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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “power of thoughts”

70,000 thoughts a day

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Experts estimate that we make around 70,000 thoughts a day. Most of them are obsessive-compulsive. And that incessant mental chatter steals our energy and drowns our focus. We’re pushed into creating scenarios about things that probably won’t even happen, interpretations that don’t stand, and events that aren’t true.

Yet, these are still thoughts that occupy our minds.

We have a tendency to gravitate towards the negative. If we hear ten positive things and one not-so-positive, we will automatically focus on the latter. Call it our innate instinct of survival, it’s what we feel threatens us and we need to act to fix it.

Perhaps the problem, however, is that we stick to how we think people should act. And that’s what makes us react so much to everything. Because we have in our head a whole list of actions that we are expecting others to make: to check up on us without any particular reason; to send a good morning text simply to show they’re thinking of us; to show up at our doorstep with a bowl of hot soup when we’re sick; to just sit with us when we’re not feeling well and all we want is some company to watch TV with. We long for things that others maybe don’t even think of: a goodnight call to make us feel loved before we end the day; attention when we’re upset; a smile when we’re frowning; the sharing of good news; a walk together to clear our minds. For us, we’re not asking for much. But nothing is obvious, and we shouldn’t expect others to act as we would. Perhaps that is the most difficult and troublesome thought of all: that we cannot expect others to behave in the way we would anticipate them to. We can’t compel people to change; they’ll do so if they truly want to.

We demand more of ourselves and oftentimes we force that upon others too.

We think too much and we perplex our minds with situations that sometimes don’t correspond to reality. But those thousands of thoughts soon take over our feelings. And that is the most dangerous of all. For we feel even when we sleep; when we spring awake from a nightmare, when we smile from the love we dream. We feel constantly. Some more than others. Not everyone can be as insensitive as not to realise when they’re causing trouble to others, or as empathetic that they carry the burden of others’ troubles. We need to find a balance. But the weight of our endless thoughts often hinder us from doing so.

We’re caught in an endless stream of thoughts that exasperates when we’re tired, stressed or worried. And this further adds to our exhaustion – both mental and physical. But like this article notes:

  • Just think how much energy and time you could have saved, if you could reduce the number of your thoughts.
  • Just think how much better focus you could possess, if thoughts did not bother you.
  • Just think how much inner peace, calmness and happiness you would have enjoyed, if there was a way to stop all these thoughts, which add nothing to your life.

Let me ask you, do you keep the engine of your car running after arriving at your destination? You certainly switch the engine off. So why not do so with your mind?

Some thoughts steal our peace, and in time, our lives too.

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Rain in a playground

© Roger Bultot

Happy thoughts are colourful. Like waking up to sunshine pouring through your windows. They are as fun and joyous as a ride at a children’s playground. They emit positivity and grant you an aura that makes you vibrate at a higher level, boosting you with confidence.

It is easier to create that happy mentality than to maintain it, though.

The latter requires effort we often fail to acknowledge. Or we’re too tired to do the work.

When adversity happens, our minds become mystified like clouds preparing for rain.

And when the thunderstorm strikes, our thoughts bring chaos to our world.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

The magic within

Isn’t it encouraging to consider that every minute of the day two people – seemingly strangers – are getting to know each other and are falling in love as their hands softly touch?

Do you really think that’s possible?

It’s nice to believe in something we can’t see. It’s refreshing to believe that magic still happens. We need that kind of optimism in our lives. That sort of positiveness is so lacking in this world we’ve created”.

They were sitting on a couch talking all night. Neither of them could sleep. It was those late night talks about random issues that brought them closer. It was those things you tell a person at your most vulnerable time that help you form a stronger bond with them. Those thoughts that spring to mind at the most awkward of hours; the concerns you have but haven’t even admitted to yourself; the debates you feel too silly to have with anyone else.

The magic happens when you least expect it. When you’re hardly prepared for it. When you’ve planned everything but that. When you truly are yourself, without shame, prejudices or fear of what others will think of you.

When you let yourself go and are proud of who you are, the magic will happen.

Because you’ve been carrying it within you all along.

You just haven’t realised it yet.

Between the words we say and don’t

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Between the words we say and those we meant to say, we lose all those that truly matter”. She told him that after they had both calmed down from their last fight.

People tend to say a lot when they’re angry. They now knew that very well. Rage makes you say things that you may not mean, but mostly ones that are exaggerated. Things your mind regurgitates and convinces you that are true.

He tried to make her see how she was driving herself crazy by her own thoughts. How each person drew their own conclusions and saw whatever they wanted to see.

But just like you are the only one who has control of your feelings and your life, they had to eventually see that the only ones and only thing that mattered was what they did for each other, how they behaved to one another and the words they exchanged. Not what anyone else thought or said.

For it is true that sometimes the heart knows a truth the mind does not.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” – Khalil Gibran

Blink or Think

blinkThe real purpose of books is to trap the mind into doing its own thinking” (Christopher Morley). Some books excel at it. And it is not just the ones that engage you into travelling away from reality, but rather those that make you think more of it.

In Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell manages to do exactly that. He makes you consider how those first thoughts you have are the ones that matter the most and are often more correct than if you think thoroughly through something.

The book points out that “the key to good decision-making is not knowledge. It is understanding”. That is why, for instance, when people talk, we listen to their words and watch their eyes in order to pick up the expressive nuances that reveal if what they’re saying is true.

Through a series of stories and case studies, Gladwell attempts to “understand this mysterious thing called judgement – the kind of wisdom someone acquires after a lifetime of learning and watching and doing”. “From experience, we gain a powerful gift, the ability to act instinctively, in the moment. But it is easy to disrupt this gift”, because we live in a world saturated with information and sometimes that works against our judgement. Those subtle influences from our surroundings, our background, our experiences, our network, often very much affect the bias of our unconscious. As such, we are already prejudiced in our decisions, particularly if we dwell hard on them.

These are the “unexpected costs of knowing too much”. That you allow your judgement to be clouded by too many things – often stereotypes. “We are inundated with information and we have come to confuse information with understanding.” That is why, as the book very eloquently explains, “sometimes we can make better judgement with less information”.

The impression you form in a blink – in milliseconds – is in fact more truthful than the one you allow yourself to form after thinking a situation through and permitting the stereotypes in your head to barge through. The point is not to listen with your eyes, but with what your instinct tells you. It is the power of first impressions, of rapid cognition.

It is true of course that “there are some situations where the human mind needs a little help” – where more information is required to form a proper decision. After all, “truly successful decision-making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking”.

But, in the issues that matter most, perhaps the decisions that stem from the unconscious are the ones that will in the end make us happier.

Think about it. Maybe next time just trust that ‘blink’ you get as a first thought and see what happens.

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