Your mind like answers. It seems like whatever you ask it, it will find answers for.
So it becomes very important to ask yourself the right questions. Questions that will help you out rather than just make you feel more miserable and helpless.
Questions like: “What’s awesome about this?” and “Will this matter 5 years from now?”
Another favourite goes something like this: “What would X do?” X being whoever inspiring figure you want it to be. It’s a great way to shift perspective in a situation and find a more useful frame of mind.
For example, the non-conformist and rebel might ask: “What would Tyler Durden do?” Me, I like Winnie the Pooh.
What would Winnie the Pooh do?
Let’s say I feel closed up, tense and kinda whiny. It’s not a helpful frame of mind.
Let’s think about Winnie the Pooh for a minute. He is warm and open. Relaxed. Centred. He doesn’t cling to the past or the future but is happy to live in the now. In fact, it doesn’t seem like he’s thinking that much at all.
Now, this might seem like a sorta stupid bear. But that’s mostly coming from a perspective where someone is a bit too identified with their own smartness. It’s often better to not think so much and let thoughts and actions naturally arise within you – much like a tennis player out on the court – if you want to get things done and be happy.
Now, back to me. As I feel like a not so good version of myself I often still remember that I can turn that around. Like everything else, it’s just temporary.
So I ask myself: “What would Winnie the Pooh do?”
That focuses my mind on all the positive things I associate with honey loving bear. And so I start to think different things. My mind comes up with more helpful answers. Asking yourself a question like this one is a way to activate and remember the “better parts” of yourself. To snap yourself out of an unproductive and negative emotional state and frame of mind.
I find this question to be especially helpful in social situations.
On side note, many of the common and less productive emotional states and frames of mind can be found in the Hundred Acre Woods. Rabbit is very identified with his mind and thinks he’s very smart. He’s a bit of an overthinker. Piglet is very kind and seems to want to be brave. But he’s filled with self-doubt. And well, Ior, he’s just totally locked in into a negative frame of mind no matter what happens.
Now, here are few others of my favourite what would… people.
What would Jason Bourne do?
No, the Bourne frame of mind isn’t about putting your car in reverse and going off rooftops.
It is about putting a stop to thinking and allowing yourself to work with what you already know. As I said about Pooh, you allow the right action to arise from within rather than think a lot about it. You have trust in yourself and your experience.
This is what Jason Bourne does a lot of the time up on the movie/TV-screen. He does what he’s learned, he lets his body and subconscious do most of the doing. A lot of thinking would only hold him back.
Now, thinking has its place. But to be wrapped up in it all the time often leads to much doubts within and little actually getting done. The thing is, you know what to do most of the time already. Don’t put up obstacles in your own way.
I have been using this one for years now, it’s a very good question to become focused and to focus on the how rather than whys and doubts.
What would Eckhart Tolle do?
Eckhart Tolle is one of my favourite personal development writers.
He is very much about living in the present moment and having an accepting frame of mind.
I have found that this question is most helpful when you feel angry and frustrated. Or getting your mind stuck in past or future scenarios. Or when you have a lot of conflict within, when you are dividing up the world and feel like you are right and someone else is wrong.
Asking that question can help me to flip the perspective around to a more useful one a lot of the time. And when that doesn’t work, listening to one of his audiobooks for 10 minutes usually does the trick. Emotions are contagious. Even stillness within.
To learn more about his views on things and be able to use this question, I recommend the audioversion of the book Stillness Speaks. It’s a short book that quickly gets to the point.
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