“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking.”
The human mind is wonderful and powerful, but it’s far from perfect. Too often we are addicted to our thoughts, and we can’t change anything in our lives if we can’t change our thinking. If you want to move forward with your life, you must change your mind and get these thoughts OUT of it:
1. “Life sucks and that’s just the way it is.”
The mind can be the harshest battleground. It can be the place where the greatest conflicts are carried out. It’s where half of the things you thought were going to happen, never came to be. But if you allow those thoughts to dwell in your mind and fester, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, of happiness, and of everything that is beautiful in this world.
Tell the negativity committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up. Don’t think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into depression, into hopeless defeat. If you’re being negative when you’re alone, the warfare is in your mind. The fight you’ve got to fight is in your mind. You can’t change what has happened, but you can choose how you’re going to deal with it.
2. “Those haters are right about me.”
Be wise enough to walk away from the negativity around you; don’t let it infect your thinking. Don’t let someone else’s negative opinion ruin your reality. No matter how much negativity is thrown at YOU by others, there is absolutely no need for you to stay put and partake in the decay they choose for their own lives. YOU decide how your soul grows.
When the people around you give you every reason to be negative, think of one good reason to be positive. There’s always something to be grateful for. Say it: “I am lucky to be alive! I am happy to be me! I have so much to be grateful for! My life isn’t perfect, it’s just pretty darn good!” (Angel and I discuss this in more detail in the “Self-Love” and “Relationships” chapters of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”)
3. “The way it is now is the way it will always be.”
Don’t confuse your path with your destination. Just because it’s stormy now, doesn’t mean you aren’t headed for sunshine. And remember, you cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight; be patient with yourself, it takes as long as it takes, but your happiness is well worth the wait.
You write your own destiny through the choices you make. You become what you repeatedly do. It is more important to know where you are going and why, than to get there quickly. Do not mistake activity for achievement. Every time you are tempted to react to the same old circumstances in the same old way, ask yourself, “Do I want to be a prisoner of the past, or a pioneer of the future?”
4. “Life is supposed to be easy.”
Nothing worthwhile in life was meant to be easy; learn to take it easy with your expectations in this area. Don’t expect things to be given to you. Go out and achieve them! It’s the only sane way to deal with life’s challenges. If it’s worth having, it’s worth working for.
Anyone can run away and waste away; it’s super easy to do nothing. Facing challenges and working through them, that’s what makes you strong. And even on your weakest days you get a bit stronger. So today, stop wishing for it and start working for it. Talk is cheap. Action is priceless. (Read Flourish.)
5. “It’s easier to blame someone else.”
Too many of us only take credit for positive outcomes. In other words, we take full credit for our successes, but deny responsibility for our failures. A perfect example of this can be witnessed in school classrooms across the globe. When students receive a good grade, they often attribute it to their intelligence and their excellent study habits. But when they get a bad grade, they attribute some of their failure to a bad teacher, an unfair set of test questions, or a subject matter that “isn’t needed in the real world anyway.”
Realize that in order for you to grow emotionally, you must be willing to take full responsibility for all your actions and outcomes – successes and failures alike. Because if you are too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful. Setbacks, failures, obstacles, and hardships are the contractors of life; they build character, strength and knowledge.
6. “I just can’t stand X, Y and Z!”
Today, let your small annoyances go. Move through your day consciously. Make an effort to notice at least one insignificant little frustration that you would normally get frustrated about. Then do yourself a favor and simply let it go. Experience, in this little way, the freedom of being in control of the way you feel. And realize that you can extend this same level of control to every situation you encounter in life.
At any given moment, the way you feel is the way you choose to feel, and the way you react is the way you choose to react.
7. “They look a certain way, so they must be a certain way.”
Superficial judgments are made the instant one person assumes something about another person based on their immediate appearance. Sadly, this likely happens thousands of times every minute, all around the world. For example, someone might see a tall, well groomed man in his early fifties wearing a business suit, and instantly assume he is successful and reliable, even though there is zero concrete evidence to support this assumption.
Bottom line: Don’t judge a person by what they show you in a single glance. What you’ve seen is oftentimes only what they have chosen to show you at that particular moment. Too often we jump to conclusions. Talk with people, listen to their stories, watch what they do – this is how you get to know who they truly are.
8. “Giving up and starting over is a sign of failure.”
Don’t try to diminish your losses from a past failure by continuing to follow the exact same path that led to the failure in the first place. In other words, don’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. If it didn’t work last time, and you haven’t made any significant changes, it probably won’t work this time either.
Sometimes we justify our decision to continue investing in a failed endeavor based solely on our cumulative prior investment, despite new evidence suggesting that the cost, starting today, of continuing to pursue it outweighs the expected benefit. The logical thing to do would be for us to cut our losses and change our course of action. However, due to the sunk costs we have already invested, we feel committed to the endeavor, so we invest even more time, money and energy into it, hoping that our additional investment will reverse the outcome. But most of the time it never will.
When you can no longer think of a reason to continue, you must think of a reason to start over, and that’s perfectly OK. There’s a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction. (Read Daring Greatly.)
9. “It’s too late. I missed my chance.”
Be done with regrets; they are an excuse for people who have given up. You are still here trying and growing. Life is about learning from the past, trusting your intuition going forward, taking chances, finding moments of happiness, and realizing everything is simply a lesson that happens for a reason.
Don’t stress over what could’ve been; chances are if it should’ve been, it would’ve been. Focus on the present; you have a lot to look forward to in it. Just do your best. Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. You get a second chance, every second. And YOUR best chance is happening right NOW.
Afterthoughts and next steps…
The Dalai Lama once said, “A new way of thinking has become the necessary condition for responsible living and acting. If we maintain obsolete values and beliefs, a fragmented consciousness and self-centered spirit, we will continue to hold onto outdated goals and behaviors.”
Today, make it a point to defragment your consciousness and center your spirit on positive, productive thoughts. Whatever you do, don’t get stuck on the one thing that ruins your day. Smile and be grateful. Life is too short to waste on negativity and destructive thinking.
What would you add to the list? What negative thoughts and destructive thinking traps do you struggle with? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and insights with the community.
Photo by: Martina Photography