“Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right.”
– Henry Ford
Your thoughts affect all aspects of your life, whether you are aware of them or not. Every experience begins with a thought. That thought, placed into action, creates a ripple effect that becomes magnified in your life. For example, I was feeling stuck with my nonprofit. Every day I was waking up not knowing where to focus my energy, and feeling incompetent. This made me want to not do anything at all. I decided it was time to change my mindset from being avoidant to being proactive. I realized that I was trying to fill a skill set that I was not aligned with. I began telling people what I was struggling with and that I was looking for someone to help me with program outreach. Immediately I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Then miraculous things started happening. In the most unexpected places, like in a shared car ride, I was finding solutions. I ended up meeting a highly experienced woman who was willing to volunteer her time while we found the funding to be able to transition her into a full-time position. When you start thinking and saying what you want then your mind automatically shifts and pulls you in that direction. That is why the practice of rewiring your thinking is key to your success and happiness.
Your brain has developed neural pathways associated with responses to situations. For example, if you have a time-sensitive task that needs completion, your immediate response might be to become stressed out. The stress response is formed by repeatedly feeling this way. We train ourselves to respond in the same fashion, regardless of whether or not the stress is warranted. The good news is that you have power and a choice regarding how you want to respond to any given situation. The process of choosing starts when you realize how you are feeling. Then you can redirect that feeling in order to create new neural pathways. A redirected response to feeling stressed out might be, “All I can do is my best with the time and resources I have. Compared to other situations in life this is not a big deal and doesn’t justify my being stressed out.”
Your mindset is one of the most influential forces moving you either away or towards achieving your goals. I have seen with my friends, family, and students that time and time again the biggest obstacle they face is themselves. How can you accomplish something you don’t believe you are capable of accomplishing? Would you feel more inclined to help someone who might want to do something or someone who is ready and excited to do it? Believing in yourself creates much greater opportunity for people to believe in you and greater opportunity for you to step into your innate abilities and power.
Why is it then that we are always our own worst critics? We say and think things about ourselves that we would never think about others, even people we don’t like. Our negative self-talk can be detrimental to our progress and poisonous to our health. Yet, we’ve all experienced negative self-talk. Neuroscientists have discovered that shame and self-criticism can reduce our prefrontal cortex’s ability to sustain attention, increases impulsive behavior and leads to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.
We all have flaws and experience difficult situations in life; it’s inevitable. No one escapes hardship and no one is perfect. It is good to know both your flaws and assets. You may even find that your flaws are sometimes assets and your assets are sometimes flaws. Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing pottery with a lacquer made from precious metals, to emphasize that an object can be more beautiful for having been broken. The philosophy of the art embraces the flaws, rather than trying to hide the damage. Everyone has imperfections. How we piece ourselves back together and find ways of improving is what truly matters. Close your eyes for thirty seconds and imagine how you would feel if you fully embraced and appreciated all aspects of yourself.
Here are some suggestions for shifting your thinking:
- Write down a positive statement to replace the negative thought. Writing this down in advance helps embed the thought in your mind.
- You may want to place a visual reminder, such as a word or symbol, in the area you are most likely to have these negative thoughts.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing pottery with a lacquer made from precious metals, to emphasize that an object can be more beautiful for having been broken. The philosophy of the art embraces the flaws, rather than trying to hide the damage. Everyone has imperfections. It How we piece ourselves back together and find ways of improving is what truly matters.
What are some thought patterns that are getting in the way of your success?
This is an excerpt in the Tools For Success chapter of the Vekita Full Potential Guidebook, which helps you get clear on career and life choices – vekitapd.com