The Direction of Your Life is Determined by Your Thoughts

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You might have the intention to either step into the day with purpose or to live a life that is intentional but…

Great phrases and deep down that’s exactly what we have in mind for our lives.  I bet, there is no one who intentionally plans to have a bad life.  No one intentionally wakes up to be the worst employee of the day.  I would wager that for most people, we wake up and want to be the best, to achieve the best and to live out the best life not just for today but every day.

However, the reality may not be the case.  In fact, I think the best time of the day is when I am in still bed, planning the day with the intention for it to be the best day ever.  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration but not too far from the truth.

At any point of your life, if you were to just stop and reflect and think about what and where you are today, what would you think?  Would you think that your life is exactly where you had planned and thought off?  Would you say that you are living the dream now?

If you are somewhere along your life journey and pretty much what you thought you would be, then well done.  If you are somewhere that is not where you had thought you would be, then is this something that you might want to change?  The key here is what you think, your thoughts and how your thoughts will impact and determine your actions and outcomes.

Hence the phrase, “The direction of your life is determined by your strongest thoughts” and or in other words, it is your strongest thoughts that determines the direction of your life.

For example, if you think your life is miserable, your life is most probably miserable, and the direction of your life is most probably heading in a more miserable direction.  Your thoughts will determine how you perceive the world around you.  Your thoughts will determine how you interpret what happens to you, and if your thoughts are negative or pessimistic in nature, then you will interpret the situation negatively.  However, if you view the world positively, you will perceive the situation very differently.

That is what differentiates a person living a life heading in the right direction.  The mindsets, thoughts and responses to what life throws at you determines how you live your life.

The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts.  In fact, it is determined by your strongest and loudest thoughts.

To change the course of your life, you will need to change your mindset.  It is your mindset that will determine how you perceive information, determine your thoughts and determine your actions or responses.

Example, boat or ship.  To change the direction or course of where a ship is sailing, it is the rudder which will determine the direction of the ship.  The rudder, by comparison to the size of the ship is very small and yet the impact is huge.  Therefore, our thoughts, no matter the size of the shift or change, can create a huge impact in the outcome or the direction of your life.

3 keys to changing your thought life and they are:

1.  Mindset change. 

2.  Persistent feeding of renewed thoughts. 

3.  Be kind to yourself. 

Mindset Change.

The starting point of any change to your thought pattern comes from mindset changes or shifts.   What is mindset?  To put it simply, mindset is a set of beliefs or values that shape how you interpret the world around you.  It is a series of beliefs that you hold about yourself and of others.  Your mindset will determine your outlook, behaviour and mental attitude.

According to Carol Dweck, the author of the book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, there are essentially 2 Mindsets, and they are Growth and Fixed.  The key differences between the mindsets are how individuals view themselves in terms of their learning abilities, how to respond and react to challenges, difficulties, and criticism, how they view failure, effort, and how success is defined and shared.

The critical thing to note is that regardless of which mindset you are currently in, you have the power and the ability to change your mindset.  Why?  Your mindset is not set in stone.  Your mindset is determined by what you choose to set your mind on.  As the saying goes, where there is a will, there is a way.  We have the great ability to make dramatic changes when we decide to do it.

What is your current mindset?  Growth or Fixed?  How can you tell? 

 Here are some simple questions to get you started:

1.  What is your view around your intelligence or learning abilities?  Is it fixed or can be constantly developed? 

2.  How do you view challenges?  Do you embrace or avoid challenges?

3.  How do you view failures?  Is it the end of the world or it is an opportunity to learn?

4.  How do you view feedback or criticism?  Do you avoid or ignore negative feedback and only want to hear good and positive feedback?  Do you view criticism or negative feedback as an opportunity to learn and improve from?

5.  How do you view others especially their success?  Do you feel threatened?  Do you find it as an opportunity to learn from them?

The key is to know that mindsets can be changed.  To change your mindset is to essentially reprogram your mindset.  Mindset change is possible by focusing your thoughts on the new or desired one.  For example, if you want to change from a fixed to growth mindset, you will now focus on growth mindset attributes such as a learner mindset.  You will now consciously reprogram your thoughts to those such as:

  • “I am a learner and therefore this is an opportunity to learn.” 
  • “This did not work but I have now learned what does not work so that I can try something else to learn what does work.”

Persistent feeding of renewed thoughts. 

Once you have determined your current mindset, you now have the power to change your thoughts.  If there is only one thing that you will get out of this episode, it is this… you will need to feed your new thoughts.  Creating a change in your mindset, would mean nothing if you are not feeding your new thoughts.  What do I mean by that?  A thought is like a seed.  It starts out as a seed; it needs to be watered and cared for in order for it to grow and then to ultimately bloom.  Your new budding thoughts needs to be carefully cared for.  The best way to feed these new thoughts and cement the mindset change is to put it into practice.

Just like any new habit that you want to develop, you will need to put it into action and do so consistently.  Yes, at the start, it will be hard because it would seem very uncomfortable and unnatural for you.  With time and constant application, the new thoughts will eventually take hold and become second nature to you.

There is no running away from effort and energy that you will need to put in place.  You will need to put in the effort to refocus or replace old mindsets with the new.  Whatever thoughts you feed the most, that is what will grow.  Whatever thoughts you starve, that is what will die.  Therefore, to create new thought patterns, you will need to starve the old and feed the new.

To further help you along, you might want to learn more and the 2 best books that I have read around this topic is:

1.  Carol Dweck on Mindset

2.  Jim Kwik, Limitless.

Be Kind to Yourself.

Be kind to yourself.  That is probably the best self-care advice you could get and apply.  No one learns anything perfectly at the first time.  In fact, for most of us, it takes many hours of making mistakes and failing before you are able to learn any skill or perform anything to a level of satisfaction.  That’s part of the exciting journey of learning and development.  The good news is that you are not the only one to have failed or made a mistake.  Therefore, the best way to pick yourself up and to try again is to be kind to yourself.

It is quite amazing if you were to think about all the skills that you have picked over the years.  If you were to look back at the first time when you were learning to do anything, you will remember just how awkward or difficult it was.  However, after many hours of practice, you can now see the progress and in some cases just how easy something is now.  For example, the ability to write.  I am sure that for most of us we have forgotten just how difficult it was.  Just watch any child learning to write and you will see just how difficult it is.  Just writing a letter is a struggle.  The good news is that with practice and persistence, a child is able to write.  How do we treat a child when he is learning how to write?  We encourage them and are kind to their effort.  We need to do the same to ourselves too.

Be kind to yourself.  Change does not happen overnight.  Because some of our toxic mindset and thoughts have been developed and nurtured over years, it will take time for you to change it.  Therefore, it is important that you are kind to yourself.  Be kind to yourself when you fall back into those old thought patterns.  However, as soon as you realise it or am aware, change or replace your old thought patterns with the new.  Mindset changes will happen, and it takes time.  Expect setbacks but do not let the setbacks set you back.  Do not let the setbacks keep you hostage.  You have the power to change and to overcome because the same source of the toxic or destructive mindset comes from the same source that is able to create the fresh and forward moving thoughts.  That power lies in you.

Let me summarise what has been covered:

The direction of your life is determined by your thoughts and therefore to change the direction of your life, you will need to:

1.  Change your mindset.

2.  Be persistent in feeding the new mindset and thoughts.

3.  Be Kind to yourself.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog.  I hope that you have learned at least one thing that you are able to apply into your everyday life.   As always, please subscribe, follow and share this blog with your friends.  Take care and step into the everyday with purpose. 

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