We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals.
Stephen Covey (author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
Telling ourselves to think positively (because we know we should) can be tough sometimes. The negative thoughts can creep in. We might feel despondent about the future. We can’t meditate all day, sometimes we just have to think through what we are going to do next.
We can be our own life coach. I’ll show you the easy way.
For instance we would like ourselves to think positively. So how do we lead our mind in that direction? How can we teach our mind to look at the positive?
If I ask you not to imagine a lovely fluffy blue elephant for the next ten seconds …the chances are that you still did. You brain had to process the words ‘lovely blue fluffy elephant’ and so something blue and elephant-like went through your thought process.
Your first rule is YOUR BRAIN CANNOT DO A NEGATIVE
So give it instructions in the positive. If you don’t want to think about fluffy blue elephants you’ll need to tell it to positively think about something else, like the ocean, or a tree, for instance.
Secondly, if you give your brain a problem it will try and come up with answers. Notice I say answers, not solutions. Your brain is unlikely to come up with solutions unless you ask it for one.
What questions do you normally ask yourself?
For instance, do you ask yourself things like; ‘Why am I always getting it wrong at work?’
Your brain may come up with answers to this question like, ‘because you are in the wrong job, …because you didn’t get the grades at school, ….because you choose the wrong job, …because you didn’t know what you wanted to do‘ etc. These may all be valid answers – but they won’t make you feel good!!
To coach ourselves (which is just about getting our brain to do something useful for us) we need to ask better questions.
Instead of the example above, we could ask ‘What job would I be best at’, or ‘What job would I enjoy doing’, ‘What kind of job would I prefer?’, ‘What do I need to get a different job? or ‘How can I get more fun out of my current job?‘
Your brain may struggle to give you a quick answer. That’s fine, make it work. Just give it more time, days if necessary, sleep on it.
Just don’t accept any attempts for your brain to get out of the work by saying things like ‘you couldn’t do it anyway‘, or ‘you wouldn’t be any good at it‘ – These kinds of statements are not actually coming from your brain, they are just ‘recordings’ of something your brain has heard someone else say. You can delete or throw out any criticism like this that it comes up with.
Remember that all criticism has a best-before-date. Even if someone said it to you yesterday, it is out of date today. Most of the criticism you can remember is years out of date!
Everyone makes mistakes, and you have full permission to start again, and it doesn’t matter how old you are.
So the key here is to ask yourself better questions. If you ask your brain why you are such a mess, it will happily come up with reasons. It will come up with better answers if you ask better (positive) questions.
Experiment with these questions – filling the blanks with things you would like to do:
How can I….?
How could I…. ?
What’s the first thing I need to do to…. ?