Several months ago, in the 2018 Goal setting newsletter
, I suggested being focused and selective with your time. Lately, I was wondering what
you focus on and pay the most attention to these days.
What do you listen to the most?
- Talk radio
- Movies / Videos
- Friends talking
Second question: is the message primarily
- Positive, negative or neutral
- Optimistic or pessimistic
- Encouraging or discouraging
- Educational or nonsensical
Your answers are important because how you feel daily is being shaped by what you listen to. What you focus on will increase in your life and be reflected in your attitude and actions.
The research on the importance of focus is deep and compelling.
Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, when asked what single factor most contributed to their success, said Focus.
Timothy Ferriss said, “Being selective—doing less—is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.”
An Unknown author said, “The successful man is the average man, focused.”
On an everyday level, the easiest way to mistakenly cut your finger while working in the kitchen is to focus on (look at) your finger more than the food you are cutting. Smashing a finger when hammering a nail happens most when you focus your eyes on your finger rather than the nail.
Returning to my first question, the correct answer to what you listen to the most is – for everyone – your thoughts. It’s what you say to yourself in your head – your self-talk. Yes, you talk to yourself, all day, every day, probably way more than you know.
Don’t be concerned that you talk to yourself, or even that you answer yourself, we all do. Be very concerned about what you say to yourself! It is slowly, silently and powerfully shaping your attitudes and actions.
Now that you know you listen most to your thoughts, how will you answer the second question – what is the primary tone of that message?
I’ve often thought it would be cool to connect my brain to a printer, and print every thought I say to myself for one day. Crazy, I know, but the results would be very telling.
If you recorded all your self-talk for one day, printed it out and then highlighted all the positive thoughts in green, the negative thoughts in red, and the neutral thoughts in gray, what color would dominate your document? Are you sure?
In his book The Power Of Story, world-renowned performance psychologist, Dr. Jim Loehr states, “I believe that stories – again, not the ones people tell us but the ones we tell ourselves – determine nothing less than our personal and professional destinies. And the most important story you will ever tell about yourself is the story you tell TO yourself.”
The truth is you are your biggest advocate or your worst enemy. You see, everything starts with a thought.
The good news is that no matter what thoughts you currently communicate to yourself, you can change them. They are only thoughts, and changing your thoughts is under your control.
Loving yourself is one of the most positive changes you can make, and impacts many other areas of your life. Louise Hay suggested the following: “The first step to loving yourself more is to stop criticizing yourself.”
Make a conscious effort to pay more attention to your self-talk. When you find yourself saying something negative, pessimistic or critical
stop dead in your tracks and hear what you just said to yourself
record or remember it so you can examine why you said it
change the message to align with how you want your life to be