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, ask for a raise, or give up the security and benefits of working for someone else to start your own business. Spam thoughts spread fear and doubt and try to convince you that you are not good enough, your ideas will never work, and you must be crazy to even consider it.
How strange that every time we want to make big, daring moves our minds rapid-fire 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 to simply 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 holiday 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 new year so he can work at maximum efficiency (and profit!) for all of 2016. 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 summer. He is going to postpone his success for almost an entire year even though he could be making more money, faster! I can only assume he is being spammed by his own thoughts.
Ok, ok. Yes, I am selling something (my business consulting services) and we can’t expect to ‘close’ all our prospects. But if we know we need to make changes why wait another year?
Consider this technique 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.
If you feel the thought is valid or at least something to consider, assign it a level of importance from 1-10. Delete everything less than 8. That should get rid of most of the ‘what if’ scenarios we often spend too much time thinking about. You won’t know what the girl will say about going on a date until you ask, right?
Instead of running endless loops in our heads, we want to continuously improve ourselves and our lives—and have a bit more fun. Don’t you agree?
What is your technique to deal with spam thoughts? How do you control your own negative thinking?