For almost 30 years now I have been on a mission to understand myself and the core of human behavior. Why have I done the things I have done. Good and bad. What drove my actions and more importantly, how could I change what I was doing to become more of who I knew I could be versus the life I was living.
I’ve read books, listened to audios, gone through home study courses, attended live trainings and worked one on one with coaches and mentors. And what I have found is that most of the ideas I have learned are timeless and even if they were written hundreds of years ago, they still apply today. At the core, there is a “secret” and it is simply six words: We become what we think about.
This certainly isn’t a new idea. It has been heralded by every great teacher throughout history. From spiritual teachings like Buddha “We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think.” and the Bible “As someone thinks within himself, so he is.” -Proverbs 23:7 to thought leaders like Napoleon Hill who wrote several books about it including “Think and Grow Rich” and the current teachings of Tony Robbins. This list could go on and on.
This idea is simple, yet profound. It would be hard to argue that our thoughts control our actions and that our actions (largely) control our results. If you think about getting a cup of coffee and decide to follow through on that thought, your body follows suit, and pretty soon you acquire the results of getting a cup of coffee either by making some or going to a coffee shop and making a purchase. The enjoyment of having that cup of coffee, the aroma, the taste, the caffeine buzz all begins with a thought.
Sounds simple when we break it down, but what people often fail to realize is that we have the ability, even more, the responsibility to consciously choose our thoughts. Instead of just letting our brains randomly cycle through the same thoughts over and over. We have to power to start choosing to spend time thinking about different things. And if we do that consistently, we’ll shift our actions in new directions and thereby achieve new results.
Thoughts are like seeds. If you want different results in life, you have to figure out which seeds to plant and which to nurture that are capable of growing those results and which aren’t. Once you have chosen which seeds (thoughts) to nurture, you need to consciously fill your mind with the correct thoughts and weed out the incorrect thoughts.
For example, being that I have worked with business owners for the past 21 years, if you want to start your own business, I can tell you which thoughts are the right seeds and which are the wrong ones. Among the wrong seeds, you’ll find the following thoughts:
Starting my own business is very risky. I have a family to support.
There’s a good chance I’ll fail.
I may lose everything and go broke.
I don’t have enough money yet.
I have no idea how to start my own business.
I’ve got a safe, secure job. Why would I want to mess that up?
I’m not ready to start my own business just yet. Maybe next year.
Note that I’m not saying that these thoughts are “wrong”… just that they’re the wrong seeds if the desired result is starting your own business. In other words, the result of starting your own business isn’t going to grow if these are the seeds you planted in the soil of your mind. But these are the right seeds if you don’t want to start your own business; with these seeds you will grow the tree of being a lifelong employee. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that if it’s what you want. On the other hand, if you’re an employee right now and would like to start your own business, but your predominant thoughts when you think about starting a business are similar to those above, then you have a problem. Those mental seeds will never grow a business. If you do not transform your thinking, you’ll never run your own business, just as if you plant pumpkin seeds, you’ll never grow an oak tree.
So what kinds of thoughts are the right seeds for starting your own business? Here are some:
Of course it’s a risk, but I believe in myself, and whatever obstacles come my way, I’ll overcome them.
I’d rather spend my life working hard to build my own business than to build someone else’s. If I’m going to build a business, it might as well be my own.
The freedom of being my own boss is extremely appealing to me. I’ll get to decide how to spend my time every minute of every day.
I can only get so far income-wise as an employee. If I ever want to have financial freedom, I need to go into business for myself.
Now even though thoughts like those might be the right seeds for starting your own business, that doesn’t mean that planting those seeds is all that you need to grow the whole plant. Just as plants need water and sunshine, it takes a lot of hard work, resources and flexibility to build a business. But the right thoughts are the foundation. I also want to share that I am just using the starting of a new business as one example. I could have just as easily used quitting smoking, getting sober, losing weight, getting married, etc.
The main point I’m making is that if you find yourself in a position where you want new results in your life (i.e. something other than what you’re currently experiencing), then the first step is to examine your dominant thoughts to see if they’re the right seeds to grow the results you want. The odds are extremely high that if you’re not making progress, then you’re probably thinking the wrong thoughts and need to replace them with new ones. For example, you won’t run in the NYC Marathon by thinking thoughts like, “Running a marathon is hard.”
A key concept to understand here is that shifting your thoughts begins as a conscious and deliberate activity. You don’t just say to yourself, “Ok, I’ll think about starting my own business. Sounds good. Next….” You have to be a lot more proactive than that. You may need to set aside an hour or so to be totally alone, sit down with pen and paper, figure out the correct thoughts/seeds you need to be thinking, and then consciously ram those new thoughts into your head, over and over again until they become dominant over the old thoughts. And if you’re wanting to make a big transformation, then this is something you’ll need to do every single day.
Or you could sit down with someone skilled at helping identify belief systems and allow them to help you see what thoughts may be preventing you from taking action. And if they are true students of human behavior and practitioners of a neuroscience like Neuro Associative Programming (NAP) or Neuro Linguistic Programming, they can work with you to make deep and profound transformations in those thoughts quickly.
If you attempt to do it on your own as described above, you may find it very difficult at first. When you start thinking new thoughts, the most common reaction, at least at first, is that you’ll feel a great deal of doubt about them. As an example, if you were to start thinking about running your own business, your initial images probably won’t seem too positive. You may begin to find yourself thinking about quitting your job and things like the negative reaction you’ll get from coworkers or the office politics you have to deal with on a daily basis. All of a sudden you realize you’re back to thinking the wrong thoughts again. That’s normal.
If that happens, use your imagination to push past the doubt or fear and keep working on it. See that new reality working out beautifully, hear what you would say to yourself and what others would say to you when you succeed, close your eyes and imagine how it would feel to have accomplished your transformation… even if you have no idea how it could possibly work in the real world.
More than likely it’s going to be a little challenging to imagine all this in the beginning, but it will get easier over time. After about 2-3 weeks you’ll begin to truly believe these new thoughts. And that’s when you’ll feel the urge to start taking action. Ifin the beginning, you still have doubts that get in the way of you taking action…That’s fine — it’s important to plant the seed of belief first. Be patient with yourself, and let your imagination guide you. Even Albert Einstein knew the power of belief and thought when he said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”
If you’d like to know more about how to change those beliefs with the power of a top level coach using neurosciences like NAP and NLP, reach out to me directly.
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