Self Development

Thought Patterns – Make or Break

All of us are in the middle of a tough life trying hard to make something out of it – name, fame or money. We are all trying to get ahead in life. As individuals, we are at times brilliant at times good or average and even bad, sometimes. We all have our moments of glory and crankiness. We are all masters and slaves at the same time of our strengths and of weaknesses. But, in the end a select few among us are able to get more out of this life. They somehow manage to get what they want, more or less, in terms of chasing dreams, living a high life, accomplishing things and getting there.

How do they manage to do it? How do they think? What occupy their mind for most part of any given day? Is the way they think the defining factor of their success? If we examine and compare the thought patterns of an average person and a highly accomplished individual we might be surprised by what we find. When an average person shows inconsistency in thoughts and behaviour a highly accomplished individual is calm, composed and highly consistent. Let’s examine this further to see what lies beneath.

We know that we function in a thoughts-to-words to-action sequence. Our basic instincts, feelings and bodily needs, become our thoughts. For the fulfilment of the same we communicate with our surroundings. So our thoughts become the barometer to know what is going on within us or what we are about to do next. The thoughts we have now becomes our action later – after moments, hours or days. Therefore let’s observe how we think to see if there exists a recurring pattern which repeats itself over again to keep us in the same vicious circle of inconsistent thoughts and inconsistent action and less achievements.

We normally define thought-pattern as the thinking habit an individual. But in essence we are a stream of thoughts from birth to death. We think all the time knowingly or unknowingly. We think when we are awake when we are asleep when we work and when we play. This constant stream of thoughts and how they are linked and interlinked can be compared to a Twitter page where news and stories appear, discussions take place, commenting, liking and re-tweeting takes place where threads emerge and trending happens. The whole place is brimming with action or reaction. Threads that are touched upon by multiple people multiple times become trends.

Thoughts is medium that makes our internal world communicate to our external world. In a very special way thoughts bring logic into our instincts and restraint into our actions. A thought in itself is like a living thing – it germinates, it grows, it takes shape and most importantly it demands attention and nurturing.    

But, how is it that some us have inspiring thoughts and can sustain it forever? The answer lies in the nature of the thoughts itself. But how do I analyse my thought pattern?

At the end of a particular day make a list of things you did hour by hour that day. Go through the list and visualise them as they were happening. There was a thought behind every action of yours which actually prompted you to do that action whether the action was visiting a friend or going to a movie or playing in the club house etc. You can continue this process for a week or two and gradually you will start coming closer to your thoughts because you will start watching your thoughts becoming your actions. If you normally make a ‘to-do-list’ each day then you can easily check things you scheduled to do and the things that you actually did. If there was a deviation in what you planned to do and what you actually did that is caused by a naughty thought pattern.

If you do the above exercise for a month you will notice that your thought-to-action pattern resembles one the three categories explained below;

  1. Dreamer – If your to-do-list doesn’t match what you actually did, means you mostly live in a fantasy world where you think of doing a lot of things but you rarely do those things in your real life. You are a passive personality wishing to be an active one. You have many dreams but your dreams never take-off.
  2. Struggler – If your to-do-list partially matches what you actually did, means you lack consistency in action you have high energy levels but you probably over do and get tired for short periods of weeks or months. You have mega plans but you falter when you need to stand up and deliver.
  3. Doer – If your to-do-list exactly or more that ninety percent matches what you actually did, means you are a man/woman of action. You really chase your dreams and walk that extra mile to be true to yourself. You achieve what you dream of.

Of the three types mentioned above the third pattern is the one exhibited by achievers. And all those people who wish to become achievers must actually get to a thought pattern that achievers carry.

So, how do I break my unproductive thought-pattern? Is that even possible?

Yes! It is very much possible to break your unproductive thought-pattern and construct and sustain a productive action oriented thought-pattern. Once a thought is followed up with action consistently it becomes a habit. If you are a person looking to make it high in life you should always be in the company of thoughts that are positive and instrumental in taking you to the places where you want to go. Your thoughts, your words and your actions should be in sync – consistently. In the initial phase of your transition from a ‘thinker’ to a ‘doer’ you must be very aware of your thoughts all the time. You must constantly bring back your thoughts on track, if they waver. Also, you must practice the following;

Listen when your body speaks – your body communicates to you all the time like you communicate with your surroundings. You use various communication channels to communicate with your surroundings similarly your body use feelings and thoughts to communicate with you. Once you start ‘listening’ your feelings and thoughts you will establish a communication channel with yourself. This is a two-way channel – you speak to your body through thoughts and your body speaks to you through feelings. If you fill your thoughts with greed, violence, and cunningness your body will react with aggression, lust and nerve. If your body feels lethargic, tired and sick you must fill your thoughts with physical actions like working out, playing and being in the middle of the action. You express what you want to yourself through thoughts – that is a language your body understands. And, focus in life is all about being with the right thoughts all the time.    

Learn to switch-off your senses – We have five senses though which we receive impulses on a 24/7 basis. All these endless impulse demand some sort of action or reaction from us. But it is impossible for us to keep giving action or reaction to all impulses coming into us through our senses because ninety five percent of those impulses are not relevant to us or not even connected to us. For example, when you are in the middle of thinking something constructive suddenly you see a book related to motivation you start reacting to that by either think of your own motivation levels or buying that book or how de-motivated you are etc. The most damaging thing that this constant barrage of impulses can do to us is, distract us – take us to another trajectory and cleverly rob us of our focus.

So how do we escape from the assault of these impulses? Train our senses to switch-off to the un-wanted impulses. Sleep is a natural switching-off action of the body to be away from all those impulses that demand action from it. We need to train our senses not to take the non-relevant impulses seriously and react to them. You travel on a bus and you are utilising this time to sort out some stuff through your thinking suddenly you hear a pair in from of your seat discussing some social issue and their discussion falls on your ear since they are speaking loudly, what do you here? Normally, if not trained well, you will gradually start thinking about the topic the pair is discussing losing track of the issue you were trying to sort out.

Make a ‘to-do list’ for each day – like a huge ship requires a big, strong anchor to keep it steady at a spot your huge ambitions will need an anchor to retain the focus. Preparing a list of things to do for a day will act an anchor to keep your focus steady that day. If you prepare a to-do list it must be action oriented like meeting people, going places, doing things etc. You must learn to break down your big ambitions to small action units and achieve a few of those units each day. If you can prepare a to-do list each morning for 365 days back-to-back and complete the list by the end of each day means you have arrived in life!

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