"Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don't -- and it surprises me, even in myself, how much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown"
Rebecca Soinit, writer
It is a mantra that is heard on podcasts, blogs, Facebook ads, Twitter feeds, and endless self-help media -- Mindset Matters. As I began to write this blog post, I started with "overwhelming stress" , "unrelenting change" -- then caught myself in my negative mindset, hit the delete button and started over.
It is clear that what we focus on is what we experience so to talk about overwhelming stress is to be overwhelmed by stress. To highlight unrelenting change denigrates the good aspects of change while it elevates the negative and leads us to try to avoid or sidetrack change. The ugly scenarios that Rebecca Soinit refers to is merely us doing "worse case scenario" planning and having the what-ifs to the negative side consume our thoughts. What we seldom explore is the what-ifs of the best case scenario.
Mindset creates our reality in a circular fashion by providing the lens through which to evaluate experience which then validates the framework and so on.....ad infinitum. It is a self-perpetuating cycle but it is a cycle we can change.
First, we need to identify on where our mindset limits our reality in a way we would like to change.
So let's use the example of a common mindset around doing something new -- be it new employment , an entrepreneurial venture, or even a health improvement focus.
Our first thoughts might be excitement and enthusiasm but then first niggling thought of "what if it doesn't work out" sneaks in and we begin pulling out all kinds of bad scenarios that _could_ happen if we pursued this challenge. Then as the first event (any event really) happens, it is evaluated through the lens of this worst case scenario, and confirms our belief that this path will not be successful. Much like when you first buy a new car and only then start seeing all the other identical cars on the road, something you never noticed before, you are now primed to seek and find these negative moments.
But what would happen if we could redirect that process to a more positive and empowering mindset?
When that first negative thought starts to weasel its way into your vision, the first step is CATCH -- catch that thought, identify it as a negative mindset, be conscious of its presence. Ask yourself from what base does it come - is it from a fear of failure, a fear of success, a fear of others opinions....the base could be any number of fears or even a combination of fears. Worry is just fear's physical manifestation.
The second step once it is a conscious element that you know it is unhelpful is to CANCEL the thought. Challenge the thought's all or nothing aspect, its likely foundation in lack rather than in abundance, it base in fear and not in love.
Then the final step is to CORRECT the thought. This gets easier as you start to identify your negative mindset clue. You can practice a correcting thought to redirect the focus and, while at first you might find yourself well down the negative path before you consciously tell yourself to cancel and correct, it does get easier over time.
This Catch, Cancel and Correct process sounds simple but it requires some conscious effort. Mindsets fight hard to maintain control so don't be surprised how insidious they can be -- but this effort to CORRECT is very worth it.
When you first start working on supporting a positive mindset, think of one or two negative thought patterns you find yourself in more regularly. Write them down. Ask yourself, what would the positive statement of this thought be? Write that down. Then ask yourself, what other ways could this negative mindset come to me to try to pull me back? Does your new statement of positive outcome work on those as well? If not, then write down some positive statements that will.
Over time you will notice this process becomes more automatic. You will catch yourself sooner then quickly move to cancel and correct. You will find your perspective becomes more positive, noticing more positive things in your life and you ultimately will find yourself supporting others to reframe their own thinking.
You will become that car on the road that you hadn't noticed before and through this refocusing of your view, you will become a magnet for positivity.
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