I am often asked how I manage to keep going as an entrepreneur-artist; how I deal with negative thoughts.
Everyone has faced negative challenges in their life at one time or another. You, me, all of us. How we deal with them or respond to them comes down to our personal defenses, our "shields".
Here is how I have eradicated negative thinking; here's my list of "shields", if you like, which can work greatly for you, too:
1. Keep "toxic" people away and keep away from "toxic" people.
In my experience, "toxic" people invariably fall into 3 categories: the Envious, the Takers and the Incompetent. Whether they belong to any of the 3, "toxic" people enjoy weighing you down immensely, because this way is the only way they can feel superior to you. Being around such people is frustrating, it can make you very sad and halt your productivity.
So, the problem is that you, simply, attribute value to the wrong people. By doing this, you expect "cheap" people to behave in an "expensive" way or to appreciate your expensive traits. No good! Walk away from them! Redirect your attention to people who are worth it, who uplift you, who love you as you are, with your perfections and imperfections; above all, people who will approach you for who you are and not because they will want something from you or of you.
You will feel a truly amazing sense of release in doing this. And an immensely satisfying feeling of renewed self-esteem. Are there people you should disconnect yourself from? If so, do it! Yesterday, today, right now! Not tomorrow! They will hate you for it, because they will lose the "audience" they want, that somebody they exploit. So what? Let their poison revert back to them. Why should you take it in?
"Toxic" people suck out your energy, disorient and distract you from your goals. The more you allow yourself to be exposed to their toxicity, the more it sinks in inside you. Shake them off!
2. Keep your dream in sight.
Keeping your dream in sight renews your motivation and incentive every single moment. This is your all-powerful ammunition if you feel the arsenal of your courage run empty at times. This is what keeps you focused, oriented, on course.
Thoughts create reality. So, to remain on course, don't lose sight of your dream or the happiness of seeing it come true. Remember, what you enjoy today, is what you were only hoping for yesterday.
3. Stop fretting over everything.
Let go! You cannot do everything perfectly at the same time! Fretting over and worrying about everything is a sure recipe for disaster. All you will ever achieve this way is a good nervous breakdown or panic attacks. Let go!
Doing your best is the best way to approach things. If things don't work out, it means they weren't the right things for you, that they weren't good enough for you to work out. Regard obstacles as "protectors" that work to your advantage, because that's exactly what they are for you. Take it as a sign to change direction and engage yourself in something new and different.
When things don't work out it's because they mustn't, because something infinitely better is waiting for you further down the path of your life. If you engage in the mediocre that only appears to be good now, how will you be available for the really good further down?
4. Set priorities.
What prevents your thoughts from "derailing", is setting priorities. With priorities you get rid of all the junk in life and keep only the useful and inspiring, whether people or things. Priorities act like a filter that will help you give vent to immense pressure and, also, help you save enormous amounts of energy and time only for the people and things that really matter.
Most people remember prayer only when they want to ask for something. Which is why their prayers never go any higher than the ceiling. In reality, prayer is a lot more than the selfish, egocentric act of "asking for" things. It is a "pour-out" of your soul, a mighty source of energy and a huge need of the inner man inside us.
When I pray, I don't just "ask for" things. I communicate with the Lord. I tell Him my thoughts, my dreams. He doesn't need me to tell Him, He knows beforehand thanks to His Providence, nevertheless, I do it because it makes me feel safe to know He is listening and working for my welfare, as He is of all His creatures.
Above all, I thank Him and glorify Him in prayer. Any time during the day is suitable for this. In your car, after lunch, as you drink your coffee, pray. Prayer and faith can do miracles for you. They have for me.
6. Write down your ideas immediately.
It's so stimulating to have a good idea and to long to put it to the test, right? It makes you feel excited, productive, it boosts your self-confidence and creativity.
Your brain works incessantly, to sort out, filter, evaluate, clear up and tidy up the stimuli of the day. The moment when it comes up with the best possible ideas and furnishes them to you, is in your sleep, since that is when you're most receptive because you're relaxed.
The thing with good ideas is that they come and go when they want, as quickly as a lightning. If you don't write them down right away, they vanish. And then, in the morning, you regret not having written them down, you try to remember what they were about, but you can't.
Whenever a good idea comes to my mind, at 3 a.m., or 4 a.m., or 5 a.m., I don't care about the time; I get up immediately and write it down in a notepad I always keep beside me. It's during those hours that the brain produces ideas it will not produce during the day. And these ideas are always the best. It's a pity to let such a treasure go wasted.
7. Shift your focus from negative to positive thinking.
Remember that the brain can magnify its own negative thoughts if you let it in no time. When negative thoughts flood your brain, they start inflating until they become as big as mountains.
"Fuel" your brain with positive thoughts and you will see that things will revert to their real dimensions. You will see that what you considered overwhelming until a few minutes before, in reality, is only the size of peanuts.
8. Interact with nature.
Take a stroll in the woods or by the sea. After a while, you will feel an invisible hand lift the pressure off your mind and body. Time is forgotten and the soothing effect of nature begins to sink in.
Nature allows you to release yourself from the subjective view you have of things and sharpens your focus. Your attention will gravitate towards the important things in your life. Your energies will relocate and you will retrace the best you. You will re-evaluate your feelings and sort out the valuable from the useless.
When you interact with nature you block out negative messages, so, you consolidate your resolve.
Make interaction with nature a habit. A habit of a lifetime.
9. Expose yourself to art.
Many people think that art is a creation for those few, elite, arrogant individuals, who walk in life with millions in their bank accounts and tons of haughtiness in their hearts.
This is one of the most common misconceptions about art. Do you have paintings hung on your house walls? Do you listen to music in your hours of relaxation? Do you enjoy a good concert with your family or friends? There, if you do, you are exposed to art. That is, to the aesthetic stimuli that, no matter what many people believe, are absolutely indispensable in our lives.
Art can do you a world of good if you let it or embrace it. You might want to take a look at my blog post here for more details about what this "world of good" is all about.
By emulating a person you admire, you replenish your determination, you are inspired by their courage, you learn from their experience. Things become clearer and, suddenly, you know how "to do it" and what steps to take in order "to do it". The motivation you get from the example of the person you emulate, drives you to keep moving forward.
"If he can do it, I can, too!" Think of this next time you feel daunted. Self-doubt is the first step to resignation. Think of it this way: Since some people are bound to succeed in this world, why shouldn't you be one of them?
Harness your passion to your dreams, throw self-doubt in the garbage can and go for it. If you don't, noone else will for you.
Negative thoughts exist only within the boundaries of our physical entity. Step out of yourself and things become clear immediately.
Gradually, the idea that things always work out for the best, will turn into a belief inside you. There will be no space for negative thoughts or negative feelings anymore.
This way you will discover your real potential and you will be astonished at what you can achieve. Things you never thought possible.
Which of these "shields" would you like to try? What are your "shields" against negative thinking? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.