Controlling vs. Managing our Thoughts

I am in the business of thought management.  I spend a good portion of most days managing my own thoughts and teaching my clients how to do the same.

Every once in a while I will get an email from a reader or student who is trying to use what I teach by controlling their thoughts instead of managing them.  It is important that you all understand the difference.

Let's use the example of corporate America.  There are bosses who try to control their employees by threatening them, barking orders at them, and beating them down.  They control by force.  This creates an environment of tension and fear.

If you use this tactic to control your thoughts, you will also feel fear and tension in your life.  You will dread the "thought work" that can truly allow your personal freedom. 

Controlling your thoughts looks like this:

Thought:  You're fat.

You:  Stop thinking that.  When you think that you attract that.  What is wrong with you?  You should have this by now.  Force yourself to think you aren't fat.

Thought: But you really are.

You: You suck at this.  You will never get this.  Stop thinking that.  Think about something else!  Hurry up.  That thought is painful and you know it.  You better not eat the rest of the day.

It's condemning and threatening.  It isn't what I teach.  And yet how we do anything is how we do most everything. When you try to control your body with threats and diets in order to be thin, you will most likely try to control your thoughts the same way.

Managing your thoughts with leadership is a very different thing.  When you think back to our corporate America example-think about an amazing manager who manages with encouragement and understanding.  These types of leaders are fantastic to work for because they allow for mistakes and growth and learning curves.  They ask empowering questions.  They don't let you settle for mediocrity-because they believe you can do better.

This is how to manage your thoughts.  Manage yourself with healthy expectation, understanding, care, and compassion.

Leave the controlling to the insecure corporate bosses who won't have their jobs for long.