“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” — Marcus Aurelius
The biggest difference between humans and animals is the human’s ability to think.
We outsmarted every species on Earth with the power of thinking.
We redefined the laws and built our own habitat. But as Uncle Ben says…
With great power comes great responsibility.
Thinking is power. And it’s your duty to use your power for good.
Don’t waste your power. Use it to make your life and other’s life better.
“What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” — Buddha
No matter what you do, you can’t tell your brain to stop thinking. In fact, if you tell it to stop, it will think even more.
The act of thinking is neutral. It isn’t good or bad. It’s what you think and what you do with it that defines the quality of your life.
1. Subtract And Add
Most of your thoughts arrive from your environment.
What you see or experience is what you think. You can’t help but think about what’s right in front of you.
Your environment should bring positive, useful and creative thoughts in your mind.
Eliminate all things and people in your surroundings or routine that bring useless thought to your mind.
If you can’t eliminate it, learn to adjust by training your mind to give low priority to such things or people.
Sometimes, you have to change yourself and stop judging people around you so you eliminate the root cause of negativity in your head. Let them be as they are and interact less with them.
Simplify small daily decisions so your mind has room to think better thoughts.
Expose yourself to novel stimuli so you can think creative thoughts.
Routines can make you or break you. The job of a routine is to put things on autopilot. A good routine can help you get stuff done but bad habitual routines leave no room for creative or critical thinking.
To make the best use of routines, have some parts of your life pre-planned and leave some room for novelty and spontaneity.
Surround yourself with positive and smart people who can remain positive and challenge your thinking at the same time.
Such people are hard to find so if you don’t have them in your circle yet, consume or learn quality content from books and the internet.
You can read, watch or listen to intellectual things to upgrade the level of your thinking. Share them with your friends so they can upgrade with you. If you leave them behind, you’ll end up alone because they didn’t level up with you.
A pack of wolves is much stronger than a lone wolf.
2. Observe And Redirect
After all the benefits meditation provides, it also helps you think better.
By helping you observe your thoughts and moving on to the next one. Thoughts come and go in a blink and with meditation, you train your mind to pay attention to your thoughts.
When you’re aware of your thoughts, you can decide to let go or entertain the thought.
Entertaining Good Thoughts
Some people say they have a problem with overthinking. In reality, overthinking is not the problem. It’s rather a gift.
If you want to develop your thinking skills, you have to think more than an average person.
So, instead of getting rid of overthinking, embrace it.
The problem arises when we overthink about the wrong things. We get addicted to useless thoughts that serve no purpose to us.
To eliminate the real problem which is to entertain useless thoughts, learn to let go.
Be mindful of your thoughts. Catch yourself thinking. And decide if you want to continue thinking about it or would you rather think about something useful that can help you or others?
If your thoughts are helpful, overthink as you want.
Be a thinker, not a dweller.
When you catch yourself dwelling, replace each negative thought with a positive one.
You can replace your thoughts using positive feelings, thoughts, or actions as they all are interconnected.
For a more in-depth, science-based post on changing your mood read:
3. Think And Express
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” — Albert Einstein
You have the power to think. It’s your duty to use your power to help yourself and your world.
Create a thinking habit to amplify your thinking power.
Two of the best times to think are:
A) During Empty Spaces Or Buffer Time
The art of empty time is dying with the constant use of devices.
I myself listen to podcasts while walking, commuting, eating, etc. But we must not stimulate ourselves in all situations.
Give your mind time to breathe and rest. Beautiful thoughts arrive during activities like cleaning, walking, showering, exercising, daydreaming, etc.
Make sure you do at least one such activity during the day to give your mind space to think.
B) Force Yourself To Think Well
You can’t always expect ideas and thoughts to come to you. You must give special attention and conscious effort to upgrade your thinking.
One of the best ways to force yourself to think well is to speak with smart people. Having a healthy argument will help you think better than thinking alone.
Another way to think well is to carve out time to write. You can write posts or journal entries. Or you can brainstorm ideas and list them down.
This way, you will not only see your thoughts in front of you to formulate them better, but you will also store them so you access your good fleeting thoughts later.
Jordan B Peterson summarizes it best:
“Thoughts have energy. Make sure your thoughts are positive and powerful.” — Anonymous
Take the responsibility of your thoughts in your hands.
Craft your environment, notice your thoughts, and make a conscious decision to think better.
When you have those powerful and beautiful thoughts, don’t keep them to yourself.
Pay it forward by using or sharing your thoughts. Don’t let those thoughts go to waste. Don’t let fear or ego stop you from doing the greater good.
The world needs your thoughts.