Two – honestly! – life-changing points to make on this quote.

  1. We tend to think problem focused: “Why does this happen? How can I be so stupid?”.
    As a result your brain comes up with ten reasons why you are stupid.
    Ok, so that was really helpful. NOT!
  2. Your brain does not register a negative. If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant….
    What happened in your mind’s eye? That’s right!
    So, asking yourself: “How do I make sure I don’t miss the deadline” will echo in your brain as:
    “… how to miss deadline… how to miss deadline…”

The short and simple conclusion is to practice the following:

  1. Register your thoughts about a challenge you are facing and ensure you re-write these thoughts into something that is solution oriented.
    “How will I handle this in future situations to be successful?”
  2. Ensure your goals and thoughts about them are positive. “What will I do this week to be ready on time?”.

If you are not yet quite aware of what is happening in your head – whether your internal voice is negative or positive – practice watching your own thought pattern.
At the moment you are facing a problem, have a negative experience, or need to set yourself a goal.
Or while you are sitting in a traffic jam: either to register how you react to the traffic itself, or how your internal voice is filling up time till the cars start to move again.

Then, each time you catch yourself nagging or making a negative statement, search for a positive way to reframe the situation or rephrase your goal.