Day 30: Begin With the End in Mind

Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Day 30: Daily Self Reflection

On Day 30 of your workbook, reflect back on the last thirty days of hard work and think about what you have learned.Your meditation today will be the same as your self reflection so you get a two for one on points!


Day 30 Micro-Science: Reciprocal Altruism

Reciprocal altruism is somewhat of an oxymoron, due to “altruism” in its truest form meaning that you expect nothing in return from your good deeds. Reciprocity in comparison is the idea that “you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours.” The human species,however, has fine tuned this balancing act to become the most “successful” species on the planet. This way of being, however, comes at a cost. Humans, and primates, put “fairness” in life as the highest priority. Mostly because, in our ancestors day, if you screwed me over by not returning favors I could possible die. If a fellow tribesperson, back in the day, wasn’t fair to me I would get validly angry. The anger would serve a purpose because the tribesperson wouldn’t get on my bad side again because I would literally see them for the rest of their lives. However, in today’s world when someone or something isn’t “fair” we still get upset but that anger doesn’t always serve the same purpose. Mostly, due to the fact, that someone could screw me over and the chances of me running into them again are mostly slim. This is one reason why, when someone cuts you off in traffic, it bothers you for the rest of the morning but doesn’t change a thing about their day. The main point being that our “old brains” that still think were in caveman days, get us upset all the time but do so under some false assumptions.

  • FACT: 99% of human’s time as a species we have lived in hunter-gatherer tribes.

  • TAKEAWAY: The brain is programmed to survive in tribal societies and is not always equipped to deal with the stressors of modern day life. The “diseases of civilization” include depression from isolation and anxiety from having too much to focus on at any one time.

Day 30 Meditation: Mindstrength Self Reflection

At the end of any program, its always best to take a step back and reflect on what you have learned. I’m sure this 30 day program hasn’t always been the easiest to fit in, but I thank you for your efforts. Since this program is not coming to an end, I hope you take the time to analyze whether it was worth your time. If you end up coming to the conclusion that life is a little better with these changes. Consider the option of keeping yourself accountable with an Mindstrength “extended scorecard.” This sheet, located on the introduction page of this program and at the bottom of this page, won’t have you doing the exercises all over again, but is a good way to remind yourself to keep on track. You may have to take a break for a little while, but print out the extended scorecard anyways, just in case you want to start keeping track of your habits from time to time. No need to do it everyday, but it’s amazing where a little accountability can take you.

  • FACT: Research has shown that if you think about an idea and then write it down, its twice as likely to remember that idea and come true. This process is called “dual coding” and is the main concept behind checklists.

  • TAKEAWAY: When you write something down the brain gets the message that its important to you, thereby making it harder to forget and easier to accomplish.

Day 30 Meditation: For today’s meditation, set the timer for five minutes and reflect inwardly on what you have taken away from the past thirty days. During your self reflection today you wrote some of these down, but take five minutes and try to meditate on how you will incorporate what you have learned into your daily live going forward.

Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny
— Ghandi

Day 30 Movement Task: Empty Chair

So often conversations and relationships in life go unresolved. To help overcome this burden, Gestalt therapy has come up with the “empty chair” exercise. Where a therapist sets an empty chair in front of a client and asks them to imagine the person they would like to talk to sitting there, even if that person is now currently deceased. This then becomes a powerful way to close up old wounds and let go of past hurts and resentments. Another way to complete this exercise is to write a letter to anyone from your past or current life that feels like you have “unfinished business” with. There is no need to send the letter if you don’t want. The goal is to release this information or past hurt out into the world and let it go. So for today, helped yourself close a wound and write a letter to someone who you need to “talk” to. This letter should focus on a few key points: What questions would you like to ask this person? What do you wish you had said or done to them? What do you wish they had said or done to you?

  • FACT: If the emotional right brain is able to communicate with the rational, linguistic left brain through language or the spoken word anxiety decreases dramatically.

  • TAKEAWAY: The old saying of “you gotta name it to tame it” is so true in this sense. The goal isn’t to “fix” anything but instead to “release” the information and come to a greater understanding. Once this occurs the brain won’t hold on to tightly and will release its grip.

Day 30 Movement Task: For today’s action task the goal is to write a letter to someone that you have unfinished business with. There is no need to send the letter if you don’t want. If the letter is sensitive and you don’t want anyone to see: burn it, tear it up and throw it away, or type it out on a computer and promptly delete it. Hopefully by the end o the last sentence, you will already be feeling better.

Day 30 Bonus Material:

#1) Ted Talk: Our Story of Rape and Reconciliation

Check out this powerful Ted talk about forgiveness and reconciliation. As these two courageous individuals discuss the roles of the perpetrator and victim in a rape that happened 15 years ago. Their story of forgiveness is something that will stick with you for quite a while.

#2) Ted Talk: Why Your Worst Deeds Don’t Define You

In this Ted Talk, Shaka Senghor a reformed criminal who shot and killed a man discusses how to move on and make the most out of life, even after committing acts of violence. Good insight into the other side of the story.

#3) Future Reading Booklist:

Below is a list of books that influenced the philosophy and format of the Mindstrength 30 challenge. Check them out if your interested in learning more:

1) Man’s Search for Meaning- By Victor Frankl

2)Stumbling on Happiness- By Dan Gilbert

3) Why Buddhism is True- By Robert Wright

4) Buddha’s Brain: practical neuroscience of happiness- By Rick Hanson

5) Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression- By Johann Hari

6) Happiness Hypothesis- by Jonathan Haidt

7) Never Enough: the neuroscience and experience of Addiction: Judith Grisel

8) Mindsight- By Daniel Seigel

9) Chasing the Scream- By Johann Hari

10) The Biology of Desire- By Marc Lewis

11) Behave: The biology of humans at their best and worst- By Robert Sapolsky

12) Siddhartha’s Brain: Unlocking the ancient science of enlightenment- By James Kingland

13) The Body Keeps the Score: brain, mind, body and the healing of trauma- By Bessel Van Del Kolk

#4) Extended Scorecard link below: If you want to continue keeping track on your habits but without going through the whole program again, the scorecard below is the best way to do it. Maybe you take a little time off before keeping track again, but if you feel yourself slipping the extended scorecard is a great way to help get you back in line. THANKS AGAIN!