Thought Power: Here’s Exactly How to Change Your Thoughts From Horrid to Awesome!

If you’ve read even a few articles related to personal development, you already know that thought power matters and that our thoughts influence how our day turns out to be. You know that if you think positive thoughts, you will attract all the right things, and that you will get more done at the end of the day.

Thinking boy and girl

The Key to Thought Power: You Don’t Control Your Thoughts

However, it isn’t as simple as it sounds. We all assume that we control the thoughts we think everyday. Therefore, we believe we can change our thoughts by simply telling ourselves: “OK, thoughts, now become positive!” But that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because most of the time we are not in control of our thoughts. In fact, most of the time, we think automatically in response to external circumstances without even realizing that we are thinking! And that makes changing your thoughts or even observing them tough.

Here’s an example: Your friend calls you up and tells you what a wonderful surprise his wife has just thrown for him. Now, when you go back home, automatically and sub-consciously, you might expect your wife to do more than she normally does for you today. You may not even consciously think about it, but you may easily be offended or affected by a small unpleasant remark she may utter because of your excess expectation today. This might eventually lead to an argument.

My point? You never consciously chose your thoughts towards your wife, you chose them sub-consciously and that resulted in a sadder evening.

Another example: Let’s say you watch news all day, and the news is full of kidnappings, bomb blasts and a lot of things that are wrong with the world. Now, you go out for a walk after watching the news. As you talk to an unknown shopkeeper, or a cabbie or a stranger on the street, you automatically assume that this unknown person is dangerous and that you should not trust him easily. Who knows what intentions he may have? This eventually results in you haggling or arguing or avoiding connections with strangers.

My point again: You never consciously decided you wanted to act this way, however, an external influence (watching the news) changed your thoughts without you even realizing it.

External Influences Affect You

If you want to develop more positive thoughts in your daily life and consciously channel your thoughts to rock your life, this is the first thing to understand:

You don’t choose your thoughts all day. You choose external influences however, and these external influences in turn choose your thoughts for you.

If you want to think more positive thoughts  and feel excited throughout the day, you need to do two simple but uncommon things:

1) You need to observe what you are currently feeding your mind on a daily basis.

2) You need to change what you feed your mind everyday to what you want to feed it.

Building Thought Power: Step 1

Intelligence lies in accepting that you are influenced by what surrounds you rather than simply willing yourself to think better and denying the effect of external influences.

 The first step to change your thoughts is to observe what goes into your mind all day and what that makes you think.

Most of us think we already know what goes in but you will be surprised if you actually track your day and figure out what you’re putting in.

For one week, do this: maintain a time log and note down the time when you start doing or stop doing any activity. Also, whenever you write anything down in your time log, also write down your emotional state beside the activity.

Here’s an example of a time log with the emotional state written next to the activity.

3 PM – Started writing an article on thought power (Feeling OK 6.5/10)

3:40 PM – Finished writing the article (Feeling splendid 9/10)

3:45 PM – Started talking to X on phone ( Feeling very good 8.5/10)

4:10 PM – Hung up after talking to X (Feeling OK 6.5/10)

4:10 PM – 6:10 PM Cooked dinner and listened to a Blogcast FM Podcast (At 6:10 PM, Feeling good 7.5/10)

6:15 PM – Went out for a walk (Feeling good 8/10)

7:00 PM – Came back after the walk, met Mr Y on the way (Feeling bad 5/10)

Note that I have asked you to list your feelings at the start and end of each activity.

The reason for this is that your true feelings are an excellent indicator of the general thoughts you think. I have rated feelings on a scale of 1-10 to make sure that I clearly know which activity truly made me feel good and which activity didn’t. Similarly, rate your feelings on a scale of 1-10 as you start or end any activity (1 means horrid and 10 means blissful).Maintaining such a chart everyday for 7 days can be difficult. It will involve quite some effort. But if you can do it, it will be very rewarding because you will actually get to know what activities make you feel and think in a certain way.

After about a week of doing this, you will have a clear idea of what activities and external influences trigger what kind of thoughts inside you. For instance, you may observe that talking to a certain friend of yours always makes you feel bad (and therefore, leads to negative thoughts later in the day, which leads to you feeling too lazy and not working on your part time business). Or, you may find out that you always feel depressed when you come back from work.

Again, the point is: put in the effort and find out what activities make you think crappy thoughts and what activities make you feel awesome.

I have a warning here: you may have the urge to not perform this experiment and just think through some activities and people and list them down saying ‘This makes me feel bad. This makes me feel good.’ That’s a nice thing to do, but conducting a weekly experiment is an excellent way to figure out what really makes you think certain thoughts. That way, you will not miss out on anything that influences you.

Building Thought Power: Step 2

This step comes after one week of maintaining a time log and writing down the start time and end time of every activity and your feelings beside the activity.

Now, go ahead and analyze your data. When you look at the piece of paper where you’ve maintained your time log (or the Word doc or the notepad on your phone), you will actually be looking at YOUR life. This is not someone else’s life – it’s your actual, real, daily life.

Looking at this data will give you tons of ideas to improve your thoughts right away. You will immediately notice patterns – you will notice that some activities always make you feel 6/10 (say, talking to a certain person). Some other activities always make you feel 8/10 for a short while and then 5/10 later (say, drinking alcohol). Still other activities make you feel 9/10 consistently for a long time (say, exercise).

Now on another piece of paper (or Word doc), write down ONE activity that always makes you feel horrid and see how you can replace it with a 9/10 activity. For instance, there might be one person who always affects you for the worse while another person might be affecting you for the better everyday. Figure out how you can spend more time with the person affecting you positively. Another example: You may find that you always feel 6/10 after watching the news and even thinking of taking a walk makes you feel 9/10. How about swapping news for taking a walk?

As you look at your time log, you may get the urge to change a lot of things about your life at once. Don’t pursue that urge because the best changes happen one by one, one small step at a time!

For the next one month, pick only one person/activity/ external influence that fills you with crappy thoughts and replace it with something that energizes and excites you consistently. Rememeber that any change is better than no change. So, start small – it’s OK if you replace just 10 minutes of news with 10 minutes of walking for the next one month.

The Essence of Thought Control and Changing Your Life

While the method above is an excellent way to build your thought power and really change your thoughts and your life, remember that the magic is NOT in the method but in its deeper meaning.

Essentially, here’s what I am saying in this article:

What you do and whom you interact with everyday determines your thoughts and that determines your happiness and productivity. Therefore, observe what you feed your mind everyday and change what you feed it – to think, feel and achieve better.

No matter where you are in your life, you can truly rock your life. That’s because a big part of how you are right now is because of what you are putting into yourself every day. If you are willing to observe what you do everyday and change it, you can get to any place you want to be.

One note of caution: it is foolish to notice what’s wrong in your life and still deny it. If, after your time log experiment, you find out that a certain person or a job or a situation is bad for you and you still don’t change it or make it better, you’re not going to go anywhere. You will need to summon up the courage to take tough decisions once you finish with your time log experiment.

Well, all the best with your experiment! As I write these words, I genuinely wish that you rock your thought power and therefore you life.

PS: An excellent book that can help you with your thought power experiment is As a Man Thinketh by James Allen.