A while ago I was working with a client who was angry and stressed about the way the world was treating him. Now this is a delicate situation for coaches – if I sympathise, or even empathise with him I might make him feel better temporarily but I can’t really help him change his results. But if I tell him the truth – that the reason the world is treating him badly is because he is angry and stressed, not the other way round, I am likely to get thumped! The key is to break the news to him gently!
It is one of the most difficult concepts to understand but one of the most critical. Even once you get it, actually acting on this knowledge consistently can be a real challenge and takes time to master. But it is worth it because once you do, things can change very quickly for the better.
Here’s my understanding of it: Your thinking changes the way you feel, the way you feel changes the way you act, and the way you act changes your results and your results dictate the way you feel. Its one big circle. Most people try to solve life’s challenges at the level of action – by changing the things they do. But that is almost never effective long term. To create real lasting change you have to start with your thoughts.
Now most people allow their results to dictate the way they feel. For example, someone treats them badly, they get angry at being treated badly and react in a negative way, because they are angry they treat the next person badly and the negative re-actions produce negative results and they get more angry. Its not unreasonable, we’ve all done it. The problem is it doesn’t work!
When you allow things that have happened in the past to dictate your feelings now, you are ensuring that those feelings from your past create your results in the future. Which means that changing your results is virtually impossible.
So what’s the solution? The answer is to flood your mind with as much positivity as you can. Listen to upbeat music. Surround yourself with images of the things you want in your life and the people who love and inspire you. Make a vision board!
Spend time with positive people who are achieving great results. The bigger the group the better – you won’t all be achieving fantastic results all the time but you can help keep each other lifted all the time. Create or join a mastermind group .
Write a gratitude journal every day and carry it around with you so you can go to it quickly when life is getting to you and remind yourself what’s wonderful in your life.
But most importantly learn to control your thinking. This takes time and practice but don’t give up. You are a powerful, intelligent human being, you can be the master of your own thoughts. Even if your reaction in the moment is a negative one, you can make the decision to control your response instantly. For example, if you are driving down Sheikh Zayed Road (the main motorway through Dubai) and someone tries to cut you up, your instant reaction will probably be fright, followed quickly by anger. If you act on the anger you are almost certainly going to make the situation worse, but if you take a deep breath and send feelings of love and peace out to the other driver you will (yes, I promise you will!) feel better and carry on your day in a positive way.
By the way, if you think its too hard to send out feelings of love and peace just try to visualise the look of utter confusion on the reckless driver’s face as he gets bombarded by love and peace instead of the anger he was expecting!