It’s ANT Season
(No, not those kind of ANTs)
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “We become what we think about all day long.” And I can tell you from personal experience, that no truer words have been spoken. As many of you know, I have been legally blind since childhood. As founder of Vision Dynamics and a public speaker, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with so many people with low vision, spanning decades in age. I’ve noticed a commonality amongst the ones who are reluctant to take proactive steps toward adjusting to their condition – and that is mindset. They have invested so much time, thought and effort into believing they are powerless, that it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Have you ever heard of ANTs? Not the annoying little bugs. This ANTs is an acronym that stands for Automatic Negative Thoughts. Just like the insects, these ANTs have the ability to show up unannounced and can become a real nuisance if they aren’t addressed and begin to invade your personal space. As humans, we have the natural ability to let these thoughts invade us all day long. If we are not aware of our thinking, we may even find that the ANTs are multiplying around us. How many times a day do you find yourself thinking things like “I never do this right,” “I always make mistakes,” “I am so stupid,” “Why am I bothering?”, “I can’t,” etc etc.
The more we continually say these things to ourselves throughout the day the more we believe them. The more we believe them the more stuck and unhappy we become. After awhile, the ANTs have taken up residency and become so ingrained that we just stop exterminating. It took me hitting rock bottom before I took an honest look at my life – why I was unhappy, why I felt stuck, why I felt I was not moving forward. Stopping to evaluate and take an honest look at my mind’s process gave me the tools to understand that it was my own negative thinking that was keeping me trapped in a downward spiral. Day by day, I questioned each thought as it invaded my mind – “Is it true or just a belief I concocted?” “Does this thought support me and is it helping me move towards my goals?” If the answers were no, then I simply exterminated the thought. This was a big chunk for me to swallow at first, it meant I had to stop blaming, complaining, rationalizing, justifying my behaviors and take responsibility for my own life and my thinking. But I fumigated slowly and consciously until the ANTs were reduced to a minimum.
Our brains believe what we tell it. The only thing we have complete 100% control over is what we think. So start today and retrain your brain to conjure Automatic Positive Thoughts. Start now. Because a day at time, anything is possible.
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