According to neuroscientists as the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those 60,000 thoughts, 95% are repeated each day. Of these 59,000 repeated, daily thoughts, 80% are negative.
Negative thinking is a thought process people use to find and focus on the worst in everything. Negative thinking can find the worst in everyone we know, in every situation that involves our work, in every activity we do. Basically, negative thinking is a survival strategy that tells us to look for what’s wrong so we can protect ourselves from danger. Is whatever it is really wrong or really dangerous? It doesn’t matter. Our thoughts tell us what seems real, not true reality.
Obviously, we can’t control which thoughts bounce around in our brains but we can control which thoughts we focus on. Eric Barker tells us in his blog, Barking Up the Wrong Tree, that we are the CEOs of our brains. We decide which thoughts our brains pay attention to and which thoughts we act upon.
Once we embrace the concept that we can actually control our thoughts, we can ask ourselves this one very important question. “Is this thought useful to me?”
For example, is it useful to me to think that my co-worker is stealing clients from me? Is it useful to me to think that I’m overly shy and can’t pick up the phone to make cold calls? Is it useful to me to think that I’m not disciplined enough to be at work on time every day?
Instead of telling these negative thoughts I have about my co-worker, my shyness, my lack of discipline to STOP, I can now assess them and determine whether they are accurate or whether these negative thoughts are fears. And once, I’ve made this assessment, I can make these thoughts work for me, rather than against me.