“Look deep into my crystal ball.” It’s a classic movie line, uttered by a mysterious gypsy woman to a trembling seeker. The gullible customer lays his money on the table to get a glimpse of his future. When you think about it, most of us act like we’re in the fortune-telling business. We try to predict our own future with thoughts about how we’re feeling or what we think will happen. It’s possible to move from struggle to success in our business mindset by paying attention to how we’re thinking about our future.
The Struggle Mindset
• I’m really struggling.
• This is never going to change.
• I’m never going to learn this Social Media stuff.
• I don’t see any way it’s going to work out.
• I’m never going to make any money.
• I probably won’t sell very many copies of my new Kindle book.
We can’t necessarily control what thoughts pop into our heads, but we can control what we do with those thoughts. We can choose whether a particular thought gets our focus and attention, or whether we’ll choose to direct our attention elsewhere. For example, if the thought “I’m really struggling” comes into your mind, you can make a choice. You can dwell on it, talk about it and think about all the reasons you have to struggle, thereby working yourself into a pity party. Or you can choose to immediately shift your thoughts to a declaration of “I can handle this!”
But This Feels Fake!
You may say “But I CAN’T handle this!” It might feel fake and silly to say “I can handle this” when you don’t know if it’s true.
But we say things we’re not really sure are true, all the time.
• I won’t be able to pay off my credit card.
• My business is never going to take off.
• Nobody wants to hear what I have to say on my blog.
• If my business succeeds, I won’t spend time with my family.
Can you really see into the future? Are you absolutely, 100% sure that those statements are true?
I think not.
So why are those things so easy to think and say, but it seems wrong and arrogant to think things like:
• I’ll be out of debt soon.
• I’m going to ROCK my business!
• Just think how many people I’m going to help with my blog!
• I’m building my business in a way that supports my family time.
The “why” can be complicated and messy, involving lack of confidence, issues from childhood and years of thinking patterns. Sometimes it’s better to just skip the therapy and analyzing, and get on with changing your thinking (and life).
Many of us have thoughts that are spring-loaded to negative. It takes effort to flip the switch to positive, but it gets easier and more natural with practice. We don’t tend to dwell on the great vacation we had a few months ago, but we automatically rehearse the hurt feelings over something our spouse said yesterday. Becoming aware of our automatic thought patterns is the first step to change.
Lean Towards Hope
Since we can’t see into the future, why not err on the side of hope? What if it all works out? Lean towards thinking encouraging, life-giving, hopeful thoughts. It might take a while for your emotions to catch up, but you can still choose which path your thoughts will travel. Emotions will eventually follow, sooner or later, so stick with it and make the effort.
You don’t need a crystal ball to look into your future—you prophesy to yourself about your future more than anyone else! Make wise choices about what you dwell on and strengthen in your thoughts. Look at the flip side—turn it over to positive. It will lower your feelings of stress and struggle, and help you move towards your hopeful future.