Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What are you thinking about?

The mind can be a very tricky thing. At times it can be funny - other times it’s no laughing matter. On a personal note, I know that I need to take a balanced approach when dealing with my thoughts. Whether trusting my instincts, entertaining memories, or analyzing my stream of consciousness, I’ve found that, at times, I need to yield and not take my thoughts too seriously.

To a certain degree, if many of us placed our minds under a microscope - judging them according to medical textbooks – we’d end up in the loony bin:

Having trouble concentrating? You must have ADD

Feeling down? Clinical depression

Changes in mood? Bipolar disorder

Have a change of attitude? Schizophrenia

Dark thoughts?  Psychopath

Don’t care? Sociopath

Like things orderly? OCD

You may also have anger management issues, social phobias, substance abuse issues, and autism… If you inspect your mind for flaws you will find what you are looking for. Obviously, for most people, this is foolishness. We may have extraneous thoughts and emotions but we’re not crazy! (Okay, mental illnesses do exist in some people but only a diagnosis from a licensed professional can determine that.)

From a psychological standpoint, it is not always wise to suppress one’s thoughts or muffle their "inner voice". I have learned from personal experience that if you constantly try to shut off your mind you will one day be successful. This can be a terrifying experience! When you finally want your identity back you will find that it's not so easy to start the motor again and this can lead to dire consequences that will be manifested in your personal, social, and work life.

Our minds can be both our best friend and worst enemy. There are so many factors that can affect our thought-processes and sometimes we may feel that our thoughts just aren’t ours. However, if we want to enjoy the benefits of positivity, clarity, understanding, creativity, depth, and social finesse, we must learn to cope with the negativity, fear, doubt, low self-esteem, and occasional fog we all experience from time to time.

But is it safe to turn down our thoughts or at least ignore them?

An influential mentor of mine once told me that on some days he's so plagued by negative thoughts that he has a "no thinking day". Obviously, he doesn't just shut down because as a father, teacher, and international self-help guru he has responsibilities. But when he knows what needs to be done, yet is faced with his own venomous thoughts, he puts his mind on the back burner and focuses on action.

"Sometimes, you need to stop thinking and just do it. Once you entertain negative thoughts you can lose confidence, increase doubt, and even convince yourself not to do what you know needs to be done," he said. “DON’T THINK - JUST DO.”

The opposite is also true. Sometimes, in life, I know exactly what needs to be said or done but I’m faced with a combination of fear and lethargy (the two go hand in hand.) In a way, laziness is the worst trait to have. It’s a curse because I may KNOW exactly what needs to be done but laziness will prevent me from doing so.

This is the phenomenon of opposition. Many times, if it doesn’t come from outside influences it will come from within. But when you need to act, you may just have to ignore the resistance. Many people have the ability to do many great things – it just requires work. At times, you just need to do what you need to do regardless of how you feel, what your fear is telling you, or what others say.

And remember:

When the mind says go and the body says no just remember who's in charge!


  1. What a lovely piece of advice. It is so true that we constantly talk ourselves out of doing what we know needs to be done. The book of Proverbs constantly warns against being a skeptic for this very reason.
    As Yoda says, "Do or do not; there is no try"

    Many a time we'll over analyze and end up accomplishing nothing.

    It's always helpful to read your blogs that encourage self empowerment & self expression!

  2. I agree with you 100%
    Thank you for the positive feedback!