The Truth About Positive Thinking & Why It’s Not Working For You.
“Just think more positively!”
How many times have you been told to do that? How many times have you told someone else to do that?
If only it were that easy!
Now, obviously, it’s better to have a positive outlook over a negative one, but when it comes to breaking patterns of behaviour, thinking different alone isn’t going to cut it.
In April this year, it will be ten years since I quit smoking. When I did eventually stop, it wasn’t my first attempt.
I had tried MANY times over the years, and I’d failed each time miserably. If I recall correctly, the longest I lasted was 14 days.
I did go a month once, but during that month, I was smoking cigars. I managed to convince myself that was somehow different!
Ah…the power of self-justification to suit our ends…isn’t it incredible! ￼;)
All those times I tried to quit in the past and failed, it wasn’t because I didn’t want to, I did.
When the cravings would kick in, I’d remind myself of that, and I’d give myself a good ‘positive talking to’ and use every ounce of willpower I could muster to resist the temptation.
BUT…in the end, I ALWAYS gave into it.
When I did finally give up, it was easy. I was craving free, and the thought didn’t even pop into my head that I would ever smoke again.
I didn’t use nicotine replacement products or any such thing, I went cold turkey, and I was fine.
So to recap…when I tried to “think positively” about quitting smoking, it didn’t work. When I didn’t think about it at all, it did.
What made the difference then?
A belief. More precisely my definition of a belief.
My core driver and most deep-seated beliefs are around personal freedom.
Now, before I’d learnt the process of redefining what that belief meant to me, back then, it could be summed up as this…”NO ONE TELLS ME WHAT TO DO!”
The funny thing is, it turns out that “NO ONE” included me!
I desperately WANTED to give up smoking, but that desire was in direct violation of my beliefs around freedom.
Giving up smoking was a restriction. It was a newly imposed rule. The fact that it was coming from me made no difference. My core rejected it.
My freedom was more important than my desire to be healthy.
EVEN if it was going to KILL me!
Beliefs…they’re made of POWERFUL stuff!
I distinctly remember the morning I decided to quit. I knew that this time I meant it.
It was nothing to do with a thought. I wasn’t telling myself “this time Mark.’ I wasn’t pumping myself up or motivating myself to take action.
It wasn’t because of the health benefits.
It wasn’t because I wanted to save money.
It was because of a realisation…I was addicted.
My daily ‘smoke rate’ had been steadily rising over the years, I was now getting near to two packs a day.
As I lit my usual morning cigarette and coughed, for the first time I faced the truth.
Smoking wasn’t something I chose to do. I had no choice. I was addicted. THEY controlled me.
This realisation set my core belief on RED ALERT.
It went into full panic mode, “shit, we are being CONTROLLED MARK, we MUST do something NOW!!”
I put the cigarette out. I quit. My belief system could not tolerate the conflict.
And that was that. Smoke-free ever since.
Like I said…Beliefs…they’re made of POWERFUL stuff.
Unwittingly, back then I’d stumbled on the real secret to lasting transformation.
Now, I was fortunate. Unconscious change like I experienced in this example may happen a few times in a lifetime if we are lucky.
It’s only because the definitions and beliefs I had about ‘personal freedom’ back then were so strong and overbearing that nothing could survive in their presence.
This year, I’ve added core belief modification to the ‘Freedom Engineering’ process I’ve been developing and using over the past four years.
Over the past few months, I’ve redefined my core beliefs across EVERY area of life. The change has been immense.
For example, In just one area, health, I’ve lost over 35lbs and now have a LOVE of exercise that I’ve never, ever had.
The only thing that had been previously standing in the way of this transformation were my hidden beliefs.
Once I’d found out what they were, redefined them and then aligned them with what and who I wanted to be, the brakes were released.
No willpower or motivation required. 🙂
If you want to change things in your life for good, I’d ask you to consider the possibility that it’s not your thoughts that need to change, it’s the deep-rooted beliefs that drive them.
Like the dog in the photo below. It doesn’t matter how positively we think if it’s the belief that’s really the problem.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have, so go ahead and leave your comments below!