Have you ever lost something important? I did this week. It was a sizable check that was sitting on my desk for some time, and my plan was to deposit the check this week, but I couldn’t find it.

“Where in the hell did I leave it?!” I looked on my desk. I looked in my bedroom. I checked my coat pockets. I shoveled through my car. Nothing. I couldn’t find it anywhere.

I needed this money too. I was going to use it to finance an important event next week, so without that money, I’d have to tap into other monies designated for my monthly bills—and you know where that leads!

“What am I going to do?!”

I stood in front of my desk absolutely baffled. I had seen the check on my desk every day, but suddenly, it was gone. It vanished from every logical place I could’ve put it. Damn!

In that moment, I could feel anxiousness begin to stir inside me. I could feel the frustration trying to overtake my emotions. You know what that’s like, right? You panic. You start lashing out at people. You think, “What am I gonna do?!”

Then, my stronger side spoke up, and I said to myself, “Worry and frustration won’t help me find or replace this check. Getting upset about it will do absolutely nothing to solve this problem.”

Finding My Center

I bowed my head, closed my eyes, and whispered to myself, “I’m going to use this simple situation as an opportunity to apply my principles of mind and emotional control. From this moment on, every action I take will be in absolute stillness of mind as if I was a robot.”

I immediately calmed myself and looked back down at my desk. I sifted through the same stack of papers I’d just gone through several times and still could not find the check.

I opened some books thinking I may have been foolish enough to use the check as a bookmark, but there was still no check to be found.

“I am in charge of me!”

Even though I hadn’t found the check, I was now enjoying the process. I was relishing in the fact that my mind and emotions were completely subject to my will. I wasn’t upset in the least. I thought, “This is not a problem. It may take some haggling to try and secure another check and wait for it to arrive, but it’s do-able. Nothing will move me or waste my mental and emotional energy. I AM in charge of me!”

I looked down at my desk again, and my eyes shifted to the waste basket beside my desk. I thought, “Did I throw it in the trash by mistake?” I bent down and reached in to the waste basket and there it was!

Disciplining Your Mind

Of course, I breathed a sigh of relief and placed the check in a more secure location, but I was equally pleased with a simple instance of applying the principles of self-control. It reinforced the fact that I can face all of life’s crises the same way. So can you!

Granted, this minor problem is nothing compared to the real crises that can befall us at a moment’s notice. Losing a check doesn’t compare to losing a job, a relationship, your health, or something worse. However, the principles of mental toughness still work regardless of what you and I will ever face.

This is why I routinely admonish people to work on disciplining their minds during seasons when there aren’t any crises. You never know when life will hit you hard, and how you perform during the dark seasons is determined by your preparation beforehand.

Nothing will serve you better than devoting yourself to personal development, because there is no greater defense than a stronger you!

To learn more about winning the battle of the mind, check out my series, “Getting the Edge Over Your Head.”


C. J. Ortiz
C. J. Ortiz

My mission is to help equip people to maximize their resources for a purpose greater than themselves. That's what my own mentors and teachers have done for me, and I'm paying it forward. Life can be merciless, and the world can be a messed up place, so what's needed is a stronger people that can both endure and overcome in life. My motto is, "In whatever you do, don't suck! Metal up!"

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