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I Think… Therefore I Am (Or Am Not)

Posted by & filed under Personal Growth.

Whether you realize it or not, you can make yourself or break yourself with your own thoughts.

You have a voice inside you. It speaks to you as though it is not you. What is YOURS saying? And should you believe it?

You’ve heard it said:

“You can’t believe everything you read.” 

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You can’t believe everything you hear on the news. One news channel is slanted this way. The other is slanted the other way. Who do you believe?

Do you believe everything the government tells you? Do you believe everything your teachers taught you? Do you believe everything your church tells you? 

DON’T. At least, not without question. There are way too many opinions out there.

So, if you don’t believe everything you read, and if you don’t believe everything you hear… then for heaven’s sake, don’t believe everything you are telling yourself.

Examine what that person called “yourself” is saying to you. 

Figure Out What “You” Is Telling You

When you’re taking inventory of what you tell yourself, remember this little fact:

You have a tendency to believe what you consistently hear.

Whether good or bad, your “prophecies” about yourself tend to come true… because you keep hearing them in your own mind! 

“You” can tell you positive things, like:

  • I can actually do this
  • I can be an overcomer
  • I can make more money next year
  • I can double my income
  • I can take that unbelievable, outrageous vacation

You MUST believe what you are saying to yourself when you say these things!

At first, these thoughts will not be natural to you. You will have to hear them many times before you believe them.

But that’s the trick – you must hear these things over and over on a consistent basis to get the results.

Think about the negative things you’ve internalized. These thoughts have beaten their way into your brain by repetition.

THAT is why you believe them.

Don’t just continue to let them play like an old, broken record!

[Tweet “Don’t just continue to let your negative thoughts play like an old, broken record!”]

All these negative thoughts are wrong. They’ve caused you to waste tons of time. Waiting is bad. 

Whatever you tell yourself… It will happen that way. If you’re saying “I’ll never be able to do this,” you’ll never be able to do this. That’s the power of the mind. 

How To Talk To Yourself The Right Way 

There are three ways to become a better believer in yourself:

  1. Write down what you say.
  1. Read it over and over again. Say it aloud 30 times before you go to bed. Then say it 30 times first thing in the morning. Or when you are taking a shower.
  1. Repeat steps one and two continuously. 

The more you hear the good stuff, the more you’ll believe it. The more you hear the bad stuff, the more you’ll believe it. 

You MUST make a point to change the way you talk to yourself. 

Question: What are you telling yourself that you used to know wasn’t true? What can you tell yourself that will come true instead? Don’t hold back – think 10x BIGGER than you’re thinking right now! 

P.S. Many of you benefited greatly from the free gift last week. So, I’ve created another one for you. This special tool is going to help you internalize your positive thoughts. When you tell yourself these things enough, you begin to see big shifts in your thinking. And big shifts in thinking lead to big accomplishments. Print this tool out and use it to create your new mindset.  

Click the image to the right  to download the “Who I Am According to Me” Reminder Worksheet.

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  • http://www.mattham.com/ Matt Ham

    Robert – I would attribute a large majority of my progress to writing down my thoughts. One of my first blog posts was the 7 C’s of Journaling which helped give me direction for the process.

    The Apostle Paul speaks of the importance of taking our thoughts captive. It’s a great discipline for our continued success.

    Here’s to clear, positive thinking.

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Agreed, Matt!!!

      And trying to capture our thoughts correctly is like taking a bath or eating daily.
      It must be done with great intention EVERY day…

  • http://classicallytrained.net/ Classically Trained

    Robert – this is such an important concept. It’s actually one that I think video games can help with.

    Think about it – how many individuals pick up a video game, keep trying, never giving up, because they know that somehow, they will eventually succeed. In fact, when we lose in a video game, we are even more determined – and often we are excited or joyful about the progress we made, even up to the point we lost.

    We then just treat it as another lesson learned, press continue, and take another crack at it! I’ve rephrased the ancient wisdom as “Lose 7 times, continue 8.”

    We can’t allow the set backs we face in life hold us back, especially when we are capable of so much more – thank you for another great resource!

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      What a great analogy that I would’ve never come up with. I do not think I have ever played a video game. But I’ve watch plenty of people play.

      I am very aware there are many people even hooked on it.
      So at least something good can come out of it if you don’t spend your life and all your time trying to get to the next level.

      It’s good to come back to reality… LOL

      • http://classicallytrained.net/ Classically Trained

        Just like a classroom or conference, when we return to “reality” the time invested elsewhere is only of value to the extent that we apply the lessons learned.

        The mixed lesson/curse of video games (leaders pay special attention) is that core principles exist in a way that life & work are often missing.

        If you work hard in a video game, you are consistently rewarded with feedback, recognition and bonus of some type. Too often in our work and relationships, that feedback is missing, imperfect, or inconsistent.

        In video games, you are the hero, doing heroic acts. Your intentions are not questioned and the whole “world” sees you as you see your in-game “self.”

        There is also a very high degree of safety – with high stakes in the game, but a loss does not damage your real life (in most cases). You have the freedom to try out new ideas and approaches without criticism. Failing is part of the game. Failing can even be fun.

        When compared to the reality many are faced with, it becomes easy to understand why video games are valued.

        So as leaders in our businesses, families, communities, we need to think about how we can take these same principles and apply them to support others and point them to a source that can truly meet all these needs in full. (Sorry for the min-blog post!)

  • http://www.jonstallings.com/ Jon Stallings

    Great topic Robert. Last year I read the book Crucial Conversations. – It talks a lot about the stories we tell our self especially when we deal with others. – We have all been in that place where some one says or does something that seems to hit us wrong. We start telling our-self a story that the other person really does not like me, they are out to get me, they want my job etc. – However, it turns out the other person really meant no harm. But our little voice caused us to stress out.

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      You are so right, Jon! That little voice in our head seems to scream in a whisper at times. It’s critical to program it from within.

  • Martyn J Wood

    Robert I can’t remember who said this but whatever you believe about yourself whether you can or can’t accomplish something is exactly what you will get. The Bible says we have the power of life and death on our tongues imagine the energy and drive in our thoughts.

  • http://www.nomorehamsterwheel.com/ Camilla

    Great post! I always tell people that you spend as much time and energy on a negative thought as you do a positive so why spend it on a negative? Negative thoughts produce negative thoughts and positive produce positive.

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Concise and to the point, Camilla!!! Thanks!!

  • Melissa AuClair

    Robert, I appreciate your point about being intentional about what we say to ourselves. I think many of us know the right thing to do and think but we (at least I’ve been) lazy about putting it into practice. Thank you for the timely reminder that thinking well is a life long pursuit.

  • http://jasonhoover.me/ Jason Hoover

    Spot on Robert! Years ago I was going through a pretty bad rough spot in life and was angry at the world. Though there were many factors involved in my overcoming of the situation, one of the biggest was when I realized I was consumed by negative thoughts. It was like a sickness. That point forward, I have made it a point to live purposefully positive. You can’t control the storms of life but you can control your attitude towards them.

  • Steven Dieringer

    This is the very essence of life. You create heaven or hell with your thoughts. By taking control of your thoughts, life becomes yours to design.

  • http://www.BrianMininger.com/ Brian Mininger

    I am telling myself that I can transition from the construction industry to a business coach and writer. I am no longer telling myself that I am stuck because construction is where I started.