What are your thoughts?
So what did you discover with your little self-inquiry? Were you able to define an area of your life that you would like to improve? Did you notice the nature of the thoughts and feelings that you have about that area of your life? If your thoughts and feelings were mostly negative, for example, what you don’t have, what you can’t do, what you did wrong, the unloving way that you were treated, etc., those thoughts and feelings are not helping you. In fact, you are shooting yourself in the foot by allowing these thoughts and feelings to continue without challenging them.
It works for athletes, it’ll work for you too
There have been many studies which show that our thoughts and feelings affect our performance. There is a classic study of basketball players that showed that players who vividly imagined successfully shooting foul shots (but didn’t touch a basketball) improved their performance as much as players who actually practiced shooting foul shots for the same amount of time. This is commonly summarized by saying that our brains don’t know the difference between a “real” experience and one that is vividly imagined. They have the same effect on the structure and function of our brains.
Professional athletes and performers know this and so they focus their thoughts and feelings on successful achievement of their goals. They practice their physical skills AND over and over they visualize themselves successfully doing whatever they are trying to do all the while feeling the feelings of success.
What we don’t want
As Ernest Holmes said: “…the power which appears to bind us is the only power in the universe which can free us…” So if we keep thinking negative thoughts about ourselves, we get more of what we don’t want. To change this we need to change our thinking.
The next step
To begin this process for yourself, you can start to disarm that critic that lives in your head. For the next few days, carry a notepad and pen with you and make a list of all the very small to very large successes that you have had in the area of your life where you want to see further improvements. Consider it a success every time you tried to make an improvement even if your attempt didn’t seem to work. Edison had thousands of “unsuccessful” attempts to make the electric light bulb. Every person who has successfully accomplished anything substantial will tell you that they had numerous attempts before they succeeded. Make note of any progress you have made no matter how small it might seem. Be sure an include things that you tried that did work. Also include the fact that you are persistently trying to improve this area of your life. You’re still working at it now.
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