Seven Secrets To A Better Life
There are three quick points I want to make before I get into the body of this blog. First, you may have read the first part of this blog before in my newsletter. That was an abbreviated version of this, so keep reading. Second, this blog is not meant for those of you who may be struggling with mental illness. I am a coach, not a therapist. Listen to your Mental Health expert and follow their instructions. Third, occasionally you learn something, or get an insight, that causes you to think, “I sure wish someone would have told me this when I was young.” That’s how I feel about what I am about to share with you. I struggled with negative self talk early in my life. This information is what I have gathered from numerous books, teachers and mentors as well as my own observations over my 6 decades of life. That said, lets begin:
We humans have a super power that no other species on the planet has! We can challenge, debate or embrace every thought we have. Knowing this is key and leads to the 7 secrets:
1) Feelings, positive or negative, are caused by our thoughts.
2) Thoughts are nothing more than sentences in our minds.
3) These sentences can be analyzed and either embraced, or challenged and replaced with alternative sentences.
4) Beliefs are sentences in our minds that have been repeated over and over again.
5) Beliefs can also be embraced or challenged. They are more stubborn because we have been repeating those sentences for thousands of times in our life.
6) Negative beliefs are bullies!
7) The only way to beat the bullies is with massive action.
Commit these 7 secrets to memory!
Now let’s take a more in depth look at each of these points! The first point deals with our thoughts, or interpretation, of an event. Think about that. An event happens in our life, and immediately our mind starts having thoughts about that event. The event itself is neither positive or negative…it just is. It is our thoughts that lead us to decide If that event was a positive event or a negative one. Let me say that another way. It is our thoughts about that event the determine whether it was a positive or negative event. The event is neutral. Let me show you an example to prove that point. Say one of your bosses (a VP) recently retired. A meeting for the company is called so they can announce who will taking his positions. You were one of the people that was being considered for the position. At the meeting the President of the company announces that you have gotten the job! You’re the new VP! Immediately you start thinking how that will impact your life…big promotion, lots more money. You start thinking about who you will share the news with first, what their reaction will be, etc. Tons of uplifting thoughts are racing through your brain. You are feeling terrific! This is a good day!
But now let’s stop and think about the other person who did not get the job. What do you think their thoughts are like? “Oh, no, I thought I had this job. I’m more qualified. My husband is going to be so disappointed in me. This was my one shot at the big time, and I blew it!” Negative thoughts are overwhelming the other candidate. Suddenly she is feeling terrible. Two people at the same event are having much different thoughts and much different feelings. Those feelings aren’t caused by the event; they are caused by thoughts each person had.
Now, to more clearly illustrate that the event is a neutral participant in this, I want you to consider this alternative scenario. Suppose both people were promoted and will be sharing the duties of the Vice President that retired. One of the two looks at this and gets so excited! She will be making more money and have a new title. She still is thinking about who she will share the information with first. What a great day! Positive thoughts and positive feelings everywhere.
However, the other candidate looks at the same situation and settles on some very different thoughts. “Sure, it means more money and a better title, but with that comes way more responsibility. I’m not sure I’m up to it. And everyone will naturally start comparing me to the other new VP and how she’s doing in the role. The stress is going to be over the top! Why did I ever apply for this spot? “
Again, two people treated exactly the same way by the event, but arriving at two very different places when it comes to their feelings about the event. The difference is their thoughts!
The second point is that thoughts are nothing more than sentences in your mind. Think about that for a moment. Can you think a thought without verbalizing it in your mind? I don’t think you can…I know I can’t. Thoughts are interpretations. an opinion, your opinion. For many of us we never question those thoughts. And here is the thing about that…our unchallenged thoughts are the reason for almost all our suffering! This leads me to point number 3.
Point number 3 says that these sentences in our mind (Thoughts) can be analyzed and scrutinized. They can either be challenged or embraced. They can also be replaced with alternative thoughts! This ability to analyze and embrace or replace our thoughts is truly a Super Power!
In points number 4 and 5 I talk about beliefs. These are again just sentences in our minds. They too can be analyzed and embraced or replaced. The big difference between beliefs and thoughts is that beliefs are just sentences that have been repeated thousands of times. This makes them much harder to replace.
The next point (#6) is about negative beliefs being bullies. They truly are because they cause so much fear in our hearts, much like a school yard bully inflicted on those he picked on. They truly hold us back. These are what psychologists refer to as “Limiting beliefs” and that is an apt name for them. They limit our successes because they truly limit what we will try, what we will take on in our lives. They impose their will on us and limit how far we can go in life. They are responsible for much of that self-talk that is constantly going through our heads: I’m just not smart enough, I’m not good enough, no one will ever love me, I’m too fat, I’m too old, I’m too young, I don’t deserve nice things, etc. Again, just sentences in the mind, but we have repeated the sentences so many times that they are embedded deep into our mind.
Thankfully, there is hope! Negative thoughts and beliefs can be, in fact need to be, analyzed and challenged every time they raise their ugly heads! There are ways to beat back the bullies but it definitely involves some hard work. You will need a plan! You will need an advocate and an accountability partner! You need to take massive action!
Stay tuned for more help in this blog and in my newsletter. You can begin right now by acting as the Guardian of Your Mind. Start your day by asking yourself how you feel. Our feelings are a great indicator of where our thoughts are. If you feeling bad, rewind a few seconds and see if you can determine a thought that caused this feeling. If you can, then write down the thought. That is your first step. Start journaling all these feelings and the causative thoughts whenever you aren’t feeling your best. I want you to journal these negative thoughts over the next week or two. At the end of that time, see if there is any kind of a pattern. Is there any thought(s) or belief(s) that comes up over and over again? In next week’s blog, I will show you how you can start to train your brain to push back and challenge those negative thoughts and beliefs going forward.
Thanks! Have an amazing week!
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