Use these tools when thoughts (often fleeting, though loud) are trying to influence you. In these situations, consider the following points before yielding your attention, time and emotional state:
- Before investing your attention in an opinion or commentary about you, someone else, your future or your past, ask yourself whether you’re going to feel obliged to agree with or defend against an unlovely accusation, condemnation or judgment. Affirm for yourself, “I have the power to decline this invitation; I refuse to feel indebted to exhausting my precious energy on inner arguments?”
- Before agreeing to a course of action, even at a very preliminary level, think about the consequences of your decision. Will you feel so invested in this new course of action that you won’t want to – or won’t feel free to – change your mind?
- Though everyone else is pursuing a particular route or buying a product, it may not be right for you. Avoid falling victim to the “herd mentality.” You might decide that it’s best to go against the trend. An easy way to help you adhere to that decision is to set a timeframe that is reasonable for you (a week, a month, six months…) at which time you will review the decision. Until then, any promotional jabber, discussions and arguments about the product or route taken by others will simply meld into the omnipresent background symphony of life in the world.
- When you feel tempted to buy a product or sign up for a service, ask yourself whether you’ve fallen under your own spell about a particularly likable or magnetic salesperson. Whatever skills or devious language the person uses, it is what you tell yourself, your inner conversation that will always hold sway. Are you telling yourself that the salesperson is similar to you, familiar to you, or extremely complimentary? Step back, envision yourself standing beside the salesperson, and recommit to doing what’s best for you. Only when you see your other self standing there at the threshold of making this purchase, only then, decide whether the product or service contributes to “what’s best for you.”
- Carefully note your reaction to authority figures. Is this visiting thought insisting that it has more authority in your life than you do? Has it appeared in your mind as a quote from a famous person or an opinion of an “expert”? As with Step 4., take a step back and envision yourself standing beside this “authority figure.” Which of you knows your life the best? Therefore, which of you is the best to decide what action you should take? If this thought seems possibly helpful, invest no more than 5 minutes to jot down the essence of the thought. Then, leave it for at least 24 hours before considering it again. Act on the idea only after allowing it to simmer for another full day and only after a sound night’s sleep.
- Before you fall for a panicky inner urging that your time is running out or that “the” deal is soon to expire, think again. Do you really want or need to act right now? Or, is this thought here to awaken you from your sleep of momentarily forgotten purpose? Thank the thought, blink and breathe yourself awake, refocus on your day’s purpose, and take that next satisfying step in your own “right” direction… just for now, and just for fun.