Are You Missing The Key To Success?
Are you currently struggling to reach your objectives? Do you have everything in life that you desire? Is it easy for you to reach your goals after every success? Are you calm and patient at all times? Or, are you frustrated, angry and disappointed at your lack of progress in life? If you are not living the life you wish to live, then the solution lies in your mind!
Your mind has two parts, the conscious thinking logical part and the unconscious part. Your conscious mind is that part of your mind you are using right now to read and analyze these words. However, it is the subconscious part of your mind that is interpreting the symbols on the page and telling you what they represent. This part of your mind is more powerful than you can imagine and can help you in ways that seem miraculous at times.
Everything that has ever occurred in your life is stored somewhere in the subconscious part of your mind. It is literally an unlimited warehouse for memories and emotions. This is an extremely important aspect of the subconscious mind. You need to have instant access to this stored information so that you can find your way home, remember names and faces, how to do your job etc. However, it does have major disadvantages!
Not only does your subconscious mind store valuable information it also stores essential emotions. For example, it stores the emotion of pain and fear connected to certain activities such as placing your hand too close to fire. When you find yourself getting too close to fire and feel the heat on your skin your subconscious mind will immediately alert you with a feeling of fear. This mechanism is designed to keep you safe and works very effectively. It also works to your advantage by replaying positive emotions connected to certain situations - think of a time when you caught a glimpse of your spouse or child, heard a piece of music or smelt some perfume or aftershave and were immediately reminded of an earlier time that evoked strong loving emotions.
Therefore, we can view your subconscious mind as acting, in its simplest role, as a recording and playback mechanism - a bit like a fully interactive video recorder. The things that occur to you in your life are recorded and then played back when you access those memories. The problem that often arises though is when incorrect or inappropriate emotional memories are accessed by the subconscious mind when you find yourself in new situations. If your subconscious mind has been "programmed" with negative emotions or a negative self-image, then these are the things it will play back to you when you try something new or reach out past your comfort zone.
So, what is the answer? You must become the guardian of your mind. When those negative thoughts come up three things must happen. 1) First you have to notice the negative thoughts 2) You must challenge every single negative thought 3) You have to replace the negative thought with a positive alternative.
Now let’s look at each step:
1) Notice the negative thought. This is what I mean by being the guardian of your mind. This is often hard to do in the moment, especially when you are first trying to implement this step. One way to catch the thought is to check in with yourself throughout the day by asking yourself how you are feeling. Feelings are a compass to negative thoughts. If you are in a negative state, press rewind and ask yourself what you were thinking about before your mood went south. Often, sitting right there, is the negative thought that triggered your negative feeling. Another method to make you more aware of these trigger thoughts is to sit down and make a list of the triggers that affect you throughout a normal day. Thoughts like: I’m not good enough, I’m too old, I’m too young, I don’t have enough money, I’ll never get a good job, I destined to be single all my life, etc. With the list in hand you will be more likely to catch those types of thoughts, in the moment, before they can take full hold of your attention. This is when you move on to step 2.
2) Challenge the negative thought. One of the first things I do is I yell STOP whenever one of these creeps in. Yell it loud! Of course, this may not be the best approach if others are around! In that case, simply yell it to yourself in your mind! Still do it at full volume! That will usually stop the thought dead in its tracks. Then, go do something. Anything! Action will take your mind off that thought for a bit. Go refill your coffee cup, take some deep breaths, take a brief walk, anything. Here is another great exercise you can do. This is from the great book by Dr. Judy Ho, PHD. In her great book STOP SELF-SABOTAGE. She suggests that when you catch yourself having a negative thought add the phrase “I’m having the thought that” in front of it. Example: The thought “I don’t have enough money”. becomes the phrase “I’m having the thought that I don’t have enough money.” This has the effect of putting the thought on the exam table so you can evaluate it and challenge it. It puts distance between you and the thought. Next the Dr. recommends that you add an additional phrase to this: I notice that. So now the whole phrase becomes “I notice that I am I’m having the thought that I don’t have enough money.” This final phrase makes it clear that you have spotted the negative intruder and you have labeled it as a mental event and nothing more. I think this entire exercise is brilliant. Now that the Guardian(You) has thrown the negative intruder(thought) on the exam table you can take a really hard look at it. Ask yourself these four questions A) Is the thought about the past? If so, guess what, you can’t do anything about it. Make amends if you wronged someone, and then let it go. You cannot change the past. B) Is it about the future? Really? Where did you buy your Crystal Ball? There is a funny old saying “Predictions are hard, especially when they are about the future.” C) Is it absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, true? If you can think of any, and I mean any, possible alternative thought that you could have, then by definition, the negative thought is not true! I believe this is the most important question. And finally, D) What would my life be like if I never thought this thought again? Think about this…you are letting a thought, that you don’t even know is true, take over your life. STOP IT!
3) Replace the negative thought with a positive one. Take the original thought and write down the exact opposite. Byron Katie calls this the turnaround. “I don’t have enough money” now becomes “I have an abundance of money.” This now becomes an affirmation. Affirmations are one of the best ways available to combat negative thoughts.
So, to simplify, the key to success is to challenge every negative thought!
“Challenge the negative, embrace the positive, and brighten your world.”
If you need additional help in challenging the negative self talk, shoot me am email: [email protected]