When you think the same way, you’re going to get the same thoughts you’ve already been having.
Thanks, Captain Obvious.
But this is what I mean. Common thoughts are linked to common associations. When you think common thoughts, the ones you’ve already been having, you’re just moving around on a hamster wheel of associations. The structure of the hamster wheel makes up the structure of your thoughts.
You feel like you should be making progress, but you’re actually just a hamster running in the same place. How frustrating.
The key is NOT to keep thinking the way you already have. It’s to come up with new thoughts, which lead to new associations.
New thoughts help you break free. They get you out of the rut you’re in.
This is how it works.
If I want to understand why my coworker gave me a strange look when I entered the office, it will do me no good to ask myself, over and over, “Why did she look at me that way? What did I do?”
This kind of thought loop typically leads to similar thoughts.
“Did I make her mad?”
“What am I wearing? Is this a stupid shirt?”
“What could I possibly have done?”
This is where new thoughts are helpful–thoughts that are completely different from the old, tired thoughts that are serving no purpose but to keep me down in the dirt.
Instead, it’s better to think this.
“Well, that was odd. Maybe she wasn’t looking at me. I’m sure it’s nothing. I wonder if she’s having a good morning?”
Those new thoughts are not judgmental. They’re inquisitive. As you can see “inquisitive” is a totally different mode of operation for the mind than “judgmental.”
It’s the difference between staying on a train moving down one track across the country–and hopping off and deciding to explore the community through the train is moving.
It’s a totally different way of thinking. And that’s the point.
So if you’re stuck on something, it’s totally fine. We all get stuck.
What you should not do is continue to let the train track of your mind burn deeper grooves into your brain.
Hop off. Try a different approach.
It’s only by going a different way that you can step out of the rut you’re in.