Changing Your Personal Default – Part I

Human beings have approximately 60,000 thoughts a day, and I don’t think that even includes dreaming! So in the Month of October 2013 alone, you have had more than 1.8 million thoughts.

These never ending thoughts influence your decisions, your perspective, your level of joy, your tendency to attack or forgive, and your overall quality of life.

Most of them are subconscious, and happen in the background, kind of like the operating system on your computer or smart phone. And just like a computer program, your thoughts reflect the stuff you put into the computer (your brain).

Unfortunately, for many of us in this modern society, our conscious and subconscious minds are often filled with negative people’s energy and words, and negative images on TV and the internet.

Said another way, outside influences set our default, instead of us. We wake up, and it seems like all we can do to keep up with our lives …

You Can Change Your Personal Default

The good news is that we absolutely have the power to change the kinds of thoughts that dominate our minds, and therefore the quality of our lives.

The first step is to remember that while many of us are resistant to change, we’re actually changing in every single moment, at the molecular, physical, psychological, and spiritual levels. In other words, we’re hard-wired for constant change.

Every thing you see, think or do changes you on some level. Every movie or TV show you watch changes your brain structure, which changes your thoughts and actions.  You are not the same person you were four sentences or seconds ago.

We can’t stop them or control all of our thoughts, but like rafting down a river, we can definitely guide them in the right direction.

We have the ability to consciously choose positive or negative thoughts, regardless of what’s happening outside of us right here in this moment… and now this one… and this one… on and on through all the moments of our lives.

Whether life is good, and you’re floating down that river smiling in the sun, or life is kicking your ass, and you’re scared to death of what’s around the next bend, you can decide where you want to set your personal default.

It’s like coming home after a long vacation- what kind of house do you want to return to? A clean or a messy one?

During and after all the inspiring, scary, peaceful, heart-wrenching, loving and violent things that happen to you, what kind of heart and mind do you want to return to?

One that is generally focused on all the things you can be grateful for, and the mysterious fact that you were born and are alive on this planet?

Or one that is generally focused on everything that has gone wrong (or might go wrong), or on all the tiniest worries and all the people that should have done or said something else?

Everyday Tools …

So, why not decide right now what kind of default you want, and then begin taking steps to rewrite your internal program so that it’s as user-friendly as you want?

For example, here are just a few simple ways to start consciously shifting your thoughts:

– Practice some silent contemplation before making any decision.  This might be a few seconds, or even a few hours or days. You will probably find that you often make decisions when your mind is reeling, and you are preoccupied with an endless barrage of thoughts. If you just take some time to slow down and think it through for a while, you make choices that you are happier with.

– Set a reminder in your phone or computer that goes off every couple of hours, or once a day, that says something like “You can decide what to focus on right now.”

– Start a meditation practice.

– Keep an optimism or gratitude journal. At the end of each day or week, write down all the negative stuff that keeps popping up in your life. And then, as objectively as you can, write at least 3-5 ways that you can see the positive aspects. Or ways you can learn from the experience. Basically, you know the cons… now try to deliberately focus on the pros.

Some or all of these practices can help you to be more aware of the quality of your thoughts, of that inner voice, and to change your personal default by choosing how you want to handle things.

Even if everyone else says something is “bad” or negative, you have the power to be at peace. To breathe through it. To remember that everything is temporary and always changing, as we all fly through space at a million miles an hour.

Why not give yourself a break, and enjoy the ride?