Don’t think about it

Everyone has heard of the value of positive thinking. In fact one of the best books one can read is “The Power of Positive Thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale. That being said there is a problem with positive thinking. I believe it was Tony Robbins who said “The problem with Positive thinking is you have to think about it” What we need is a change in perspective. You must train your brain to think as many positive thoughts in a row. Our brains have been trained since birth to find the problem in any situation in order to fix it. This kind of thinking sure does have its benefits, but it also has its drawbacks. First, it keeps us focused on what is ‘wrong’ with any situation in our lives, which in turn prevent us from focusing on what is right and beautiful. Second it creates neural pathways in the brain that keeps us focused on our problems instead of our blessings. It has been said that people routinely focus on the ten percent that is wrong in their lives to the detriment of the ninety percent that is right. Initially that sounds hard to believe, but just imagine having a toothache while on a vacation in a tropical paradise you have won and you get the idea. It is not our fault that we think this way. When we are young our parents teach us what not to do and how to address problems that may arise in life, which is surely good advice. Then in school far more intention is placed on correcting our deficiencies than growing our talents. The same holds true in the working world. So how do we change this life-long way of thinking? Start employing several of the ideas listed here especially the one in the post entitled ‘Start out easy’ which will help us focus on the positive aspects and events in our lives. Second, here is a fun game you can try with yourself. The first time I tried this is shocked me how ‘badly’ I did. That being said remember you are fighting against a learned behavior that has been ingrained over years, decades, maybe even longer. So be patient with yourself. The idea here as with all of my posts is to have fun while working your way towards a more amazing life. Here is the game. Try to think as many positive thoughts as you can in a row. These can range from “My what a beautiful garden” to “I am so grateful for my dog”. As soon as a negative thought pops up you must start over. You will be surprised at the amount of negative self talk going on inside your head. Again, be patient with yourself. When I first started this I thought to myself “Hey Mr. amazing life blog writer, Mr. happy book author, you’ve got this” My personal record for the day…five. Yes that’s right I could not get past the fingers on one hand. So why play this game? To depress us with how negative our thinking really is? No, to begin to retrain our brains to incorporate the positive as well as the challenging. Life is all about balance and dancing around like Mary Poppins is not going to help us learn and grow. That being said neither is sulking like Eeyore. One other interesting fact that I happened to notice is how insane some of the negative thoughts that honestly would pop up in my head without me even noticing. I think if counting how many times I called myself stupid, dumb and countless other things in my own head during this test I would’ve needed fingers and toes. Not only did I notice those thoughts as ‘ruining my streak’ but noticed how ridiculous they sounded. I made a mistake and was usually harder on myself than anyone else it affected was on me. So be patient with yourself, have fun with this and let’s see if you can beat five!

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