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Warning! You could be suffering from a serious condition called SPAM thinking. Spam thoughts are the ones that creep in once you’ve finally mustered up the courage to talk to the girl, or set up an overdue wage meeting with your boss, or decide to start your own business. These thoughts spread fear and doubt and try to convince you that you are not good enough, your idea will never work, and you must be crazy to even consider it.

How strange that every time we want to make a big, daring move our mind rapid-fires interruptive, unsolicited thoughts just like spam? Neuroscience tells us that over time our brains become wired in a particular way. In essence, we really are what we think because our thoughts create our realities. As Henry Ford said, ‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.’ If we are not in control of our thinking, then our thoughts are in control of us.

Let’s discuss a technique—your personal spam filter, if you will—to ensure the good thoughts make it through and the spam goes straight to the trash.

The idea of spam thoughts came to me during a recent Uncovery Session. After a 30-minute conversation it was clear to my potential client and to me what he needs to do in order to take his business idea to the next level. The answer is simply to pull the trigger and make the financial investment so we can start working on the business strategy. But he doesn’t want to yet. Even though his first job would pay back the investment, it seems somehow logical to my potential client that he not do anything right now because the busy season is approaching.

From where I sit, it seems he is resisting change. Starting now would give him a chance to tweak the business model before the busy season so he could work at maximum efficiency (and profit!) when the demand is high. But no. My client is stuck on waiting six months to roll out his business, which means he won’t fully reap the benefits until next year’s busy season. He is going to postpone his success for an entire year even though he could be making more money, faster! I bet he is being spammed by his own thoughts.

Ok, ok. Yes, I am selling something (my business consulting services) and I can’t expect to ‘close’ all my prospects. But I would never suggest a solution that I don’t believe in and I do believe in karma

Consider this technique on how to weed through your good thoughts and your spam thoughts. When a thought comes to you, acknowledge it. Determine if it is helpful or hurtful by fully considering it, then decide if it is spam or not. Just like your computer’s spam filter, you want to visualize putting all spam ideas in the trash and then permanently deleting them. If the same spam comes back a second or third time (as spam often does), delete it right away. No need to waste time thinking about something you have already decided – it is pointless.

If you feel the thought is a valid or at least something to consider, assign it a level of importance on a scale of 1-10. Delete everything less than 8. That should get rid of most of the ‘what if’ scenarios that we often spend too much time thinking about. You won’t know what the boss will say about getting a raise until you ask, right?

We want to protect ourselves from running endless loops in our heads. Instead, we want to continuously improve ourselves and our lives, and have a little bit more fun. Don’t you agree?

What is your technique to deal with spam thoughts? How do you control your own negative thinking?

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