Have you ever tried to coach a team member to change his or her behavior? How about a child? It’s hard, isn’t it. Why is it so hard? Because we are creatures of habit. And, thank goodness, we are.
Can you imagine needing to learn how to drive a car each morning? How to operate your coffee machine? The brain automates so much for us that it allows us to be productive.
Thought habits play a valuable role in our lives and yet they also contain hidden reasons as to why it makes sense to us to behave the way we do. They also generate our state of mind – how we feel.
The precursor to state of mind is thinking. Grateful thoughts create grateful states of mind. Worried thoughts create anxious states of mind.
As human beings, we have up to 70,000 thoughts that go through our heads each day. Many of these thoughts are recycled – showing up repeatedly throughout each day or even each hour.
“Leah is going to hate this report. She has very high expectations. She is always critical of our reports and I’m not really good at reports. She went to an Ivy League school and I didn’t. I’m not a great writer.” These thoughts tend to pass through our minds like traffic on an interstate.
Imagine seeing all of these thoughts speeding by. And, some tend to show up over and over again. Subconsciously, we begin to program our brains to generate feelings of insecurity, worry, anxiety, or self-doubt.
These thoughts and our state of mind influence how we choose to behave. If we think confident, curious, optimistic thoughts, we will experience a healthy state of mind and will choose behaviors that get higher results. The opposite can also be true.
Notice how this can be a virtuous or vicious cycle. After having worried or anxious thoughts, experiencing a low state of mind, and choosing poor behaviors, we may experience lower results. That further weighs heavy on our thinking and down the spiral we go.
The alternative is also true. Thoughts of genuine curiosity – “what might I learn here?” can generate feelings of excitement about what you may learn, which generates more inquisitive and open behaviors that get higher results. The dopamine hit from achieving those results can further elevate your thinking and up the spiral we go.
The next time you are coaching a team member, or even noticing your own state of mind, explore your thinking!