Many questions we can ask ourselves as leaders help us determine a benchmark for who we are as a leader, where we are on our leadership journey, and where we are going in the future.
Here are some of those poignant questions:
- Do you ever find yourself thinking bad thoughts about someone else?
- Do you ever think bad thoughts about yourself?
- Here is an easier question: “Are You Human?”
If your answer to this last question is YES, then you can honestly answer YES to the first two questions.
Bad thoughts are human but, we should not let them control us.
Human beings, above all other animals on the planet possess the wonderful ability to reason. In most situations we tend to think before we act. Unlike less intelligent species, before we do almost anything, we imagine possible results and potential pitfalls.
- We think about how our actions and reactions might help us, harm us, propel us forward or hold us back.
- We thrive on information and we fill our heads with all kinds of thoughts and ideas about how we should live our lives.
- We are the superior species on earth because we think a lot, learn a lot, reason a lot and do a lot of incredible things after a good deal of intellectual assessment.
Sometimes because of external influences or internal fears, our thoughts become negative.
We might imagine that someone or something in our lives might harm us in some way or we might think that for some reason, we are not capable of doing something that we need to do in order to succeed. When our thoughts turn to black, our mood will change for the worse and our performance will begin to lag.
During those down periods we will often say or do things that are not characteristic of our usual behavior. In the worst cases, we might even strike out at those around us or withdraw into solitude in order to avoid the source of our trepidations. We might turn away from people who matter to us and people who only want the best for us.
The worst thing about bad thoughts is that they put our lives on hold.
While we are under the control of bad thoughts, we stop trying, we stop doing and we fail to get on with living. We should never allow a bad thought to stop us from doing something that must be done or something that we really want to do.
Despite the fact that we all want to avoid them, human beings allow bad thoughts to consume them and take charge of their lives every day! Bad thoughts, when allowed to rule are the enemies of optimism, the thieves of enthusiasm and the killers of motivation.
Often our bad thoughts will consume us for extended periods.
During those times, we will be depressed, impatient, uncommunicative, anxious, or confrontational. Our human, negative energy will bubble to the surface and change our normal demeanour into something that is unpalatable to others.
In essence our internal bad thoughts can ultimately become our external reality as we drive people away from us while becoming sad, lonely spectres of our normal selves.
Do not allow your bad thoughts to control you.
Here are some tips to help you recognize and take control of your own negative energy. You can do all of them, some of them, or just one. The important thing is to do something.
When a bad thought enters your mind:
1. ASK YOURSELF, “WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT CAN HAPPEN?”
If the answer does not include death or physical harm, you will be much more likely to move past it.
2. SETTLE DOWN
Take a deep breath and think about some good things in your life. Tell yourself that you are a good person with a good life and that you can get beyond the current set-back.
3. SAY IT OUT LOUD
You can say it alone behind closed doors, or you can say it to a trusted confidant. Once you have verbalized your thoughts, they become much easier to deal with.
4. TALK TO A FRIEND, A CLOSE RELATIVE, A TRUSTED CO-WORKER OR SOMEONE ELSE WHO WILL LISTEN
You need to hear an alternative point-of-view in order to put things into perspective.
5. SEEK OUT A RESOLUTION
You can work on the problem with another person or you can think of a variety of courses of action and positive resolutions on your own.
6. WRITE IT DOWN
Write down the bad thought and read it over. Then right down all of the possible outcomes of it…both positive and negative. When you see it in writing it will take on a different look.
7. IF IT INVOLVES ANOTHER PERSON, GIVE THEM A BREAK
Think about the fact that nothing good ever comes from negativity and that forgiveness is the antidote to hard feelings.
8. CONFRONT IT HEAD-ON
If you have a bad thought, it has to be given life before it can die a natural death. Face the day to think about it, eliminate it, and move on to more positive thoughts as quickly as you can.
9. FORGIVE YOURSELF
Human beings tend to be hard on themselves. You need to be able to accept that you will make mistakes sometimes and that you are better than you think you are at that moment.)
10. DEAL WITH IT RIGHT AWAY!
Do not allow a bad thought to grow and fester in your mind. If left unfettered a bad thought can grow into a major tragedy or a life-changing trauma before you know it.
Overcoming bad thoughts must be a deliberate, conscious and extraordinarily positive act.
From now on, when a bad thought enters your mind remember that it must not be allowed to control you. Take time out of your busy day to think about it, eliminate it, and move on to more positive thoughts as quickly as you can.
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Image Sources: ithinkifeeliam.com
- Trapped in our humanity? (ethicsblog.crb.uu.se)
- The Science of Thought (thebestebookstop.wordpress.com)
- Knowledge and Bonds (stephenpolsky.wordpress.com)