“Negative thoughts are nails.”

“Negative thoughts are nails.”

—Jon Gordon, Author of The Carpenter

Image from Unsplash by travelergeek

Where do you stand on the negative to positive spectrum of thought? How do you view yourself when you listen closely to your inner voice?

Carpenters use nails all the time to fasten and hold things together. Adding an extra nail or two can make a structure even more rigid and solid. As someone who isn’t particularly handy, I often use nails to hang pictures on the wall as a way of hiding a blemish or mark.

How are you seeing the world and relating to the people in your personal and professional communities these days?

How do you judge others on this spectrum when you examine their words and actions?

EXERCISE:

Where do you see the negative thinking in your world keeping people stuck and rigid?

How would greater positivity and optimism offer greater possibilities to build a better future?

“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”

“Present fears are less than horrible imaginings.”

—William Shakespeare, MacBeth, Act 1, Scene 3

Image from NoSweatShakespeare.com

William Shakespeare’s plays, poems, and sonnets have taught the world many life lessons that are still relevant today.

Through his works, he taught that love can conquer and destroy, that people trust what they cannot see, and that human ethics are easily manipulated.

In addition to the subject of love in his numerous works, he frequently included other common characteristics of society including greed, ambition, and the focus on power.

How would you imagine Shakespeare might view our current society, given that he lived during challenging times between 1564 and 1616 in England?

EXERCISE:

What are your thoughts and feelings about your own present fears versus your own imaginings?

Consider checking out the website NoSweatShakespeare.com to explore in greater depth his significant influences on our world.

“We are the masters of our fate, the captains of our souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.”

“We are the masters of our fate, the captains of our souls, because we have the power to control our thoughts.”

—Napoleon Hill, 20th Century American author of Think and Grow Rich

Image from Unsplash by Philippe Oursel

Perhaps one of the primary reasons for the rapid growth of the coaching industry is its ability to significantly increase our mindfulness and self-awareness. The phrase “Wherever you go, there you are” is poignant in that we always bring along our minds, which strongly influences and creates our worlds.

The majority of my work with clients focuses on executive leadership and business matters. Nevertheless, I’ve noticed considerable attention shifting to more personal and soulful issues and the idea of living a far more meaningful life.

EXERCISE:

If you, too, wish to dig deeper into being your own soulful captain of life, I strongly recommend the book Toward a Meaningful Life by Simon Jacobson.

“Not all things are to be discovered. Many are better concealed.”

“Not all things are to be discovered. Many are better concealed.”

—Sophocles, 4th Century BC Greek Writer

Image from Unsplash by Mohamadreza Ashdari

Before you speak: T.H.I.N.K.

T: Is what you are about to say TRUE?
H: Is what you plan to say HELPFUL?
I: Will what you say IMPROVE the situation?
N: Is saying it NECESSARY?
K: Is it KIND?

EXERCISE:

How would your professional and personal relationships improve if you did more thinking before you spoke? Where would more silence and concealing your inner voice be the best approach to take with selected individuals? What other aspects of your life would be better off concealed?

The thought is father to the deed

“The thought is father to the deed.”

—Sigmund Freud, 20th Century Austrian founder of psychoanalysis

Image of Sigmund Freud

Image from wisdomtoinspire.com

Sigmund Freud, who lived between 1856 and 1939, was the founder of psychoanalysis, a method used for treating mental illness, and a theory which explains human behavior.

Among his various contributions, he developed a topographical model of the mind. He proposed that the mind was analogous to an iceberg, with the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious minds representing different levels of awareness.

I suggest a bit of editing in today’s quote. Consider replacing the word “father” with “mother,” or at least adding it, given what is required for the conception and eventual birth of an idea, a person, and of course, their deeds.

EXERCISE:

How can you examine and explore your thinking on all levels to more fully conceive and give birth to your most meaningful and inspired actions, to better your world?

When the heart is afire

“When the heart is afire, some sparks will fly out of the mouth.”

—Thomas Fuller, 15th Century British historian

Image from Unsplash by Jamie Street

Today’s quote is about leadership. Take a moment to consider the sparks flying out of people’s mouths these days. Gun control, global warming, nuclear proliferation, politics, and the economy are just a few of the hotly debated subjects.

What topics have your heart afire? To what degree do you share your own thoughts and opinions on those topics with others?

EXERCISE:

Where is the status quo unacceptable in your personal or professional worlds? Where can and will you play a greater leadership role and let a few more sparks fly out of your mouth, sharing your heartfelt beliefs?

Nurture Your Mind With Great Thoughts

“Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than you think.”

—Benjamin Disraeli, British Statesman

Image of a psychedelic tree

Image from Twitter @HighestThinking

How often do you eat junk food? How often do manufactured foods with excessive sugar, fat, or mystery ingredients find their way through your lips?

When you do, what are the results on your physical, mental, and emotional vitality and well being?

How many junk messages enter your mind from news, social media, books, or even the people with whom you associate? What impact do these factors have on your abilities to better yourself?

EXERCISE:

How can you make more efforts to ingest and digest more nurturing ideas and thoughts, to take your life higher?

How can you reduce or stop detrimental thoughts and influences that hold you back in order to  make room for empowering and uplifting ideas?

The Tree of our Thinking Minds

“We are sitting under the tree of our thinking minds, wondering why we’re not getting any sunshine!”

—Ram Dass, American Spiritual Leader

Image of a person sitting in the shade under a tree

Image from Flickr by Kat Northern Lights Man

On a hot, sunny day we all enjoy being in the shade, perhaps with a frosty beverage. It’s cooler, and just more comfortable.

Our own thinking often plays the role of a shade tree in that we are literally blocking out new, more creative or innovative input, which might enlighten us.

If, for some reason, you feel stalled, stuck or plateaued in your growth and development, take a hard look at how often and how much you are sitting under your limited thinking canopy.

EXERCISE:

How can you let in more bright ideas and alternative perspectives by welcoming the light of other people’s input, personally or professionally?

Want to Forget

“To want to forget something is to think of it.”

—French Proverb

Image of pink elephant with glasses

Image from Flickr by Eric Wilcox

Did you know that there is a perpetual motion machine? Not necessarily in the physical world, since energy is always required, but in terms of our minds.

Consider past events and memories of negative or bad things that have happened in your life. What happens when you make the effort to forget these events and leave these thoughts in the past? You might even say to yourself, “Don’t think about X,” and in doing so, X is all you think about.

A common example of this is when we try to fall asleep, when our active minds keep us from getting the rest we need and crave. Sadly, this is the norm for many people.

EXERCISE:

Rather than trying to forget something you don’t wish to think about, consider how you can replace those thoughts with more desirable and intentionally relaxing ideas.

The mind is like a garden

“The mind is like a garden. Plant flowers, you get flowers. Plant weeds, you get weeds. Plant nothing, you get weeds.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a greenhouse full of weeds

Image from Unsplash by Sandis Helvigs

The garden metaphor has been overused in describing the fertility of our minds to grow whatever is planted there. Today’s quote provides a special twist in the event we decide to take a “bench-sitter” or laissez-faire approach to life.

Imaging driving through an area in which no lawn service or landscaper has been seen for years. What do you see when you examine the grounds surrounding the buildings in this area?

Although I prefer to see the beauty of all living things, sometimes the winds of change bring unwanted forms of growth, things which we would prefer to live without.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you take an ongoing, proactive approach to planting only the most beautiful thoughts in your head?  What do you think will bloom?