Self-Awareness 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts and Positive Intentions. What role do they play in the journey of self-awareness? Do they truly make a difference?
In this episode, Willard responds to a viewer's questions regarding positive thoughts and positive intentions. The viewer has been facing some extreme challenges and wanted to know if these things truly work? Or are they just something to make you "feel good"?
< EP 25: Facing Fear EP 27: Active Listening Skills >
Today, we're going to discuss the role of positive thoughts and positive intentions in your journey of self awareness.
Recently someone posted a question in our forums, based on one of the previous episodes that we did which I thought it was a very genuine and very important question. I also thought that many other people may be thinking the same thing. This person wanted to know if I believed that positive thoughts and positive intentions would really make that much of a difference when someone is going through extremely tough times in their life. Or did I believe it is just hype designed to make them "feel good"? And this person also admitted in their post, that they were skeptical of how all this "self awareness" would apply in their situation and how it would work for them in improving their life. From what they were sharing, they have heard so much about positive thoughts and positive intentions, and they really just did not want to blindly buy into it.
And my response to them is: Don’t.
I'm not a big believer in the idea that if you just think happy, positive thoughts all day long, and you just send out to the universe that you want a million dollars and a Ferrari and a trophy wife, that it is all going to magically show up for you. I don't buy that. The whole thing for me with regard to positive thoughts and positive intentions, is about focus.
I believe that using positive thoughts and positive intentions allows me to create a different kind of focus, which allows me to tap into resources that I would not have had otherwise. By having a more positive focus, it allows me to then create the changes I desire in my life.
I'll give you a really quick example regarding how I believe that positive thoughts affect your focus. Some of you may have experienced this before. I need you to take about 15- 20 seconds right now, and I want you to look around your surroundings, take in everything. What you're looking for, is everything that you can see that is red. Look at your desk, look at the books that are around you, look at the pictures, look at your own clothing, make sure to look behind you, look around for everything you can see that is the color red.
Now, remember all these things that you saw which were red. Then close your eyes, keep them closed until I tell you to open them (and since this would be hard to do reading a transcription, I guess you'll need to read ahead), and I want you to, out loud, tell me everything that you remember seeing... that was green. Keep your eyes closed. Tell me everything that you saw that was green.
Usually when I'm doing this in a live setting, I get some very interesting expressions on people's faces who believe that I am messing with them or that they have been tricked. It's actually quite amusing.
What I want you to do right now, and I can still remember the very first time that I did this; I want you to take a moment and look around those exact same surroundings and notice how many things you now see that are green that you could not remember seeing when you had your eyes closed.
Did these things just magically appear? This is an exercise that is done to demonstrate what is called the Reticular Activating System. The idea is that how you direct your focus, will determine what you see and how you see it. In essence, your mind deletes the things that you are not focusing on and enhances the things that you are. It's the same thing that happens when you use positive thoughts versus negative thoughts.
Okay let's apply this to this series about self awareness, with the idea being that you are becoming more aware of the thoughts you consistently hold in your mind, the ones that carry you through the day.
Do positive thoughts actually make a difference? My belief is absolutely; because it allows you to open up that spectrum of what you're looking at, and allows you to see, and therefore tap into more resources than you had available when you were looking at the same issue with a negative attitude.
For me, this has shown up often in my life, especially in the past when financial struggles would come into play. Based on past experiences where I had some very serious challenges with finances, whenever things would even begin to get out of control in regard to my finances, I would immediately get scared remembering the trouble I had gotten into in the past and I would start focusing on the all the negative possibilities. I would start repeating to myself again and again things like, "Oh my God, how am I going to do this? How am I going to pay this bill and how am I going to take care of that problem over there? What am I going to do without this and that?"
All of sudden, that kind of focusing on the negative would begin to affect everything in my life. Instead of taking the kind of actions that I need to take so I could repair that bad financial situation, I would find myself watching more TV. I would find all kinds of ways to distract myself so I didn't have to think about the problem that was causing me so much pain. And that would spiral into an even deeper need for distraction, because the worse I felt, the more I would want to distract myself. So I started eating more unhealthy food and not exercising and not taking care of myself. All because I was focusing on that negative perception of what was happening in my life.
Again, this course is about self awareness, and the idea is for you to become more aware of when you're thinking positive thoughts or negative ones, because bad things are going to happen. You are going to have situations happen in your life that will throw you off balance. My belief is that this is about recognizing when it does happen, so you can adjust your focus, so you can adjust your thoughts, and in doing so, you can become more proactive about finding a solution so you can move forward.
You have to be aware. It happens, it actually happened with me tonight. It's late, and Jerry and I have been working on this and other episodes tonight. I have a lot of things in my personal schedule over the next few days. As an example, I've made commitments to my daughter where I promised to take her to different places that over the next four days will mean that I'm going to spend anywhere between 18 to 24 hours driving. This means that I'm not going to get much sleep over the next four days. When we started filming tonight that was my whole focus. I couldn't even focus on the topic we were filming because I kept saying to myself, "Oh my God. How am I going to make it? I can't mess up tonight and go late. What am I going to do if I get no sleep? I have so much to do over the next few days."
As you can imagine, that kind of thinking was not making me very resourceful for pulling together the information we needed to cover in the episode. And it caused me to make several mistakes in earlier attempts at taping this episode. It also affected how Jerry and I communicate on improving each episode because I was so focused on the "negative" that I was not open to his suggestions.
I'm not sharing that with you to focus on the negative experience that happened. I'm simply sharing to let you know -- it happens. It happens for all of us. And it is simply a matter of becoming aware of when you are in that state of mind so you can make a decision to change it.
I realized that I was not delivering the content the way I needed to deliver it. I couldn't even really think about the content that I needed to deliver because my focus was completely on, "Gotta wrap this and get this done. I gotta get out of here. Gotta do this... gotta do that..."
When you become aware that your thoughts are controlling your actions, you have the ability to stop… and choose new thoughts. You have the ability to choose where your focus is going to be. No matter what happens to you in your life, no matter how traumatic, no matter how devastating it is; you choose the meaning you attach to it. We discussed this topic in one of our previous videos. (Self-Awareness 101 Episode 4: The Only Meaning That Anything Has Is The Meaning That We Give It)
I need you to understand that positive thoughts are not about saying, "Okay, I just lost my job. But, hey... the world is great!" It's about saying, "Okay. I just lost my job. What do I do now? Do I cry about it? You know what? Maybe I will... for 15 minutes. Then I'm going to sit down and find a better way to look at this." It is about saying to yourself, "You know what? This is moving me into a new place in my life. Maybe I never really liked that job as much as I thought I did to begin with. Maybe this gives me a new opportunity to find one that is better suited to who I am and who I desire to be. Maybe it is an opportunity for me to start my own business. Again, I could cry, I could whine, and I could complain about the fact that I just lost my job. Or I could take a look at the positive possibilities, and apply myself in ways that will move me forward."
So, in answering the question that was in the forum, I do believe that positive thoughts and positive intentions play a major role in your personal development. I believe that is plays a huge role in your life, and in creating the things that you desire.
But for me to just tell you that and expect you to believe it is not practical. I don't expect you to simply take my word on it. I think you need to actually experience it for yourself. I think you need to begin to become aware of what your thoughts are and what you are focusing on.
Here is an exercise that I suggest. Start your day off in a way that's going to empower you through the whole day by starting your morning out with a list of positive thoughts. It is a simple exercise that only takes you 10 to 15 minutes. Before your feet hit the floor, before you get into the shower, before you start your day; take 10 - 15 minutes to write down...
5 things that you're happy about or that you could be happy about if you chose to be.
5 things that you're grateful for, or that you "could" be grateful for if you're having a rough morning.
5 things that you're excited about.
And 5 things that you're proud of.
If it takes you a little while to get those answers down on paper, that's fine. Trust me, there have been mornings where I have gotten up, and I say to myself, "There's absolutely nothing I have to be happy about today." And then I ask myself, "Well, what could I be happy about if I wasn't being so stubborn?" And it doesn't take long before I come up with a couple of things.
When you're done with writing down that list, just spend some time looking over it. "Be" with it. Feel those emotions. Feel the happiness. Feel the gratitude. Feel the excitement. Feel the pride. Then after you have used these positive thoughts as a way to shift into focusing on all those good feelings, go and begin your day.
Do it for 7 days; and the end of that week, you tell me, did you respond and react to situations differently because you started your day off in a more positive mindset?
Again, I look forward to hearing your results; I look forward to your questions.
Stop by our forum. We check it out daily and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
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Self-Awareness 101 Series with Transcription Plus
Introduction To Self-Awareness 101: To Inspire, Educate and Empower
SA 101 Episode 1: The Importance of Developing Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 2: How to Truly Learn from Mistakes
SA 101 Episode 3: To Soar, I Needed To Let Go Of The Past
SA 101 Episode 4: The Meaning That We Give Things
SA 101 Episode 5: Kind Words And Good Deeds Are Eternal
SA 101 Episode 6: Life Begins At The End Of Your Comfort Zone
SA 101 Episode 7: Two Most Powerful Words You'll Ever Say
SA 101 Episode 8: Making Time For What's Truly Important
SA 101 Episode 9: Expectations and Desires About How It Ought To Be
SA 101 Episode 10: Tap Into The Sources Of The Universe
SA 101 Episode 11: The Four Agreements
SA 101 Episode 12: Courage-Being Scared But Saddling Up Anyways
SA 101 Episode 13: The Power Of Belief Systems
SA 101 Episode 14: Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Optional
SA 101 Episode 15: Establishing Personal Boundaries
SA 101 Episode 16: Encountering External Resistance To Change
SA 101 Episode 17: Creating A Supportive Environment
SA 101 Episode 18: Our Decisions Determine Who We Become
SA 101 Episode 19: Personal Development Tests
SA 101 Episode 20: A List Of Excuses Vs. Results
SA 101 Episode 21: The Meaning Of Honesty
SA 101 Episode 22: Living In Gratitude
SA 101 Episode 23: Repetitive Patterns
SA 101 Episode 24: Non-Verbal Cues
SA 101 Episode 25: Be Brave Enough To Accept The Help Of Others
SA 101 Episode 26: Positive Thoughts And Positive Intentions
SA 101 Episode 27: Active Listening Skills
SA 101 Episode 28: How Self-Awareness Relates To Spirituality
SA 101 Episode 29: Positive Affirmations
SA 101 Episode 30: Basic Meditation Exercises
SA 101 Episode 31: Personal Development At Work
SA 101 Episode 32: Toxic Shame
SA 101 Episode 33: Eliminating Clutter
SA 101 Episode 34: How To Forgive Others
SA 101 Episode 35: Self-Forgiveness
SA 101 Episode 36: Deepening Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 37: What Is Fear?
SA 101 Episode 38: How To Overcome Fear
SA 101 Episode 39: Dealing With Your Anger
SA 101 Episode 40: How To Find Your Passion
SA 101 Episode 41: Increasing Your Self-Awareness
SA 101 Episode 42: How To Feel Deserving
SA 101 Episode 43: How To Be A Humble Observer
SA 101 Episode 44: Progress Not Perfection
SA 101 Episode 45: Expectations And Perfectionism
SA 101 Episode 46: Dealing With Anger
SA 101 Episode 47: Taking Responsibility For Yourself
SA 101 Episode 48: Achieving Higher Consciousness
SA 101 Episode 49: Trust Life
SA 101 Episode 50: Being Skeptical
SA 101 Episode 51: Benefits Of Closure
SA 101 Episode 52: The Final Episode