Updated: May 3, 2020
“The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you live your life.”
Carol Dweck, author of The New Psychology of Success.
Dweck highlighted that the secret of success is in our ‘mindset‘, in other words our ‘way of thinking‘ (Cambridge Dictionary): If you think that your personality is fixed (fixed mindset), you will be less likely to grow than if you believe that your abilities can develop (growth mindset).
The perception you have of yourself and your life is going to influence the way you feel but also the way you react and respond to the world around you.
In other words, your inner voice has power over your destiny. The words you use when you think, when you talk to yourself, are going to influence your behaviours and affect your present and future life.
As Dr Shad Helmstetter highlighted, ‘We control with our own minds most everything in our lives, including our health, our careers, our relationships, and our futures’.
Your body listens to your words and believes them. It follow them as if they were instructions in the user’s manual of life.
The Secret is in the Listening
You might feel that this is too easy! If the secret of success was only in thinking differently, then you could just throw a few positive thoughts in the mix and you would be fine!
You are right! It isn’t that easy of course!
Our biggest challenge is in the listening part. We often do not know what’s going on in our minds. Therefore we do not actually know which instructions our body follows!
There are several reasons for us to be disconnected from our thoughts:
- Life can get busy with work, children and other family obligations. We just don’t have time to listen so we function on autopilot to get things done.
- We have thousands of thoughts per hour and it can get quite overwhelming. Despite our best efforts, we struggle to follow our own train of thoughts.
- We don’t always like what we are thinking about so we have learnt to distract ourselves. We constantly move on to the next activity or the next distraction, so we don’t have to hear our own negative thoughts anymore.
- We have constant stimulation around us (Social media, TV, internet, video games, etc). It keeps our mind so occupied that we cannot hear our own thoughts.
So the first step towards success is learning to listen to ourselves. By focusing on our breath, learning to slow down, we can anchor ourselves in the present and then we can ask ourselves: ‘what am I telling myself?’. Observe your inner voice, your thoughts, with curiosity and open-mindedness.
Listening In Exercise : The Blue Sky
To begin with, direct your attention to your body. Find a comfortable position. Sitting upright. Relax but alert. Arms resting on your laps. Eyes closed or gazing gently at a spot in front of you. Then bring your attention to your breath. Breathe in slightly deeper than normal and breathe out slightly longer than usual. Notice how it feels to slow down and deepen your breath. The physical sensations of breathing.
When you feel connected to your breath, I want you to imagine the blue sky with the sun shinning. This is your Mind.
You might notice some clouds passing through. Notice them and let them go. Those are your Thoughts.
The same way as you might observe clouds in the sky, curious of their shapes and colors. I want you to observe your thoughts with curiosity. Do not hold on to any of them. Do not judge them.
Notice them. Describe them. Let them go.
Remind yourself if you hold on to some of those clouds you won’t see the blue sky. If you hold on to some of your thoughts, you won’t find peace in your mind.
Behind the clouds, the sky is still blue. The sun is still shining.
When you feel ready, come back to your breath. Come back to your body. Stay mindful of your thoughts and feelings.
You can do this exercise a few times through the day to connect with your thoughts. You can also do this exercise when you want to reflect back on a specific event and understand the thoughts that come up regarding this event.
Once you have acknowledged your thoughts, you can write them down and/ or you can let them go.
Stay mindful of your thoughts and feelings.
you can write them down, if you feel that this is something that you might want to think about it later And let it go.