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Choose Your Thoughts Carefully

I previously discussed the chain from thoughts to actions to habits to character. Now I would really like to re-iterate a point: The importance of choosing the thoughts you give time on the stage of your mind.

Sometimes it may feel like we are bombarded with random thoughts – they just keep coming with no end in mind. How can your possibly control them?

Think of yourself as a casting director for a play. You do not get to choose who shows up for auditions – the talent agency does that – but you do choose who ends up in the play. There will be many people whom you respond “Next” or “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” Some of those who are auditioning may require some additional persuasion to leave the stage (imagine a big long cane that pulls them off the stage), but in the end the decision is yours who will stay and who will go.

When you do get a good audition, you will no doubt keep them on the stage and have them work with more material. Then you will be sure you have a great record of their contact information so that you can call them back to be in the production.

Now it may seem that it would be important to allow anyone audition who is interested, but that would not be the case. Sure, you are the one who makes the final decision, but the more time spent entertaining unsuitable auditions, the less time you have for the good ones.

Plus, remember the most important key:

You may not cast everyone who auditions, but you will only cast someone who does audition.

So if all your audition time is taken up with undesirable auditions, then you will be stuck with an undesirable cast. If you never make time for a desirable audition then you will never have the opportunity to cast them.

Another thing will happen if a casting director is very strict with who they let audition, they will get a reputation for what they want. Eventually the talent agencies will know what the director is looking for, and they won’t send anyone if they don’t have it. Sure, you may have some that think they have it when they don’t, but the number of inappropriate ones will decrease.

So what does this have to do with those of us who are not involved in theater? Everything!

Our subconscious is constantly sending thoughts to audition on the stage of our mind. It gathers these thoughts and ideas from many sources, some are our original creations, but most are a rearrangement or combination of external stimuli both past and present.
As we (our conscious mind) are more strict and disciplined with our thoughts – by getting rid of ones that do not suit us and celebrating the ones that do – we create more space for thoughts that will serve us. In addition we also train our subconscious to send us more thoughts that do serve us. While our subconscious and external stimuli seem random and chaotic, we can recreate our perception of them however we choose to.

Seem far fetched? It is actually quite easy. Have you ever noticed that if you are thinking about buying a new car of a certain model that all of a sudden you see cars of that model everywhere? Did the mix of cars change simply by your desire to buy a car of that model? Of course not.

What changed was you consciously conditioned your subconscious mind to pass along every time it saw a car of that model. Your subconscious mind is always noticing everything, it is incredibly powerful. Even when you think you are focused on reading the words in this post, your subconscious is observing everything in your field of vision, everything you hear, and anything else you are sensing. You also have a dialog going on in your head about what you are reading. You are debating if you agree with me or not. The only thing that changes is what you are aware of consciously.

When you see the model of car you want, you give it a label. Lets say you want to buy a Honda Odyssey mini-van. Before your mind simply labeled all the Odyssey’s it noticed as mini-vans, and rarely bothered to notify your conscious mind when one was spotted. Now that you let your subconscious mind know what to label this specific type of mini van as, it is able to group them differently. So occasionally your subconscious points out an Odyssey to you. You get excited, since that is the kind of car you are looking for. This excitement lets your subconscious know it did good, so soon it starts pointing out more and more of them. Eventually it is pointing out every single Odyssey it notices. You had no idea they were such a common car. You subconscious loves to recognize and categorize things, you just need to let it know what you are looking for.

Why is it so important that we choose our thoughts? As I mentioned before, not all thoughts necessarily become actions, but all our actions were first thoughts. So if all our thoughts are self defeating, then our actions will also be self defeating. As we train out subconscious to provide us with more thoughts that serve us then we will have a better selection to choose form.

What can we train our subconscious to recognize? How about opportunities? What if we trained our mind to take everything as encouragement or a compliment? I know I have known people who did exactly the opposite – look at Eeyore!

People generally find what they are looking for. The problem is most people don’t bother to tell their subconscious what they are looking for. Get clear on what you want and focus on that. If something comes along that you don’t want, then tell it “Next”. Make space for what you want, and when you find it celebrate!

This is one of those universal laws that applies everywhere. For example (again generally speaking) you don’t marry everyone you date, but you date everyone you marry first. So if you are only dating losers then you will marry a looser, but if you set high standards for who you will date, then you will end up marrying someone who matches those standards.

Likewise you don’t speak every thought you have, but you don’t say something that was not a thought first.

As you train your subconscious mind to find and provide what you are looking for, you will find it more often and in more places. You will continue to refine your ability to recognize and you will get closer to your goal until it is the only thing that is achievable.

Get clear on what you want and accept no substitutes!