Self Improvement And The Plague Of Useless Thinking

I have been running Personal Development Seminars now for over fifteen years and even now, after all these years working on my own mind, I wake up on the odd occasion distracted by stupid thoughts – or the little rascals come after me as the day progresses, when I least expect it. But, of course, I should expect them because, unfortunately, the average individual seems to be intent on confounding our desire to do our best during the course of the normal day.

Over seven decades of study in the field of psychology tells us that the normal mind is bordering on a a hand grenade! And you need look no further than your business colleagues, your football or golf club or the local newspaper for a load of evidence to validate all that scholarly research – to say nothing of what you’ll find going on on the world stage! Normal mad people are forever behaving inappropriately and it appears that they’re unable to help themselves. And, on the face of it, we are unable to behave ourselves – because our minds are pre-programmed to pay little or no attention to reality and a vast amount of attention to stuff that really is not going on at all. If we go looking for someone to blame, our useless thoughts would be a prime suspect.

The normal mind is plagued by upwards of forty-thousand random thoughts each day – and that’s just while we’re awake, so we’re not even talking about a twenty four hour period. Many of these thoughts are just stupid – like ‘I wish I was playing with the kids or lying at the beach than stuck in here in this boring meeting’ – thinking that you’d like to be somewhere else won’t change the fact of where you are! However, many of these random thoughts are a little more dangerous. I’ve no doubt that you have your own personal versions but here are a couple examples of what I’m talking about. ‘I’m so shy I’ll never be able to talk to her/him.’ (Delete as appropriate!!) ‘I wish I could be more assertive and not let people walk all over me.’ ‘I’m never going to get that job.’ ‘I’ll be happier when I’ve lost those six kilos.’

The problem with such useless rubbish is that, for starters, they confirm that, if your life is not-too-bad, that’s good enough. It’s not! The even bigger problem is that these thoughts enable (and that’s clearly the wrong word) your subconscious mind to pay attention to all the nonsense that you learned about you when you were a small child. These are the things – and don’t forget that the mind has a habit of tending towards the negative – that you now believe about yourself. They are the things that are holding you back.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Your mind won’t stop being bombarded by useless thoughts – as I’ve said, it’s how we’re hard-wired. However, you can decide whether or not you will give this nonsense any of your precious energy. After all, you have a very real alternative to listening to all that nonsense – you can decide to pay attention to the reality of the here and now. And, if that reality includes enduring a boring meeting, you might just discover that paying more attention to what’s going on might make you that bit more efficient, happier and more productive – the kind of things that most of us want out of life.

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