[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: http://bit.ly/on2ndthought]
If you and I can control three things, we can succeed where others have fallen:
1. Control of our time
2. Control of our emotions
3. Control of our thoughts
A wonderful cliché may offer us a way.
"On second thought..."
We cannot control the first thought that comes to mind, but we most certainly can control the second thought!
I have a cassette tape series somewhere in my collection that has the catchphrase, "Time, don't wonder where it went; tell it where to go!" Time, emotions, and thoughts need to be told where to go!
This brings us to the first control point, how to control our time. With an utterly fair, 168 hours per week at everyone's disposal, time management is choice management. It's how you and I choose to spend our time that counts. The second thought we need when we are about to commit our time to someone else's agenda is simply, "Is this the best use of my time?" Stephen R Covey talks about exercising integrity in the moment of choice – in other words, to make your choices based upon your values. You know what a good use of your time is... according to your values. Just as 'beauty' is in the eye of the beholder, so also a 'good use of time' is a matter of your own perception.
The second control point, how to control our emotions, is offered us by some physiology. We have a physiological control mechanism between the pre-frontal cortex and the emotional centre – the limbic system – in the brain, that allows us the power of self-control. Granny's wisdom of, "Count to ten and win," is a great example of leaving enough of a gap between stimulus and response for us to have a second thought.
Second thoughts, when it comes to emotional self-control, include, "Is this the way of love?" and, "Is this the kind thing to do?" and, "I can choose peace rather than this."
The third control point, how to control our thoughts, is really just to remember we have the power of what to choose as the second thought. For all of us, we can always ask ourselves, "What is the most resourceful way to respond?" and, "What response would get the best result?" and, "How can this thought serve me?"
This is particularly powerful when the first thought is forced into your mind by what someone else says or does - and external source of thought.
I feel wondrously freed today by the idea that it is the second thought that counts – not the first!
A Moodscope member.