Thoughts drive actions, so you really are what you think. The question then becomes what are you thinking and where are you letting those thoughts drive you?
Negative thoughts will drive you into a ditch or off a cliff, and often take folks with you along the way.
Positive thoughts will drive you towards your goals and often will take folks with you along the way.
In other words, not only do your thoughts drive actions in your life but those thoughts will always have a ripple effect that pours out on the people you encounter.
“What you do is based on what you think.” – Steve Jobs
There is a link between what you think and what you do. Your thoughts directly influence how you feel and how you act. Whether you want it or not, thoughts drive actions. Be careful what you think.
What do you focus on?
What you see is what you get. Or, more on point, you only look for things to reinforce what you think so what you find proves what you thought.
I heard a story about an old farmhand that found snakes wherever the farmer sent him to work. The farmer’s young son didn’t want to go out when the farmhand was out because he had learned that when the farmhand was around, there were snakes.
One day, the farmer’s wife sat her young son down to explain the truth. “There are snakes all around the farm. Most are good snakes that help keep away the rodents and other animals that will attack our crops. But that doesn’t matter to the farmhand. He doesn’t like snakes. No matter how good the snakes are for us, the farmhand fears them so he can’t see the benefits.”
The boy nodded. “But why is the only one that always sees them. The farmhand swears that snakes are drawn to him.”
The farmer’s wife laughed. “The farmhand always sees the snakes because he looks until he sees the snakes. He always sees snakes because he’s always looking for snakes. He always sees snakes because that is his focus. You will find the thing you are always looking for because you will keep looking until you find it.”
Thoughts drive actions. When you think about snakes then you will find snakes.
What do you do with your thoughts?
The farmhand always saw snakes and his focus rubbed off on the young boy. The boy didn’t want to go outside with the farmhand because he thought the farmhand someone attracted the snakes.
The actions don’t have to be rational. The thoughts don’t have to be logical. You will begin to limit your actions based on what you think because you have reinforced your thoughts with your limited proof.
Since thoughts drive actions, you have to find a way to think differently if you want to do differently.
What do you think when it’s different than what you expected?
A person determined to find the possibilities will see different as an opportunity to learn or to shift perspectives. A person focused on the negatives will see the unexpected as lucky, a coincidence, or an “I’ll pay for that later” kind of moment.
Several years back, we spent months going through all of our accumulated belongings choosing things we didn’t use or didn’t want to put in a yard sale. We moved everything into a building where we planned to stage the yard sale. A week later, someone broke in a back window and stole much of what we had put in the building.
My husband was furious. He went through a litany of “if only” declarations:
- If only we had a security camera
- If only we had put up a fence
- If only we lived closer to the building
It was exhausting sitting with him as he went through the problem of having our stuff stolen.
My oldest son had a different perspective:
- Thank goodness we had insurance
- Thank goodness the insurance will pay to replace everything
- Thank goodness we don’t have to have a yard sale now
Two people seeing the same situation from two different perspectives. My husband grew up in a “negative focus” family so he immediately went to the negatives. My son grew up listening to me talk about finding the positive and seeking out the possibilities so that’s what he saw.
When things don’t go the way you expected, what do you see. If you develop a habit for seeing the positives, then you will see the positives. If you develop a habit for seeing the negatives, then trust me when I say it won’t go well.
WARNING: Even when it does go well the negative focus will find a way to locate a problem from all the good going on.
Thoughts Drive Actions – How to Shift Them to Possibilities
You will think the way you practice thinking. Yes. You have to practice thinking! My husband didn’t think negative thoughts naturally. He practiced it for most of his life because of what he was around. My son didn’t naturally think positive thoughts. He practiced positive thinking all of his life because of what he was around.
If you want to have a positive mindset that can drive positive actions then you have to practice.
1. You have to change your perspective to challenge your mindset.
- Ask others what they think about the situation. We can learn different perspectives by choosing to see through different eyes.
- Look for the opposite. When you get stuck in a negative focus, make an intentional choice to view everything from the opposite side. There’s a whole Sienfield show on this very concept.
- Flip the script. My son was incredible at seeing things from unique perspectives. He was known to watch television while hanging upside down on the back of the couch. “It looks different from here.” Dare to flip the script on how something must be viewed and see them from ways that others may never have considered. You don’t have to settle on that viewpoint, but you can learn something from trying it.
- Challenge your proofs. When you see something one way, dare to challenge what you see. Question your position. Question your evidence. Question everything.
2. Fake it until you make it.
- Dare to be more than you are. It’s not about pretending to be something you aren’t, but instead, about walking into the person you want to be.
- Dress for the job you want. Get up and put on a suit, even if your office is down the hall from the bedroom.
- Keep learning until you have what you need to get there. If you want to get to a new position or a new occupation, then learn, grow, and step until you do. As long as you keep going, nothing will stop you. The only thing that can hold you back stares out at you from the mirror each morning.
3. Think about what you want not what you have.
- Imagine the life you want. Write it out. BE as detailed as possible because the more detailed the dream the more determined you’ll become to have the dream come true.
- Create a plan to get the life you want. Once you know where you want to go, set out the steps you have to take to get there. Again, specifics are the most valuable part of the process.
- Meditate on the life you want. Write out your imagined life in a one sentence elevator pitch. Wite it on an index card so you can carry it around with you. Say it out loud to your mirror image. Keep reading it and saying it until you don’t have to look at it, and then keep saying it even more.
- Speak the life you want. When negative situations or things contrary to your imagined life are encountered, speak the life you want. “I may be facing this today, but tomorrow I will live my best life.”
- Keep imagining, mediating, and speaking until you believe it enough to make it happen. Don’t stop believing. Hold on to your imagined life no matter what storms arise. The more you imagine, meditate, and speak the more impossible it becomes for anything (or anyone) to stop you from living your dreams.
What thoughts have your attention?
It’s been said that as a man thinks, so is he. It’s kind of the mind equivalent of “you are what you eat.” Steve Jobs said it this way, what you do is based on what you think. If you want to do more, then think of more. If you want to do better then think of better. If you want to live big dreams then start thinking on those big dreams.
Negatives things happen. Troubles come up. Storms make landfall. It’s not these problems that keep you from taking action for your best life, it’s the thoughts about them that hold you back. Dare to think thoughts of bold and purposeful living until you do.
Change Your Thoughts to Change Your Actions
Challenge: You can control your thoughts. When negatives show up, flip the script. Find one positive thing in or with that situation.
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Kathryn Lang believes it is simple, and as an award-winning author and natural-born hopesmith, she shares tips on how to find your why, pursue your purpose, and live a bold, intentional life – always with a dash of twisted encouragement.