Below you will read and see a diagram of how thought can make or break your success. You'll learn what to look for and how to recover.
A former client called me last night. She was frustrated that she was going nowhere with her business goals. She knows she has a gift and a passion, yet she wasn’t making headway and was desperate for the solution. Sound familiar?
She explained further that she’d taken classes and had been taught by some of the best trainers. Everyone recognized her talents and yet she herself still felt stuck.
What do you say to someone who is taking all the right roads and gaining little ground? I continued listening to her before deciding how I could support her.
As I listened to her for several minutes, I was able to determine where she might be falling short.
Her stressed and heavy words sounded like this: “I can never”, “I don’t know”, “I have not been able to”, “what’s wrong”, “how am I supposed to”,” I’m so upset”, “I can’t keep going on like this”.
There you go! Have you ever considered changing the way you think and speak, I asked? She, being one of the best support systems and inspiration to others that I know, was about to see that she was NOT supporting herself.
I asked her to consider this. There are only two ways a thought can go. Either towards the direction you want to go or away from it. And if you aren’t feeling good or making progress, then chances are you are thinking the wrong thought.
Let's say it actually is that simple. Would it help you to look at your life and see where you may be thwarting your own success? Just then, this brilliant woman had her aha moment. You know, all the training in the world will not help you if you continue to sabotage your thinking. Even though she 'got it', she asked for more of a visual to help her along.
It's nothing fancy, but below is how I explained it to her.
Imagine there are 4 types of thought (2 directions, yet 4 types)
- Optimal thought – which takes you towards your desired outcome the fastest.
- Soothing thought – a gentle but positive thought that helps move you in the direction of your desired outcome
- Opposing thought – what takes you in the opposite direction of your desired outcome
- Accelerated Opposing thought – when you make yourself wrong for having an opposing thought.
Diagram A (The Goal)
The shortest distance between you and your desired outcome is a straight line. That would look like having the best thoughts constantly to get there the quickest. Since we are human things don't always work that way. Let's look at a typical scenario.
Diagram A shows you and your desired outcome. This could be any goal that you have. Money, Relationship, Health, Life Purpose, Business.
Diagram B (Optimal Thought)
Let's observe an example of Optimal thought on a good day. You wake up and think “it’s going to be a great day". "I’m ready to succeed" and "everything will be wonderful".
These optimal thoughts move you quickly toward your desired outcome. Life is good.
Diagram C (Opposing Thought)
'Something' happens'. Below you will see an example of opposing thought. when 'something' happens to change the course of your thinking. It can be a rejection, a negative comment from a well-meaning friend or even a self-inflicted limiting thought.
No matter how many optimal thoughts you had this morning, an opposing thought can take you to your knees. These thoughts look something like: ‘Who am I kidding? "I can’t do this". "I’m a failure". "This isn’t working". "I give up!”.
When you look at the diagram you can see what happens to the direction of thought. It begins moving in the opposite direction of your desired outcome. It keeps moving in that direction with each opposing thought.
Diagram D (Accelerated Opposing Thought)
You will begin to see the magnitude of how opposing thought can steal your success. What typically happens when we notice our opposing thought is we begin beating up on ourselves or self-sabotaging our vision. We accelerate our opposing thought by saying things like: "Uh, oh, I'm having opposing thoughts, this is bad", "I am doing it wrong", "I am definitely going to fail". Thoughts like these will never recover your momentum. They only perpetuate the direction of your opposing thought.
But there is a way to recover.
Diagram E (The Soothing Thought)
Introducing the Soothing Thought. It's not quite the Optimal Thought, but it is the thought that will turn you around to get back on track. On bad days it's tough to have a full-fledged optimal thought. Sometimes baby steps or baby-step thinking is all you can manage. We call that a soothing thought.
The soothing thought nurtures you at whatever level you can handle. Gentle yet positive thinking can be just what you need. Similar to when you lose momentum at the gym and want to get back on track. You do best if you agree to do a few minutes a day and build back up to full throttle. The same thing applies to soothing thoughts.
A soothing thought looks like an understanding thought. Examples: "I know I went off track, I'm willing to take baby steps to get back", "I know I can do better, I will start thinking better thoughts". "I am human, my commitment is to keep going. And I will".
Think about a child who has just failed. Think about how supportive you would be. Telling them it's OK and they will do better next time. Consider being that supportive with yourself.
Soothing thoughts are healing, understanding and miraculous.
Diagram F (Back on Track with Optimal Thought)
Once you start your soothing thoughts, the momentum begins. Soon enough you will find yourself in full Optimal thought and accelerating towards your desired outcome.
Keep in mind that the scenario above is typical in one way or another. We all have opposing thought and something always brings them on. Learning the signs and practicing the method to recover is the key.
Eliminating Opposing thought is rare but reducing it is very possible. Mastering the direction of your thought is what brings on success. They say that someone with the right thought can succeed as much if not more than someone with the 'right' everything else.
Here's to your optimal direction of thought!
Want to learn more about improving your thoughts? Go on the 7 Day Mental Diet