First of a series focusing on your thoughts, time and energy
I read somewhere that our average lifespan consists of 30,000 days. The questions posed with this statistic were: how many days might remain for you, and how do you want to live those days. While it’s helpful to think about and plan your life, breaking down your lifespan into days instead of years provides an opportunity to become more conscious of how you are living. It offers a call to take responsibility for your thoughts, and how and where you want to invest your thoughts –day to day, moment to moment.
Not only was I never taught how to invest money in my earlier years, neither was I taught how to invest wisely in my choice of thoughts (my parents hadn’t learned this either). Strange, since thinking is central to the education process.
Thoughts are funny things. Without our doing anything they can pop into our head instantly, and jump around incessantly – like Mexican jumping beans. Imagine you’re planning the menu for a party for Uncle Henry’s 90th birthday party. Here’s how your thinking might unfold:
Pasta would good – maybe lasagna…not sure about cheese…..I should cut back on fats – and sugar! I really need to lose weight….no self-discipline….maybe I can find some recipes on the internet….my back hurts… I really need a new computer chair…. can’t afford it now….when is the economy going to improve…I need a better job….my boss is always putting me down…..wish those politicians would get their act together…I’m cold…I miss summer….I’m not very creative….my cousin Sherry might have some recipes….I’m so envious of her….she’s always had it together….always positive……she never had to go through what I have….maybe yoga would help my back. . .I’ll ask Sherry for recipes.
Anything can trigger a thought. Scents, sounds and body sensations can spark thoughts and memories of past experiences. We can be thrust back to reliving that experience at an emotional level whether positive or negative. When negative, over time, brain pathways form that repeatedly keep us stuck in negative thought patterns, thus preventing us from being fully alive and present.
Think of what you are missing with negative thinking within the hours, minutes and moments of each passing day.
Wouldn’t you suppose that starting with a mindset, for example, that the “cup is half empty” instead of “half full” could affect how you study, learn, experiment and create? If fear, doubt or self-judgment is present how can you make wise choices? Fortunately as a participant in the school of life and lots of study into the science of thought, I have generated a significant positive thought portfolio.
One solution to rewiring the brain’s thought patterns is to go on a negative thought diet and use affirmative words and phrases to wash your brain of negativity. This is what Mohamed Ali did to build his self-esteem when he proclaimed, “I am the greatest.” People with strong will-power can shed pounds of negativity with this process, while the rest of us lose merely ounces, fluctuating up and down at best.
I suggest rather than push away the negativity, welcome it in, and see what you can learn from it. Doing so removes its grip on you. Over time this has a cleansing affect that frees you to welcome in positive thoughts and affirmations: “I am good enough.” “I do have what it takes.” “Every day, more and more, I’m learning to live each moment.” This is true freedom. (Also see “Welcome Life’s Messengers“)
The next article will reveal surprising ideas on how we invest our time.