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Wellbeing / Business psychology

Change your thinking

In order to change your thinking, a complete about face in mental attitude is rarely necessary. Sometimes the tiniest shift can have a ripple effect and transform your perspective in a flash..

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What it comes down to, is action.I’m not talking about ‘snapping out of it’. I’m saying if you’re feeling stuck in a rut, bored, stale, lacking in self belief or you’ve just run out of ideas, why not try doing just one little thing differently?

So often it’s our thinking that gets us into a rut. Soloists are particularly at risk of this because we tend to rely heavily on our inner resources. But when it’s our thinking that gets us into that rut, how much sense does it make to try to think our way out of it?

I’m thinking, not much.

Meanwhile, the very act of deciding to do something rather than keep thinking about how to make a shift is itself doing something different. There’s your first little step right there.

You may have heard the expression ‘Act as if…’. This is a technique for tackling unhelpful thinking or beliefs about ourselves. If one of your inner voices dishes out thoughts like, “I am not creative” for example, or put-downs that amount to the same thing, you need a strategy to restore your sanity.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business psychology section.

You can counter that voice by imagining what things might be like if you were creative. What would such a person – yes you – be doing? What behaviours would provide evidence that you were indeed creative? What kind of beliefs would you have about yourself? What sort of inner dialogue would be going on in the mind of a totally creative you?

The invitation you can issue to yourself, is to act ‘as if’ you were creative; that is, to step into this picture of your very creative self, be it and do it and see what flows. Taking the action first can actually change the way we think, feel and experience ideas about many things. Creativity is just an example.

When we start taking different actions, despite feeling uncomfortable and anxious, it becomes a whole lot easier to rewrite the script for those inner voices. What’s more, when we’re actually walking that new talk, we’re giving ourselves every reason to believe we are in fact creative, capable, courageous, compassionate, confident or whatever belief we’d like to have about ourselves. (Note: it also works for qualities that begin with letters other than “c”).

Remember, you can begin with the tiniest change imaginable. To start with, shift your gaze 10 degrees, not 90. And watch yourself become more of the thing that crazy voice says you’re not.

Kath O'Sullivan

is a writer, editor and facilitator who helps people find their authentic voice and use it to tell the stories of who they are.

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