Much of what we are taught to believe is influenced by societal conditioning. This can become our downfall when we don’t question our beliefs surrounding what we’ve been told. If you are still a believer of any of these 8 lies, my goal is to influence you enough to at least question their existence.
1. Time is Money
Although time may be required to create money for ourselves, time is not directly proportional to the amount of money we can create. This is a lie we have been led to believe by much of society.
The amount of money we make is directly proportional to something though…perceived value. The source of our income (employer if you work for someone or clients if you own your own business) has made a perceived assessment of our value and pays us accordingly.
Once the value is perceived, a financial number that seems to match that value will be created. People pay for the value we offer, not our time. If time was directly proportional to how much money we make then we would all make the same amount of money, given that we worked for the same amount of hours.
If we want to make more money, we must create more value in the world.
2. Other People Make Us Feel The Way We Do
Most people live by this. Once the truth of what really makes us feel the way we do is explored, many of us still have a hard time understanding how this is not possible.
If someone says something, we then we feel a certain emotion towards what they said and associate their words with our emotions. This is so far from the truth.
The only way we can ever feel an emotion is to have a thought precede that emotion. Without that thought, we feel nothing towards what was said.
We make ourselves feel the way we do via our thoughts. Once we take our thoughts as reality, we take our thoughts personally. We then to proceed to take what the other person says personally.
The truth is, it is our thoughts about they say that we take personally, not them. It always starts with us…always.
3. No Pain, No Gain
Having worked in the health and fitness industry for years, this is probably the most common saying I hear. It doesn’t just apply to the fitness industry though.
I have heard it used in reference to the sacrifice of long work hours, the grind of working one’s way up the executive ladder, the emotional distress of a ridiculous school curriculum, paying our dues, etc..
Pain is absolutely not necessary to achieve any goal, pain is optional, and so is suffering.
4. Certain Emotions Are Bad
This is a topic I talk about a lot because I see so much suffering coming from self-judgment. By self-judgment, I mean telling ourselves that we shouldn’t feel a certain way because we don’t want to feel that way, or we were taught that it’s not right to feel that way.
Most of us have been conditioned from a young age that when someone we love passes, we should feel sad and we shouldn’t feel happy. We internalize that as it’s good to feel sad and bad to feel happy. The judging begins.
This conditions us to believe that during an event that we’ve judged as sad, it’s not good to feel happy. And when life is judged as being good, it’s bad to feel sad, that we should always think positive!
I see this often with guilt, people will do next to anything to avoid feeling guilty, they will sell their souls before feeling guilty by conscious choice. For example, a diabetic man takes his perfectly healthy wife out to dinner, he decides to take her to her favourite local restaurant, which happens to be Chinese food. He then proceeds to join her in indulging on her favourite dish with her, which happens to be pasta based (terrible for diabetics).
He opts to join her in the indulgence of food that doesn’t serve his health because he thinks he will feel guilty if he doesn’t (even though she may be OK with it). He fears feeling guilty more than deteriorating his own health.
This is an example of just one of many occasions where he puts his avoidance of guilt before his own health. His health progressively gets worse.
If he were to not judge guilt as a bad emotion, but instead use the feeling of guilt as an indicator that tells him his thinking is off, he could start seeing his emotions as a signal to check in on his thinking instead of judging a perfectly normal, innate human emotion.
At the end of the day, all of our feelings are innate, and neither good nor bad until we judge them as such.
And who are we to judge anyway?
5. Follow The Money
Happiness cannot be bought.
We can create money from your passion but we can’t create passion from our money.
Would you rather…
Make 100k/yr but dread waking up each day knowing you’re about to go do something that brings little to no joy or meaning to your life.
Make 50k/yr but wake up each day with an eagerness to start your day because you can’t wait to start doing what you love to do, as it adds joy and meaning to your life.
I completely understand that a handful of people will opt for the 100k/yr job, but most will opt for joy over money. Can we have both? Most definitely! Go for it!
Do what you love, money can be created, love is innate.
6. Studies Say It’s True So It Must Be True
I’m not going to talk about the amount of corruption that I believe exists within governments and leading authorities. That’s a can of worms I don’t feel like opening right now.
Instead, I will cite a leading example of a dietary study that was once projected to be true and has never since proven to be true.
The 7 Countries Study (saturated fat and cholesterol are NOT bad for us)
This is the study that initiated a still hotly debated topic regarding saturated fat and cholesterol causing heart disease. Note, to this day, there is not a single study that proves this.
This epidemiological study began in 1958 by an American scientist named Ancel Keys. The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between dietary intake within different countries and heart disease.
The study began with 22 countries but finished with 7. Why? Because 15 of the countries didn’t fit Keys’ hypothesis regarding dietary fat and cholesterol causing heart disease.
To this day, this is the same study that is used to inflict fear upon the public regarding fat being bad for us. Too bad this is built upon a lie.
A massive review article published in 2010 looked at 21 prospective epidemiological studies with a total of 347,747 subjects. Their results: absolutely no association between saturated fat and heart disease.
The message here is that while a study may ring true at the moment, this doesn’t mean it’s a universal truth. There’s a very good chance it’s just a temporary personal truth.
An additional note, many dietary studies are funded by sources that have a vested interest in the outcome of the study going their way. Money talks.
Don’t believe everything you read, watch, or hear. Develop your own truths, and if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
We wouldn’t feel the need to retire if we love how we are spending our time.
I’m only 32 years old and I absolutely love what I do as a coach and writer/blogger. I cannot picture myself doing anything else at the moment. If I were approaching my retirement years, I wouldn’t even consider retirement, that option wouldn’t even be on the table. Why? I love how I’m spending my time. I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way.
The moment I no longer love how I’m spending my time, I’ll move on to my next love, whatever that may be.
If we feel the need to retire (aka quit) something, we can bet that our heart is no longer in it. If we work our entire lives just to retire what does that say about where our heart is? Not in it.
Do we fall head over heels for someone and then look forward to retiring the relationship?
Do we fall head over heels for our favourite athlete and then look forward to them retiring?
Would we fall head over heels with our career and then look forward to ourselves retiring? I think not.
We only look forward to retiring because we aren’t head over heels in love with what we do.
Retirement is societal conditioning functioning at its’ best. A belief that has been ingrained into most of our heads…” pay your dues for 40 years and then begin to live your life for whatever remaining years you have left.”
To me, this is not the best advice to live a joyous and fulfilling life from start to finish.
8. We Need Money To Make Money
If you’re an investor, sure this is an accurate statement. However, investing is just one avenue to make money for ourselves.
If we refer back to the whole “Time is Money” belief, the same appeal applies here.
You don’t need money to make money, having value to offer also makes money.
To emphasize this statement…
Here are a few people who came from nothing to become billionaires:
Howard Schultz – Starbucks founder, grew up in a housing complex for the poor.
Oprah Winfrey – Was born into a poor family in Mississippi, became the first African American TV correspondent in Nashville at age 19.
Do Won Chang – Forever 21 founder, worked as a janitor, gas station attendant, and in a coffee shop when he first moved to America.
Ralph Lauren – Was once a clerk at Brooks Brothers dreaming of men’s ties.
It’s hard to argue the perceived value that they brought to their respective markets. When you’re a fan or not, you have to hand it to them.
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.
*Warning: I haven’t sugar-coated anything. Some readers may find some of the content disturbing. There will be videos (not auto-play), graphic descriptions, and brutal facts.*
*I also want to make it very clear that I do not, and will not, judge anyone who decides to eat meat.*
As of January 1st, 2019, I am officially going vegetarian, and “almost” Vegan. I will be eliminating meat, dairy (including eggs), and all animal byproducts from my diet. I say “almost” Vegan is because I may eat sashimi, lobster, crab, muscles, or scallops on occasion.
Never! No Way!
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would, or even could, become Vegetarian. Ten years ago, if I had gone to a psychic, and their reading told me that I will become a Vegetarian in the future, I would have laughed hysterically in their face and requested a refund right on the spot!
I have been an avid meat eater my entire life. I can recall countless different moments where I stated that I could never become vegetarian because I just love steak wayyyyy too much! I could never give up steak! Goes on to show that we should never say “never”.
Friends and family were shocked when I told them I am becoming Vegetarian. They all know how much I love my eat. Many of them thought it was a joke.
How It All Happened
I’d like to start of by saying that I have always been an animal lover. Since I was able to muster my first memory as a toddler, I’ve either had a cat, dog, or both as part of the family.
Along the way, I have learned much about the corruption, lies and greed surrounding the food industry, including the government. The complete disrespect for animals is really what disgusts me the most.
The very first time I ever had a thought about possibly becoming Vegetarian one day was while I was watching Food Inc. several years ago. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this film, it is a documentary that sheds light on the dark side of the food industry.
There’s one specific scene that has been ingrained into my head due to the emotional connection it created within me. The following video is of the scene that sparked a thought that I didn’t think I would ever have.
Did you see the terror in the poor cows’ eyes? Do you think they’re happy?
Even if going Vegetarian saves one cows life then if then it is more than worth it to me.
Viral Video Of Chickens Being Tormented
I remember seeing this video when it went viral in the summer of 2017. I knew after watching this video that I would become Vegetarian one day, it was a future written in stone now.
Toronto Slaughterhouse Exposed
This one hits close to home for me, being that I live merely 20 minutes outside the City of Toronto.
Inhumane Treatment of Animals
The videos above are evidence of the sad reality that points toward a severe lack of compassion for animals. They are treated like their lives don’t matter. Well, I believe they do matter. I believe they matter just as much as any one of us human beings on this earth.
The living environments they are kept in are disgusting and disgraceful.
“The quality of life for animals on mass production farms (where most of the supply comes from) is the equivalent of being held a prisoner in a concentration camp.”
I refuse to continue enabling this by eating the remains of these beautiful living creatures.
Here’s a touching piece of poetry written by Mother Teresa:
Because they give everything asking for nothing back… Because they are defenseless amid men’s weapons and power… Because they are eternal children…because they don’t know hate…or war…because they don’t know about money and only seek the protection of a shelter… Because they explain themselves without words, because their eyes are as pure as their souls… Because they don’t know about envy or grudges, because forgiveness comes natural to them… Because they love with loyalty and truthfulness… Because they recognize and appreciate respect… Because they don’t buy love, they just expect it… Because they are our companions, eternal friends that never betray… And because they are alive. Because of this and a thousand other reasons they deserve our love! If we learn to love them like they deserve, for being creatures that feel, suffer and need us, we will be closer to God.
When I see a mouse outside of the house, I admire how cute they are instead of chasing them down with the sole of my foot or a hammer. Sure, they may do some damage if they ever got into the house but there’s a question I like to ask myself…
Which outcome would I prefer to live with?
a) Having taken the life of another animal to prevent having to do some extra work and spend some extra money on potentially damaged walls or insulation?
b) Having to do some extra work and spend some extra money in return for letting another animal live?
I choose option b every single time, no questions.
I would never put money, time, or effort ahead of the life of another animal. I’m not better than them, nor am I more important.
Just because we have the power to kill without repercussion, does not mean we need to exercise it.
Over the past two years I have been on a spiritual journey.
Over this time, the connection and oneness I feel with all things; living, non-living, physical, and non-physical has grown to a point where…
eating an animal has become the equivalent of eating another human being.
I have always had a connection with animals, particularly dogs. When visiting friends, family, or even meeting someone for the first time, I am a dog magnet.
Disclosure: I do give great massages so I’m sure that is factored into their choice to follow me around.
Aligning With My Beliefs
Being an animal lover, eating animals of any kind just doesn’t line up with my love for them. Although I have been eating them all my life despite my love for them, I never questioned my actions…until now.
I never asked why I continued to be an enabler of animal cruelty, animal slaughter, and animal murder, by adding to the demand of meat eaters. Why would I ask? I mean, everyone else does it, right? Nobody else around me questioned themselves on their beliefs or ethics so why would I.
And this is why I’m so grateful for this spiritual journey. I don’t want to be like anyone else anymore. I want to live in alignment with my own beliefs, the beliefs that are at the core of who I am. I want to be myself.
Sure, if I was lost in the wilderness for months on end with little or no vegetation to rely on for food, I would eat meat to survive. I’m faced with a decision, eat or die, and I would choose to eat.
Fortunately, we have been graced with an over-abundance of food here n North America and therefore we don’t need to choose between death or going against our beliefs. We have a choice to not eat animals without death being the consequence.
From No Love Lost To Love
Just over two years ago we added a cat to our family of a dog and a turtle. Her name is Laara, and there was no love lost between us for at least the first 6 months.
She thought it would be wise at the time to barge into our room between 12 a.m and 1 a.m every single night, meowing at the top of her lungs.
I like to leave the window open a tad during the night to bring in some fresh air. Laara decided that it was a good idea to get some every night as well. Her idea of getting some fresh air included several attempts of pouncing onto the window sill, with each failed attempt nearly dragging the drapes to the floor.
I would get up, making as much noise as I could, huffing and puffing and stomping my feet, chasing her out the bedroom door while attempting to inflict enough fear into her to not want to return.
It got to a point where I wouldn’t even bother trying to get to sleep before midnight, despite waking up between 5:30 a.m and 6:30 a.m the following morning.
Allie would always tell me that it’s because I don’t show her affection or give her attention that she decides to go to such extremes for attention. I never bought that b.s philosophy at the time.
As my spiritual journey deepened, I naturally started showing Laara more affection, attention, and dare I say the word….love. Ironically enough, her midnight episodes came to and end.
She now greets me when I get home…belly up.
Are There Any Doubts?
This has been a common question, and in some instances, more of a statement doubting the permanency of my commitment due to my love for the taste of meat.
The people who truly know me, know that when I have my mind set on something there is no turning back. I am doing this through conviction and love. Nothing and nobody will ever stand in the way of its’ permanence.
There is not a single drop of doubt residing within me. I love animals too much to put my taste buds before my love of them ever again. That would be a selfish and cowardly act on my part.
Impacts of going vegan for just 1 day:
1100 gallons of water saved
45 pounds of grain saved
30 square feet of forested land saved
20 lbs of CO2 equivalent saved from the atmosphere
1 animal’s life saved
Other harsh realities:
Cows produce milk only when they’re pregnant, so they must continually forcibly impregnated.
After a cow gives birth, the calf is immediately taken away from their mother. If the baby is a male, he is killed for meat, most know this meat as veal. If the baby is a female, she will have the same experience as her mother.
The mother cow will be killed for meat around the age of four because that is when her milk production starts to decline. The costs of keeping her alive and pregnant outweigh the profits she can yield at that point.
Chickens are bred to lay far more than is normal for their bodies – about 300 eggs per year. Whereas chickens in the wild lay about 12 eggs per year.
In the hatcheries, the male chicks are slaughtered immediately after birth through suffocation or being tossed into a met grinder because they aren’t useful.
Hens are kept in pens where they are crammed so closely together, these normally clean animals are forced to urinate and defecate of each other.
Their beaks are cut off so that they won’t peck each other out of frustration created by the unnatural environment they’ve been confined in.
The amount of land required to feed one person who is vegan is 1/6 of an acre; the amount o land required to feed one person who is a vegetarian for one year is 3X as much as a vegan; and the land required to feed one person for a year who is a meat and dairy consumer is 18X as much as a vegan.
Waste caused by animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.
Animal agriculture is responsible for more emissions than all transportation combined.
1000 gallons of water are used for every gallon of milk consumed.
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.
We make many enemies throughout our lives, none of which live outside of our own heads.
Ponder on that for a second before you decide to read any further…what does that mean to you? Are you open to learning to love thy enemy for your own sake?
How We Create Our Own Enemies
Habits As Our Enemies
We create our own habits that we aren’t fond of and call them the enemy as if they have a mind of their own. Well, they do, except it’s not their mind, it’s our own mind. The same mind that created the habit is the same mind that will replace it. All of our habits are created with good intentions at the time of conception, we thought they served a purpose. If you’re not fond of a certain habit, it has outlived its’ purpose, it’s time to replace it. Don’t resist it, understand it, love it, replace it.
Time As Our Enemy
We’re late for an important meeting or occasion and we call time the enemy as if time made us late when it was our own choices that made us late. Time never speeds up or takes time away from us in order to purposely make us late, that just makes us sound like a lunatic. What we choose to do with the time we have been given is entirely our own responsibility, not the responsibility of time itself. Love time, as time is one of the few things you will always have until the day you die.
Challengers As Our Enemies
We don’t think we’re enough and we make enemies of anyone who challenges our outcomes. How dare them to have the audacity to make us feel like we’re not enough. Yet we were the ones telling ourselves we’re not enough before any challengers arose. If we were enough, we would see the opportunities in being challenged, we would welcome them. We understand that no matter what they say, we’re enough. Love being challenged, it fosters your growth.
Is it possible for one to generate compassion for a man who has done such horrific things? Yes, it is.
For him to do the things he’s done, can you just imagine what was going on inside his head? Take some time to think about that. Put yourself in his shoes and just imagine.
What would he have had to believe in order to carry out such acts of hatred and horror?
In a way, we can feel sympathy for him, he was a victim of a menacing mind. That’s one way to look at it.
We can also compassionately empathize with him. We’ve all done things we aren’t proud of, many of us still haven’t forgiven ourselves for some of these things. We can look back and ask ourselves…who in their right mind would do something like what we did? But that’s just it, we weren’t in the right mind. We had temporarily succumbed to certain thoughts that led to our regretful actions.
Being compassionate toward Hitler does not mean we condone his actions, it means we can understand with love, the horrific thoughts that led to his actions.
Sure, our wrong-doings were on a much smaller scale than that of Hitlers’, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still empathize with what it feels like to have a troubled mind. To be completely and utterly lost for a period of time. Lost to the point we performed some regretful actions, actions we wish we could take back if given the chance.
Now, I’m spiritual but not religious, some may call me a Theist as I believe in a higher power, an intelligence behind life. I’m going to take a quote from the Bible thought, regardless of who said it, be it Jesus or not, it has great power.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Why else would Hitler, or ourselves, follow through on any actions would never repeat while in our right mind? At the time, we thought we knew what we were doing, but we really didn’t because in the right mind we would have never done it.
Just like Hitler, we too know what it’s like to know not what we are doing.
Holding hatred in our hearts only hurts ourselves, not the one we’re hating. At the very least, sympathizing with him will leave us much better off than hating him. Each and every one of us does have the capacity to feel compassion and love for him as well, despite his wrong-doings.
Resistance, Options, And Illusions
As soon as an enemy is created, resistance toward the enemy is created. Using the examples above, we would then feel resistance toward our bad habits, toward time, toward the ones that challenge us, and toward Hitler. We don’t think with clarity when in a state of constant resistance. This simply does not serve us.
We fear to make enemies and therefore see much of creation as a threat to our illusionary existence, otherwise known as our ego. We point the blame outward in an attempt to preserve our ego, yet it is our egos that created our enemies in the first place. Ironic right?
Seeing that we do, in fact, have the option on whether or not we decide to create an enemy for ourselves, is the beginning of learning to love thy enemy. Enemies are not inevitable, people do bad things, WE do bad things, but we don’t have to make an enemy of it.
If we can get just a little glimpse of the illusory non-existence of our enemies, we will get a sneak peek at the existence of our allies.
Our enemies bring with them stubbornness, exile, resistance and division.
Our allies bring with them understanding, compassion, non-resistance and unity.
When facing our enemies we have three choices: play the victim, play the hero, or love them.
With love comes a willingness to understand and learn from our enemies. An enemy we learn from becomes our ally, this is how they make us stronger.
Love thy enemy and add to your strength.
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.
You might be anxiously wondering where this article is going to go, so just in case you’re about to judge me as some negative Nancy that’s going to bash positive thinking, I’d like to clear that up because that’s not what I’m about to do.
I’m going to use a deep dive into The Three Principles understanding of Mind, Consciousness, and Thought to awaken you to the fact that we don’t need to try to think positive in order to enjoy a joyous and fulfilling life. All we need is an understanding, and to not take our thoughts so damn seriously.
What I’m going to touch on is:
Positive and negative thoughts don’t exist, you just think they do
Judging vs understanding
A fear-based mentality
How the mind really works
Where our thoughts actually come from
What control we really have
The repercussions to always trying to think positive
How positive thinking teaches us to become more judgmental
A more peaceful approach to our thoughts and emotions
A healthier way to know your thinking is off
Where is freedom of mind?
By trying to think positive all the time, you’re attempting to shun the negative and embrace the positive instead of embracing the whole.
The self-help industry is completely flooded with the newest tips and strategies on how to think more positive more often. Oddly enough, attempting to see through a rose coloured lens all the time isn’t the solution to living a more fulfilling and joyful life. On top of that, it doesn’t even work.
My goal by the end of this post is to encourage you to meet your thoughts with understanding and compassion oppose to judgement. True success would be seeing the judgement of your thoughts as laughable.
Positive Thinking Failed Me
Being a caregiver to my wife with Leukemia for the past 9 years has taught me a lot. I’ve been to hell on earth and back, all in one lifetime, and I’m very grateful for this experience. Amongst the blessings in disguise that I’ve uncovered, I’ve learnt not to fear my own thinking.
During my deepest depths of despair, the world was a very, very dark place and I couldn’t see the light for the life of me. I tried so hard to “think positive”, but I wasn’t thrown a single bone to chew on.
I wanted to think positive because I was so afraid of what was going on inside my head. I was more afraid of my own thoughts than I was of cancer. I was constantly on edge, waiting to defend against the next negative thought that popped up.
When I needed positive thoughts the most they weren’t there. Or maybe they were, maybe I was blind to them because I was so distracted by all the attention I was giving to my “negative thinking”? Hmm
Suffice to say, I ground through that stage in my journey, it was not a graceful victory by any stretch.
I know with all my being that I will never go back to that place, or anywhere near it. I know this because I no longer judge my thinking as positive or negative. What’s probably even more important is that I no longer fear my own thoughts.
I now aim to meet each of my thoughts with love and compassion. Love trumps fear every single time. This compassion eliminates any desire for me to judge or change my thinking.
All of my thoughts are now arbitrary until I decide which ones will best serve me and the greater good.
Positive And Negative Thoughts Don’t Exist, You Just Think They Do
We make up what every single one of our thoughts mean. There is no universal meaning to our thoughts. There are universal feelings that we label, but each of those feelings means something different to each of us because we each have different thoughts that lead to those feelings.
Any given thought that you THINK is positive or negative is only that way because you THINK it is. You have labelled it so. Why do thoughts that lead to feeling happy have to be positive and thoughts that lead to feeling sad have to be negative?
Is it really such a negative thing to have thoughts that lead to feeling sad if you lose someone you loved dearly? Would you rather feel happy you lost them? One could argue that being happy in such a circumstance could be labelled as negative. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Judging vs Understanding
Judging leads us towards separating our thoughts into positive or negative compartments.
Understanding points toward the fact that we think. Through a simple understanding that we are thinking creatures and we aren’t in control, regardless of the content of our thinking, we can finally sit back and just watch the movie play out in our head.
Knowing that our thoughts have no life of their own allows us to not have to take them so seriously. None of our thoughts are real, not one. They only appear real because we give certain thoughts our full attention. This attention breathes life into a thought and that’s when they appear REAL.
Well, here’s the best news…
just because you have a thought in your head, this does not mean you have to act on it nor do you have to believe it. After all, it’s just a thought…until you think it’s not.
When we give our thoughts a life of their own, we feel the need to gain some control by attempting to banish the bad and embrace the good. We do this because we fear our thoughts are real, they have a sense of control over us, so we must take back control before they make us act out in ways we forbid.
How Positive Thinking Teaches Us To Become More Judgmental
In order to distinguish the so-called positive and negative thoughts, we must judge them as one or the other. To be on the look-out for the bad guys all day (negative thoughts), this requires us to be judging our thoughts all day.
This teaches us to analyze our thinking, then segmenting each thought into positive or negative categories. I’m exhausted just thinking about doing this each day.
We don’t see the world as our experience, we experience our thoughts as the world we see.
Therefore, the more we judge ourselves, which includes the thoughts in our head, the more we judge the world outside of us, including others. This is not the way of a more peaceful and joyful life.
As soon as we judge a thought as negative we’ve given it life, quite the opposite of our intentions. If we don’t judge the thought, it passes by all on its’ own like a cloud in the sky. Letting the thought go with judgement allows room for the next thought to pass by.
If we hold our attention on a negative thought, it leaves no room for the next thought to come through, not until we let that one go.
Being able to see your thoughts without judgement is ultimately what brings peace. Trying to think positive all the time takes you further away from this and more woven into a neurotic and judgmental world.
A Fear-Based Mentality
When we see our thoughts as real and in control of us, we have a tendency to then fear the thoughts we’ve judged as negative. This fear of a negative thought gives birth to the desire to abolish negative thinking while simultaneously attempting to control our thoughts.
If we take the stance of seeing all of our thoughts as arbitrary, until we give them life through belief and attention, we won’t feel the need to judge our thinking or try and control the uncontrollable. A thought becomes a thought, no more and no less.
In this non-judgmental state, we develop compassion for our thoughts, regardless of the contents. This compassion breeds a whole new level of understanding that makes one wonder why they felt the need to judge, fear, or change their thoughts in the first place.
How The Mind Really Works
The mind works like a projector. It reflects our own thoughts back to us and we call what we see “reality”. We’re watching the movie of our own mind, we’re not the movie, and therefore we’re not our thoughts.
Sure, we can direct the film through editing the speed, colour, and sound, but what we cannot do is create the film. We don’t even have control over which film gets placed into the projector.
Where Our Thoughts Actually Come From
This remains a mystery. This mystery is what religion, mystics, and spiritual leaders try to put into words that which cannot be described with words.
What we do know is that we don’t create our thoughts, we receive them and we observe them. Similarly to how we listen to a radio, and if we don’t control what is on the radio, what control do we have?
What Control We Really Have
You’re driving along, listening to the radio, you’re favourite song has just ended, the next one comes on. It’s a song that has been so overplayed; you’ve heard it way too many times recently. What do you do? Change the station.
The next station plays a song that reminds you of your ex…neeeeext. The station after is playing a song that has always had this negative vibe to it…next.
After flicking through the stations, you find one of your favourite songs, a song that energizes you every time you hear it. Finally! So you decide to stay at this station for the rest of the song, then the cycle repeats itself.
We don’t have the power to decide what plays on the radio, but we do have control over which station we decide to listen to.
This is kind of how our minds work. Our brain is like a radio in the sense that it’s a receiver. It receives thoughts from an unknown source of intelligence.
We don’t have control over the thoughts that we receive in our head, but we do have control over which ones to listen to. Not giving attention to a thought is similar to changing the radio station, whereas giving attention to a thought is similar to remaining on a radio station.
Just as we have zero control over being able to stop thoughts from popping into our head, we have zero control over which thoughts pop into our head.
An even more important distinction to recognize is that we have complete control over which thoughts we choose to believe.
To play devil’s advocate to what I just said, for those who believe in fate, it can even be argued that we don’t even choose our thoughts. Who told us to choose a certain thought? To believe a certain thought? It can be said that it’s part of our destiny and that the script is already written and we’re just playing it out.
It’s estimated that we have 60,000 – 100,000 thoughts swirl around in our head on any given day. Most of these thoughts are regurgitated and go unnoticed, none of these thoughts were placed in our head by choice, wrap your head around that.
Do We Have The Power To Create A Positive Thought?
If I presented you a blue ball in my hand and told you to choose the red one, could you do it?
Similarly, if you were presented with a negative thought and I told you to choose the positive one, could you do it?
Why is it that when we need an empowering thought the most it doesn’t seem to come? If we had the power to create one then we surely would. Instead, we wait until one pops into our head. And, if we’re too distracted or overwhelmed, we’ll completely miss the thought altogether.
Since I’ve pointed to the understanding we don’t create our thinking, this also points towards the understanding that we can’t create a positive thought. We can choose one, but we cannot create one.
If you’ve never made a million dollars before and I asked you to create a thought that will tell you how to make 1 million dollars in 1 week, could you do it? Why not?
I think this is where the distinction between choosing a thought and creating a thought really needs to be distinguished.
Here’s an example I received recently:
“At any time, I can recognize I am being hard on myself and then consciously choose to think, “I deserve a little credit for everything I did right today.” That’s an example of consciously choosing to create an empowering thought, and I’ve actually done this many times!”
I can see many people being confused by this, as it confused the heck out of me at one point as well.
Who placed the thought “I deserve a little credit for everything I did right today.” into their head?
Where did that thought come from? Once again, this remains a mystery.
This person chose to give that thought attention and bring it to life with belief, but only after the thought was created and delivered as an option in the mind’s eye. If we had the power to consciously create “positive” and empowering thoughts then we would do it all the time, but I’m sure based on experience, we can all agree that this is just not true.
As fascinating as the mind is, it is limited to only one thought at a time. One thought that we didn’t create but the one thought that we chose.
I understand that this is a hard concept to grasp, and one that can completely rock your world. Especially for those who want to think they’re in control, it can be earth shattering to even fathom the idea that you’re not in control of which thoughts get created and place into your head. That all you have control of is which thoughts you choose to give attention.
The opposite to control is freedom, free from the need or desire to control. This is when we will experience true freedom of mind.
Where Is Freedom Of Mind?
There’s no freedom in condemnation. Freedom lay not with judgement but with non-judgement. A mind that condemns a thought due to a negative judgement is not a free mind.
This is a mind that is on edge, constantly on the lookout for the enemy. A mind that fears harm upon itself is not a free mind, this is a paranoid mind.
A liberated mind does not judge itself; it accepts what arises and understands that it does not need to attempt to control the uncontrollable.
True freedom of mind lay not without certain thoughts but with all thoughts. True freedom of mind lay not with fear of certain thoughts but with love for all thought.
The Repercussions Of Always Trying To Think Positive
Firstly, if your expectation is that you should always think positive then you will be thoroughly disappointed. You’re setting yourself up for failure, this is one battle you will never, ever win.
Your frustrations during this battle will generate their own negative thoughts by way of continuous judgement of yourself for not gaining control. This will ultimately lead to the creation of an ongoing teeter-totter between positive and negative thinking.
This constant battle is exhausting, it takes up so much mental energy. This is wasted energy that could arguably be better spent on creativity or imagination, among other things.
A More Peaceful Approach To Our Thoughts And Emotions
Typically, negative thoughts are judged as negative due to the feeling they induce. Common feelings such as anger, guilt, frustration and resentment are regularly judged as negative emotions leading us to believe that our thinking is negative.
What if there is no such thing as a negative thought?
I like to view our emotions as indicators sending us messages. An innocent indicator that points us toward our thinking that has led to that emotion. Not to judge the thoughts, but to see the innocence and harmlessness in the thoughts, and to see the thoughts with compassion.
Feelings are a barometer of our thoughts at any given time
– George Pransky, The Relationship Handbook
The messages we receive are always a reflection of our thoughts at the moment since each one of our thoughts gives birth to a corresponding emotion. Therefore, the benefit of any thought, whether we judge it as positive or negative, is that it will generate a feeling which we can use to better understand our thinking at the moment.
If you pay attention to your feelings without judgement, you’ll see that they’re a great indicator to which thoughts you’re giving the most attention.
In my experience, see our thoughts with understanding and compassion are a much more peaceful approach than constantly judging.
Generate Clarity With Just 2 Powerful Questions
Rather than constantly judging our thinking, I propose a much more peaceful and non-judgmental way to explore our thoughts. There are two powerful questions I like to ask myself that help me see with more clarity, they are:
Is this thought really true?
Does this thought serve the greater good?
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.
I hear many people say they aren’t creative, yet creativity is innate. We each have access to a wellspring of creativity. Unfortunately, some people don’t seem to be aware of this. We all have equal access to the same source of creativity.
Think of creativity as the sun and your personal thinking as the clouds, just because on a cloudy day you can’t see it, that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
I think one misconception people have is that creativity comes in the form of art. Leading them to believe that because they aren’t interested in art, or they aren’t good at art (in their opinion), then that means they aren’t creative.
Art is just one form of creativity. Creativity can come through in many areas of life and work. Think of creativity as finding a new way to think of something or do something. To create something original for you in your life or create a new way of thinking.
Examples of creativity:
You could create a new perspective on:
You could create:
A new recipe
More value at work
Other avenues to make money
More meaningful relationships
A morning/evening ritual
When it comes to being creative, the options are infinite. Any time you have created something in your life you have used your creativity.
If we’re all creative beings, how do we access our innate creativity?
The simple equation that generates creativity is this:
A new thought comes from…well, who knows. All we know is that we didn’t create it, we just observe it.
This is very different from our personal thinking, which you can think of as old thought. These are the thoughts that we have thought before, they are nothing new. They are personal to us because they are bound to us and regurgitated.
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.”
– Albert Einstein
A single new thought can generate an insight that changes your entire life. A single new thought can give you the framework to create something new in the world.
So, how do we get new thoughts?
If creativity is the sun and our personal thinking (old thoughts) are the clouds, a little less attention to our personal thinking will allow the sun to peak through. A cloudless sky isn’t necessary to see the light, all that is needed is a momentary gap between clouds to shed some light.
We don’t need a blank mind to allow our creativity to come through. We just need to pay a little less attention to our personal thinking and allow a momentary gap for a new thought to come through.
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.
The following equation reveals the only source of our feelings, good or bad. Since most people don’t factor in one component of the equation, they lead themselves to believe a lie, and in my opinion, it’s also the main source of suffering and despair in the world.
I also think it’s the greatest source of life’s illusion, especially when it comes to chasing things like money, prestige, happiness, peace, love and status.
The simple equation that creates your feelings is this:
However, most people live by this equation:
The Grand Illusion And Taking Your Power Back
“You make me happy”
“You piss me off!”
“Traffic makes my blood boil”
“My job stresses me out”
How many times have you heard yourself say any of those? I know I used to say the first two ALLLLLL the time.
Now that I don’t blame others or circumstances for how I feel, I feel so much freedom because I am the only one who can make myself feel any which way about anything.
When we blame the outside world for what is going on in our inside world we’ve given all of our power away. We’ve granted permission to anything or anyone outside of us to create our feelings.
Although this is actually never the case, so long as we believe that this is how our feelings are created we’re rendered powerless. We then live by this equation:
Circumstance – THOUGHT = Feeling = Powerless
The missing link that doesn’t get factored in is thought.
In order to maintain power over your feelings, you must understand that it’s your own thoughts about another person, what they may have said, or a circumstance, that creates your feelings.
Circumstance + THOUGHT = Feeling = Power
It is our thoughts about who this person is and what they mean to us that makes us happy, not them.
It is our thoughts about what they said about us that pisses us off, not them.
It is our thoughts about traffic that makes our blood boil, not the traffic itself.
It is our thoughts about our job that stress us out, not the job itself.
Feelings are the children of thoughts, and without thoughts, they cease to exist.
The mere understanding of this can grant you hope no matter the circumstance because you’re no longer reliant on a world outside of you to change how you feel. Only you have the power to do that.
Learn from all of your experiences, opportunities are everywhere.