by Rupert Seewald

The way we think: The unsettling human default setting

Preparing for the new program Step up to Your SELF, more than ever have I looked into the topic of mindset and successful thinking, of course – as always – in a professional as well as in a private context. This time, however, I also looked into it against the background of where our thoughts actually come from, what they do to us, why so many (most!) of them are so negative, how we can cope and what we can do against that.

Spoiler: there are numerous studies which prove, that a vast number of our fears can be traced back to our genes! This means they are neither “learnt” nor “taught”, but truly inherited. No wonder we often can’t even identify them…

On average, we think 60.000 thoughts a day, 80% of which are negative. No new learnings probably, but still startling if you ask me. What also might not really be new, in this case maybe even less surprising: 95% of our thoughts are old thoughts. But here’s the thing: If we combine these two findings, it shows that only 1% of all of our thoughts are new AND positive – pretty incredible, isn’t it?

From 60.000 thoughts a day, usually only 1% is new and positive!

What we also know is that the reason for us focusing on the negative so much has its roots in evolution (saber-toothed tiger vs. rainbow in front of our cave – what shall we focus on in order to survive?).

If we are lucky to live outside war zones or disaster areas, the number of “real” threats have decreased drastically in our lives, however the “perceived” threats have even increased if we take into account our automatic negative thoughts. We consciously and unconsciously expose ourselves to an unnecessary amount of stress.

Let’s change the way we think – Euphonostream: On

The question we may consequently ask ourselves: Can we sustainably change the way we think? Can we quiet this annoying, negative, omnipresent voice in our heads? This “voice” has come to be called bullshit radio. However, because of the fact that many of these thoughts are actually as old as humankind itself, I name it cacophonograph (cacophony = dissonance, phonograph = the oldest sound recording apparatus)

I believe the best way to do this, is to turn on something else but our cacophonograph. The eupohonostream so to speak, sticking with this analogy – actually one could also call it a podcast. Of course, there are more than enough out there already, however, I personally find many of them too theoretical, long-winded, or also stodgy (because of being too complex or even more often just too long).

My friend Armin’s and my approach: A podcast, short and concise, except for a few exceptions not much longer than 5 minutes, sometimes easygoing, sometimes serious – but always offering an impulse – something to think about, a stimulus for change. That’s why we came to call it the mindmodder Podcast. We very much enjoy recording it and hope that we can provide some valuable impulses for our listeners. (The podcast is in German – actually, Austrian 😉 )

Thoughts for great days and great success – The chosen one

As mentioned above, only 1 out of 100 thoughts is really positive AND new. Therefore, it’s crucial not to let this one thought slip. On the contrary, let’s really look for it, hold it dear, value it, cherish it. Let’s ask ourselves: “Can I take it any further, create new positive associations from it and even increase the positive feeling I get from thinking this positive thought – right here, and right now?”

Speaking of here and now: How often do our thoughts really evolve around the present moment? Aren’t they often about our past and future, instead? Here we go again: We’re trying to find and focus on positive AND new thoughts. If our thoughts are about the past, they are certainly not new. And if they’re about our future, even if they are positive and new, we sometimes need to admit that they might not really result in the best feeling in our present situation.

Today’s a good day to have a good day!

So, if you want to find out about the importance of the present moment for successful thinking, why monotasking might be preferable to multitasking after all, and what tribal meetings have to do with listening skills, make sure to listen through our bite-sized podcast episodes and let mindmodder do its thing.