Our thoughts impact our actions, and ultimately, the level of success we achieve. They influence our emotions and perspective of the world. If you can identify your unhelpful thought patterns, you can correct them and develop new ways of managing yourself and the world.
Here are some examples how your thought patterns can influence multiple aspects of your life:
• Making assumptions
How many times have you made a decision too quickly and regretted it? Sound, fruitful decisions require information. Too many of us jump to false conclusions because we don’t have all the facts. Before you reach a negative conclusion about a situation or person, delay your judgment. Gather all the available information and then make an informed decision.
Give yourself the chance to succeed.
• Applying the past to the future.
The most appeal person in high school might have ignored you, but that has nothing to do with your ability to appeal to the person of your dreams today. The past doesn’t have to equal the future. We are often too quick to believe we are experts regarding our abilities. One failure is not enough to prove anything. Pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to test a drug on just one person and then release it to the public. Many attempts are required to prove that results are not due to random chance. Do you believe that a flipped coin will only land on ‘heads’ in the future after flipping it once or twice and getting that result? You were not born knowing how to walk or do arithmetic. Even if you lack natural skills in one area of your life, you can always learn. You can learn to be a great public speaker, a meditator, or sociallly adept.
• Focus on the negative
Strive for clarity, and to be truthful and accurate. Withr your relationships, focus on the real person, and that they are a living, breathing being with feelings. When the relationship is floundering, could it be that, you are too focused on the negative?
• Unbalance thinking
Do you give your failures too much attention and relevance? Do you give your successes too little? Have a balanced view. Just because your boss ignored your morning greeting doesn’t mean you’re about to be fired. Be patient and kind and give yourself the credit you deserve.
• Taking something personally that has nothing to do with you
People do and say things for many reasons that do not include you. They might be having a bad day, or contending with a personal issue. Other people have more on their minds than just you. Your car breaking down doesn’t mean the universe is out to get you.
• Focusing on the past
The past can provide lessons. However, most people don’t use the past constructively. They focus on the missed opportunities and mistakes. When used this way, the past creates feelings of regret. Let go of the past and avoid allowing it to cloud your future.
• Focusing on the future
Having goals and plans is great, but it is common to use the future as a source of worry. Stay focused on today. Today is the only time you can change your life. Allow the future to arrive, it will, sooner than you think. The future is now.
• Putting things off.
It is easier to have your muffler replaced when you notice that it is deteriorating than to wait until it falls off in the middle of the highway. If you wait until you are forced to deal with things, your solutions will be less elegant and less convenient. Attend to things in a timely manner.
If you indulge in any of these thought patterns, noticing your tendencies is the first step to changing them. When you catch yourself thinking in a way that clouds your judgement, replace your thought pattern with one that serves you well.
Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.
Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography
Travel with Shanti & Peter Gowans this November for a trip of a lifetime.