“I don’t believe everything I think.”
~Tara Brach

Our minds are powerful and helpful. Our minds guide us to make sense of the world and to show up in the world in the way we want to. Our minds lead us to more Thoughtfulness – being more present, more intentional, and more authentic.

And our minds can also totally lead us astray.

For example, consider our biases. When I stop to contemplate the number of biases we have driving our thoughts, assumptions, feelings, and behaviors (at least a couple hundred), I wonder why any of us ever believe anything we think. My favorite bias? The one that tells me that I’m not biased. I know how objective and rational I am. Especially because I study and teach this stuff.

The rest of you, however, are biased.

This is what my mind tells me. This is why I don’t believe everything I think.

Yes, it’s important to learn to trust our own thoughts and feelings, especially if we’ve been intentionally or subconsciously taught to mistrust ourselves by other people or the world at large. And it’s also important to remember that our brains have ways of tricking us, including, at times, tricking us to think that we can’t believe what we think!

I personally find these concepts wildly fascinating and also mind-bending at times. How do I trust myself more and also be careful not to get carried away by faulty thinking? Our clients ask us that a lot.

The best answer we’ve found is a combination of trial and error – to learn when you’re more likely to be spot on and when you’re more likely to be spot off – and trust but verify. We coach our clients to listen to their head and their heart and their gut, and then to check what they’re telling themselves, so that they’re less likely to get carried away by stories they’re making up or thoughts that aren’t true.

It’s also important to know when our minds – or psyches – may be hurting. Again, if we’ve been intentionally or subconsciously taught to mistrust ourselves by other people or the world at large, we may also want to partner with a therapist to help ourselves understand and figure things out. I can personally tell you that there is no way I’d be as healthy and whole as I am without therapy. Some of us may also need medication to help with depression or anxiety or mental health, which can be more ways that our minds tell us things that aren’t true.

Our minds are beautiful and powerful and helpful, and they can also lead us astray or keep us stuck and in pain. They can also be the cause of our pain. These are all reasons to not always believe what we think and to always get help when and if it would help us.

What have you learned about believing what you think?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in sifting through some of the faulty thoughts in your mind, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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