How to Change Your Thoughts

Have you ever sat there and thought to yourself, where did my thoughts come from? And how do they support me?

You might not be aware of this, but your thoughts are actually physical things. When you direct your own thoughts, you have the keys to the castle, the golden nugget, the ultimate prize, the big cheese. You can call it whatever you want. The fact is that when you take responsibility for your own thoughts, you will be able to do whatever it you choose. You will be able to direct your thinking and create the life you choose.

In the book, “Think and Grow Rich“, there is a verse which illustrates this point beautifully,

If you think you are beaten, you are,
If you think you dare not, you don’t,
If you like to win, but think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a person’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are,
You’ve got to think high to rise,
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man
But soon or late the one who wins

~ Napoleon Hill, 1937

During Napoleon Hill’s lifetime, he interviewed over 500 of the most powerful and influential people of his time. If there was one thing that I learned from reading his book, it was that without a doubt, thoughts truly are things.

The best way to describe how your thoughts work is to illustrate with an analogy. Picture your brain, the piece of grey matter that sits between your ears, as a lush green jungle thriving with thick vines.

Next, I want you to imagine that you have a sharp machete that you’re using to chop your way through the jungle. As you cut your way through, you begin to create a small passageway through the vines. The next time you clear this path, the jungle starts to give way and it gets easier for you to cut through the vines. Each time you slice your way through the jungle it actually takes you less energy than the time before.

Makes sense, right?

This is similar to how thoughts work.  The moment you create a new thought, your brain creates a new physical connection in your brain, a neural strand. This strand connects different neural receptors in your head.

In the beginning of a new thought, the neural link is very thin and weak. The next time you have the same thought again, the strand gets thicker and stronger. The strand provides a gateway for the travel of your thoughts. The more frequently that you generate the same thoughts, the larger the neural pathway gets and the less energy it takes to have the same thought again. Eventually the neural strand becomes a neural highway, which makes it more likely that you will have those same thoughts again and again.

So thoughts really are things. The beauty of this is that you may choose your thoughts rather than have your thoughts choose you. In the beginning, it’s difficult to change your thought patterns and replace them with new positive thoughts.

There is some resistance. This is normal. You may have spent years generating patterns of thought that don’t even support you. If you’re not putting thoughts in your head, then someone else surely will.

By doing this you may have generated super highways of thought that are not even yours. Consider this an accomplishment. It means you already know how to generate new neural highways. You have first hand experience. You have been successful in creating the neural super highways that currently exist within you. This means that you could just as easily create new thought highways that empower you and lead you towards your goals. With some practice and persistence you can create new thought patterns that empower you to do great things.

Once you’ve conditioned new thoughts, you will then be on your way to building new habits. Remember, thoughts lead to feelings, feelings leads to actions and actions lead to results.

In October 2005 I had just finished reading, Tony Robbin’s book Unlimited Power and was thinking about the applications of NLP. I wasn’t exactly sure how NLP worked but I was keen on applying it. The first time I used NLP was to eliminate some negative thoughts around my work.

When things got busier in the fall of 2005, I began to develop the habit of bringing my work home. Not literally. I just began complaining about work a lot more than I used to. I also thought about work stuff a lot more than I used to, especially at home after working hours. Thinking about what I had to do next and how things were supposed to go the next day. I was worried all the time. I would have these random conversations in my minds ear that would say things like, “What project is next?  Do we have enough time?  Are we under budget?  Should we hire a new consultant?”

Blahh, blah blah, blahhh.  It was getting really heavy.  It even began to affect my sleep. There were times when I would wake up in the morning and have these massive dark circles around my eyes. I felt like someone had beaten the crap out of me. I felt drained. It was at this point that I had started reading about NLP. I kept thinking about the discussion on representational systems.

One afternoon, I got on the train and all I could hear was the voice in my head non-stop. The little guy inside was jabbering a mile a minute and all I wanted to do was relax. I decided it was time to use NLP even though I didn’t understand how it worked.

I started by consciously listening to my voice. I then slowly increased the volume of my voice and then slowly turned the volume down. I kept making adjustments and trying this over and over every time I got on the train. Eventually, I was able to turn the volume all the way down until it was barely audible. All I could hear was silence. It was beautiful. This was NLP.

I believe that once you learn to harness the skills necessary to direct your own thoughts, you will feel magnificent things come into your life. Now it’s your turn. Don’t take my word for it. Give it a try for yourself. Begin to learn while you have fun with this.

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