Everyone has thoughts that hold them back and reducing the impact of those thoughts is the most important key to achieving your big goals. If you can’t get out of your own way, it won’t matter how many opportunities you’re offered. Learn about the last two types of grit that you need to maximize your potential, the grit to control your thoughts and the grit to persevere.
The two episodes we mention that will help you learn to control your thoughts are:
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Pam: [00:06] You’re listening to Not Bad Advice, where our goal is to offer perspective that helps you improve one aspect of your life at a time.
[00:13] I’m Pamela Lund.
CK: [00:20] And I’m CK Chung.
Pam: [00:22] And we hope that after listening you’ll think, ” Hey, that’s not bad advice!”
[00:27] This is the fifth and final episode in our series on developing grit. If you missed the last four episodes, go back and listen to them because each of the types of grit, we discuss work together and you need them all.
[00:50] If you only build up the grit to train your pain and don’t build up the grit to recover, you’ll burn out. And if you only build up the grit to train your weaknesses, but not the grit to master your fears, the weaknesses you train up, won’t be meaningful enough to make a difference. And if you don’t train the two types of grit we’re covering today, the grit to control your thoughts and the grit to persevere, you won’t be able to train the other types of grit at all.
[01:19] The grit to control your thoughts is really about developing the ability to separate what you think from who you are and to reprogram harmful thought patterns. Everyone has thoughts that hold them back to varying degrees and reducing the impact is the most important key to achieving your big goals.
[01:44] If you can’t get out of your own way, it won’t matter how many opportunities you’re offered. If you don’t believe you can do what you want to do, you won’t. try the grit to control your thoughts is really about developing the ability to separate what you think from who you are and to reprogram harmful thought patterns. Everyone has thoughts that hold them back to varying degrees and reducing the impact is the most important key to achieving your big goals.
[02:25] If you can’t get out of your own way, it won’t matter how many opportunities you’re offered. If you don’t believe you can do what you want to do, you won’t try or you’ll sabotage your own progress. And every perceived failure you have will just reinforce. What you think you’re not capable of? This creates a vicious cycle where self-limiting thoughts create more self-limiting thoughts holding you back even more.
[03:00] This creates a vicious cycle where self-limiting thoughts create more self-limiting thoughts, holding you back even more. But the good news is that developing the ability to control your thoughts creates a positive cycle that reinforces beneficial patterns and helps you succeed.
CK: [03:22] We talk about developing conscious awareness of your thoughts frequently on the show. We’ll link to the episodes titled how to change reality and how to coach yourself in the show notes. But almost every episode covers some aspect of taking control of your thought patterns and learning to change them for your benefit. And while we discuss how to change your thoughts in specific situations on other episodes, there are essentially two steps that you always need to take.
Pam: [04:12] You need to develop awareness of negative self-talk and defeating thought patterns. You’re probably already aware of these thoughts. It’s hard not to be, but before you can change them, you have to be aware of them in a conscious way. This means observing how you think rather than being in the thoughts and letting them carry you away.
[04:34] You need to create separation between your thoughts and yourself. You need to recognize that the voice in your head is not always right, and that you don’t have to believe what it says. This is something you have to practice, but you’re basically defending yourself against your own thoughts. And when you recognize that you’re having self-defeating thoughts, you need to take a conscious stance against the thoughts and defend yourself as strongly as you would defend a loved one.
[05:02] Second, you need to reprogram your default thought patterns because we as humans have a built in bias towards negativity, we have to consciously and consistently focus on the good things in our lives to reduce the impact of that jerk in your head that tells you how dumb and incapable you are.
[05:21] Basically you need to develop a gratitude practice. so you can bank positive thoughts to counteract the negative ones. And I know just the phrase gratitude practice used to make my eyes roll, but it works. It’s backed by science and it doesn’t have to be woo-woo.
CK: [05:47] There’s many ways to develop a gratitude practice. And none of them may be right or better than the others. Whatever works for you is what’s best for you. But some ways you can get started are writing down a few good things that happened at the end of every day, telling your partner or roommate things you’re grateful for each day and letting them share with you, texting a friend or a family member, your gratitude list each day, saying grace before a meal, or starting an audio journal where you record a voice memo in the morning discussing good things that happened the day before.
[06:25] You want to try to list three things each day that you’re grateful for. If you have more, by all means list more, but three is a good goal. And they don’t have to be big things. You can be grateful for the dog you got to pet at the park or that you didn’t get stuck in traffic. The idea is simply to recognize good things that happened.
[06:46] Doing this trains your brain to notice the positives more often. And the more you’re focused on the positives, the less mental space you have for the negative thoughts that keep you from achieving your goals.
Pam: [06:59] In his book, The Art of the Impossible, the final type of grit that Steven Kotler says you need to develop to reach your full potential is the grit to persevere. To me, the word “persevere” conjures up images of climbing Mount Everest or surviving while being lost at sea for a month. But persevering doesn’t have to be that dramatic.
[07:20] The grit to persevere is actually more about the effort you put in on a day to day basis.
CK: [07:28] You don’t achieve your goals by making big pushes every now and then you achieve them by making incremental progress every day. But as we’ve said, grit, isn’t about hustling until you burn out. either Persevering is about finding the sweet spot where you push yourself to do just a little bit more than you thought you could do, but don’t try to do so much that you fail and feel defeated.
Pam: [07:53] This is where most people get perseverance wrong. Usually when people start working on a new goal, they go all in and try to do as much as possible right away. Then, they give up because it’s too much too soon. Instead, you want to start small by setting goals that are achievable, then increasing them incrementally.
[08:12] Continuing with the example of writing a book, you wouldn’t want to start by trying to write a thousand words a day start with the goal of a hundred words a day. Once you can do that every day, increase the goal to, say, 300 words a day, then to 500, and so on. Keep making the goal incrementally bigger and harder, and don’t give up. That is the grit to persevere.
[08:37] Remember that grit is a habit. You don’t develop grit in a day, and you won’t make the same amount of progress towards your goals every day, no matter how much grit you develop. But if you use the six types of grit as guides for how to improve incrementally, after a few months or a year, you will be astonished at how much you’ve accomplished.
[08:57] If you found yourself thinking, “Hey, that’s not bad advice,” while listening today, we’d love it if you shared the episode with your friends and rated it in iTunes.
[09:08] You can get in touch with us on Twitter, where I’m @Pamela_Lund and CK is @cKdisco.
[09:14] To find us on other platforms, visit ForcesOfEqual.com/Advice. There, you can also contact us if there’s something you need advice about. We’d love to hear from you.