Clean up your thoughts, clean up your emotions. Once we begin to gain control of what we’re thinking then we begin to gain control of our emotions. Every day we have over 60,000 thoughts and a high proportion of them are negative. Using this exercise we’re going to start changing that into a more positive ratio.
Based upon the idea originally created my Emmet Fox, this process is about starting a “Mental Diet”. That is, spend 10 days without holding a single negative thought! For the next 10 days, I’d like you to become a gardener to your mind, be watchful for those weeds of negativity, and for every negative thought that comes into your head, change it into a positive or interrupt your thought process and start mentally listing off all the things that you’re grateful for in your life, that is, distract yourself.
I know it sounds really easy and some days it is, but it’s amazing how you realise that you have more negative thoughts that you ever realised. This exercise will really bring your attention to all the things that you worry about, or are anxious about, stress about, everything that’s going on back there. All those things that put us in unresourceful states, that deplete our energy and blur our focus, that worry and concern us.
So if you accept this challenge, you will commit to minding your thoughts for the next 10 days. During this time life will go on and maybe some not so pleasant things will happen around you, but you must mind your mental dialogue, you could ask yourself questions to help you such as:
What is the opportunity for learning in this situation?
What’s great about this situation?
What could I do to make this better?
Or a similar type of power question. These types of questions automatically start getting you into action and out of any unresourceful state.
Or as I mentioned above, start listing off everything that you’re grateful for in either this situation or in life. Its not that we want to ignore what is going on around us, but it’s so that we can be in a better frame of mind to deal with it and take whatever action we need.
Essentially, the crux of this exercise for me is that for every negative thought that I have, I ask myself the question – “what can I do about this, what action can I take”. When I did this before a couple of years ago, I was amazed by some of the thoughts that went on in my head, actually more like shocked! But by letting them go or by asking myself the above questions, I was immediately able to get myself out of this state and into action. Incredible things happened around me – business boomed and I was happier than I’ve been in a long time.
1) From today and for the next 10 consecutive days, refuse to dwell on any negativity of any shape or form. Tell yourself that you’re a negativity free zone!
2) If you do find yourself in a negative situation or state, immediately ask yourself the “Power Questions” (What’s great about this situation, etc), i.e. focus on the solution. Don’t let yourself stay in this state for any longer than 1 to 2 minutes.
3) To boost your new positive frame of mind, every day list off everything that you’re grateful for, from the pen that you write with to the sun in the sky and even to any situations that happened through your day that allowed you to learn.
4) If you slip up and find yourself in a negative state, don’t beat yourself up for it; just use one of the methods above to change it. However if it persists (i.e. lasts for more than 2 minutes max) then you must give up the exercise and start fresh the next morning. It has to be 10 consecutive days minding your thoughts. Persist, even if you have to start again at day 6 or 7. Remember you’ve made a commitment to yourself.
Its’ worth keeping a journal detailing how you get on every day. It will give you some wonderful insight and will give you the motivation to keep going as you write down all the steps of action you took each day.
So today, now, start this exercise, focusing for the next 10 days on solutions rather than problems