The most powerful force in the world is not a person. It is not a machine, a company or a Government either. The most powerful force in the world is the humble thought. The power of thoughts cannot be overestimated. Every great, or terrible, thing which has happened in the world began as a single solitary thought. Politicians, charities, salesmen, marketers, and many more professions rely on their ability to influence a person’s thoughts. If you can successfully achieve that, you can influence them to do just about anything that you want. The power of thoughts and their ability to influence has been demonstrated through many good things e.g. the downfall of apartheid. Unfortunately, the power of thoughts has also been used to influence some of the worst atrocities known to man e.g. Nazism. On an individual level, your thoughts can empower you to achieve great things or to crush your dreams and cause you great pain and suffering. The choice is yours.
Understanding the power of thoughts
The 7 points which follow serve to demonstrate, and explain, the power of thoughts.
1. The most important change is to change your thoughts
When people try to change the results which they are experiencing, they often start too late in the process. They usually focus on changing their behaviour. This ignores the power of thoughts.
It is difficult to achieve successful behaviour change if there is some underlying thought process which is causing you to behave in a particular way. It is important that you understand the reasons behind the choices that you are making. When you understand these reasons, you are better able to identify the best way to make the necessary changes.
2. Everything starts with a thought
Every great decision, action or invention started off as a thought in one person’s mind. Whether you are buying a new house, or choosing a career, it all begins with just one thought. You identify something that you would like to change and it flows from there.
For example, the following process is a simplified version of how you might end up searching for a new career. Your first thought might be that you do not like your career. This is followed by a thought that you would like to work at something different. You continue to have these thoughts and soon, you have a firm belief that you need to find a new career and you are actively searching out other options.
To turn your thoughts into effective goals, check out the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.
3. The majority of your thoughts are negative
It may surprise you to know that research has consistently shown that the majority of thoughts, which the average person experiences, are actually negative. Estimates suggest that each person has somewhere in the region of 60,000 thoughts per day. Given the power of thoughts, a small increase in the percentage of positive thoughts can have a profound impact on the quality of your results.
4. You can’t stop all of your negative thoughts
The objective is not to stop all of the negative thinking. It’s just not possible. Rather, the objective is to raise your awareness of your negative thought patterns. You can then start to reduce the frequency of your problematic, negative thinking.
5. Most problems start with negative thinking
The growth of thought based therapies e.g. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioural Therapy (REBT), has served to demonstrate the power of thoughts. These therapies focus on identifying, and correcting, thinking errors.
Thinking errors arise because there is very little in life which is indisputable fact. This means that we are required to make our own interpretations about events and determine our own beliefs. A great deal of self-inflicted pain arises when the individual consistently adopts overly negative interpretations and beliefs.
6. You don’t have to accept your negative thinking
CBT and REBT have consistently shown that you do not just have to accept your negative thinking. When you have a healthy thought process, you immediately challenge your negative thinking to see if it is actually true. When you find yourself being very negative, you examine your thoughts and attempt to find alternative explanations to those which you have adopted. This is not about tricking yourself into thinking that everything is wonderful; it is about developing a more realistic perspective which you can learn from.
7. Reactions are more important than events
The most successful people in life focus on what they can control. They accept that many events will happen which lie outside of their control. Although a particular event may lie outside of your control, you can still control your reaction to that event. It is not these events which determine the level of success which you achieve; it is your reaction to these events which is critical.
For example, company A hears that one of its valuable customers, company B, is in danger of going out of business. The loss of company B would leave a massive hole in company A’s finances. Whether company B survives or not, is beyond the control of company A so focusing on this issue will never solve the problem. Instead, intensifying their marketing efforts will help them find new customers and income streams which would soften the blow of losing company B.
The way that you think has a major impact on your self confidence. If you lack self confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.
Thoughts are extremely powerful; far more powerful than they are given credit for. Negative thinking can have a devastating impact on your life. If you are overcome by negative thoughts, it affects your confidence, your decision making, your relationships, your health and the results you achieve. A small improvement in the quality of your thoughts will lead to remarkable improvements in each of these areas. The first, and most important step, is to become aware of your thoughts. If you experience a negative thought, make a note of it. If you find that the same negative thoughts are occurring repeatedly, you will need to do some work to challenge, and eliminate them. The power of thoughts simply cannot be ignored.
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