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10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

10 Dangerous Thoughts You Should Avoid

You are what you think about. Can you create a better life by simply thinking about it? Of course not– that’s absurd. But if your mind is dominated by negative thoughts, it’s hard to get motivated to make positive changes that will improve your life. Please consider these 10 dangerous thoughts you should avoid.

1. “I guess this is as good as it gets.”

The second you become complacent, your progress in life will come to a screeching halt. No matter how good you are at something, you could always stand to improve in some aspect. Learn a new craft, hobby or language to keep your mind creative and fresh. Discover ways to increase the quality of your work or decrease the time it takes to complete tasks you’re already good at (then you’ll have more time for the important things that really make you happy!). Make sure personal growth isn’t just something you talk about–make it a daily event.

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2. “I’ll just do the easy stuff.”

That thing that you dread doing more than anything else? The odds are, THAT is the very thing you need to do. Do you think employers are interested in hiring people who are only capable of accomplishing simple tasks that anybody else on the planet could perform? Of course not. Whether it’s for the purpose of making yourself more marketable in the workforce, improving your body and health or whatever the case may be, you need to embrace the fact that you sometimes have to do things that you don’t enjoy. You know what I hate? Working on resumes, portfolios and sales pages. But even though I don’t particularly enjoy those things, I am very skilled at them because my success depends on it. Buckle down and do the thing you don’t want to do because like it or not, that’s probably the very thing you need to do.

3. “I don’t care about the details, tell me what to do!”

If you don’t understand why a particular task needs to be done, it is unlikely you’ll be able to pay it the proper attention it deserves. And if you don’t ask follow-up questions about things you don’t understand, your results will suffer.Take ownership of every project. Do you have any ideas to contribute that might make the end result better? Say so. No one is going to fuss at you for asking questions or offering suggestions that will improve the end result.

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4. “I’m not good enough.”

If you tell yourself you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, smart enough, or (insert adjective of your choosing here) enough, your lack of confidence will reflect in your words, stature, and mannerisms. Why should someone believe in you if you don’t believe in yourself? Surround yourself with positive people who will motivate you. Read books, articles, and studies about what you’re passionate about until you can truthfully say you are an expert in your field. Stop looking for the reasons you can’t do something and find the reasons you can. People often say, “You’re only as strong as your weakest link,” but this statement is blatantly false. You are as strong as your strongest link.

5. “It will never work.”

Stop telling yourself you will fail because self-fulfilling prophecies almost always come true.

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6. “I’m a bad person.”

Everyone makes mistakes. No matter what wrong you feel you have done to a person, agonizing over a past event that cannot be undone will not make the situation better (and will make you feel a lot worse). Whether you ate something you know you shouldn’t have, said something hurtful that you wish you could take back or made a mistake on the job, don’t live in the past. If you apologized and explained yourself, then it is time to move on. Focus your energy to the future because that’s where progress happens. 

7. “What will they think about me?”

While you should do everything you can to make people around you comfortable, you shouldn’t sacrifice your genuine personality in order to please other people. Embrace your authentic self and share it with the world. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, that is their problem (and their loss). 

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8. “I’ll do it when the time is right.”

There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to do anything. If you keep waiting for the right time to move to a new town, talk to that cute bartender or begin a new fitness plan, you will never take action. Challenge yourself to burst out of your comfort zone. I know comfort makes you feel safe, but how fulfilling is it to spend your life thinking about doing things that you never actually do? Act now or regret it later.

9. “I wish I could look more like _____.”

Please understand that when you see scantily clad models in magazines, you are looking at doctored up images of people who most likely have put themselves through incredibly restrictive diets and/or excessive fitness routines in the weeks or months leading up to their photo-shoot. In other words, such a body would not be attainable for the average person. When you see articles like “The Hugh Jackman Workout,” you are seeing routines that were designed for a specific person (Hugh Jackman) with a specific body type and need. Even if you did the same workout as instructed, you could not reasonably expect to become as ripped as Hugh Jackman was in the latest Wolverine film. Accept your body as it is. Aim to improve your physique, but stop comparing it to other people with figures that are out-of-reach. 

10. “No one cares.”

Yes, they do. Even if you’re not on the best terms with your family, I can’t imagine that they don’t care about you. And even if you’ve lost touch with a lot of your friends, I bet they would be happy to hear your voice in a surprise phone-call. You have impacted more lives than you could begin to comprehend. Send an e-mail or write a letter to an old friend that you haven’t talked to in months or years. Call an aunt, uncle or cousin who made a positive impact on your development as a child. Join an online support community, message board or networking group of like-minded people who could become new friends. You are not alone– you are far from it. If you just moved to a new home, you might want to check out this article about how to make a bunch of friends in any new city.

The first step to a better life is to think better thoughts. 

I hope this list of dangerous thoughts was helpful. You can’t create a better life by the mere act of thinking about it, but it is a positive first step in the right direction. What are some positive thoughts that help you be happy and productive? Please share them in the comments!

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today Why Instant Gratification is the Villain of Success How To Be Happy Alone and Enjoy Life Why You Procrastinate: 7 Possible Reasons You Can’t Get Anything Done 9 Things to Remember When You’re Having a Bad Day

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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