The Power Of NEGATIVE Thinking; Not Giving Voice To Your Pain, e.g. Don’t Complain :)
AMAZING STORIES ILLUSTRATING THE POWER OF THOUGHT
In 1986, Bill Buckner, a Major League Baseball superstar, let a grounder roll through his legs. This allowed the opposing team (the Mets) to score the winning run which cost Buckner’s team (the Red Sox) the World Series.
Buckner lives in infamy to this day because of that event. BUT – what is most interesting is that Buckner gave voice to that exact event, as his “worst nightmare,” in an interview 12 days earlier.
Pete Maravich was an NBA superstar who died of a heart attack at age 40. And interestingly, he too had predicted that exact event as his worst nightmare ten years prior.
Both of these stories were shared by Trevor Moawad in this Impact Theory Podcast about the power of “Negative Thinking” (as opposed to “Positive Thinking”).
Trevor coaches some of the world’s top athletes with a sole focus on attitude and mental conditioning – something he learned from Nick Saban, the coach of Alabama’s extremely successful football team.
Another story Trevor shared involved a man who got stuck in a refrigerated box car, and slowly froze to death. It was exceptionally sad because he wrote notes of despair as he was dying.
The saddest part though was the fact that the refrigeration mechanism was broken and the car was only 56 degrees. He literally willed himself to death because he thought it was much colder.
The final story Trevor shared involved a young man who had been a very poor student his entire life, and how the world considered him downright stupid as a result.
But, when he scored a 1,480 on his SAT, he realized how smart he was, he shocked his family and friends, and he started to study much harder.
He then got into an Ivy League university and established a very successful career, before finding out 12 years after taking his SAT that he was one of only 14 people to have received the wrong SAT Score.
His actual score was 740. When he “thought” he was smarter, he acted much differently and ended up much smarter.
NEUTRAL THINKING – NOT POSITIVE THINKING
Trevor does not advocate positive thinking and actually points out the weaknesses of the entire “positive thinking” fad from the 1980s and 1990s.
“Positive thinkers” often miss reality, fail to take necessary actions and end up paralyzed or depressed with disappointment.
There is a famous story about prisoners of war in Vietnam in the 1960s who convinced themselves that they’d be “out by Christmas” and ended up dying when that didn’t happen.
The prisoners who were more realistic fared far better.
A business coach and friend of mine also tells stories about clients he had who wanted to do nothing but sit on their couches thinking positively after reading books about doing just that (without taking any action at all).
PRESCRIPTIONS FOR A HEALTHY ATTITUDE
- Neutral Thinking. Trevor advocates “neutral thinking” or seeing things as they actually are without emotion. Putting positive or negative twists on thinking does no good.
- Ignore Past Failures. Trevor reminds us that the past never has to define us. He uses quarterback Russell Wilson as an example. He can throw four interceptions in a game, but he keeps on playing as if nothing bad had happened (and often still wins). Most mortals, however, would wallow in shame and probably give up.
- Don’t Give Voice to Your Pain. He says that when something is spoken out loud, it has 10x more power to influence your brain and attitude. He further says that negative thoughts have 7x more power than positive thoughts. So, speaking something negative out loud has extraordinary power to influence us in the wrong way.
- Avoid Negative Media. This is a recurring theme amongst all of the ultra-successful – don’t watch the news because it is far too negative, and, according to Trevor, we should avoid country music too. 😊
SAME MESSAGE FROM JESSE ITZLER
I recently blogged about a private talk I attended with Atlanta Hawks owner, Jesse Itzler. Interestingly, this theme was one of his primary points as well, and a major component behind his success.
Itzler never gives “voice to his pain” (his words).
In other words, he never complains.
If someone asks him how he’s doing, he always responds with “I feel outstanding.”
He does not ignore reality, but he also does not vent his feeling and fears to others because he has learned how destructive it can be.
WHEN IS VENTING/COMPLAINING OK?
This is from our business coach, Tim Braheem of Performance Experts, who set up the talk with Itzler.
He does not recommend repressing all emotions, and some venting is sometimes necessary.
But, he reminds us not to make it a habit and to only complain/vent when you are doing so constructively in order to seek solutions.
Complaining and venting every day on a habitual basis without a focus on solutions will only lead to more of the problems that we are complaining about, according to Tim, Trevor, Jesse and pretty much every other successful person I know.
Here is a question for all us: how many ultra-successful people have we heard complaining?
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