12 Brilliant Ways to Transform Your Thinking
Your thinking impacts everything! What you believe to be true determines whether thoughts impact you positively or negatively. Growing and making changes in your life personally and professionally – it all starts with the way you think!
Recently I heard a story about a doctor who happened to receive a Christmas cake in the mail in July. In his mind the cake was late – way past December! As a result of they way he thought about the cake, it was a disappointment – something negative.
The young boy who was present when he unwrapped the gift saw it differently. In his mind it was a very early Christmas present and something very good!
This simple story illustrates beautifully the power of our thoughts and how dramatically they influence our perspective.
We don’t set out to have negative, limiting kinds of thoughts, but, if left unchallenged, your negative thinking will do you no favors.
If you want to be successful, you must alter your thinking so that your thoughts serve you – become an asset rather than a liability. Here are twelve practical ways to transform your thinking:
1. Get Curious
Why do kids learn and grow so rapidly? Because they are abundantly curious!
Successful individuals are not only curious about their own way of thinking, but they want to understand the way others think too! That’s why they ask questions – lots of them.
Curiosity is the opposite of assuming. Asking questions enables you to challenge your false beliefs – many of which you may not even be aware you have! Questions also help you to get to know others and their…
With this information in hand, it’s easier to understand and work with others in meaningful ways. And as a leader, it makes it possible gather a team of people that will lead to better results.
2. Make Space
By nature, leaders are doers, so setting aside time to think and reflect sounds counter-productive. However, successful leaders know that it’s a wise investment of time to reflect, evaluate, and explore.
Making space to think might involve journaling, walking and pondering, or allowing yourself time to let your thoughts simmer on the back burner while you do a mindless task. Or maybe you choose to start each work day with 30 minutes of “thinking time” or take a personal retreat periodically. Most likely, making space to think will happen in a combination of ways.
One of the benefits of working with a coach is that you have a built-in space to think. I know many of my clients appreciate that opportunity to explore areas that often got overlooked. And unlike when you are pondering something on your own, a coach asks questions that invite you to think differently leading to new ideas and realizations that dramatically change how you approach the topic at hand.
3. Be Open
Have you ever met a “know-it-all”? If you have, you probably limited your time with that person. It’s more likely that you prefer to spend time with people who are open and ask great questions – people that are open to learning and eager to understand – especially before making decisions.
How willing are you to consider situations from new perspectives? How tolerant are you when it comes to differing opinions? Being open and tolerant doesn’t mean you are easily swayed, but that you are confident enough in your own point of view to explore and appreciate other points of view.
The open leader, professional, or entrepreneur actively seeks out differing views and asks for feedback out of an eagerness to learn and grow.
4. Consider The Impact
For a leader, the bottom line and end results matter. However, successful leaders seriously consider the impact of their decisions on the others involved. What would help to minimize the negative impacts of a decision? How might the other parties be viewing these changes? What might make the decisions more palatable?
Great leaders know that how they present an idea or decision is also important. It’s something they carefully consider before they communicate a change.
The best ideas are often the result of a collaborative effort. It takes a secure leader to invite a team to think freely, brainstorm, and contribute. However, a leader that welcomes ideas – they are much easier to follow!
Another way for you to collaborate is by spending time with other thinkers – participate in a mastermind group, small group, or intentionally meeting one-on-one with others who challenge, inspire, or expand your thinking. It will lead to superior results!
6. Keep Learning
Want to stand out as a leader, professional, or entrepreneur? Never stop learning! Take classes, get a mentor, read books, stay abreast of hot topics, and/or learn a new skill. It doesn’t have to be all work related. Learning a new skill or hobby will indirectly impact your ability to think in positive ways!
7. Eliminate Negative Thinking Patterns
Your negative thoughts often go undetected – hidden from even you! An area worth honestly exploring and taking steps to change! Don’t let your negative thinking patterns undermine your otherwise amazing abilities!
There’s so much to say about pesky negative thinking patterns! More on that here.
8. Practice Gratitude
It’s nearly impossible to be grateful and negative at the same time! In fact, just a simple habit of daily identifying five things you are grateful for encourages you to be on the hunt for the good and lovely rather than the bad and ugly!
There are so many more powerful reasons to practice gratitude here.
9. Slow Down
When you are racing through life, there’s no time to process. That often leads to feeling like you don’t have enough time, resentment, fear, and frustration. Simply slowing down, taking time to process, and being present is life changing!
Yes, play! Enjoy time exploring and engaging in activities that are energizing on the regular. Otherwise, you’ll become resentful, negative, and hamper your ability to think. I know for myself, when I feel like I don’t have time to “play”, that’s when I need it most! And when I allow myself a little time to play, when I am more focused and creative when I return to my tasks. I dare you to try it out yourself!
11. Focus on YOU!
It’s easy to see how everyone around you needs improve, but you can’t change them! You can only change YOU, so keep your focus on what’s in your power to change; on what you are able to improve and do differently. That subtle shift makes a significant difference!
12. Dwell on Truth
Saturating your life in the Truth of God’s Word is transformative! One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 12:2. Here’s what it says in The Message:
Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
You may be more familiar with the NIV version:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What you choose to dwell on matters!
Be honest, are you more likely to see the Christmas cake arriving in July as late or early?
Ready to transform your thinking? Where will you begin?