Resilient models of thinking may not have prevented today’s economic disasters, but I can’t help but wonder if the Big Three automakers would be solvent today if they had implemented new models of thinking.
- Do you know how you think?
- Do you know what you do when you have to think something through?
Try this exercise:
Take a few minutes to write what you are thinking. When you are done, take a look at what you have written. Keep the following questions in mind:
- Is your thinking organized? Methodical?
- Do you use a charting or mapping process to keep track of the flow of your ideas?
- How do you know where one stage or type of thinking ends and another one begins?
If your page of thoughts and ideas looks like random words that don’t form a recognizable pattern, you are not alone. Most of us haven’t the foggiest notion of what we do when we think.
Consider the following questions:
If you don’t know what you do when you think, then what do you do when you solve problems?
Do you solve them without thinking? Maybe THAT’s the problem!
The good news is that even though you probably spent more time learning how to program your iPod than learning how your mind works, it is easier to tune up your mind than to program your iPod!
And when it comes to mastering your thinking, emotional intelligence is essential! Emotions are stored as molecules in your limbic system, also known as the emotional brain. Those molecules are triggered by, say, the smell of roast turkey and pumpkin pie at Halloween, or a song that takes you back to a summer afternoon when you were in college.
This is equally true for pleasurable and painful emotions. (If, like me, you want to understand the science behind this, please read Dr. Candace Pert’s groundbreaking classic, Molecules of Emotion.)
Feel the power of those e-words: excitement, exuberance, enthusiasm, excellence, and euphoria. Think of a time when you experienced one of these powerful emotional states. Imagine that you can ‘step into’ that experience again as if it was happening around you now. See what you saw, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt. Now you can touch your earlobe or make a fist to create an anchor between your ear or fist and those molecules of emotion.
Tighten your fist or brighten the colors in your mind and you may enjoy a greater intensity of emotion. When the feeling fades, shake out your hand, wiggle your shoulders…and go back to whatever you were doing. Whenever you want a boost, touch that same earlobe or make that same fist and say, “Take you back.” Your emotional brain will flood you with the chemical states of excitement, exuberance, enthusiasm, excellence, and/or euphoria.
This technique, called “anchoring,” gives you the power to change the channel in your mind. Instead of feeling frustrated or upset, you can use the anchor to signal your brain that it is time to change your emotional state from feeling overwhelmed to feeling empowered. Yes, you can!
It won’t bring back your job, your house, or your investments. Nor can just one anchor bring back all the confidence you had before your dream broke down. That takes time, patience, and new ideas.
I know something about that. I lost everything in a recession in the late 1990’s: home, savings, marriage, job, and my health. More to the point: I lost my self-esteem. I blamed myself for not being able to prevent the loss. I felt like a failure. I believed I would never regain the money or income that was drained away by an adjustable mortgage and escalated well beyond our ability to pay. It was traumatic and isolating.
A middle-class baby boomer, one of the most humiliating days of my life came when our family qualified for the free school lunch program. This was not supposed to happen!
I know what it’s like for you if you are losing your job or home. The feelings of failure are connected to your sense of survival and your sense of self-worth. You may be questioning your ability to come back from this. You may be angry because the dream you worked so hard to achieve has broken down. You may even feel depressed and overwhelmed because you do not know how to begin rebuilding. Where do you start?
You start with yourself. Make a list of your fears and put it in a drawer. A year from now you will be surprised when you read it again. Some of the events will have happened. You will already have dealt with them and will realize that you are stronger as a result! You will have overcome some of your fears and a few will have dissolved on their own.
Looking back at yourself when you wrote the list, you may be amazed to discover how good it can feel to have already accomplished some of the powerful changes you have wanted to make…and you are, aren’t you, now?
You change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles and call it maintenance. But how many miles has your mind clocked? Don’t you think maybe it’s time for a tune-up?
About the author:
Life falling apart? Need an experienced mentor to guide you through it? Dr. Laurie Nadel has 17 years’ experience and has appeared on “Oprah.”
Check out her website at: www.laurienadel.com
It will look like this: The Force Is Within You