The Power of Thought

How can you harness your thoughts so you can take charge of your destiny

Chinese proverb by Lao Tzu
Powerful words from the past that are as relevant today as they were when the author wrote them.

Our thoughts are very powerful.  Yet, if you're like most people, you probably spend very little time reflecting on the way you think.  After all, who thinks about thinking?

But, the way you think about yourself turns into your reality. If you draw inaccurate conclusions about who you are, and what you’re capable of doing, you’ll limit your potential.  

What you think directly influences how you feel and how you behave.  Put simply your thoughts can help you change your life and achieve the life of your dreams, or keep you on the same path you have always trod.  The choice is yours!

Experts estimate that the average person has somewhere in the region of 60,000 thoughts per day.  But it may surprise you to know that research has also shown that the majority of those thoughts are actually negative.  The human brain finds it easier to focus on the “cant’s” than the “cans”. However, not all of our thoughts are conscious.  And, not all of those thoughts are unique.  Many of our thoughts are repeated and replayed in our subconscious minds over and over again.

Neurological research also estimates that 95-99 % of all our behaviour is automatic.  We are all creatures of habit.  We are set in our ways because we’ve conditioned ourselves to think, feel and behave in a certain way through years or decades of practice.

Fortunately, for the human race we are able to control our thoughts.  We can reflect on how we think and make ourselves think positive thoughts; like what we want to be, or have, or do.  It is in our power to choose to think as an optimist and drive through positive change in our lives.

Additionally, research indicates that positive thinking is good for both your mental and physical well-being.  Optimistic people have lower levels of stress, a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, age better, and have more fulfilling relationships.

The following are some steps you can take to harness your thoughts so you can start to take charge of your destiny.

1. Start your day with a positive affirmation

How you start the morning sets the tone for the rest of the day.  Talk to yourself in the mirror, even if you feel silly, with statements like, “Today will be a good day” or “I’m going to be awesome today.” If you have a specific goal you want to achieve use that.  Say it out loud a number of times each morning for 30 days.  You’ll be amazed how much more you will achieve and how your day improves.

2. Focus on the good things

There is no such thing as a perfect day.  You will invariably encounter obstacles and challenges.  When you do focus on the benefits, no matter how insignificant they might seem.  For example if your commuter train home is delayed, think about how much more time you have to read the book you are in the middle of, or listen to more of the music you enjoy.  Or if you don’t have all the ingredients for the meal you were planning on cooking, think about what fun it would be to experiment.

3. Change the language of your thoughts

Review your thoughts and language. What thoughts do you need to change?  Ask yourself if you can phrase that thought in a more positive way?  Change your “cant’s” and “don’t wants” into “cans” and “wants”.  Some people find it useful to use a thought diary for a few weeks and review each day in the evening.

4. See the funny side

Allow yourself to see the funny side, even in the most trying situations.  Inject humour into your thoughts and words to deflect the situation.  Remind yourself this will probably make for a good story at a later point in time.  Or use your imagination to visualise off the wall scenarios to make you laugh.

5. Learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes, no one is perfect.  Instead of beating yourself up for failing, think about what you could have done better to achieve the right result.  Turn your failure into a lesson, and move forward wiser and stronger.

6. Three Good Things

Set aside time every evening to write down a list of three things that went well that day.   Allow yourself to reflect on why they went well, what you can learn from them, and congratulate yourself for your achievement no matter how small.

7. Surround yourself with positive people

When you surround yourself with positive people, you’ll hear positive words and thoughts.  Their positive words will sink in and affect your own line of thinking, which then affects your words and thoughts.  Positive thinking can be contagious.

Changing thought patterns is beneficial in a business environment as well as on a personal level.  After all a happy team is a productive team!  Richard Branson recently wrote an article on how creating a positive work environment can increase productivity called “Be a glass half full leader”.   Worth a read if you are interested!

A small increase in the percentage of positive thoughts can have a profound impact on the quality of your results.  If you are interested in taking charge of your thoughts and ultimately your destiny, choose a few of the above steps to implement, and stick with it for at least 30 days.  It will take time; remember you have a set of thought patterns that has been well established for many years or even decades, so stick with it.

To summarise, your thoughts are the most powerful force in the universe.  Make sure you are cognisant of yours, and are managing them to your advantage.

If you would like to find out more about how coaching can help you, please contact me to have a chat and book a free coaching taster session. I promise there is no hard sell.  e-mail - or call +44 (0)20 3287 3165 or Facebook message me.