Your New Mantra: Question Everything
Just because you think something does not make it true. Once you accept this, you’re ready to analyze your thoughts and beliefs; even question them. Out of open-mindedness, true change comes.
If your feelings aren’t in alignment with an action you’re taking, forcing yourself through the process will drain your energy. You need to learn to question such thoughts. Obstructionist thoughts often grow out of your personal mythology—beliefs about how the world works that aren’t based in reality. You might say to yourself: I’m too young to get a new job. I don’t have enough education. There’s no opportunity out there for the work I want. These are common myths that can stop change in its tracks.
How do you know you are indulging in a myth? Be wary when your belief is a big blanket statement: It’s always like this or it’s never like that.
My favorite technique for questioning thoughts comes from Byron Katie. Here are her 4 questions from The Work:
1. Is this thought true?
2. Can I absolutely know that it’s true?
3. How do I react? What happens when I believe that thought?
4. Who would I be without that thought?
For example, you say nobody over the age of 50 gets a job. Begin by asking yourself: Is this thought true? Then you realize, well, maybe that’s not 100% true. You know people over 50 who have gotten jobs. Next, ask yourself: What happens when I believe this thought? What mindset is this thought creating in me? And you realize that the thought makes you feel hopeless, and it’s leading you to make excuses. Lastly, ask yourself: If I didn’t hold this belief, how would that change my mindset? And you see that if you let go of that thought, you could easily take action towards your goals.
These four questions test the accuracy of the thought and assess the power of your emotional state. Understanding this, you can make a choice about whether to continue to hold onto that thought, or adopt a turnaround thought. When you shedding myths and false beliefs, it releases energy you can use to move forward.
Coaching Action Steps
Use Byron Katie’s Four Questions to question and analyze your thoughts and explode the myths you’re holding in mind. Identify a thought you have that is preventing you from moving forward (e.g. “Nobody over 50 gets jobs”):
Now, ask yourself the following:
1) Is this thought true? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2) Can I absolutely know that it’s true? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3) How do I react? What happens when I believe that thought? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4) Who would I be without that thought? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Turn the thought around (e.g. “People over 50 do get jobs”) and find three genuine, specific examples of how the turnaround thought is true.
Turnaround Thought: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Example 1: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Example 2: ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________