One of my own coaches is taking me through a course about unlocking deeper intentions. And so positive thinking , affirmations and all that junk is back on the table.
I have always known that negative mind-talk is the continuous chatter that happens in the head at a deeply subconscious level. Furthermore its intensity, texture and power varies depending on events.
The dynamic is so cunning and devious that it presents itself as the absolute truth at all times. It has no method of discernment and it judges harshly. Its label is either bad or good – there is no in between. And then there is the catastraphizing! – and its default setting is ‘bad, wrong and disaster’.
The epiphany that I have recently had on this issue is essentially this:
You can’t build a sparkling new building on a rotten foundation and expect it to hold up – it won’t.
What is fundamental to this whole process is to clear out some of the gunk.
Easier said than done.
Technically the process is about assessing whether core beliefs are valid.
The secret is identifying the core belief in the first place.
This takes awareness. There are 4 main areas to consider:
> Noticing when you are defending yourself
> Noticing when you are justifying yourself
> Noticing when you are accusing yourself.
> Notice when you are comparing yourself to others.
Going through each is not for this article.
But to illustrate the principle, here is a simple example:
You are walking down the corridor at work and the CEO walks past and does not acknowledge your greeting.
A ‘healthy’ response is “He’s probably having a bad day”.
If you are a negative thinker you probably would do this:
“He doesn’t like me. I’m a nothing here. I’ll never make it. I can’t get on with people. My career is doomed.”
Sound familiar? If so read on!
What is happening is that some older core belief has been evoked.
Some simple ones could be “I’m not good enough!/I’m inferior”.
The intensity of the feelings that are uncovered will determine what will happen from this point onward.
You might return to your work space angry and resentful. Your mind could be telling you what awful people you work for, that you have to get out – find another job.
Your relationship with your staff and co-workers is now on the line as there is a good possibility your current state is going to spill out into confrontation – if not at work them when you get home.
The amazing thing about this whole issue is that the negativity that you are about to create is more than likely based on falsehood. Add a bit of catastrophe-thinking and you have a great recipe for on-going misery.
Now know that one thing does lead to another. The more you persist with this behavior the greater the chance of you getting more of the same.
And this is all happening at a subconscious level.
So here is the interesting question.
If you were watching a movie and this scenario was playing out with the main character, would you not see what was happening? Would you not see that she was the creator of the unpleasantness she was experiencing? The situation might even become humorous if the camera then shifts focus to the boss who mumbles “Oh, wasn’t that June who just walked past? I didn’t even greet her. I’m really grumpy today. I’ll make it up to her”.
Next scene you see June in the same room as her boss. June is angry and hurt. She avoids her boss and when she does interact with him, June’s attitude is one of ‘up yours!’.
The result? The boss walks off annoyed and June has just had her core belief happily confirmed with ‘I knew it!’.
Now I know I’ve made this sound quite silly. The thing is that it is not silly at all. It is a highly valuable realization – your thoughts create your actions which create the results that you get.
Change the thoughts and reactions and the results will be exponentially different!
How empowering is that!
The theory around positive thinking is essentially the process described above. The fundamental difference is that there is an acknowledgement of the role that you are playing in keeping negative thoughts in place and taking the responsibility to shift yourself and jump the gap to a space of positive expectation.
I’m not saying this is easy but it is do-able.
One of the effective ways of making a difference quite quickly is to get yourself a good coach – one who believes in you more than you believe in yourself!
And the sooner you get this handled the happier you will be!
About the author:
Clive Kaplan, is a CA(SA) having studied at both Rhodes and UCT. With over 20 years experience as an executive director in both listed and unlisted companies. Clive offers a wealth of wisdom on both the people and business front. He is the CEO of Green Mind Capital. The company focuses on assisting executives, especially emerging young CA’s, maximize their potential and fast-track their careers. Clive has been involved with coaching and self development since 1994. Green Mind Capital is an emerging leader in the field of personal development and self-actualization.