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How to Stop Negative Thoughts

Legendary football coach, Vince Lombardi once said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

He is SO right!

About 18 years ago, I found myself traveling home on airplanes, often very late at night as I was traveling a lot to give speeches on sales, motivation, and referral marketing.

I noticed that on these late flights, I seemed to have a lot of negative, doubting thoughts.

I would even start to feel a little depressed. I was starting to hate the travel associated with what was usually exciting and rewarding work.

When we are tired, our courage and positive attitude seem to disappear, only to be replaced by negativity, fear, and inaction.

You Can Stay Positive by Choosing Which Thoughts to Believe

Look, we may not have control over what thoughts pop into our heads, but we sure do have control over what we do with them. When a negative thought pops into your head, you have an immediate choice. “Do I go with this way of thinking or do I shoo it away and chose a more positive line of thinking?”

Once I got in tune with this concept of how fatigue affects my thoughts and actions, I started handling it differently. Perhaps these routines I’ve developed will be of some help to you.

Here are 6 Helpful Hints to Keep Your Thoughts in Check

1. Activate your Wimp Alert – When I’m tired, I’m on guard for negative thoughts and a sudden lack of courage to do what’s important. That alone helps keep the bogyman away.

2. Get Off of the Negative Train – When I become aware of a negative line of thinking, I ask myself, “Do I really want to spend my energy on this train of thought?” Of course, the answer is “no” and I then shift to a different topic.

3. Stop Taking Poison – As Malachy McCourt said, “Resentment is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” When I’m feeling resentful about something someone did, I make the choice to stop taking that poison.

4. Become a Task Master – I try to schedule tasks that are uncomfortable to do during the time of day when I have the most energy (courage). For me, it’s usually in the morning after a good workout. I make an appointment with myself on my calendar and I get it done.

5. Don’t be an Ostrich – I’m not saying we always avoid negative thoughts or problems that occur in our life. Of course not! We face them with courage – as best we can. But being able to compartmentalize certain trains of thoughts or feelings has its place. Avoidance? No! Timing? Yes!

6. Exercise the Most Important Muscle – Awareness is a powerful muscle for us to exercise. Self-awareness is the most powerful of them all. Tune your awareness into how your attitude and courage are affected by your energy level. Being aware and adjusting when the bogyman shows up will serve you – and everyone around you – quite well. It’s always good to keep your body healthy too!

Just by paying attention to your thoughts you start to create positive change. This clears up your mind so you can focus on positive things – what you want in life.  But remember, to give your self a break, we are all human and far from perfect. Just ask my teenage daughter!

Cates-1Bill Cates
Bill is the author of Get More Referrals Now! and Beyond Referrals. To receive Bill’s complimentary tips and to learn more about how he might help you acquire more and better clients through referrals, go to

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