Stop Believing Your Thoughts
If you’ve ever heard me speak at an event, or you’ve attended one of my many workshops, you’ve heard me talk about the fact that we as human beings are creatures of certainty; we’re creatures of habit.
And just as we have habits and rituals for the things that we do throughout each day, we also have habits of thinking. And sometimes those habits can get us in trouble if we’re not awake and aware.
In fact, let me ask you a question, “Are you thinking about what you’re thinking about?” I know, it seems like a strange question, doesn’t it? But the fact is that most of the time we’re just… we’re having thoughts throughout the day and we believe them simply because we think them.
Let me give you a simple example. Let’s say you’re driving down the freeway and someone inadvertently cuts you off. And you immediately think, “Oh, well this person did that to me. How dare they?!”
And so you might have a few choice words to offer them, and of course, a wave… maybe with all of your fingers, maybe with just a few key ones, to let them know that you really want them to have a nice day!
But how do you know that that’s what they did “TO YOU?” In fact, they may be just as embarrassed for having done that as you are angry at them for having cut you off.
You see most of the time we just simply believe our thoughts because we have them.
Aristotle once said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” But I think for all of us – myself included – all too often, we have these thoughts and we automatically believe them.
But here’s the thing, thoughts… we’re just talking to ourselves in our own heads. And in fact most of the time we’re just making stuff up!
So if you want to become more resilient, more resourceful, more emotionally fit, there are a few things I want you to start doing. And the first is: start questioning your thoughts. Stop believing them just because you have them.
And here’s some simple questions. Here’s 3 simple questions you can ask yourself to help you make a more discerning decision about what you’re thinking about.
The first one is, “Can I say that this thought is absolutely true? Do I know with absolute certainty that this thought I’m having is true?
And then, ask yourself this, “What might I be missing?” What information is just out of my purview? What other information do I need to get? Who can I talk to?
Maybe there’s a person in front of me that I’m having a dialogue with and I’m making up thoughts about what their meaning is, without actually asking them and checking in. What am I missing?
And then the final one is, “Am I causing pain or creating problems for myself and for the people around me simply by thinking this way?”
So that’s what I have for you today. Start to raise your level of awareness about your thinking; about the thoughts you’re having in the moment. And start asking yourself these questions.
I think you’ll find that if you start to question your thoughts it’s going to change your perspective. And it’s going to allow you to be more resourceful, to be more resilient, to be more emotionally fit, because you’re not just running on instinct, pattern, habit. You’re actually taking charge and taking control of your thoughts.
Thanks for being here and listening to my random thoughts! I would love to hear your thoughts. Share in the comments below!
Kevin Ciccotti, CPCC, PCC, is an authority in helping leaders to build stronger, more sustainable relationships with their teams, helping them to drive engagement, increase productivity, and lead to greater overall success. He is passionate about helping leaders to create an environment in which their people can thrive and achieve their full potential. Read More...
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Kevin Ciccotti, Human Factor Formula
Helping companies create sustainable, effective teams that are committed to the success of their projects, the organization, and the individuals with whom they work