Monday, April 13, 2009

The key is if it is USEFUL

Before today's post, I wanted to let you know that on friday I did not post because it was Holy Friday, and since I am Catholic that day is very special, and I focus on it.

But today is Monday, and I wish you had a wonderful Easter Sunday.

Back to the topic, continuing on with the "tips" I have read during the course I am currently studying, there is one thing that I think everybody should practice, and it is about having "useful thoughts".

Once I got this, I realize how consistently we use our own thoughts to set barriers and keep ourselves from moving forward.

This is how it works, we need to train ourselves to think in ways that are useful for ourselves.
If you have failed in the past, and you think you are not good at that, or that you don't belong doing that, then it is very difficult to convince yourself that you can actually succeed. So is that thought useful? NO.
But consider this, let's say you failed and you tell yourself that you now have a better chance at succeeding because you learnt from the previous experience? In my book that is a far more useful thought, than the previous one which is limiting you.

But the great thing about this, is that it doesn't need to be a real experience!! It could be a situation you made up! You brain doesn't know if the experience was real or not, all it has is an image or movie playing along. And that movie will determine how you feel at that very moment.

Lets try this, I will setup a situation and then you will tell me how you feel, please try to picture it clearly in your mind:
You are about to give a presentation, but you didn't have enough time to study it properly. You step up to the podium and you are really nervous, you know there might be a lot of questions to which you don't have an answer, your promotion or a bonus may depend upon this presentation.
As you are about to start your boss asks you to give a quick summary before you begin, but you were hoping to learn as you went along, your stomach twists and you are shaking... Ok, let's stop it here! How would you feel in such situation? not very good right? Well, many times we do this to ourselves we think about all the possible horrible outcomes, and all we do is put ourselves down even more.

Now try this story: You know for sure this is by far the best presentation you have ever done in your life, you can't wait to step up to the podium and share your findings with everybody there, you are wearing your best suit/dress, you can already hear and see people nodding and clapping after your presentation, its the best day of your life.

Now how does that feel? quite different right? Well both stories were made up, but you still felt different in both. The second idea was considerably more useful than the previous one.

Useful thoughts are those that make you feel good and at your best, its not about whether it is true or fantasy, its whether it helps you with the task at hand.

Everytime I have a soccer game, before I hit the field, I "see" myself doing all these great plays, scoring goals, making precise passes and when the game starts there is a confidence in me that I built before the game.

So to close, the best question you can ask to monitor your thoughts so they don't become a hindrance is IS IT USEFUL? If the answer is "no", then remember a different situation where you actually did it right, or make it up!

Have a wonderful week!

See you on Friday!

Federico Ruiz

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