Thoughts don’t belong to you

I was reading about the science of thought recently.

The list of subcategories started off okay. It mentioned beliefs, memories and emotions.

Then it listed creativity, analytical thinking and heuristics.

Naturally, I was flabbergasted. What ne’er-do-well wrote this?

Because thoughts and thinking aren’t the same thing.

Having thoughts is easy. Thinking is hard work. It takes focus and it burns calories like nothing else. I once spent over a week being forced into thinking – by the end, I was inhaling donuts and still losing weight.

Thinking is a process.

Thoughts are the result of that process.

But it runs so much deeper than that.

Have you ever believed something that held you back? Maybe as an awkward teen, you thought you were unattractive. Or stupid or clumsy.

Then someone came along and said you’re gorgeous.

Or you won a series of brutal chess games.

Or you, I don’t know, beat someone in a thumb war.

In a moment, you realise that thought you held onto for so long was wrong. You release the thought and replace it with the results of better thinking.

So many of your thoughts came from other folk. Parents, teachers, friends, society as a whole.

Many of those are useful. We couldn’t build a society without a common framework of thought.

Some are holding you back.

In either case, they’re not really yours. You’re just sort of renting them in your head.

Thinking, though?

That’s always yours.

You always have the choice to think.

It’s just when it comes to older thoughts, they can nestle in so deep your conscious mind can’t even spot them, let alone displace them.

Your unconscious, though?

It knows the size, shape, location and feeding habits of all your thoughts. If it didn’t, what part of you would know to think them?

That means working with your unconscious can reteach you how to really, deeply think.

There’s no joy quite like dislodging some ancient idea that no longer serves you.

For a no-nonsense, practical and scientific approach to thinking this deeply, follow this link:

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