"Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death."
-James F. Byrnes, Politician 1879 - 1972
The Power of Your Thoughts
Thought: The process of thinking, serious consideration, reasoning power, opinion and belief
So what are your thoughts saying to you?
I dare suggest that almost everything each of us has or has not accomplished is a result of our thinking.
ē Our thoughts are the starting place of our action or inaction.
ē Our thoughts are the beginning of our results and success.
In the past, my schedule has been extremely busy, with several writing projects, training events, travel, my company operations, my school board responsibilities, and my family, too. 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-orientated than normal.
I was surprised at the way my thoughts shifted from my usual approach of 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. Our thoughts really do create our 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, what do you think 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.
The Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) TV series is one of the most popular. Why? Individuals seem to be intrigued by the process and science of discovery and investigation. So put on your CSI hat and letís investigate your thought and language patterns and letís we can crack your case.
The research revealed that the way you think about your wins and positive events and about your loses and negative events are equally important. Life is not just about overcoming failure. Do you own and take credit for your wins?
To break the bondage of our habits, first we need to become aware of how our thoughts and our language can and are hindering our success. Three key concepts apply to two focus points (positive and negative) to make up our investigation grid.
1. Time (permanence): Do you see the situation as temporary or is this going to be a permanent thing from now on?
2. Limits (pervasiveness): Is this just a specific event or does it affect everything in your life universally?
3. Who (personalization): Do you blame yourself and/or give credit to others and 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.
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 is fortunate I was knowledgeable with the customers who came in. If it werenít for my manager, I never would have put this kind of month together.
b. Iím 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 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 future.
In training sessions, I have had individuals state 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.
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 donít 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 where you MUST be accountable for your actions, such as lying or causing an accident.)
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 is unfortunate that the last three hires have not worked out. This is a short-term challenge, until we can attract better applicants. It is 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 chosen 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.
You are your thoughts, so why not make sure your thoughts are benefiting you?!
The Power of Your Thoughts
1. Do you 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 than you are getting now? If Yes, what?
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 feel 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 they had little to do with it.
7. How do you respond to negative events?
8. Successful individuals feel 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. Using this framework, start paying close attention to your thoughts toward both negative and positive events. Think about how you might change/improve your response level.
10. 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 fast enough, you have just been negative!
11. This is a very powerful process. I encourage you to stay the course. It is worth it!
Until next time, keep Living On Purpose,
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Ken Keis is an internationally known author, speaker, consultant, & President of CRG. Many professionals herald CRG as the # 1 global resource center for Personal/Professional Development.
For information on CRG Resources, please visit crgleader.com
For information on Kenís Training and Speaking Programs, please visit kenkeis.com
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