MK Mueller is an author, speaker, and trainer. She has written five books, including 8 to Great. In her books and speeches, she shares the lessons about mindset that she learned as she lived for a time in a shelter for domestic violence.
Thoughts Lead To Everything
MK says that during her time in the shelter for domestic violence, she realized that she had to change how she thought. When she changed that, it changed how she felt. And changing how she felt changed how she acted.
Your thoughts are at the foundation of your entire life. I love the way that Mahatma Gandhi says it:
Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.
Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.
Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.
The first element is your thoughts become your words. Thinking about this simply, your thoughts stay in your mind. Whether they are positive or negative, good or bad suggestions, appropriate or not, they are only impacting you. But you can all probably think of an experience where you had a thought turn into words, and when it came out of your mouth, it impacted someone close to you. We have all done that.
In the case of words, it’s easy to see how our thoughts are the foundation that impacts our interactions with everyone around us. But as we expand, the connection is still there. Our actions, habits, and values are all tied to our thoughts.
Changing Your Thoughts
MK says the first thoughts that she changed were “I can’t” and “This is hard.” As she worked to rebuild her life, she had a lot of new things that she had to do. It is easy to get discouraged during transition times in our lives, when we are trying to do something new, or when we are learning something new. MK realized that her thoughts and her mindset were important for how she was going to get through this transition period.
She changed the thought “I can’t” into “I haven’t yet.” It’s a simple sounding change, just a couple of words. But it shows a completely different belief. If you think “I can’t stick to a budget,” you set sticking to a budget as impossible. But if you adopt MK’s strategy and think “I haven’t stuck to a budget yet,” it creates a possibility. It allows you to explore new strategies and try again.
MK also changed the thought “This is hard” to “This is new.” Like “I haven’t yet,” thinking “This is new” also allows for more possibility and more patience as you work through the new task.
Choosing the Thoughts that Feel Good
Making two small changes to her thoughts led MK to her new philosophy: Choose thoughts that feel good. It’s a simple idea, but it had a huge impact on her life.
Many of us spend large portions of our day thinking negative or hurtful thoughts. These can be fairly simple critical thoughts like thinking, “Ugh, my hair looks like that?” when we look into the mirror. Or they can be bigger and more significant negative thoughts. For example, when we are discouraged, we might go farther than thinking “I can’t” and think “I’m stupid” without even noticing. Even if the thought is so fast that it doesn’t make us stop what we are doing, it still has an impact on us. How would it change your life if you chose the thoughts that feel good?
Choosing thoughts that feel good is a philosophy that allows us to pay attention to what we like, what feels good, and to treat ourselves with more kindness and compassion. Changing those thoughts will change how we feel as we move through our day.
As MK says, “When we feel good, we have more courage, more creativity, more compassion. We have more fun, we have more friends, we have more fulfillment, we have more financial abundance. We have more hope, we have more happiness. We have more when we feel good.”
So Many Thoughts
We have anywhere from 40,000 to 70,000 thoughts every day. That is a staggering number! We are fully immersed in our thoughts. They form the foundation of our lives. But it is possible to change our thoughts. If we step back and become aware of what our thoughts are and how they are impacting our daily lives, we can choose to change our thoughts.
We get to choose the thoughts that feel good.