Volume 8: Grit Part 2 – How to Control your Thoughts

Now we understand Perseverance and the subcategories that form Perseverance, its now time to understand How To Control Your Thoughts. A vital part to Grit and I believe, the most advantageous. To control your thoughts there are 3 things in life you need to practice regularly. One, you need your self-talk to be positive but realistic. Two, you need to practice Gratitude and be honest with your Gratitude. Three, be Mindful and pay attention to your thoughts and just as importantly, pay attention to the feelings you link to those thoughts. 

This part of Grit has changed my life.

The way I look at life and how I tackle everything in it is completely different to how it used to be, I hope this can have the same profound effect for you.  

The Grit to Control your Thoughts 

As an overview, thoughts are simply either your friend or your enemy. If you are interested in being your best, your inner monologue needs to support the best you want to be. The only way to navigate doubt and disappointment is to learn how to control your thoughts. The difference between achieving and not achieving is 90% mental, and most of that mental edge is down to who can control their thoughts and who can’t. Without this ability, boredom and frustration can quickly flood the mind and annihilate your focus. There are 3 skills needed to control your thoughts, Self-Talk, Gratitude and Mindfulness. 

Self-Talk 

Positive thoughts will always produce a higher output and expand the mind compared to negative  thoughts. That’s pretty obvious, right. But science has shown that it takes 3 times the number of positive thoughts to counterbalance a negative thought! This really blew my mind when I read the research paper’s on this. The 3-1 ratio seems to be the tipping point where positive emotions are released. Affirmations are a great way to do this but be careful. There is a difference between being positive and lying to yourself.                                                                                                                               

The positive affirmation I use every day right now are ;- I AM A GREAT LEADER – I AM FEARLESS – I AM UNSTOPPABLE. I intrinsically and wholeheartedly believe these are true and I use them to centre myself and remind myself of the commitments I have made to my wife, to my team, to my community and to myself. If you are saying to yourself that you are a millionaire, you are the best version of yourself, even that you have your shit together, and none of these are true, then you will feel demotivated. Don’t lie to yourself. Let your affirmations be a positive reflection of where you are in life and use them to generate drive inside of you. Make sure you are pumping yourself up, not beating yourself down. 

Gratitude

Daily Gratitude Practices alter the brains negativity bias. Our brains consume 9 times more negative info in one day compared to positive info. I don’t like them odds, so that’s why it is so important to be grateful (not satisfied) with what you have in your life. There are two ways to do this.             

Option 1 – Write 10 things down that you are grateful for and when writing them, really express your gratitude towards that point and focus on where you are feeling the gratitude. Is it your head, your heart or your gut. The more intensely you do this, the more dopamine will be released, the more beneficial it is.                             

Option 2 - Write 3 things down but expand them into small paragraphs. You want to write, specifically, why you  are grateful for that particular point. The more specific you are the clearer the feeling, the clearer the feeling, the bigger dopamine hit you get. Once again you want to focus on the feeling of gratefulness 
and where in your body you feel it.

There is also a lot of scientific evidence that suggests that the confidence and optimism produced by gratitude actually lowers anxiety within us.  

Mindfulness 

Mindfulness is as advertised, the act of paying attention to your thoughts. It isn’t a spiritual practice, it’s a cognitive tool. By being aware of your thoughts as they enter your head,  you will start to notice a gap between the thought coming up and how you feel about it. Once that starts happening, the simple act of noticing the gap gives you freedom, the freedom to choose how you want to feel. It becomes a conscious decision, therefore, you become in control. 

Research Single Point Mindfulness and Open Senses Meditation. 2 different exercises that encourage mindfulness that work very well. The more creative you are the more I would lean towards Open Senses Mindfulness. The more analytical you are the more I would lean towards Single Point Mindfulness. Don’t limited yourself to one or the other, I always thought I was ‘Creative’ but Single Point Mindfulness worked better for me. 5-10 minutes of Mindfulness each day has shown to lower anxiety, decrease stress while also being a 
catalyst for focus, drive and resilience.   
 
If you have started your Perseverance Practices, I really encourage you to dive straight into this! 

As always, I would love your feedback on whether you are joining in our training and whether you have taken on board any parts of what we have been teaching.  

Much love  

Tom 

WE ALL SMILE IN THE SAME LANGUAGE