Written on: December 1, 2017
by Elisa Coleclough
As you know in ancient mythology, the sirens would lure nearby sailors with their enchanting songs, so their boats would shipwreck against the rocky coasts and end tragically with their lives. Similarly, our mind might drive us down through black abyss of sickening, depressing and negative thoughts, or to the heights of creativity, mindfulness, joy, and fulfillment.
According to some researchers the average human being ranges from 50,000 up to 70,000 thoughts daily. I guess it depends whether you are more talkative to yourself or not, I know I am. It is actually quality of those thoughts that will eventually create the outcome of our day whatsoever.
Take for example, you wake up feeling great, have a positive attitude and then all goes from good to better and in the end of the day, you feel you have just had a wonderful day. Well, this outcome might not be random only; we need to start being selective with what we decide to think and moreover with what we say to ourselves about ourselves.
Some behavioral researchers assure that we need to talk ourselves from the “love” point of view. Understood love as a constructive process where we see our advantages and continue to work on our areas of opportunity, from the proactive, respectful and positive approach.
Parental Advisory: I am no expert on this subject and I do not intend to be. I just want to share with you some tips which work for me, hopefully they will do for you too:
Be gentle to judge yourself. I am not saying you should think you are perfect, but do not be so harsh to judge yourself. Instead if something went wrong try to dissect each step and see which things you can change, make an improvement plan and check what you learned from that not-so-successful experience. As soon as you see what you have learned and take the necessary steps to change it, will give you a different feeling with yourself. We are entitled to make mistakes; after all we are being born to a continual world of endless learning.
Ask for help. I bet that if we could time-travel to interview the greatest minds of all our times, they all would seek for help at times. Help comes in many ways and shapes. My grand-mother used to say that asking the right questions would save me the useless endeavor of discovering “the black thread and the needle” (el descrubrimiento del hilo negro y la aguja). Thus look for answers, knowledge and sources.
One step at a time. Sometimes, we focus more on what we do not have, what we want to become but not on what we have, again we need to focus on this moment. We need to focus on the goal, see the skills, assets, abilities, resources that we DO have and then outline a plan to get what we are still lacking. Remember:
“Every battle is won before it is ever fought” – Sun Tzu
Quality info. In a fast world like today, when a lot of information flashes before our eyes, we really need to become selective. Our mind is sensitive to everything we experience through our senses. If we are all the time watching the news for example, and the news is all about dead, blood, racism, violence, etc, eventually we are going to become afraid, angry or depressed. I am not saying that we never watch the news, we just need to control the amount and quality of what goes inside our brains.
Thoughts like food. Just like fast food, it is not that we cannot eat a hamburger and fries is that we should not feed only on hamburgers, right? Select the right information you read, hear, and in general absorb with all your senses. Select what you say, for our words have energy and they eventually become our reality.
Quality thinking = quality answers. Look, I do not cope that people who just judge others who consider smartest people are all fast thinkers. These are just one group of people, we all learn, process and respond at different speeds, the best answer is always the most assertive, wisest one. Fortunately, nowadays, there are a lot of companies, universities and learning methodologies that encourage “thinking outside the box” and identify “Multiple Intelligences”.
Stress versus distress. I would say that stress is positive as long as it does not turn into distress. An appropriate stress “fix” will keep us sharp, bright, creative, intuitive, positive and constructive. This sort of stress comes at certain periods of the day, week, etc., and it is like the fuel we need to step up our games. The distress on the other hand is destructive, lowers our defenses, creates sadness and hopelessness, and in general it can cause extreme psychological or physical illness.
Know thyself. Looks like Socrates is never outdated. It has been important, at least for me, to understand what creates an impact in my mind either positive or negative and consciously select the information I want/need. It might be that confined spaces are not MY thing to become creative and that long talks make no sense when it comes to abstract concepts, it all depends on how we learn. That is why I recommend you to read this brief article on Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences here.
Finally, I want to share with you about what I have identified about myself.
Linguistic. Meanwhile I am very effective doing presentation materials, summaries, debriefing, project management recaps, etc., I need to work hard on my verbal communication. My language skills are far better written than spoken, why? I am shy (believe it or not). Additionally, I learn very fast and I have a strong Reading Ability to comprehend abstract concepts without images.
On the other hand, when I have to memorize concepts, for example History or laws, taxes, etc., I stroll around with my notebook in hand. Motion around physical spaces, i.e. outdoor, garden, room etc., helps my brain absorb concepts fast. As to why I am an accountant is that I definitely like Performance. So yes, subjects like geometry, math, physics, and of course accounting and finance were my favorite because they are based on practice, which I think are intertwined with Logical Mathematical abilities to identify patterns, sequences, puzzles, etc.
In a nutshell, we all have at some extend all different intelligences, we need to be aware of them. The more we know about our cognitive tools the more effective we will be in identifying which stimuli causes which thoughts. Furthermore, proactively selecting our thoughts should be as important as eating quality food. After all we are hardware and software, wrapped-up in one beautiful piece: each of us!
And keep in mind:
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle
Please share with me your thoughts in the box below. Have a great day/week, Eli