Light Up Your Inner Wisdom
The old phrase, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”, applies nicely to how to watch the mind and the chatter it creates. Imagine being free of the enemies of the mind: anxiety, guilt, worry, frustration, foggy brain. Dis-ease and distraction are symptoms of the enemy thoughts that happen in sneaky habits.
Here is the manual to know who your enemies are in your thought habits. Shirzad Chamine’s work, Positive Intelligence, lists 9 saboteurs of mental well-being. Which saboteur is your companion? Knowing which to watch out for will help you to apply the 5 wisdom generating tips at the end of this article.
What are saboteur thoughts?
Saboteur thoughts are narrow, limiting beliefs that when listened to make a task or goal much harder to complete. It is the tight or depressed feeling that can come from negative thinking. Negative thoughts develop a strong neural pathway over time that can be viewed as habit thinking. These negative thoughts can stem from childhood experiences or moments of mistakes and failing that impact the way we navigate the world. We replay sentences of negativity that reinforce a false belief neurologically. Let’s meet these enemies to be able to identify them when they come up.
The 9 Saboteurs: What they sound like in your head:
Judge (critic) The negative voice that judges self, others, or situations. We all have this negative inner critic. It can sound like, “I cannot believe you did that. What will they think of you?” “You are _____ (fill in the blank with an insult).” It is a harsh judgment of self that feels crummy.
Avoider (over-focus on pleasant, avoids unpleasant) “I would rather do anything else than the unpleasant task, so I’ll give you plenty of suggestions of other things to do or notice to avoid unpleasant things.” This voice distracts from what must be done and offers options that keeps you off track and unfocused.
Hyper-Achiever (dependent on constant performance and achievement for self-worth) This negative voice will not let you rest. It is a task master that is unrelenting. “That’s great that you accomplished that but there is more to do! Get going!” The hyper-achiever is always moving to the next accomplishment and leaves little space for appreciating the moment.
Hyper-Rational (over-reliance on rational processing) This voice rationalizes out of feelings, yours or others’. Logic is king. The hyper-rational has an intense and active mind but it comes at a cost of not being able or wanting to experience deep emotions. Following the hyper-rational can make you appear cold or unfeeling when valuing intellect above all else.
Hyper-Vigilant (intense anxiety of all that could go wrong, this vigilance never rests) This voice is the worrier that imagines all the things that could go wrong. Piglet in Winnie the Pooh was hyper-vigilant. Following this voice leads to anxiety and fretting. It is a gremlin of agitation.
The Pleaser (indirect attempt to gain acceptance and affection by helping, pleasing, or rescuing. Loses sight of own needs which causes resentment) The pleaser puts other’s needs before your own. This sounds benevolent but is actually a ploy to avoid what needs doing. The need to please interferes with personal growth when the focus is on pleasing others rather than tending to personal goals or needs. This leads to distraction, lack of focus, and blame of others for not tending to personal needs and ambition.
Restless (constantly in search of greater excitement) This voice urges toward something more interesting or fun. There is always something more fun around the corner. When restless thoughts rule, it is difficult to focus on what needs to be done. The distraction of daydreaming or abandoning a task for something more enjoyable sabotages completion. When the going gets tough, the restless wants to get going and will imagine many other ideas rather than what needs tending.
Stickler (perfectionism) This voice points out all the fault of what you are doing. It is not acceptable to be imperfect. It is easy to describe the stickler but difficult to live with joy or peace when perfect is the bar to live by.
Victim (emotional and temperamental style to gain affection or attention) This voice blames others or situations that prevent you from success or completion of a goal. This voice distracts to find fault externally that leads you to believe you do not have control over your success. The victim does this by causing you to believe that difficulty is inflicted by others and is not surmountable.
These types of thoughts are all the categories of saboteur voices that rob us of peace, fulfillment, accomplishment, and joy. There is a way to rewire these pesky habits. The first step is to notice the thoughts and feelings you have in the day. When you notice a poor feeling, check in to see what you are thinking. Is there a saboteur present? Try these five tips to create new neural pathways to your inner wisdom.
Super Powers: 5 Focus Beacons to Light Up your Inner Wisdom
(The secret is in the sauce…You leave the survivor brain and utilize the thriving brain with these tips)
Empathize: Focus on feeling and expressing appreciation, compassion, and forgiveness to yourself. Look at a photo of when you were 5 or 6 years old. How would you talk to that small person? Switch to speaking in that voice, tone, and love to yourself.
Explore: The words to use when exploring are curiosity, openness, and wonder. What is fascinating about this? One way to manage a critical voice is to imagine being a fascinated anthropologist. Transform and discover things exactly as they are. How could this change listening in a difficult situation?
Innovate: What can you create to get what you desire? Is there a creative solution to complete the task? How many ideas can you come up with to get a new result? When stuck in old beliefs, it is the power to innovate and come up with as many ideas as you can that can offer a fresh solution or new understanding. One technique when brainstorming is saying, “Yes, that is one option, and we can also try…” Keep the creativity going with the power to innovate in any situation.
Navigate: It can feel like a crossroad when we have to make a decision or take a next step. These moments can be filled with saboteur thoughts because it is a big moment that will alter the future. One way to sidestep tight thinking is to imagine your happy, healthy, aged self. What would they say to you about this moment in time? What advice does your elderly self have? Is there wisdom they can share with you that helps you now? Engaging the creative centers of the imaginative brain can re-route neural pathways out of saboteur thinking.
Activate: Laser focus on what you DO want. What is the next step? Where do I want to call my mind back to? What is my goal? It can be helpful to think ahead and determine what negative thoughts might pop up as you brainstorm what your next steps are. Envision side-stepping the habit and decide which tool to use. Activate is a laser focus on moving forward and the steps to do so in a mind free of negative habit thinking. Activate calls the mind back to focus on what you want and how you want to feel while doing it.
I would like to express my deep thanks and appreciation to the 7-week training Shirzad Chamine offered to the coaching world. His vision was to promote languages of solutions and creativity by sharing his work freely with the coaching community. The information in the blog is based on Shirzad’s work and his book, Positive Intelligence. If you would like to learn more or apply this concept to a team, book a free sample session.