Have you ever stopped to question your thoughts? Where did this thought come from? Why do I think this way? Is this thought even true? Do you believe everything you think is true?
It’s a pretty powerful moment when you wake up and realize that the way you think might not be the truth. In fact, it’s probably not THE truth.
Here is a perspective…as you read my blog posts, you are having thoughts about it. You love it, it resonates with you, and you can grab hold of something from a post and take action right now! Those thoughts are based on your experiences, your preferences, your judgments, your emotions, and most likely your feelings about me as a person/leader.
Someone else reading my blog is having a completely different experience. She hates it, thinks I am writing nonsense, and can’t find anything in any post worth trying to implement.
Both experiences feel like the truth to each person, but whose truth is right? The answer is neither and both.
We live in an age where we tell ourselves that being RIGHT is worth fighting (killing) for and where tolerance, acceptance, compromise, and admitting that you are wrong are signs of weakness. But here’s the kicker: WE ARE NEVER RIGHT BECAUSE THERE IS NO RIGHT WAY, no matter what you believe. There are 8(ish) billion people on this Earth which means there are 8(ish) billion different ways to think about everything there is to be thought about. That’s mind-blowing! So if there are 8(ish) billion different ways to think about the thought you just had, how can you be so sure that yours is the truth?
Questioning your thoughts is extremely powerful. Yes, it can create discomfort, especially when you challenge your own belief systems (you can read why I think discomfort is a good thing here) but it is also eye-opening and life-changing. Not believing that your thoughts are true…that your way is the only way…can lead you to new perspectives, new ways of thinking, to stretch yourself, and most importantly as a leader…to making better decisions. Choosing not to believe everything you think allows you to make room for other people’s ideas and solutions. It cultivates tolerance, acceptance, and compromise. It helps you be a better person, parent, and leader.
Here are some questions I ask myself when I am feeling passionate (ok, defensive) about the way I think or feel about something or when I am being judgmental about a person or a situation. Sometimes I can detach from my thoughts and sometimes I can’t, but this process always helps me put things into perspective and helps me be more open and compassionate.
Why do I believe this? Why are my feelings so strong?
What if I believed something different? What would change?
What story am I telling myself about this person or situation? How do I know that story is true? What other stories could also be true?
What assumptions am I making?
What would happen if I just let this thought/feeling go and it never crossed my mind again?
Is this how I really feel or is my ego getting in the way?
Why am I being judgmental?
Most of us can agree that the world would be a better place if we weren’t always arguing, judging, defending, and warring. If we want to change this about our world, we must change it within ourselves first.
If you like this and want to know more, be sure to subscribe to my podcast. Want more on this topic? Check out this post on how to be an accountable leader.
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