By far the most life-transforming principle of Koenig Ethos is eliminating negative thoughts. If I had done an MRI scan of my brain in 2003 and compared it with today, this is how I think it would look:
One of my deepest regrets is that I have not been able to reduce negative thoughts to 0%. The last few percentages are the most difficult to eliminate.
However, I have now discovered another tranche of thoughts which I call “pseudo negative” thoughts and which are as deserving of eradication.
I call them “pseudo” because they are not usually considered negative but are negative (hurtful) all the same.
They serve no purpose, eat up time and create negative chemicals.
My current list of “pseudo negative thoughts” includes:
• Laziness / inaction / procrastination
• Craving (wanting something too much)
• Regret (…faux pas- social blunder…)
• Fear / worry
• Despair / despondency
• Getting a high on accomplishments/ accolades
• Deluding about our love interest (…s/he loves me, s/he loves me not…)
• Fuming about our hate interests
• Hoping for the best (….anticipating the result of a test…)
• Worrying what people think of us
• Excessive curiosity
• Replaying irritating incidents
• Doubting intentions of others – distrust
All of them take-up a sizeable amount of time but lead to no tangible benefit.
Frustratingly, eliminating them is not easy.
Allow me to explain a method which has worked for me.
I had discussed the concept of “centrestage” in our brain in an earlier blog and how “compassion” makes negative thoughts make a quick exit.
I discovered that with practice we can “shoo” away any thought.
I think of it like training a watchdog to detect an enemy and shooing it away. The following image explains:
Nature abhors a vacuum. Centrestage cannot be empty (unless we meditate). We therefore must keep ready a set of +ve thoughts to occupy the centrestage (notice the usher playing this role in above). Suggested arsenal – What can I do achieve my personal goals? My professional goals? Am I moving as fast as possible towards my goals? If not, why not? What are my top 3 action points with max impact on my goals?
Believe me, it works quite well in practice. Just by shooing away the thought of food I have been able to eliminate hunger pangs.
By not thinking about tiredness I have been able to increase by daily exercise routine.
By not thinking about chocolate, I have been able to overcome by chocoholic excesses.
Another class of pseudo negative thoughts is doubting our abilities. Thinking that we cannot run 5 kms a day means that we cannot do it. Our belief that we can do it, results in our being able to do it. Saying “no” to ourselves is a pseudo-negative thought.
Reading is one good way to increase the percentage of +ve thoughts.
Following is my revised MRI scan predictions :
If it can work for me, it can work for everyone…