I’ve long been a big believer of the power of our thoughts. I wrote this post on the subject almost 10 years ago.
Earlier this year, I listened to an excellent episode of the Hidden Brain podcast.
Some of my favorite parts from the episode:
- When the world hands us a lemon, we may think it’s the world’s fault; that the world is causing us to suffer. But our response to what the world hands us is usually worse than what the world hands us.
- If someone says something obnoxious, it’s just words. But what causes us agony is dwelling on, thinking about, and replaying those words.
- When a pipe bursts in your home, you have to shut off the water and call the plumber. Then you have to deal with the water damage. The burst pipe is not your problem. Yes, that will cost you money and several hours to deal with the repair. The real problem is all the water that came out. The damage to the carpeting and more which could cost thousands of dollars, and days or weeks, to repair. This is like when someone insults you. It’s not the insult that’s the problem. Those are just words. The problem comes from your response, which can cause orders of magnitude greater harm than the insult.
An example I always use at speaking engagements is the way I have changed regarding dangerous drivers. Back in the day, when someone cut me off while driving, I used to get very angry, and that anger would linger because my thoughts about the incident would linger. It’s human nature to get angry at that moment, but unlike my former self, I now quickly let the thoughts go, and life is much better.
I hope you will work to recognize when your thoughts are running away from you, hijacking your happiness. You will be happier when you take back that control.