Optimize Your Thoughts, Feelings, and Actions

I believe that we were all born to be unstoppable, and that unstoppable is a choice. Even so, our tendency is to get used to being comfortable and find reasons to stay where we are.

Beliefs Determine Whether We Move Forward or Stay Anchored

We must choose to pull up anchor and leave the harbor to reach new places in our lives. It’s a lot easier to keep “preparing”—doing what’s familiar—on the grounds that things aren’t perfect yet. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect when you leave one place for another. It’s not just our love of comfort, but also our fear of the unknown, that keeps us anchored in the harbor. Our beliefs about ourselves and what lies beyond the horizon set in motion a series of behaviors, actions, and results that determine whether we move forward, drift backwards, or stay anchored in place. Like a boat, we were designed mainly to move forward.

The Belief Loop

Events > Beliefs > Thoughts > Feelings > Reactions > Behaviors > Results > Outcomes 

In this framework, both actual and anticipated events are perceived through the filter of your long-standing beliefs. Your beliefs shape how you think about the situation in the moment, which, in turn, determine how you feel about the event. Feelings involve a range of physiological and behavioral responses triggered directly by your thoughts, whether or not those thoughts are accurate or stem from distorted beliefs. Behaviors and actions that we choose to commit contribute to both short-term results and long-term outcomes. The entire framework can form a loop whereby the consequences of actions become new events, and can escalate automatically until interrupted.

Optimize Your Thoughts Before They Pull You Off Course

Your beliefs can distort your perspective and divert your direction away from your intended destination. By looking at familiar objects from different angles, you can significantly change your perspective on them. The object doesn’t change, just the way you look at them. The key to successful navigation, especially when leaving the harbor, is to make adjustments to how you perceive and measure your relative position. Look at your situation from different angles, like a sailor uses a sextant—a navigational instrument that measures the angular distance between two visible objects to determine a position. Slight errors in measuring these angles can make the difference between reaching your destination and missing your mark, so it’s important to detect and correct errors in thinking before they pull you off course.

Change Course and Practice New Behaviors

There is a saying that goes something like, “We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” We cannot always control external events and people, but we can adjust our thinking about them, choose how we respond, and change the consequences. Not only can we neutralize the effects of distorted beliefs and thoughts, we can learn how to change course and practice new behaviors and actions that help us move forward. In fact, the forces we cannot control—the adverse winds, water, waves—can be harnessed to provide the energy needed to propel our ships forward.

Create the Mindset to Build the Outcomes You Seek

Changing the direction of the flow starts with recognizing that, by default, our basic programming puts more emphasis on negative events, real or imagined, rather than positive inputs. Neuroscience states that it takes 3-5 positive inputs to offset negative ones. Do the math yourself: in the context of the 5-star rating system of your favorite products or services, how many 5-star reviews do you think you’ll need to even out that single 1-star review? It takes at least 5 5-star reviews to bring the average rating into the top range again. Since there isn’t a positive gene in our bodies, we have to work to create the mindset to build the outcomes that we seek.

It’s Hard, but It’s Not Complicated

It’s hard, but it’s not complicated, to optimize your thoughts, slow down, and reverse the flow from negative to positive, but it gets easier with practice. Check out our Resources and Courses to develop the mindset and actions required to thrive and accomplish more than you originally thought possible.

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