CHANGE: the importance of recognising which stage you are at

99% of the clients who ask for my intervention to develop their skills and abilities, at some point in the process consider their beliefs and thinking and whether these are actually helping or hindering their progress to obtain new goals. In order to move forward and achieve different results, whatever the goal e.g. from improving communication at work or at home, weight-loss, training for a marathon, regaining control to increasing productivity, it is essential that the brain, conscious and unconscious mind are all addressed to enable lasting change. Sport illustrates this well: with their physical capabilities being the same, it is the athlete’s actual thinking which usually makes the real difference between those who win, or lose.

Do you know what you actually think on a day-to-day basis? Have you listened to what’s called your narrative circuitry going round and round? Are you in charge of what your brain will do next, or on automatic? This is powerful stuff: it is posited that we may have around 90,000 thoughts a day and 60,000 are negative, or on a less than resourceful default setting and so are detrimental to our progress!

Thinking about your thinking means actually noticing what is going on in your brain. For example, a minute ago I became aware that my brain had wandered off from thinking about writing and felt a ‘signal’ that I needed to get up, jump around (!), make a drink and put the heating on i.e. have a break. By doing that, I will complete this task more efficiently (hopefully better!) than if I had laboured on with tired, unfocused thinking. More on the brain’s limited attention span next month…

“Yes, but I always listen to my brain and I am always in charge of my thinking.” Hmm…what about the long, repetitive meetings that you endure where nothing gets done afterwards, the books that you have read (and cannot remember), the intuition that you never listened to, so you went the long, harder way round as a result, the automatic habits that you still have (even though you know that they really are not helping you), the emotion that you felt, yet never declared?

Brighter Thinking challenge for October: start to become aware of your brain and think about your thinking. Notice if you are thinking about future or past events or on the task? Notice if your thinking is useful or if it could be improved? Increase your awareness of where your thoughts go and if you listen to them? Think about your thinking.