Positive thinking – why I've been getting it wrong all this time
I struggle with positive thinking. Not something I talk about a lot and I understand I have a reputation for being quite a positive person.
But my mind is full of stuff all the time. As well as day to day things, like having to remember to buy stuff to eat and call that person back, it is also full of the stuff that makes me question myself. I’ve often thought that I’m my own worst critic and I pretty much fulfill that role every minute of every hour of every day. I constantly think about how I could have made that presentation better, or handled that situation better, or made better choices.
So back in the mid 90s I found out about motivational speakers and books. I started listening to audiobooks by people like Zig Ziglar and around the same time I bought “Awaken the Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins. That started a lifelong interest in reading personal development stuff (you’ll find four of my favourite personal development books in this blog – 4 books that every networker must read.
And I tried to ignore my negative thoughts. I tried for years. I tried meditation. I tried walks in the country. I tried to silence that inner critic. I tried to ignore the devil who sits on my shoulder and constantly tells me I’m not good enough, or that other person is better, or that someone is about to find me out.
No matter what I did, they came back, or they crept into my meditation, or just crept up on me at 4am, or if I was out for a walk on my own.
Ignore the thoughts, focus on the view, focus on the flowers and the birdsong, focus on the “STEF THAT PRESENTATION YOU DID WAS RUBBISH DON’T EVEN BOTHER EVEN TURNING UP FOR THE NEXT ONE THAT WILL BE RUBBISH AS WELL AND THAT OTHER GUY IS MUCH BETTER THAN YOU ANYWAY AND YOU’RE THINKING OF WRITING ANOTHER BOOK? HA, THAT WILL BE RUBBISH TOO!”.
Is that just me?
And then finally, around 9.30 am on Sunday 19th April 2015 I had the most massive epiphany.
I can’t turn my negative thoughts off unless I actively replace them with something else.
To stop allowing the other stuff to creep in I need to trick my brain with podcasts, audiobooks, music or something else to stop my mind choosing what to fill itself up with. I have to fill my mind with positive happy stuff. Just trying to turn off the negative stuff simply doesn’t work.
When I’m not working I’ve started, pretty constantly, listening to positive stuff. Stuff which helps me to learn things I need to learn. Stuff which challenges my thinking. And sometimes just VERY loud rock music.
Is this just me? Do you struggle with positive thinking too?