How to Control Your Thoughts and Why It’s ImportantDecember 9, 2022
We may not all be born with beauty or wealth or intelligence. But as we grow up, we begin to have this in common – we all have ideas or beliefs about ourselves we’ve accumulated. Good or bad or somewhere in between, they shape our mindset and our view of ourselves. These thoughts and beliefs all go inside our mind, in our box, if you will. My box was filled early in life with “The wealthy must be crooks” and “Success just isn’t for us.”
What’s In The Box?
We normally don’t have much control over the thoughts embedded in us during our childhood, as they can often be critical and from someone in power over us. You may have been told, “You’ll never be as good as your brother,” or “We’ll always be poor,” for example. These are what I call “Limiting Beliefs” and these are some of the hardest beliefs to reverse.
As an adult, we tend to have more control of our thoughts. This is the part where we can shape our own destiny, because whatever is in your box adds up to the person you are at this moment. If your limiting beliefs are still with you and they say “You’ll never be wealthy,” chances are that you have ignored opportunities for wealth because you don’t actively seek a career with an income outside of your comfort zone.
Our box is full of words and ideas from parents, teachers, churches, neighbors, and even strangers. Have you ever met someone who is afraid to drive on highways? I’d bet their fear is based on an experience or a story from a trusted friend and now that thought is embedded in their box and has manifested into a behavior. They believe the story, which makes them emotionally afraid, which makes them avoid highways. They have not died yet while driving, so it must be working. Right? Or no? That’s a form of circular logic that will never be changed until the foundational belief is changed.
As a child, we are all aware that stepping on a crack will break our Momma’s back. We love our Momma, so we jump great distances to prevent such a catastrophe. We ignore the traffic we’re walking in, just to keep her safe. I’m kidding of course, but it’s a small example of believing something (whether it’s really true or not) and acting on it.
How to Pack
What goes in the box is eventually what comes out of it. For example, if you pack a physical box with motorcycle parts, there’s no chance that you’ll reach in the box one day and pull out a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey and all the trimmings. If your limiting belief is that you’ll only make a sale if you slash prices, then that’s exactly what will happen. You will not attempt to make a more profitable sale because you’ve made up your mind with this powerful, and likely incorrect, belief. Your brain will send a signal to your mouth to cut to the chase during your demo or presentation, and the appointment will end with money left on the table.
Neuroscientists estimate that we make about 30,000 microdecisions a day – decisions like what to pay attention to, what to ignore, and what to file away as true. “You become what you think about all day long” is more than just a famous saying by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Those thoughts we choose to believe are the ones shaping us.
You ultimately control which thoughts you keep and which ones you reject. And beyond just thoughts that make you happy and sad, I mean ones that make you take some kind of action that aligns with your goals. While hearing motivational quotes and speakers likely won’t be the sole ingredient for you to succeed, for some people supportive words become the anchoring thoughts that help drive them forward. I’d consider myself a masculine, tough guy. But words move me more than anything else, especially from respected or loved ones.
Thinking Inside the Box
It has been proven that your thoughts control your emotions, your emotions control your actions, your actions control your results, and your results control your thoughts. It’s a cycle that only shows success if your thoughts are aligned with the person you want to become.
And discipline matters. It just does. Let’s say you set a goal of saving $300 every month for a year so you can take the family on a nice vacation. You get your family excited about this trip and everyone is on board. But if you never actually save the money throughout the year, all you’ve bought yourself is disappointment and a staycation on the couch. The nice thought is useless if not followed by action.
The magician didn’t magically pull the rabbit from a hat. He pulled the rabbit out because he placed it in there before the reveal. You won’t pull money out of a place it was never placed, and you won’t pull success out of thin air either. You have to plant the thought of it in your box first.
Here’s to unloading all limiting beliefs from your box and filling it with success in the New Year. Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas season!