re in auditing or marketing, accounting or customer service, legal or retail, manufacturing or public service your creative mind – you – can change the world.  The way that you put your words – both written and spoken – together is unique only to you; your creative mind at work.  Think about the possibilities you have.  Think about the possibilities you bring to others; you feed their mental meters too.  It’s a wonderful opportunity.

Where would we be if Bill Gates and his partner hadn’t challenged themselves and used their creativity to design, create, build and produce Microsoft?  Scientist – as I write – are researcing and designing cures for diseases.  Builders are designing and building amazing structures or furniture or toys.  Look at the new hybrid cars.  Amazing what the mind can and does do. Amazing what you can do too.

Schools pave the way for our future.  The classrooms are filled with eager minds – we hope – waiting for one or two facets of their education to enlighten them and move them to their purpose in life.  Then we hit the professional world.  Remember your first day on the job and how much you didn’t know?  Now, how many years later, you go through the day in rote response to almost everything.  You may have forgotten more than you initially learned; it’s habit, not a challenge.  Keep feeding.

We need to be challenged.  We need to continually grow.  We need feeding: nurishment for the mind, body and soul.  I know that many retirees want to go back to work because they feel their minds attrophy without that outside influence, challenge and stimulus.  Yes, others can’t wait to retire and are poster children for the perfect retiree.  But for the most part, no matter what age, economic bracket, race, gender or culture, the mind seeks feeding.  Boredom breeds trouble – in my estimation. 

As a sole propriator, I beg for a new challenge.  Unlike you who go to an office daily, I don’t have the co-worker to banter with, the manager to ask guidance from, the expertise of an IT specialist when I scream at my computer, the stimulus of conversation and laughter, or the perks of someone paying for my vacation and health care.  Nope, you – if you are in the corporate or office world – have a banquet of challenges. Eventhough those challenges may come from co-workers, personalities and rules and regulations/policies and procedures, you also have some security and growth potential at your threshold.  Entrepreneurs feed their own mental meters and every so often those mental meters run out of the coins to keep them going, but not for long…!

Take the time today to drop a coin of knowledge into someone else’s mental meter to help them along and to feed your own mental meter so it doesn’t expire. We’re only penalized for not feeding it, never for feeding it.

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