You’ve heard the saying, “I think, therefore I am.”
René Descartes’ words spoken in the 17th century point to the power our thoughts have over us.
Gaining control over how you interpret the up to 70,000 thoughts that come to you is the first and most important step to mastering your mind and achieving what you want in life.
That’s right. Don’t believe everything you think. We are humans, not perfect machines, so can’t help but to let bias, values, assumptions, limiting beliefs and emotions into our thinking process when interpreting the world, people and events around us. Thoughts can build us up and thoughts can wear us down, stress us out, and yes, even make us sick. Thoughts can build relationships or weaken them. Many thoughts are simply a waste of our time, which is the most precious resource we have.
For instance, let’s talk about that thing called worry. Worry or anxiety is a fear emotion, but it’s a fear of something that HAS NOT HAPPENED. Researchers have studied worry, and to summarize their findings, they discovered that the things we worry about pretty much don’t happen (85%) and when they do happen it’s largely things we didn’t have control over anyway and we do a better job handling it than we thought we would. Worry is a wasted emotion.
So how do you get control of what your thoughts mean so you make better choices with the words and actions that follow them? Here are 3 steps to take now:
1. Be an observer – Listen to your thoughts in a disassociated way as if you are your own coach and question the ones that are negative or not empowering toward you or others. Ask yourself, what do I want to believe instead?
2. Pull out the weeds – Don’t let weeds grow in that beautiful garden of your mind. We have a tendency to have the same thoughts over and over again. When we get stuck in this looping of thoughts that don’t serve us, all we have to do is pull the weed out by saying, no thank you, I don’t need you. By bringing awareness to those unhelpful thought patterns, you can redirect yourself toward my next point.
3. Focus on what you want – We see what we look for, so look for the best. Put all of your energy toward what you want, and stop wasting energy getting exasperated by others or when things don’t go your way. It’s often easier to think about what we don’t want or to move away from something rather than towards something. Please avoid that trap that keeps you operating at a lower level, sapping your enthusiasm and spirit.
What if you reverse the quote above? I am, therefore I think. You are not your thoughts. Nor are you your beliefs, words or actions. You have a thinking mind and you have intuitive mind, and when you learn to leverage both to interpret your thoughts and in communication and decisionmaking with others, you’ll set yourself up for even greater success.