By Stefani Mundy
My close friend is trying to lose weight and has begun an exercise and nutrition plan. She recently referred to herself as “fat” and followed with, “And don’t say it’s not true because it is.”
With respect and love I responded, “Just because something is true, does not mean we give it power over us. Is it true you created a plan, are exercising and have lost some weight? Would you say you’re facing toward weight loss and away from former habits?”
She smiled and agreed.
“Calling yourself fat is a negative investment for you,” I continued. “Close the account on that thought. No more investing! Every time you think that negative thought, replace it with a positive truth. The positive truths are investments in the goal instead of the problem.”
Consider the mind as your most valuable asset. Stimuli are constantly fighting for precious space in your consciousness, including internal thoughts and externally spoken messages.
Thoughts as a Stock Exchange
The scrolling ticker screen at the New York Stock Exchange is a great analogy for the mind. Constantly scrolling during trading hours, human choices determine which stocks thrive and grow in our mental space. Likewise, our brains are always on, and we have the power to invest in thoughts that provide positive returns. Humans can fall prey to judgmental thinking and have what I call negative investment thoughts that create barriers to goals, relationships and life effectiveness.
Thoughts and Relationship Bankruptcy
The positive or negative thoughts we hold about others can build large accounts or cause relationship bankruptcy.
Our thinking itself can decrease the trust and intimacy with a friend, colleague or family member. Judging, making assumptions, holding grudges and replaying past wrongs are just a few examples of negative investment thinking.
Positive investment thinking in relationships includes withholding judgement, listening to understand, forgiving and offering a “tabula rasa” or blank slate. Offering a blank slate is approaching each interpersonal interaction with the mind new, unmarked or uninfluenced by past interactions or knowledge.
Experts regularly suggest that building a habit takes at least 21 days. Join this 7-7-7 Challenge for 3 weeks (28 days total) by observing your internal and external dialogues.
- Week One: Observe your “scrolling ticker screen” of thoughts for seven days. What do you think and say about yourself? Are your thoughts negative or positive investments? Try to capture thoughts and label them as negative, positive or neutral.
- Week Two: Repeat the activity again, but this time only observe your thoughts about others.
- Week Three: Observe your thoughts about yourself and others for seven days. Practice replacing a negative thought with a neutral or positive thought that is true. This process could be uncomfortable at first but gradually becomes a simple method to maximize the valuable real estate in your mind.
Stefani Mundy Contact
UT Institute for Public Service
Stefani is a UT graduate and currently works in the UT IPS Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership as a training specialist. When she’s not planning leadership training, you can find her planting flowers or brainstorming creative ideas to improve lives.