The Thought Cycle

Mindset Matters

The Thought cycle

“About 95% of all thought, emotion, and learning occur in the unconscious mind – that is, without our conscious awareness” Gerald Zaltman Ph.D.. Harvard Business School.

Mindset training teaches you to move into the conscious mind more often so you can begin to make deliberate thoughts that start serving you in areas you want to change. Deliberate thoughts are when you decide how you want to feel and determine the thinking that is required to produce the life you want to live. It’s a little like supervising your mind.

Everything we do in life is to feel a certain way. We often want things, need things as we believe it will make us feel happier or excited or proud or peaceful.

  • We want to feel a certain way in a relationship. It may be to feel loved, respected and happy. When we are feeling the way we believe we should be feeling within the relationship, everything appears to be good. If we are not feeling this way, most of us look outside of ourselves and blame the other person.
  • We want to feel a certain way about our jobs. This feeling may be important, intelligent and confident. When the feelings are there, we act accordingly. Most of us produce better quality work and even put ourselves out there more to challenges and new learning. When the feeling is not there we are searching for someone or something to blame. The feeling of not being motivated at work or worry that you are not living up to expectations causes your actions of doubting your ability and therefore you tend to work at a lower level.
  • We want to feel a certain way with family/friends. It may be a feeling of love, blissfulness and worthiness. Once again if the way we want to feel is there, the friendship appears to be successful and going strong. BUT when it’s not, we naturally look outside of ourselves and search for something to blame.
The brain needs to do this for efficiency and to protect you. That’s its job. Think of the brain as a computer and you are the boss. The brain has three jobs:
1. to be efficient
2. to be correct
3. to be fast at giving you the answer.
As the boss, you are directing the brain and it loves to follow instructions. To be efficient, the brain relies on previous thoughts that you have always thought. This is where the belief system comes into action. often, without even realising it, we fall into autopilot thinking as this is the most efficient way for the brain to give you what you need. This default type thinking may have served you years ago but may not be serving you today. It may be causing you pain. It may be holding you back from achieving the life you desire.
For the brain to be correct, it finds all the proof that what you are focusing on is right. We receive over 60,000 thoughts every day, so our minds need a filtering system to cope with all this information. This filtering system – the reticular activating system (RAS) – is like the gatekeeper to the conscious mind. Whatever you program your mind to focus on, it will begin to search for all the proof that it is correct. If you are dieting and believe you will never succeed, it will focus on dieting and food and show you all the evidence why you will never lose weight. If you are focusing on falling pregnant, your mind will spot every pregnant woman in the room and you will see babies and toys everywhere. Remember, the brain doesn’t know if what you focus on is good or bad, it just wants to keep you – the boss – happy and be correct.
For the brain to be fast, it creates pathways – neurons – and constantly falls back to the same pathways. These pathways are thoughts, regular thoughts and it is the fastest way for the brain to give you an answer or process information. New pathways can be created, however, this takes time, effort and both you and your brain do not like it.


The Circle.

Inside the circle is life. Life consists of the past, other people, circumstances and experiences. Everything inside the circle has two things in common.

1. You have no control of it. We like to think we have control over other people and situations but in reality, we don’t. We control our actions as the situation is unfolding but there are usually others factors influencing the moment and this we have no control. Many people spend so much time thinking about the past, wishing they could change it, trying so hard to make the changes but nothing will ever work.

2. It’s a fact. This is something we would all agree on. If we had to take it to prove it, we would take it to court and all agree. We agree the past happened – good or bad is not the discussion. What other people say or do – facts.

Outside the circle

The great news is everything outside the circle is what we have control over. From everything that happens inside the circle, we generate thoughts. This is where many of our 60,000 thoughts come from. The thoughts discussed here are from what happens inside the circle, not the unconscious thoughts that control our breathing, heart beating and all those essential things that keep us alive.

THOUGHTS – occur from everything we experience. Thoughts are not facts – they are a choice. We decide what everything inside the circle means. Two people can experience the exact same circumstance but they will think about it differently and make it mean something different. This is how we know thoughts are a choice and you have all the power of making that choice.

EMOTIONS – are caused by the thoughts we have and these thoughts are a choice. We do everything in life to feel a certain way. Sometimes the emotions we are experiencing do not serve us and we feel like we have no control. However, if feelings are caused by thoughts and our thoughts are a choice, so too is the way we decide we want to feel.

BEHAVIOUR – our actions (or lack of actions) in life are caused by the way we feel. When we are feeling confident, we are more likely to push through barriers and make changes. When we experiencing low self-esteem, we tend to act accordingly by hiding away and sometimes even digressing backwards.

OUTCOME – this is a result of your behaviour and this is your life. The outcomes we achieve always tries to prove the initial thought was correct because that is the job of the brain – to be fast, efficient and correct. The outcome is all the proof the mind has been searching for.

This is a basic summary of the thought cycle. It is a very powerful tool when you not only understand it intellectually but you can put it into action within your life. Many people hand over the power of their emotional life to other people, believing they need someone or something else to make them feel happy. Other people sit inside the circle and you have no control over them, therefore, you are relying on someone else to do what you want them to do so you can feel a certain way. That is pretty scary.

The beautiful news is – you now understand the mind a little more and have all the power to change any thoughts that are no longer serving you. You get to choose to be the person you want to be and live the emotional life you want.

Have a wonderful day.

Linking up with Kylie for #IBOT and Leanne @ DeepFriedFruit

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