How to Change Your Thoughts and Why You Must

A few weeks ago I started a series of posts I’m calling Recover You. The series is focused on practices and habits that I believe lead to a healthier mind, body and spirit, a healthier business and ultimately a healthier economy.

Thinking dictates outcomes

photo credit: Mait Jüriado via photopin cc

You can read my overview Recover You post here.

Today I am going to talk about the role our relentless thoughts have on our outlook, habits, motivation, words, actions and outcomes.

Or, perhaps more importantly, how we have given over control of our thoughts to our past experiences and future desires.

Let me ask you something. As you were reading this, what else were you thinking about? What you have to do today, how foolish this notion sounds, why you never got around to asking for a higher price on your last sale?

Our thoughts are in constant motion, whether we choose to witness them or not.

Our mind is incredible. It is an absolute marvel of design, invention and cognition, but it doesn’t seem to care what we think. It merely plays with what we feed it and tells us how to act based on that alone.

There are entire fields of scientific research and practice dedicated to this idea so my point today is to simply suggest better ways to feed it in service of Recover You.

If you want to change your outcomes, you must change your thoughts.

But that’s easier said than done so the first step is to begin to recognize your thoughts, even as they happen unconsciously. By developing or regaining the art of mindfulness you can take the first step towards change.

There is a wonderful little book by Deepak Chopra called The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success that I recommend to everyone that asks.

In one of the first chapters Chopra talks about non-judgment and how our constant judging everything that happens around us as either good or bad influences how we react without thinking.

He proposes an exercise that has had a profound impact on me over the years and I suggest you give it a try.

Starting today, carve out a 15-minute period and consciously commit to foregoing any thought of judgment. Take a walk on a busy street while you monitor your thoughts and see how actively your mind want to make judgments about everything you see. For some people just keenly witnessing their thoughts for even fifteen minutes is incredibly mind-opening.

The goal is to increase this mindfulness to longer periods of time and forgo judgment during an entire hour of chunk of the day.

This is how you begin to regain making choices about how you interpret, filter and react to everything that occurs around you.

Every single action or reaction we make is a choice, but we’ve relinquished our ability to choose because we no longer think, we simply act.

Think about the last time someone cut you off in traffic. I don’t about you, but I can think of many times when this simple act made my blood pressure rise, turned me aggressive and made me angry for an extended period almost as though I had no choice but to react in that way. When you think about that, isn’t it amazing.

When we begin to regain our ability to stop judging and start thinking in ways that support who we really are we can move in the direction of fulfilling any dream we have.

If you’re following along with this Recover You thread I have three acts I would like to urge you to take to liberate your thoughts starting today.

  1. Make it a habit to spend at least 15 minutes a day witnessing your thoughts and calming any and all desire to judge things that occur.
  2. Start each day mentally combing over a list of the things you are most grateful for.
  3. Read Deepak Chopra’s 7 Spiritual Laws of Success several times
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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • Rosie Taylor

    Coincidence? I have Deepak’s book next to my desk with the yet unfulfilled promise to read it again. Thanks for the reminder and the additional tips to examine my own thinking and get out of my own way.

    • ducttape

      I like to dive into often, even revisiting one chapter at a time – I also have the audio version and can do a pretty good Deepak imitation :)

  • strote

    May I suggest you read one of Tony Robbins’ books. It’s all in there in great detail.

    • ducttape

      Which Robbins book?

      • Andy Strote

        Awaken the Giant Within. Then go read a book on NLP (same as Tony did). And then do a firewalk – 15 feet over red hot coals. That alone will change your thinking.

  • Jamie Turner

    Hi, John —

    Chopra’s “7 Spiritual Laws of Success” was a life-changer for me when I first read it (and re-read it and re-read it) 15 years ago. I’m also a big fan of Tony Robbins (as is Strode who mentions Robbins in his comment below).

    I like the direction you’re taking with these posts. You’re a great source of information for SMBs on the marketing front, but helping people with these larger issues is also a great offering. Keep up the good work!

    Jamie Turner
    Co-Author, “Go Mobile”

    • ducttape

      Thanks Jamie – you know I just think it’s all marketing in the end – pretty much who are being in business plays a big role in defining our brand.

  • Bart Schroeven

    What wonderful synchronicity: Deepak Chopra is doing a free online 21-Day Meditation Challenge at the moment! All about inviting abundance into your life.

    • ducttape

      Awesome Bart – can you share the link for that?

  • Mary Collins

    I love this post. I’m finding that my biggest obstacle in business is my unconscious negative thoughts. It’s a constant surprise to me that building my business is turning into another spiritual path.

    • ducttape

      Thanks Mary and I think that is so true about business – think about how much time we spend in life doing it – it only makes sense.

  • Janice Cartier
    Here’s the link for Deepak Chopra’s free abundance Meditation Challenge..I love his meditation challenges. And I am pleased to find you recommending 7 Spritual Laws…:-)

    • ducttape

      Thanks Janice – I’ve been reading that book for years and appreciate the link to the 21 day challenge.

  • Joan

    Congratulations on getting to the point that many have been working on for centuries. Your thoughts are far more powerful than previously realized. When you finally become aware of your thoughts, it is then you will change, but not before that time. It is in the doing. Try writing down what you think and reading it back to yourself or try meditating, one of the oldest practices known to work.

    • ducttape

      I like the idea of writing and reading it back

  • Jason Nokes

    I’m about finished with this book and it covers some of the same concepts:
    Creativity Revealed: Discovering the Source of Inspiration. Very interesting!

    • ducttape

      Thanks Jason, I’ve had that one sitting on my Kindle to read so perhaps I’ll kick it up on the list.

  • Wendy Merron

    Hi John,
    I’ve been enjoying your blog even more these days.
    Anyone in business for themselves has experienced those times when their thoughts threaten to wreck havoc on their day. The ones who are aware of their thoughts can be in control and turn their thoughts (and day) around.
    Your exercises are perfect ways to become more aware of thoughts. The top 20% of your readers will find that awareness and eliminating old reactions can create miracles in their lives.
    My field is helping people discover how to direct and change their thoughts. It’s great that you are sharing this!

    • ducttape

      Thanks Wendy – I think it’s all part of running a business and in a way it’s all marketing!

  • Joan

    Speaking of thoughts and how they affect things: have you ever read one of the greatest classics, in my mind, “Think And Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. It is fascinating how lasting those principles are, but the key is to implement them everyday. When you change your thinking, all of a sudden people want what you have to offer them and you become your own best marketer of all time. To me this is the science of marketing, a combination of your thinking, your industry know-how, and the result is excellent marketing.

    • ducttape

      Read Hill years ago and I know that book has impacted many. I agree Joan, that this is marketing – but, then I’m pretty sure everything is marketing!

  • Alfredo

    Thanks for the article. Ive also learned that the techniques to situate oneself in the ‘here and now’ are the most effective for me. Regards

  • Catherine Martinez

    In “A Course in Miracles” it is mentioned that we simply don’t work very hard at managing our thoughts, and that it is part of our responsibility as people to do so. Wow! Never had I heard it put so … practically. As if it has always been one of our responsibilities. Now we have Chopra, Tolle, Robbins, and others. It will surely help each of us if more of us apply ourselves in this way, and I am grateful to them and to you, John, for putting a light on it again.

    • ducttape

      Thanks Catherine – this is the stuff that we have to consider every day – it’s pretty much too hard otherwise.