It's been estimated that we each have upwards of 50,000 thoughts per day. How many of yours are negative? Sometimes you have to do a mental spring cleaning to get rid of those negative ones that have become ingrained attitudes. Stopping self-destructive thoughts is like stopping any other bad habit — it takes time and effort.
Visualizations and Affirmations
Among the most effective ways to do this are visualizations and affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements about yourself that you repeat over and over in your head until they're programmed into your subconscious.
Visualization, or "Imagineering" as Walt Disney called it, is mentally picturing yourself the way you want to be. You’ve heard the old saying, "I'll believe it when I see it." Well, the reverse is also true: "I'll see it when I believe it!" Affirmations and visualizations may not feel true at first. They may not even be true! But they can become so.
Consider what happens when you tell yourself over and over, "I'm lousy at remembering names." There will never be any improvement. So if you catch yourself saying, "I'm terrible at remembering names," stop and immediately say to yourself, "I'm good at remembering names."
Or consider the effect of telling yourself, "I'm feeling pretty good today." Or "I can lose ten pounds." Or "I am good at getting people to see things my way." Anything you say to yourself over and over will actually influence your reality.
Writing down your affirmations in some handy place — above your desk, on your bathroom mirror, or on the dashboard of your car — helps keep them in mind as well as in sight. Use affirmations and visualizations to project what success will feel like and look like. Imagine, in as much detail as you possibly can, how you feel as the boss singles you out for exceeding your quota, or how the audience hangs on your every word during your speech, or how your confident presence causes heads to turn everywhere you go.
To enhance your charisma and persuasion (while making others feel good about themselves), you can apply the very same techniques by turning them outward. Begin thinking positive affirmations about people you work and live with.
For example: “Bob seems much calmer and patient of late. I wonder what has changed in him.” During your next interaction with Bob, you will most likely remember your positive thought about him and start your conversation with, “Bob, I’ve noticed a change in you. You seem really kind and patient while counseling your new employees recently and I admire that. How did you acquire this wonderful characteristic?”
Bob would likely respond with a smile and a story about a book he found, a consultant he hired, or a recent deepening of his faith. Regardless of his reply, you have sincerely complimented another person, put out a positive thought and began a new habit of approaching others using “appreciative inquiry”… finding the good in another person or situation first, instead of finding fault or flaws.
Criticizing is easy and sometimes becomes habit, but re-training your mind to find the positive attributes in others will win you friends, increase your income and make you feel better about being a better you.