Last week I promised a 5-week series to explain how our thoughts affect our results. That starts now.
RESULTS are the effect of
ACTIONS motivated by
FEELINGS generated by
First, I have to say that this is definitely one of those times when “we best teach what we most need to learn” applies to me. Actually, that applies to pretty much everything I share, but this way of thinking is relatively new to me, and it is transformative.
Before we talk about thoughts and results, though, we need to talk about CIRCUMSTANCES.
Circumstances are the provable facts of a situation, e.g., the car was clocked at 39 mph on a 35mph road.
Think of the ways different people could think about that very simple circumstance:
…not to mention how someone from another culture or country might interpret the situation.
Facts are neutral. There are no good facts or bad facts, just facts.
Red just is. It’s not bad or good. It’s just red. You might have thoughts and feelings about it, but red, in and of itself, is neutral.
So if circumstances are facts and facts are neutral, then you see where this is going, right?
What if circumstances just are? What if there are no good or bad circumstances, just circumstances?
Viewing your circumstances as neutral means not making more of a situation than it is. Your husband came home late three days in row. That is neutral. It’s not good, bad, mean, rude, or disrespectful unless you think it is.
We assign meaning to circumstances all the time - it's how our brains are wired - but that meaning only exists because we choose it, not because it’s objective. Someone buying your dinner is thought of as generous in one culture and making a power play in another.
This week, I encourage you to try this perspective - that no circumstance is inherently good or bad or…anything. I hasten to add that seeing circumstances as neutral doesn’t mean that you’ll never want to have any thoughts attached to circumstances - you no doubt have strong values and beliefs (thoughts) that you want to maintain, and that’s important. But it’s also important to be aware that those thoughts are your choice - and maybe even the agreed-upon choice of an entire culture, but a choice nonetheless.
Think about this: If your circumstances are neutral, then you are not a victim of your circumstances. That is both very scary and incredibly empowering.
Next week, we’ll talk about the thoughts that affect how we feel about our circumstances.
P.S. If you have questions about this series, hit reply and let me know. There’s so much I’m still learning, and I hope to always continue to grow. If someone you know might benefit from these notes, please forward them on. You know where to find me.