Well it actually went more like; ‘What the f… No Lewis, you can’t afford to think like that, the moment you start to doubt yourself and question the possibility of this amazing adventure is the moment it all starts to unravel. You are strong. You believe in yourself. You can do it!’
So that is just a small snippet of what went through my head about 2km into my second training run. Yes only 2km in to my second of many hundreds of training runs to come I was about to question myself. I genuinely believe that this was and will be one of the biggest turning points in this adventure.
At the first sign of personal disbelief I snuffed it out before the sentence could even finish. It showed me that I can and do practice what I preach! I can challenge my own thoughts, I can stop negative thoughts before those dark and dangerous details even starts to manifest themselves in my brain.
I’m not going to be delusional and think it will all be a breeze from here on in, far from it! But I now know that when even a sniff of questioning my ability, determination, desire and attitude surfaces, I have the ability to snuff it out and not let that virus into my head. Instead filling it with positive mantras and self belief. There will be challenges along the way that will be infinitely more difficult than being a total 7km into my training but this small win has shown me that I can control my thoughts and actions.
Why is this so important?
Negative thoughts are like a poison, once they get in they can grow. Initially they start off small as you start to question yourself;
‘Can I do this?’ Not too bad you can answer either positively or negatively.
‘Can I even do this?’ Starting to give the challenge unnecessary grandeur.
‘What the f*** am I doing?’ Again has the opportunity to be positive in response but quite a belliteling question of your abilities. You’re almost saying to yourself, you’ve got no chance mate.
If your thoughts are somewhere at this stage and you catch yourself early enough I suggest you do one of two things. Constantly argue back to your negative questions with positive answers. Or my favourite technique, recognise that it is these questions that are the sprouts of negativity in your brain. Don’t even allow the questions to finish, don’t even allow the questions to surface. At even a whiff of question tell the question to f*** off. Actually have the conversation in your head.
Thought: ‘Can I even…’
Response: Nope! That question isn’t even going to finish! I am not even going to think like that. [INSERT POSITIVITY HERE] Can I even… ha what a stupid question!
Now you might be reading this thinking ‘what is he on about?’ or ‘I’ve tried it before but…’ What I am saying is you have the ability to change what you are thinking, you have the ability to have conversations with yourself. For those who have tried before that’s brilliant but why did you stop? Don’t stop! It takes time, it takes practice, literally for the rest of your life so dont give up because you forget once or it doesn’t work a couple of times. Practice snuffing out questions, practice responding to the ones that get through with positivity, practice correcting your negative thoughts and answers even ones you had the day before or last week. You have to practice positivity.
If your negative thoughts are going past the point of questioning yourself then the advice is still the same. If you bypass asking yourself ‘Can I do this?’ and you immediately tell yourself ‘I can’t’ then some negativity is already imbedded within you, you may have a lack of self belief and struggle to back yourself. Stating the obvious I know but doing so allows us to identify the issue and go after it, go straight to it and challenge it. As Ryan Holiday’s book is named ‘The Obstacle Is The Way’ dont try and get around it, go straight for it.
Start by identifying your current and previous negativity. It may be something you can remember from last week, it may be a recurring pattern of self disbelief. Identify the common themes of negativity. Once you can identify past experiences you may be able to see or react to current and future thoughts much quicker.
Now it is extremely powerful to think back those previous negative thoughts and replace them with a positive answers, this will help to reframe your thoughts on these scenarios and generate a more positive thought pattern. For some this will be a great start and will work very well, and for others they may be an a vicious downward spiral that doesn’t even allow themselves to think alternatively positive. For those people we have a few questions to ask. You have to challenge the spiral.
1. What is the fear holding you back?
2. Can you 100% guarantee that what you fear will happen will happen?
3. What are the positives of taking action and completing your task?
If you answer Question 2 with a 100% guarantee then I have to say to you;
Your situation is not unique, there are other people in this world who have the same fear as you do. Some are still stuck just like you but some have succeeded. Some have gotten out of the negative spiral, developed a positive mindset and have buckets of self belief. Do not believe that your situation is unique, others have done it and so can you.
Some further questions may be needed. Have you got past fear before? We ask this to elicit some memory of success, increasing your self belief. Now at this point we are starting to generate positive thoughts, so we have to keep that moving and this is where having a few positive mantras can start to kick in. they can be as simple as;
‘I can do it!’
‘I am strong!’
‘I believe in myself!’
Words are immensely powerful, tell yourself you can and you will. Build on that self belief, build on that positivity, get your energy flowing and keep telling yourself how great you are. Because let’s face it you are and so is everyone else! We just have to unlock it.
After all, it comes down to the power of the words you use. You may have the ability to snuff out the smallest embers of negativity and never let it surface.You may have to have an argument with yourself in your head, the important part of the argument is to make sure you’re in positivities corner. You may have to reframe past negative thoughts so that when similar circumstances reappear you are ready to challenge. You may have to question yourself with the four previous questions stated. You may have to really strive and push yourself to pick out positivity and tell yourself your mantras to get through.
Drown yourself in self belief and positivity, it can come from other people but you must generate it from source. You have to tell yourself how great you are, how strong you are and what an amazing human being you are. Generating self belief doesn’t mean to become delusional and think you’re the worlds best at everything, that would be inflating your ego. It means to believe that you have the capacity to put your all into something and develop to achieve your potential. Developing positivity will allow you to accept your current areas for improvement and set about making a change. You will have belief that you are able to change yourself for the better.
I believe in you even if we have never met. You have the potential to do and achieve what you want but you have to begin with generating self belief and positivity from within. If negativity is the poison for generating a downward spiral into severe lack of self belief. Positivity is the fuel for growing and developing an amazing self belief.
These are just some of the things I have done personally to become a more positive person. I just wanted to share what has worked for me in the past as it may help you. What I believe is if you want this to work for you then you will stick at it, keep working on being positive and you will get there. If this doesn’t work for you then there may be other ways to help yourself, either that or it’s a question of do you truly want to change?