What Are You Thinking?

Posted 12.12.2008

OK, just in the last hour, I’ve seen or heard stories on the potential bankruptcy of GM, the $50 billion Ponzi scheme that’s just been uncovered and new stats on rapid declines in consumer spending. Terrible stories all, but can I do anything about them? Nope. About the only thing that any of us can control is what we think about and the actions that flow from those thoughts. I’m not saying we should all climb under a rock until the economy recovers. We have to have situational awareness. That said, we don’t have to overdose on it.

As for me, I’ve been noticing that dynamic in myself a lot lately. Earlier this week I was on a flight to Boston to deliver a presentation on Wednesday afternoon. I was having a great day, feeling good and was looking forward to reading through a few newspapers on the plane. That’s just what I did. Plowed through the Times, the Journal and the Post. By the time we landed at Logan, I was depressed heading towards hopeless. I had overdosed on the news.

What snapped me out of it was when, as we were pulling up to the gate, my Smart Phone started buzzing as my e-mail downloaded. Checking it, I saw a note from a prospective client letting me know that his company wants to run a pilot of our group coaching program in the first quarter of 2009. Immediately, I felt better.

Why? Well, the obvious answer is it’s nice to land a new client. The bigger and more universal answer, though, is that my thinking and attention turned on a dime from bad news that I couldn’t control to good news that I had a hand in creating. Your thoughts control your feelings. From those feelings spring actions and those actions lead to results. The results can either be positive or negative and you can reverse engineer back from the results to the actions, the feelings and the thinking. In the current economic environment it is vitally important to monitor the quality of your thinking.

The Apostle Paul wrote this advice to the Philippians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is fair, whatever is pure, whatever is acceptable, whatever is commendable, if there is anything of excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy-keep thinking about these things.” There used to be a law in computer programming, garbage in, garbage out. It’s the same principle with our own output.

What are you doing to monitor and improve the quality of your thinking these days?