Thinking is the way we talk to ourselves and the only way we can change what we do and how we do it. Most of the time it is just everyday chit chat to get us through the day but sometimes we need to have a major conversation about where we want our lives to go and the strategy we need to get there.
However, we are all so good at chatting to ourselves about day to day minutiae, that this has become a mechanism for distracting ourselves from serious thinking – instead we spend our time considering the next meal, the journey home, the text we need to send to our best friend and so on.
There are times when we get desperate because we have ignored whatever it may be for too long (see previous post on procrastination). We know we need to sort out the issue but are exhausted by the sheer effort it takes just avoiding it. Often we are prepared to delegate, but this means inviting other people into our thought processes without necessarily considering any axes they might have to grind in our lives, without thinking about possible ulterior motives. Do they want us to do what what we want or rather perhaps what they want?
Have you noticed how willing these people are to give you advice? Often they do not ask questions or establish the facts, they just start to tell you what to do. What they think you should do. A friend once told me of the nurse who, only a matter of hours after delivery, was instructing her on how to breast feed – to the point of physically manhandling both her and the baby. My friend was so exhausted by the recent birth that she didn’t have the energy to tell Miss Bossy the Breast Feeding Consultant (who had never in fact had any children of her own) that she had actually very successfully nursed four kids already and knew what she was doing thank you very much. These people are like the bull in the proverbial china shop. They do not stop to ask questions or recognise the limited resources you might have to put into a project. They assume there is infinite money, time and that the matter is of the utmost urgency. They leave you feeling limp because they can see things so much more clearly than you can. They also have the expectation that you will accept what they say and then expect you to follow it through while they bask in all the glory; why is it so hard to say “Thanks very much. I have thought about it some more and decided not to do that”?
Now to be fair – sometimes our friends, families and colleagues are right, but invariably, and understandably, they see the problem from their own viewpoint. If it is a spouse worried about how the business is going they will usually advise the safe route to ensure the mortgage is paid. A friend who wants you to value them and their thoughts can be much bolder when handing out advice than they would be in their own lives. This is all very well, and normally meant with good intention – collecting ideas is great provided we remember where they came from and the bias they bring. However, using other people’s ideas does not take away the responsibility we have to ourselves to form our own thoughts, examine our own ideas, and craft our own solution, one that works for us.
Whether you are thinking about a personal issue or a business problem, this is your life, only you can live it. Make the space – both physical and mental – to talk to yourself about it. Stay focused and concentrate.
If you are still confused and unable to channel your thoughts, then get some help. But leave spouses and friends out of it. Get help from a detective like me – someone who spends their life looking, with people like you, at issues and challenges like yours. I’ll help you exercise your little grey cells and really look at the answers you come up with. The time has come my friend to give yourself a firm talking to and make your life what you want it to be – what are you waiting for, call me today.