New Castle News

September 26, 2013

Tim Kolodziej: If you’ve got stinkin’ thinkin’ — sadly, you aren’t alone

Tim Kolodziej
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — We think, therefore we are.

I know, I know. That’s so seventh-grade philosophy class.

Yet it’s so true.

Our thoughts direct our lives. What we eat, who we befriend, how we work and play, what we believe.

So then, if thoughts are that important, shouldn’t we take greater care of them?

I mean, if our lives literally depend on what we think, then I think we need to examine this issue more deeply.

Much more deeply.

What do you think?

All right, let’s start digging.

“You are what you think about all day.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Your thoughts are just that — your thoughts.

We’ve got to stop blaming others for putting them into our heads.

We’ve got to stop using TV, books and newspapers as a crutch for our thinking.

We’ve got to stop fearing the rejection or wrath of those who disagree.

You have power.

You have creativity.

You control your thoughts.

So go ahead and share them.

Or fight them.

Or capture them.

Whatever you do, own them.

They are yours.

And you’re in the driver’s seat.

"I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet." — Mahatma Gandhi

There’s a line down the middle of your mind.

In my mind, too.

It’s just as easy to veer to the right as it is to go left.

But I’m not promoting “positive” thinking here. Instead, I’m advocating disciplined thinking — or “next play” thinking — as opposed to “victim” thinking.

If you are human and have the capacity to read this, you will encounter dozens, maybe hundreds, of choices each day.

And my hope is that we choose wisely.

It all begins with a single thought.

By default, our thinking always starts at the bottom of the barrel. Always.

Unitentional leads to undisciplined.

Let me share a few examples of “victim” thinking:

•You wake up in the morning and even before leaving the bed, your default is, “I have SO much to do today. Is it Friday yet?”

•You walk into the office or school and a co-worker or classmate ignores you. Your default is, “What did I do to offend her?”

•You’re about to give a presentation. Your default is, “I can’t do this. It’s going to be horrible. They’re going to reject me.”

•You’re about to step to the plate, or address the ball, or shoot the free throw, or go for it on fourth down. Your default is, “Man, this is a pressure-packed situation. I sure hope I don’t blow it.”

So, how do we deal with our days?

For starters, what if we were to examine each of these situations again, but in a disciplined way? What if we chose NOT to give value to the situations themselves — thinking neither positive nor negative going in — but instead enter the arena from the position of simply ADDING value because we are in it.

Day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Just living in the present and focusing on performing the task at hand to enhance the lives of those we come in contact with.

I think we’ll find joy in that route.

“Think different.” — Apple ad campaign

You decide what to dwell on today. It’s your choice.

You decide what fantasies you want to float around in your mind. It’s your choice.

You decide to have evil thoughts about a co-worker, a teammate or a family member. Your choice there, too.

So today, I’m going to issue a challenge to you. I’m going to tackle it as well.

Today, let’s challenge our thinking.

Today, let’s place a simple three-letter word at the doorstep of our thoughts.


That’s it — why.

Do we think we’re “under pressure?”

Why? Because someone else said it’s a pressure situation?

Do we think we are “busy?”

Why? Because we believe others will see us in a better light if we say that?

In other words, let’s stop being swayed by the opinions of others. Let’s instead focus on what is, then address it head-on with a thoughtful, disciplined, realistic approach.

Yes, we could be stopped short of the goal line. Or we may score. But we’ll never know until we make the effort based on extensive preparation in practice.

Let’s replace “nervous” with “excited.”

Let’s replace “failure” with “experiment.”

Let’s replace “uncertainty” with “adventure.”

Now THAT’S living, isn’t it?

At least I think so, anyway.

(What do you all think? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section.)