I’m a big fan of Eckhart Tolle‘s ideologies and his teachings. One thing that has stuck on with me is this: “Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” and this mentality exists in us without even we realizing it.
I was in a meeting the other day and a woman who is a fellow instructional designer had joined me. I happened to raise a conversation regarding she being absent in communications in some of the online forums. I stated that she can greatly benefit from the discussion comments and the people subscribing to the forum would benefit as well. She said, “I love reading things on the elearning forums but why should I contribute to their knowledge?” I looked at her partly in shock and partly in disappointment. Even though I wasn’t judging her but it was evident that she was muddled in her small thinking!
I was wondering what a selfish thing to do. I was saddened by it. However, her simple statement led me to probe further and I asked her “why?” I realized, she was a victim of that negative voice in her head that tells all of us, almost the same thing again, and again, such as:
- “oh! If I share my ideas someone else might benefit from it than I would.” or
- “why I should I write something when I know I will only be mocked at?” or
- “I don’t have the expertise like the others to contribute to the knowledge space.” or
- “My competitors will talk s*** about me if I ever say something even slightly different.“
And THAT is thinking small. There is no end to it! Of course, today, since the competition has increased multi-fold… and thanks to social media, people tend to converge their know-how only innately. Social sharing is at it’s peak and so is social mockery and we’ve given these folks the name of “haters.” It has become easier for others to easily judge, demean and devalue something at the blink of an eye. This leads to the vicious cycle of thinking small and being restricted in one’s own mental blocks.
When people can’t perform better or don’t know how to appreciate other person’s hard work, their negatives transcend into hateful comments or mockery. But we don’t need to comply, rather need to get rid of our own small thinking, and help others with the same. Here’s how you can:
- Speak your mind while you detach yourself from that negative voice: This is quite ironically optimistic thought but it holds true in getting the best of you and the situations around you. Haven’t you heard? “In a world that is continuously trying to change you, being yourself is rebellious.” We get so comfortable in regular thoughts that we cannot analyze what is right for us and what is just not the right fit. It is more than important today, to consciously choose the thoughts to see the better in situations and confidently speak our mind without any hesitation.
- Show gratitude as you help yourself and others: It is proven fact that showing gratitude everyday not only enables positive growth at work but also makes one happier in life. Gratitude has a ripple effect which enables positive reinforcement for creating a mutually agreeable and beneficial space, which is free of negativity and provides a space of active engagement in work and in creative process.
- Consciously choose your thoughts for the greater good: As Lao Tzu rightly puts, “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.” It especially holds true in this case. The only way you will stop belittling yourself and others, to work optimistically towards your goals is when you choose your thoughts carefully, and discipline your mind to work as per your goals.
- Reject any prejudices: The best way you can stop thinking small is by allowing yourself to be free of prejudices. It is through discipline, mindfulness and meditative practices that you can avoid any prejudices and choose to work your own way among different people and situations. If there is any prejudice that does come to mind, allow your mind to divert attention to positive aspects of the person or the moment (which brings us to the last point).
- Look at positives in everyone and talk about the positives: During one of my doctoral courses, I was provided a link to the art of feedback! Whenever you offer any feedback or engage in any verbal exchange, it is important to state the positive remarks first and if there is any criticism, it should be provided constructively, in an affirmative and optimistic manner. Every individual or even situations, have it positive aspects. Even if people around you might not be that optimistic about life, you can be the lead there and start a positive conversation.
These quick suggestions really help get rid of one’s small thinking and focus on the way people can learn, grow and improve upon life. I hope it helps! If you liked it, then do hit the like button and share it as well. If you have any techniques that you use, write it down in comments below, perhaps others could benefit from it!
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