Where do your thoughts unknowingly get in the way of creating opportunity and results?
I was in conversation with someone earlier today who identified as an “overthinker”.
We were exploring the nature of thought, how thoughts come and go, the perspective that having thought is not actually a problem of itself, in fact it can be quite wonderful to tap into our creative potential of the mind.
Yet often we don’t look at it that way, we experience being an overthinker as a problem, as negative. As creating anxiety. If only we could get the thoughts to stop.
So I invited them into an inquiry, to get curious about the nature of thought. To see how transient it is. To see what happens when we don’t need that thought to be gone. To allow the accompanying feeling to be there. To not judge the thought or feeling as wrong, and instead to create a new relationship with it.
Try it for yourself.
You see, when we learn how to relate to our mind, we see more that we have a choice.
Our thoughts can create limitation, challenge and dread OR we can use our mind for us. To tap into that innate wonderful capacity we have for imagination and creativity, ideas, solutions, inspired actions, meaningful work.
And often, what I notice is that the more intense the feeling, (usually what we judge as negative/unwanted feelings) the more we tend to listen to our thinking in those moments. The more we tend to pay attention to our thoughts. The more we tend to believe our thoughts. But what if that’s not the best time to be taking our thinking so seriously? What if that is completely back to front?
I used this analogy… imagine being the passenger in the car. Everything is great, you’re having a great conversation and then BOOM…. Someone cuts in front of you, now the lights have turned red, and your driver friend is mad! They’re shouting at the lights, shouting at the driver who cut in front.
Do you think now would be the best time to ask him for advice on your relationship? Or some business investment advice? I don’t think so! See in that moment, he is experiencing thought, and believing it to be true, and his behaviour has been impacted as a result. He is now experiencing some lower grade thinking. Nothing wrong with having it, but we don’t want to be following his advice whilst he is attached to it! I’m going to wait until he has come back to a clearer state of mind before I take any advice from him!
And it is this attachment to the meaning we are putting on something that creates the suffering. Having the thought is fine, associating the more intense the feeling with being more true is where the misunderstanding creeps in. And it is this which creates our actions and behaviours and ultimately impacts our opportunities, our performance, our results.
And it can be so subtle and so sneaky! Much of the time we are blind to this pattern that runs us.
You can see it here in action.
Even though our entire conversation had been focused on this very thing; growing in awareness of our thoughts.
Even though the homework set was focused on this very thing; spending time being an observer of their thoughts. Simply to notice the thoughts, to notice the accompanying feeling and the body and mind’s response. To grow in awareness as to the daily news feed occurring in their mind.
Even though they accepted the challenge.
When I offered to spend some more time with them to dive into what they were discovering one week from now it was met with hesitation. The energy moved from being present to the conversation to something else.
I could see in that moment, in had swooshed all their thoughts.
So I gently asked… you reached out for help, what is stopping you accepting it?
The response…
I have been in sales before
I don’t want to waste your time etc etc.
They were experiencing thought. They were imagining a sale was coming. And so it stopped them from saying yes to the very thing they had asked for. And in that moment, there was no stopping to look at the thoughts, to question the thoughts, to hear what was being said. There was just attachment to the fear of being sold to and the fear of wasting someone’s time. And it was all so innocent. They asked for help. The result = no help.
So I left them with this… ”if the only thing you take from this conversation is to see that having thought is not a problem, but that the limitation comes when we give them so much credibility that we close to any other possible truth. See that, notice that behaviour, be willing to question that, and that alone will change your world”
And here’s a Syd Banks quote that takes the scale of what I’m saying to another level… “If the only thing people learned was not to be afraid of their experience, that alone would change the world”
So I will leave you to ponder on it for yourself, and ask…
where do your thoughts knowingly (or unknowingly) hinder your path to creating what you want?
And when was the last time you really dived under the surface to free yourself from this way of being with your mind?
Art work not for sale 🙂 I’ve called this one “Thought Storm on the back of an envelope”