Wow, I had no idea how popular my post on sleep-hacking would be. It’s funny how that happens. The blog posts that do well are often the ones we think are strange, personal or off-topic (a reminder to continuously push yourself).
I’m going to continue the weirdness/psychological hacks train and write an article that I’ve been thinking about writing for a long time. I just wasn’t quite sure how to express the idea without sounding crazy. Too late there.
The first thing I want to say is that bad shit happens. Big bad shit happens. There’s often nothing that can be done about it and no one to blame. In these situation, it’s your reaction that matters.
What I’m talking about here isn’t so much the big stuff. It’s the little, everyday ups and downs– it’s not spilling your soup as you climb the stairs or not missing the bus– that sort of thing.
Automatic Negative Projections Come True
When I was applying to university (before choosing to go into film production/communication studies with a minor in music), I auditioned for a bunch of music performance programs. I’d been studying jazz guitar but was pretty nervous when it came to soloing.
While preparing for my auditions, I noticed something interesting. I’d be playing and suddenly I’d think, “this part is hard. I’m going to screw this up,” and then I would. This happened nearly every time. I’d think, “wuh-oh… I’m going to hit the wrong string,” and sure enough, I would.
The law of attraction people are right that what you focus on, you get. When you focus on really negative things, you train your mind to expect them, to make them true.
The big realization came to me when I was on stage, in the middle of an audition. All of the faculty members were watching, judging my performance. The moment came. I thought, “crap, this part is hard. I’m going to fumble here.” But this time I had a second thought that followed the first, and went something like: “no. I’m not going to fuck this up! The only reason I would mess up, is that I just THOUGHT I would.”
I played it perfectly.
From then on, I began applying this trick to everything. An automatic thought like, “there will be no seats left when I get to the coffee shop,” now gets followed up with, “that thought I just had is what will make it true.”
Acknowledging Your Negative Thoughts Takes the Power Out of Them
As soon as you have an automatic negative projection, become aware of it and acknowledge the fact that you thought it.
I have all kinds of fears that pop into my head as I go about my day. Even walking down the street, I sometimes imagine horrific car accidents. Instead of preventing these thoughts altogether (which is very hard to do), you just self-correct.
Notice the thought and tell yourself you had the thought. That takes the power out of it.
Get into a habit of doing this. The more accustomed you get to acknowledging your negative thoughts and replacing them, the more automatic this process becomes.
It sounds totally woo-woo, but it absolutely works for me– not every time, but enough to make the exercise worth doing. Like my sleep-hacks, this is one of the most useful bits of knowledge that I use regularly.
Got any tricks?
Do you use any psychological hacks to “bend reality” and make it work in your favour?