Ralph Waldo Emerson said life consists in what a person is thinking all day.* Well that is a scary thought! Have you ever thought about what you think about each day? Do you ever wonder what other people think about all day? We all spend a lot of time thinking about trivial things as time gets away from us. Want to be better?
I hear often that an idea came to someone in the shower. They didn’t plan the time to be creative, it came to them. Do you ever make a plan to let your mind run free? You could take 3 showers each day, but with the drought, that seems like a bad idea. Instead, you might plan quiet time where you allow your mind to drift. As a kid, I would lay on the grass staring at the clouds in the summer without anywhere else to be. Sigh. That doesn’t happen to us randomly as adults.
We all spend a lot of time thinking about things that don’t matter. In fact, we waste a lot of time on the unimportant. When you become aware of doing that, switching to a topic you had on your list to think about (keep these written on your phone), will gain that time back for more important things.
Let me be clear – I don’t object to people goofing off. But, how many times do you wish you hadn’t just spent 20 minutes on social media? Goofing off should make you feel better.
If what you are thinking about is not making you smarter or happier, change the subject. Ruminating over past mistakes or slights doesn’t make you happier. Think about why you are thinking about them. Give yourself permission to change the topic to something more valuable. If it is really bothering you, I bet it will come back up later.
This week, pay attention to your thoughts and change the subject to something more valuable when they are a waste of time. Let’s see if you feel more productive as a result.
+ The exact quote from Emerson is “A man is what he thinks about all day long.” I saw it written without quotation marks as I repeated above. That made me curious. I found the exact quote when I went to double-check the accuracy. I chose to laugh and appreciate the rewrite I read first.