Before we start, a quick reminder that the next LIVE WEBINAR is this Sunday October 15th at 8am on Overcoming negative thoughts, doubts and self limiting beliefs by “flicking the channel”. Register using this link.
P.S Check out my EXCITING BOOK UPDATE at the end!
Do you struggle with negative thinking?
“I’ll never be good enough.”
“Nothing ever goes my way.”
“I always mess things up.”
“Everyone is against me.”
“I’ll never get over this.”
Actions are the only thing that change the results in our lives. Actions are guided by our thoughts. Negative thinking or more accurately, unhelpful thinking, can lead to poor actions and therefore, poor results.
Negative thinking can stop you from asking out the love of your life. It may prevent you from taking that leap of faith to start the business you have always dreamt of. It could stop you from asking for a raise. It can keep you stuck at a comfortable job even though you know that there is something out there that’s better for you.
What if I can teach you a way to control your thoughts?
Firstly, can you control your thoughts? Think about it. Ba-dum-tsh!
The answer? Yes, but.
Let’s talk about the ‘but’ first. Jeez that sounds like the corporate version of a rap song. If you are like me, and I am guessing you are, you will have thoughts constantly running through your head. Russ Harris in his book, the Happiness Trap, refers to the different thoughts we have as radio channels. Does your mind ever play the ‘doom and gloom’ channel? This channel tells us what’s wrong with the world, dwells on the past and worries about the future. If you were listening to the radio and a channel like this came on, what would you do? I would turn it off or find something else to listen to. Unfortunately, if we try to do this to the doom and gloom channel in our mind, it doesn’t work. Have you ever tried to suppress, ignore or distract yourself from negative and intrusive thoughts? They don’t go away. Often, they get louder.
Now let’s talk about the ‘Yes’. What if you can ‘flick the channel’ until you find something that you like listening to? I am loving Sam Smith these days. Let’s try to find what channel he is playing on. You can learn this. It’s a skill.
One of my favourite ways to flick the channel is to ask great questions. If you ask a question, your mind immediately searches for an answer. Don’t you think so? See what I did there.
Here are 5 great questions to ask yourself that will help you find better channels in your mind.
- What happened?
Negative thinking can be triggered after an event. If this is the case for you, ask yourself, “what happened?”. The answer needs to be stripped of all emotion, judgement and interpretation. You should be left with facts and data.
|Judgement||Facts and Data|
|My boss confronted me about a mistake that I made today. It was totally unfair.||Today, my boss approached me and talked about a mistake I had made. He spoke in a firm tone.|
|My girlfriend hasn’t replied to my text. She must have better things to do. I don’t care if she replies. If she does, I am going to make her wait.||My girlfriend hasn’t replied to my text yet.|
|I am really smart.||I got 94% for my exam.|
|I asked for a promotion and I didn’t get it. I must not be good enough for the job. I probably don’t deserve it anyway.||I asked for a promotion and I didn’t get it.|
- What did you make it mean?
This question is worded intentionally. ‘Make it mean’ suggests that you have a choice in what meaning you make out of an event. This is the judgement that we discussed in the first question. Understanding the subtle difference between this and what actually happened can be like putting the light on in a dark room. If this gave you a light bulb moment, email me ‘LIGHT BULB’. I love to hear about these things.
- Is it useful?
Just because we make it mean something, doesn’t make it real, true, wise or useful. Having a thought doesn’t make it real. If you don’t believe me. Picture a fluorescent green elephant. After you have done that, show me where the elephant is. That’s what I thought! (Picture me with a smug look on my face as you read that).
It doesn’t matter if a thought is real, true or even wise. What matters is whether a thought is useful. If it’s not, just flick the channel (see question 4 and 5) until you come up with something useful. How do we gauge whether it’s useful? Simple. If it is a thought that drives you towards a result you want, then it’s useful. That’s a channel worth listening to. If it drives you away, then it’s not useful.
|Event||Thought||Desired Result||Is it useful?|
|Not considered for a promotion||“I’ll never be good enough.”||Get a promotion||No|
|You asked out a girl and they said “No”.||“Nothing ever goes my way.”||Build a successful business||No|
|You make a mistake at work.||“I have to figure out a way to be more effective at work”||Grow in my current role||Yes |
|You make a serious mistake at work.||“I really need to get my act together”||Do a good job at work||Yes|
|A loved one dies.||“I’ll never get over this.”||Move past grief and turn the pain into something that helps someone else||No|
- What else can you make it mean?
It’s time to flick the channel and see what else is playing. Again, this question is worded intentionally because it implies you can make it mean whatever you want! Questions naturally provoke your mind to come up with answers. Once you come up with an answer, consider whether you like the sound of this channel. In other words, it is useful or not?
- What else? (Repeatedly)
More than answers, I love questions. Asking “what else?”, over and over again, could become your superpower. I suggest that you ask this question until you have 20-30-50-100 different meanings that you have ‘made’. We always hear about fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. We don’t talk enough about a resourceful mindset. If you can create limitless meaning, then you will always be able to find a radio channel that you like listening to. Always. No matter what happens.
What happened? Not considered for the promotion.
What did you make it mean? “I’ll never be good enough.”
Desired result? Get a promotion
What else could I make it mean? What else?
-I need to work on my interview skills.
-I am not good enough…yet.
-I need to improve how I market myself at work.
-I am going to use this opportunity to not only become better technically, but improve on my sales and marketing skills.
-I think this No will lead to a bigger Yes later.
-There is a better opportunity for me that is on its way. I need to prepare for it.
-I can ask my boss what they were looking for, go and do everything they tell me and then ask for the promotion again.
There doesn’t need to be any limits on this. It can go forever! This is what a resourceful mindset looks like.
Here is my challenge to you.
-Get a journal.
-Every day for 30 days, write your answer to these 5 questions.
-It will take you 5 minutes a day. You will get a superpower in return.
If you actually do it, reply to this email with ‘SUPERPOWER’.
If you enjoyed this article, SHARE this with at least one person who can benefit from it.
P.S I talk about the nuances of what I cover in my newsletter through my LIVE webinar series every Sunday at 8am. The next LIVE WEBINAR is this Sunday October 15th at 8am on Overcoming negative thoughts, doubts and self limiting beliefs by “flicking the channel”. Register using this link.
If you are interested in coaching, reply to this email with ‘COACHING’.
If you are interested in having me speak at your event, reply to this email with ‘SPEAKING’.
P.S As many of you may already know, I am writing my first book, #DoHappy.
My hope is that it will become a valuable resource for my patients and clients. For anyone who feels stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or simply, stuck, I dedicate the next few months of furious writing to you my friend.
You may have heard the adage that you build a business to serve the person you once were. The book is written for the person I once was. I am eternally grateful for that person because without him, my life would have never gone in this direction. That’s dude was a legend!
Here is my commitment.
1) Write 700 words daily (or 3500 words owing every week).
2) 40,000 word manuscript done by 31st of December, 2023.
Follow the journey on Linkedin.
Check out the mock bookcover I made.
Much love to you and of course, myself.
Dr G (Soon to be author!)