Being a positive thinker is no small feat. Humans think up to 50,000 thoughts every day and up to 80 per cent of those thoughts can be negative.
In his TEDx presentation, Removing Negative Self Talk, Abria Joseph of San Francisco says we should question the thoughts, stories, worries, and voices in our minds. He describes two sides to thinking: what we tell ourselves and what we choose to believe when we interact with others. The key, Joseph says, is whether you decide to believe someone else’s ideas based on where you want to be relationship wise, business wise, finance wise, and spirituality wise.
So, when you’re feeling doubtful about achieving a goal, scared to take a leap towards your dream, or challenged by a team member’s critique, you’ll need thought-defusing techniques to get out of your mind and create positive self-talk. Abria encourages us to stop in those moments and challenge the thought with three questions:
1. Is that true?
2. Is that necessary?
3. Is that helping me live my dreams?
For example, perhaps you think that your boss is questioning your performance, but she hasn’t expressed any concern. Then, the thought can’t be true because she hasn’t told you so, it’s not necessary because you don’t have any new information, and it’s not helping you live your dreams because the worry will prevent you from doing good work.
Ask yourself the questions in a form that works best for you: in your head, out loud, or written down, and keep the questions close in a notebook, on your computer, or via email so they’re easy to access when you need them most.
Abria quotes famed painter Vincent Van Gogh at the end of his talk, “ if you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” Abria adds that only we can conceptualize and understand what’s going on in our minds, so only we can really acknowledge it and start to notice whether it’s of benefit to us. Here’s to positive thinking.