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The Power of Your Thoughts

Thought: The process of thinking, serious consideration, reasoning power, opinion and belief.

What are your thoughts saying to you?

I dare to suggest that almost everything each of us has or has not accomplished is a result of our thinking.

  • Our thoughts are the starting place of our action or inaction.
  • Our thoughts are the beginning of our results and success.

In the past couple of months, my schedule has been extremely busy, with several writing projects, training events, travel, my company’s operations, and my family. I could tell that the pace—fast and faster—was starting to lower my energy levels, which, in turn, was causing my thoughts to become less positive and results-oriented than normal.

I was surprised at the way my thoughts shifted from my usual approach—working to achieve my goals—to, “Wow! This is a lot of work! Will we ever get it done?!” My overall circumstances had not changed, nor had my capabilities; only my thought process had changed.

Your thoughts really do create your reality and end up producing our level of success. Your thoughts literally convert into energy in your physical mind and body. If you doubt that, think about what a polygraph is measuring. It shows your internal response (energy) to specific questions. This same thought energy that a polygraph can measure is also creating your personal success blueprint.

How do you frame failure and success? Most of our thought patterns have simply become habitual, and many of them are destructive. This was proved in a 25-year research study conducted by Dr. Martin Seligman and documented in his book, Learned Optimism. His research proved that the way we think about our failures and our successes directly impacts our future achievement levels.

Dr. Seligman’s research revealed that the way you think about your wins and positive events and the way you think about your losses and negative events are equally important. Life is not just about overcoming failure. Do you own and take credit for your wins, too?

To break the bondage of your habits, you first need to become aware of how your thoughts and language can hinder, and are hindering, your success. Three key concepts apply to two focus points (positive and negative) to make up the investigation grid.

  1. Time (permanence): Do you see the situation as temporary or is it going to be permanent from now on?
  2. Limits (pervasiveness): Is this just a specific event, or does it affect everything in your life universally?
  3. Subject (personalization): Do you blame yourself and/or give credit to others? Do you take credit for wins?

The three key thought elements―permanence, pervasiveness and personalization―apply in opposite ways, depending on whether the event is positive or negative. I will outline the research to enable you to determine if you have success or failure blueprint/thought patterns.

Positive-Event Success Thinking

When a positive event occurs, the most successful individuals respond and think in this way:

  1. They believe this success is ongoing, not a random or “freak” event.
  2. Their success also applies to all other areas of their life, not just this specific event.
  3. They personally take credit for the results or positive outcome(s).

Example: A sales rep has a record month, with double her normal sales. Which response matches someone who is thinking like a successful individual?

a. “This is my lucky month. It’s fortunate I was knowledgeable with the customers who came in. If it weren’t for my manager, I never would have put this kind of month together.”

b. “I’m sure glad the company put on that promotion; it certainly helped me this month. If they continue the program, I might be able to do this for two months is a row.”

c. “You can see how all my hard work is paying off dividends. I expect this trend to continue as I maintain this amount of effort in the future.”

In my training sessions, many individuals have stated they were simply telling the truth when they answered a or b. But, of course, most successful individuals responded with c. They took credit for the win and expected their success to continue, no matter what. Dr. Seligman research confirmed those responses.

How would you normally respond to success?

Negative-Event Success Thinking

When a negative event occurs, the most successful individuals think and respond in this way:

  1. They believe the failure (negative event) is temporary and will pass.
  2. They frame the negative situation as limited to that specific event.
  3. They don’t blame themselves for the failure and feel the outcome of the event was out of their control. (Caution: This way of responding should be limited to events that are not harmful to others. There are situations in which you must be accountable for your actions, such as lying, causing an accident or otherwise intentionally causing harm.)

Example: A manager has had three new hires quit this month. Which response matches someone who is thinking like a successful individual?

a. “There are no good employees available in the marketplace. It seems every time I hire someone, I get the wrong person. I must be doing something wrong.”

b. “It’s unfortunate that the last three hires have not worked out. This is a short-term challenge until we can attract better applicants. It’s regrettable that those individuals did not have what it takes.”

c. “There are a lot of good candidates out there if we look in the right places. We have survived in the past and we will in the future. I do take responsibility for the poor performance of the new hires.”

The statement chose by the person who thinks like a successful individual is b.

Obviously, much more research can be covered, but that will get you started. The way you respond to both positive and negative events highly influences your levels of success. In many cases, your thoughts―especially in business, sales and people-driven responsibilities―are much more important than your IQ, intelligence or competency level. It is clear that confidence and/or your self-worth levels are critical to your overall success. The way you think and feel about events is the starting point of almost all your results. To assist you in confirming your confidence levels, consider completing CRG’s online Self-Worth Inventory. This assessment will enable you to identify the areas where you already have high self-worth and where you could improve.

You are your thoughts, so why not make sure your thoughts are benefiting you?!

This Week’s Summary & Action Steps

The Power of Your Thoughts

  1. Acknowledge that your thoughts highly influence your results.
  2. If you want to change your results, you need to change your thinking.
  3. Do you want different results from what you are getting now? If so, what are they?
  4. Your success is influenced equally by the way you think about positive and negative events.
  5. How do you respond to positive events?
  6. Successful individuals believe positive events are permanent and universal (that it applies to their whole life) and that they have personally contributed to the success. For less-successful individuals, the opposite is true: They feel the success is short-lived, specific to that event and that they had little to do with it.
  7. How do you respond to negative events?
  8. Successful individuals believe a negative event is temporary, specific to that event and that external factors caused it. Pessimistic individuals feel the negative event is permanent, universal and internal―or their fault.
  9. Start paying close attention to your thoughts toward both negative and positive events using this framework. Think about how you might change/improve your response level.
  10. Complete the Inventory and The Quest For Purpose eCourse to confirm how you feel about yourself and to confirm your confidence level in five important areas of your life. This is critical to implementing a more optimistic thought process.
  11. Give the new attitude time to settle because, for many people, this new approach to thinking means unlearning a lifetime of negative programming. If you beat yourself up over not learning this new way quickly enough, you have just been negative.
  12. This is a very powerful process. I encourage you to stay the course. It is worth it!

Until next time,

Keep Living On Purpose.


Ken Keis

The Quest For Purpose eCourse
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