How powerful is your mind? We have heard that we only use about 8% of our brain power or mind power and that geniuses like Einstein used approximately 15%. (Different people use different estimates so you may read differing numbers). We marvel at those who can do extraordinary things like multiply long strings of numbers in their minds or tell you what day of the week May 21 will fall on in 1312. We are amazed when someone can recite the Bible or the dictionary or know what someone else is thinking.
You watch someone perform such feats and come away saying, “Wow! How did he/she DO that? I can’t believe anyone can do that.”
But the truth is we all have those abilities. We just don’t know we do or know how to tap into it and use it. As a starting place, look at your thoughts. We talk a lot about the physical brain which is actually the hardware. But I believe the power comes from the software—our thoughts. We have the ability to control those thoughts to produce what we want our lives to be. The placebo effect is a perfect example. If your mind is powerful enough to make a sugar pill alleviate a symptom, what else can it do. Let’s talk about what it can do for you.
I am what I think
You may have heard the saying “You are what you think.” The question arises then, “What do you think about yourself and what are the results? Think about the following quote :
How you navigate through life and how you feel largely depends on your thoughts. Your thoughts are immensely powerful. They determine how you feel, your decisions and your actions – every part of your life that you can control. Your thoughts are one of the most powerful tools you will ever have in changing your life.
Have you ever stopped to think about your thoughts? How’s that for a question? Seriously, have you noticed what you think? Most of us are not aware of our thought patterns and yet they set the direction of our lives. Most of us believe we are “positive thinkers” but is that really true?
I challenge you to set aside some time—an hour, your workday, a 24 hour day (whatever works for you)—to notice your thoughts as you react to events in your day. For example, you think of a task that you’ve been avoiding but today is the day you are going to work at it. What do you think? Perhaps your thought are “I can’t do this. My skill set does not encompass this. Someone else can do this better than I can” etc, You may decide to put it off another day. Are you aware of this process?
Or you look in the mirror in the morning and your mind goes crazy with criticism. Your mind says to you
- too fat
- not pretty enough
- too tall/too short
- you name it
- a failure
- hair that’s too frizzy
- a butt’s that’s too big
- a nose that’s too long
- a big belly
- and on and on and on
- smart enough
- talented enough
- skilled enough
- as qualified as so and so
- able to do . . .
What if you changed that kind of thinking? If you told yourself those “fake it until you make it” phrases that equate with “I am good enough, capable enough, smart enough, pretty/handsome enough?”
Need proof? If you need to read about studies that prove the point you might start by reading “Hannah Gets Happy.” If you want to prove it to yourself do this:
After you’ve observed your own thoughts for the period of time you selected:
- Commit to observing your thoughts for a set period of time like I mentioned above.
- Get a “Thought Journal.” This can be anything from a 3 ring binder or notebook to a blank book designed for journaling. Your choice.
- Write down your predominant negative thoughts–those that you noticed recurring the most. Those that begin with “I can’t,” “I don’t,” “I’m not, “if only” and so on.
- Rate them on a scale of 1 – 10. How powerful are they? Trust your own mind to give you the best number and write it down in the journal. Describe how that thought makes you feel.
- Pick the strongest negative thought and design a thought counter to it. If, for example, your thought is “I’m not smart enough to . . . ” design a phrase such as “I have the intelligence and ability to do . . .” ” What I don’t know now I can learn.” Let yourself experience what that feels like.” When the negative thought comes, replace it with the positive thought.
- Do this consistently for at least a week or two and then measure the intensity again. It might be a surprise.
Put effort into thinking positively about yourself, your life and your future. Then reap the rewards.
Take a look at the videos below to get more ideas.