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10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)

10 Common Toxic Thoughts That Are Ruining People’s Lives (But They’re Unaware Of It)
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Life is a challenge. Whatever way you may look at it, there will always be obstacles that are meant to make you a stronger and better person.

In the midst of all these obstacles, it is incredibly easy to go down a road of self-pity — where you truly believe that the world is against you. And, because so many people are in “self-pity” mode, it might seem like the acceptable way of living.

Sadly, self-pity mode ruins people’s lives. When you are in that mode, you become self-destructive because your headspace is always filled with negative thoughts that you think are the norm. Naturally, because you think it’s the norm, you are seldom aware that you are ruining your life.

In 2007, my life changed forever when I understood the power of thoughts – positive or negative. In fact, my life changed so much that I started a company called Wealthy Mindset® in 2009. The pay-off line for the company was “Wealth begins with your Mindset.”

I’ve gone on to work with hundreds of people through Wealthy Mindset® and RunForWealth, a blog I use to publish content on how you can “Run A Fulfillng Life Race.”

As a result, I have studied and experienced, personally and in others, the impacts of positive and negative thoughts.

In this post, I hope I can share common negative thoughts that can potentially ruin your life. I am also going to share some solutions that will help you replace negative thinking so you can start re-shaping the direction of your thoughts.

1. “Life is unfair” makes you a victim

Nobody ever promised us a roller-coaster in life. And yet, every time life deals us a temporary blow, we are quick to express how unfair life is.

Life is very fair, provided you shift paradigms completely.

Most of the blows you will receive in life are meant to help you reach your destiny. Use them to be the best you can be.

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Non-toxic thought and action: Life is fair and I must use the obstacles in life to learn and grow.

2. “It’s everyone else’s fault” makes you irresponsible

Ever come across people who are never at fault?

All the negative vibes and occurrences in their lives are the result of everyone else. To them, shifting responsibility is the easiest option. If it isn’t their partner or spouse, it’s the boss. If it isn’t the boss, it’s the friends. If it isn’t the friends, it’s the colleague or the neighbor.

Non-toxic thought and action: I need to take full responsibility for all my actions and outcomes in life.

3. “I grew up underprivileged” prevents you from being a futuristic thinker

We will never start on the same base. And that does not mean life is unfair.

Just because someone has a better starting base in life doesn’t mean they don’t have problems and challenges that come with the “advantage.”

The reality is that we all have obstacles to overcome – regardless of where we start in life. Quite frankly, where you start is insignificant. Your life journey and where you end up is what counts.

Non-toxic thought and action: Life is a privilege and I will navigate through my obstacles regardless of where I start.

4. “Failing equates to failure” limits your breakthroughs

You will fail in life. Be it at school, work, or in business – you will attempt to do certain things and they will fail.

Sadly, we don’t know what our ration of failing is. It would be pretty cool if we did. But, we don’t, and that’s the reality of the matter.

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Regardless of your failing, you need to learn from you mistakes and keep trying. Tough as it may be, at times, this means you need to abandon a particular career, project, or business venture completely and try something new.

Ultimately, you need to remember that you only become a “failure” when you stop trying. Failing comes with the territory to success.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will learn from my mistakes and failures but I will never stop trying.

5. “Live life like there’s no tomorrow” destroys you

As cool as this may sound, it’s a ticket to self-destruction. No one wants to live a boring life. But to live like there’s no tomorrow is just plain stupid.

Your today was determined by what you did many months and years ago. Your future (tomorrow) will be determined by your actions today.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will live responsibly every day because my future is determined by my current lifestyle.

6. “I don’t have the right contacts” limits self-investment

Knowing the right people in the right places is like gold.

What we often neglect to appreciate is that gold goes through an entire refinery process of heat and pressure before it yields it’s optimum value.

Likewise, your gifts, skills, talents, integrity, and character need to go through a rigorous process of tests in life before you can rely on contacts.

Contacts and knowing people in the right places means nothing if you can’t add value to people’s lives through your skills and talents. Equally important, your contacts mean nothing if you lack integrity or character.

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Refine all the above and contacts will take you to places you never dreamt of.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will invest in myself first and refine my skills, gifts, talents, integrity, and character and the right contacts will help me get to higher heights.

7. “If I could win the lottery one day…” creates an overnight success fallacy

I know you are probably asking: “how on earth can this be a negative thought?”

The thing about gambling, and the lottery in particular, is that it plants a seed of “overnight success.” There is no such thing as “overnight success.” It takes many years to succeed. Life is a process of inputs and outputs.

Sadly, studies have also shown that most people who win the lottery end up in a worse-off situation. Why? Because they have not learned the necessary skills required to keep what they have won.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must work hard and smart and life will reward me appropriately and abundantly.

8. “People are gossiping about me” negatively impacts your focus

It is quite sad to see how many people walk around paranoid about who is having conversations about them. As a result, they have low self-esteem. They second-guess themselves and spend most of their energy “watching their backs” for “enemies” or potential moves of “sabotage.”

Here is the crux: people will always talk, whether you do good or bad. Forget about what people are saying behind your back and focus on doing you.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must focus on living my life fruitfully, regardless of what people say behind my back.

9. “I am not good enough” blurs our gifts, talents, and skills

We all have gifts, talents, and skills. Our responsibility is to identify those and continuously work on improving them so we can add value to other people’s lives.

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For anyone to say “I am not good enough” is complete hogwash. The primary problem is that many people spend a lot of energy trying to achieve in areas they are not gifted or talented in. We have become so competitive that we often neglect to stay in our lanes.

Non-toxic thought and action: I must identify my skills and talents and stay in my lane of destiny.

10. “It’s impossible” prevents us achieving extraordinary goals

Nelson Mandela, an anti-apartheid revolutionary, once said: “It always seems impossible until it is done.”

Achieving great success is not about “pie in the sky” hype. It takes some goal-setting, systematic hard and smart work, and then having the faith required to allow your ordinary efforts and inputs to become extraordinary achievements.

Non-toxic thought and action: I will set life goals and develop the faith required to make my hard and smart work become extraordinary success.

In conclusion, most of society is stuck in “toxic mode.” As a result, most toxic thinking is deemed to be normal.

I really hope that this article will help you identify subtle toxic thoughts that can ruin your life. More importantly, I hope the suggested “non-toxic thoughts” can help you escape that mode so you achieve abundance and success in life.

Featured photo credit: Ryan McGuire via imcreator.com

More by this author

Peteni Kuzwayo

Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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