November 20, 2015
The thoughts we think matter.
We might think that thoughts come and go and that they don’t really “do” anything, but it isn’t true.
Thinking is not just harmless electrical synapses firing randomly in our brains. No.
Thinking is the process that creates our worldview, brick by brick. The more often we have a specific thought, the more real it becomes. The more often we repeat a message in our minds, the more likely we are to believe it and see evidence of it in the world.
Our thoughts construct the lens through which we see reality. In that sense, reality itself is created by our thoughts.
Don’t believe it?
Consider this: Two people can be sitting next to each other watching the exact same movie and having two completely different reactions to it. One person might be openly weeping over the characters’ suffering, while the other person is pooh-poohing the cheese ball plot and bad acting.
Again: same movie, same room, same time, different experiences. And, the reason for this is not that the film itself changes as it enters the two viewer’s minds. No, instead, the viewers understand the film differently because they have created different mental architectures to receive it.
If the mind has a square hole, it will create square pegs to fill it. If the mind has a round hole, it will create round pegs to fill it.
Through our thinking and life-experiences we shape the terms of the reality we are willing to accept and see. We’ve all known people who live in denial, it seems unbelievable that they cannot see what others see; but it is their mental architecture that won’t allow that information in. Round hole, square peg.
This, too, is why someone who engages in a lot of negative self-talk has a hard time accepting a compliment. They say, “No, you don’t mean that” Or, “No, it’s not true” because that is the message that they are conditioned to hear, seek, and find through constant negative chatter! There is no place for the compliment to land, so they send it away.
Conversely, those who commit to positive self-talk encourage themselves all day long. For them it is a life of constant growth, learning, and evolution. Because they are constantly feeding their minds productive input, they are likely to find opportunity after opportunity to grow, learn, and evolve.
Their mental messages are likely along the lines of “I can grow from any experience” and “I am supported and loved” and “I can do anything I put my mind to” and “When I fall down, I get up” and “It feels great to help others thrive”. They focus on their wins, learn from their set-backs and move forward.
What are five things that I LOVE about being me?
What are three ways that I am similar to those whom I admire?—values, style, ideas, location, background, etc.
What is one small action that I could take TODAY that would better my life?—make a phone call, pay a bill I’ve been putting off, clean my place, schedule a massage.
Develop a practice of immediately saying, “Cancel. Cancel.” when limiting thoughts enter your mind and replace them with constructive ones. For example, when a happy couple walks by smiling and holding hands and giggling and we think, “They’re happier than I’ll ever be. I’ll never find that.” Immediately say, “Cancel, cancel.” And replace that first thought with something like, “That is awesome that two people can be so happy. If they can, I can!”
Because it works with everything, large or small, it is easy to practice. Anytime you catch yourself engaging in negative self-talk: Cancel, cancel. And find an equivalent replacement.
This practice turns limiting, fearful messages into actionable, productive ones. It also shines a spotlight on how often we may or may not be giving ourselves defeating suggestions.
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.