In this article (and the video above) we’re gonna go through some unhelpful thinking styles and how we can counteract them to literally change our lives. Now, that might sound dramatic and overhyped, but the truth is that our thoughts will lead to our beliefs, and our beliefs will lead to our actions, and our actions will lead to our results. What we think directly influences the results that we create in our life.
How far does it go?
It includes, what we do for a living, where we work, who we spend our time with, how we see ourselves, our health, our fitness, how much money we have. Literally absolutely everything in our lives, is a result of the thoughts that go through our head, because they lead to our beliefs which lead to our actions, which lead to our results. It’s super important to make sure that when we’re running unhelpful thinking patterns, when we’re thinking negative thoughts, when we’re identifying with negative thoughts, we must make sure that we’re disrupting those patterns and discontinuing ourselves from identifying with that negativity.
Let’s talk about some unhelpful thinking patterns
This is in no particular order, but number one is jumping to negative conclusions. For example, something happens, somebody says something, and immediately we assume that it must be the negative. We assume it’s because we’re not good enough or because we didn’t do something right, or we blame ourselves, or we say, “Oh, this thing happened, and it’s because of the economy, that means it’s not a good time to start an online business”. We basically created a negative association with an event that’s happened, and then we use that negative association to explain something.
Number two is overgeneralisation, where we basically say, “Oh, because this one thing happened one time, that therefore means that things will keep happening like that again and again,” or something to that effect. We take very limited data and we use that and extrapolate that into creating another meaning about what it means for what will happen in the future. We’ll overgeneralise from a negative sense.
Then number three is black and white thinking
Literally assuming that it’s either this way or this way, and there’s nothing in between. Couldn’t be further from the truth. There are all sorts of variations and scales and grey areas in absolutely everything. Nothing is absolute, and if we behave or assume that everything is absolute, we are boxing ourselves in very fixed realities or very fixed constructs or ways of thinking. That’s not gonna enable us to create incredible results in our lives if we’re categorising ourself in this fixed way.
Number four is putting too much emphasis on the negative
For example, seven positive things happen and one negative thing happens, but we focus entirely on the negative. It’s very natural for humans to do that. That’s how we’re wired, because from an evolutionary sense, our brains want us to highlight the threats. They want us to highlight the negatives because that means we’re more likely to survive. But in this day and age, in this world that we live in, survival isn’t really something we have to be concerned with most of the time anymore.
We’re pretty safe in our first-world society. And our brains are not wired to make us happy, they’re not wired to make us successful. They’re just wired to keep us alive. So, focusing on the negative, the one negative out of all the myriad of positives, is a good way to keep us alive, but it’s not a very good way to keep us creating powerful results in our lives and help us be happy.
We’ve gotta learn to start operating outside of that default programming and choose to put real focus on the positives that happen in our lives.
Number five is using our feelings to gauge what is so, what is truth
There’s a lot of merit to using feelings, using gut instinct to guide us and help us navigate through life. But when we use feelings to create meanings and then explain and then justify why things are the way that they are, this thing means that thing because of how I feel about it, feelings are entirely transient. They are a result of a series of biochemical reactions in our body.
I’m not gonna go into the science partly because if there’s any scientists reading this, then you’re gonna see me literally slaughter this explanation, so I’m not gonna go there. But essentially, the feelings that we’re feeling in our body are a result of a series of chemical reactions. Therefore, if we’re basing what is true or what is real in the world outside on feeling, and we’re using our feelings to gauge and create all of these meanings, and from that, we’re then making the decisions that we make in a logical sense that are gonna dictate our lives, based on feelings that are entirely transient.
Have you ever gone from one moment thinking, “I’m on top of the world! I can’t believe how incredible I feel,” and then literally 40 minutes later, you’re like, “I suck, I cannot believe that I did that. Oh my God, I’m so ashamed of myself.” We feel entirely different, and yet, the way that we see the world, if we make a decision from the first state of, “I am literally unstoppable, I’ve got this!” versus “I can’t believe it, I literally let myself down again,” it’s gonna be an entirely different decision which is gonna produce an entirely different result.
So, if we’re basing what is real or what is true on our feelings that will change at any given moment, and therefore, if the way we feel will change and if the way that we feel will change the truth that we decide, then, the way that we feel must have nothing to do with what is true. Otherwise what is true would change the moment how we feel changes.
Or, more importantly, if what is true is fixed, then how we feel would stay fixed in line with what is true. The fact is that they’re completely not connected. They’re two separate things. And again, I’m not saying it’s wrong to listen to your feelings. Your feelings have a real use in life. But when we act as if the way that we feel is permanent and we make decisions as if the way that we feel is permanent, then we are influencing our reality based on something that is entirely transient. And our results that we create are literally just smoke in the air.
They’re completely whimsical, and they’re a result of something that, 40 minutes later, won’t even exist anymore, and we’re leaving it entirely to chance. We can’t leave the results that we create to chance like that if we wanna really make an impact or do something powerful or create something big in our lives.
Any unhelpful thinking style or pattern that we run in our lives comes from one thing and one thing only
That we have attached a meaning to an event, a feeling or a person, and taken that as truth, when in reality, there’s no connection. So, for example, let’s say we wanna start a business, but we don’t have the money to start a business. And so we decide, I can’t afford it. Then from that, we also decide, well, look, it’s probably a good thing. We probably wouldn’t have been able to do it, anyway. I don’t have the technical skills. It would’ve been too risky.
95% of people fail in business as well, and it’s probably better to be realistic and stay safe and just stick with the job that I’ve got, stick with the career that I’ve got because it pays well, and, you know, that’s gonna just enable me to keep paying my bills. And it’s not so bad anyway. I should probably just stop complaining.
So, in that example, we’ve taken reality, which is I wanna start a business, I need money, that money’s not in my bank account. That’s the reality. Start a business, will cost money, I don’t have the money. And what we’ve done from that is we’ve created this entire story about “because the money’s not in my bank account, that means that I can’t afford it and that means I can’t start a business, and it’s probably a good thing that I can’t start a business because it’s too risky” and there’s another meaning. We’re saying because 95% of businesses don’t succeed, that means it’s risky. Actually, it doesn’t. It just means that 95% of people give up before they succeed, that’s all it means.
It doesn’t really mean anything
But we’ve created this entire story to explain and justify what’s so. What’s so, we want a business, we need money, the money’s not in our bank account. That’s what’s so. What we’ve gotta recognise is that everything that happened in there, that chain reaction that just happened, does not exist in reality. It is entirely made up. We have just fabricated it inside our own mind.
There are various questions that we can ask to combat any thought process or thought pattern, any meaning that we’ve created. If we ask the right questions, we can remove the smoke screen, we can unveil the illusion and reveal that it is in fact BS, and we have created it, and the only thing that is real is what’s so. The meanings that we choose to create after that are entirely within our control.
That’s one of the most essential skills of entrepreneurship
It also means it’s gonna drive me to work even harder, and I’m not gonna give up. I’m not gonna be in the 95% of people who fail because I’ve got financial obligations on the line. If I raise capital from somewhere else, I’ve got a moral obligation and a financial obligation to never quit no matter what. I know, therefore, that I will be in that 5% who succeed. I’m not going to give up, and I’m gonna put myself in a position where I can’t give up, because I can’t afford to. Therefore, my success is guaranteed.
And if I had the money in my bank account, I wouldn’t have that same level of drive. But because I don’t, and I’m gonna raise the capital and I’m gonna go for it, this is exactly what I need to succeed. How exciting and empowering is that? Two different stories of meanings from the same what’s so.
We can just as well create the meaning of, I wanna start a business, I don’t have the money in my bank account at the moment and I need money to start a business, and that means I’ve got an exciting challenge ahead of me. I’ve got many different ways that I can now go to raise that capital that’s gonna enable me to grow, it’s gonna enable me to form new connections, and it’s gonna enable me to use other people’s money instead of my own. How awesome is that? I don’t even need to put my own money into it. I can raise capital from somewhere else.
Thoughts of, I don’t have the money in my bank account, I can’t afford it, this means this, this means that, are gonna form the beliefs of, business is risky, it’s better to stay safe, I’m probably not good enough to be an entrepreneur anyway, and on, and on, and on. Those beliefs will then shape how we see the world, and how we see the world will dictate the actions that we take in the world. I.e., staying safe, staying within our comfort zones, not pushing ourselves, not taking risks, and really not being our best selves.
Thoughts of, I don’t have the money in my bank account, I can’t afford it, this means this, this means that, are gonna form the beliefs of, business is risky, it’s better to stay safe, I’m probably not good enough to be an entrepreneur anyway, and on, and on, and on.
Those beliefs will then shape how we see the world, and how we see the world will dictate the actions that we take in the world. I.e., staying safe, staying within our comfort zones, not pushing ourselves, not taking risks, and really not being our best selves.
The result of that is living a mediocre life trapped somewhere you don’t wanna be trapped, feeling unfulfilled, feeling like crap before eventually getting to the end of your life and realising that you never did anything you wanted to do, and then living with regret until you die.
That’s one result, potentially. Another result is the complete opposite. In the second example, it was someone going for it, chasing their dreams, doing what it takes to step into entrepreneurship, really pushing themselves, levelling themselves up, keep going until they succeed, and then ultimately, one day, creating a very different result in their lives. Thoughts, beliefs, actions, results.
Let me give you some questions now to start to break the automated process that goes on in there, because as soon as we start shedding light on it, as soon as we start creating awareness around it and we can see it happening inside our own minds, it no longer just rules everything that we do on autopilot. We suddenly take back choice, because we can choose, we can influence, and we are in direct control, if we have awareness, of what thought patterns and what meanings we create. Beause again, remember, everything that happens beyond what’s so is something we have just made up.
We have just made up all of those meanings ourself. That was us. We can control it, we can change it, and when we flip the switch on the meanings, we flip the switch and create an entirely different result.
So, here are some questions to ask
First question is, are there other people who have done what I’m telling myself I can’t do, despite coming from worse situations than I’m coming from now? So, for example, to shorten it, are there other people who’ve done what I’ve want to do that are the same as me? The answer will always be yes. If we’re saying, “I can’t start a business because I don’t have the money,” well, are there other people who have started businesses with even less money? Yeah, millions of them! So, is it true that you can’t start a business without money? Well, no, therefore, that must be false.
If that was false, if that’s not reality, then the story that I can’t start a business without money doesn’t exist.
And if we’re believing it to be true, it’s because we’re identifying with those thoughts, because thoughts lead to beliefs. We’ve been thinking those thoughts for long enough that we’ve created a belief that I can’t start a business without money. If we can suddenly see that’s not true, we free ourselves up to take action!
The truth is, millions of people start businesses without money
Maybe I can do it, too! Maybe I’ve been living my whole life as if the belief that I can’t start a business without money is true, but actually, it’s not true, I’ve just made that up. And if you wanna take this even a stage further, the beliefs that we have, they’re not even our beliefs. Every belief that we have has been adopted from somewhere else. Our past experience, the collection of our entire past and everything that’s ever happened and every conversation we’ve ever heard, every view we’ve ever had from anyone else.
Every interaction we’ve ever had has shaped our model of reality, and if our beliefs were our own, then they would be the first time that a human being has believed this in the history of ever.
Have other human beings before us believed that you can’t start a business without money? Well, yeah, because where did we get that belief? Was it our parents? Was it our friends? What was it? That belief came from somewhere, and that belief is something that we’ve inherited from somewhere else that’s not true, and it’s not based on reality, but we’ve lived our entire life as if that is one, our belief, and two, something that is true. It is neither.
It’s not our belief and it’s not true
And as soon as we can start seeing that this is the case and breaking the link between the thoughts and the beliefs, and then associating with different thoughts, that’s when we can start creating different results, because we cannot create different results with the same beliefs and actions we’ve always had. If we don’t see ourself as an entrepreneur, we’re not magically gonna wake up tomorrow with a $20 million business. It’s not gonna happen, because we’d have to see ourself as an entrepreneur, and therefore start taking the actions that entrepreneurs take before we can get an entrepreneurial result.
Our view of the world, the way that we see the world, and our beliefs which comes from our thoughts, and remember, they’re not even our beliefs, we’ve adopted them from somewhere else, our results can only live within that finite, fixed reality, that model of reality that we have created.
Another empowering question to ask is “what did I just make that mean?” So, whenever we catch ourselves saying a story, I can’t do this, I can’t have this, I’m not good enough for this, I don’t have the skills for this, I don’t have the time, whenever we catch ourselves wanting to do something, but we feel disempowered in doing it What’s the story that we’ve just told ourselves, and ask yourself, what did I just make it mean?
We’ve gotta start breaking apart what’s so from what did we make it mean, because as we’ve talked about, what did we make it mean exists entirely within our own mind and our own mind only. It is not real.
Let me give you a situation. Let’s say you’re at work, and you share an idea in a meeting, and nobody really takes it on board. It doesn’t get acted on, and you feel humiliated. You feel like you shouldn’t have spoken in the first place, and you feel that people don’t respect you. So what’s so in that situation is you opened your mouth, words came out, and other people heard the words and responded a certain way. That’s what happened.
But the meanings that we’ve created are, oh, that must mean that they don’t value my opinion. That must mean that they don’t think that I have good ideas.
That must mean I shouldn’t voice my thoughts in meetings because if I do that, that’ll mean that again, I’ll get shot down again and I’ll feel bad and I’ll feel worthless and we create all of this crap in meanings, meanings, meanings, meanings, meanings. None of it exists, none of it is real.
Let’s try another meaning
You spoke up, you spoke out in a meeting. You shared an idea, and you know, you got shot down or people didn’t take it on board. Well, it could mean that they’ve got a lot going on in their lives right now. It could mean they’ve got a lot going on in the business. It could mean that they’re about to go through a takeover that you don’t know about. It could mean a myriad of other things that are nothing to do with you, but we wanna make it all about us.
In other people’s lives, we are really not that significant, but we will make out that we are extremely significant in their lives. The fact of the matter is, none of it means anything that we’ve made it mean, and so, if we’re creating these negative meanings, we can decide to create a more positive meaning just like that. We can make it mean, it wasn’t that it was a bad idea. There’s nothing about me. They’ve just got a lot going on right now. I’ll just share the next idea that comes to me, and maybe they’ll take that one on board. End of, boom, get on with your day. Doesn’t mean anything.
As soon as we can start understanding it doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean what we’ve made it mean, that’s not reality, then we can break the pattern and start setting ourselves free from the negative belief, stop living our lives as if people don’t respect us, for example, because that’s not true.
But if we live our lives as if that belief is true, we’ll start showing up in life already assuming that people don’t respect us
And because of that, we behave a certain way, and we then create a result which is in line with that belief, which is people don’t respect us. And then we go and look for proof in the world of all the reasons why people don’t respect us, and we’ll create more meanings to layer onto that belief.
See, all of these things happened in my past that prove that people don’t respect me! No, none of it is true! It was never true, and each time we keep layering on that and acting as if that is truth, we’re just building more and more meaning and fixing ourself more and more into this tiny box labelled people don’t respect me. It’s all BS. So, break the patterns.
I hope those two questions help. If we’re telling ourselves, “I can’t do something,” just ask yourself, have other people in the world from worse positions than me done it already? The answer’s always yes, so therefore, you can do it, too. But we’ve created meanings somewhere along the line which aren’t true, but we’re living as if they’re true, that are then stopping us taking those actions.
Question number two is, what did I just make that mean? Detach from what’s so and the meanings we’ve created about what’s so, and start creating, choosing to create different meanings in your life. I really hope this helps.