Thought Control – Rule #1 – Mental Credit

My last post, almost 5 months ago, was about my love for Broad City.   The second season premieres tonight.  That’s why I had to wait so long to post again.  Because I had to watch all the first season’s episodes a bunch of times.  That doesn’t make sense. Whatever.

I won’t be able to see it tonight because I don’t have cable.  But most likely I can buy the episode and watch it tomorrow, my birthday, so even better.  Once again, I am killing it at life.

Here’s the plan for 2015, which I have already put into action as evidenced in the above paragraphs, give myself credit for what I am actually doing rather than chastising myself about what I am not doing.  This is Rule #1 of our overall theme for the year – “Thought Control“.

I have noticed (as have countless others whose books I have read) that I suffer due to the specific thoughts I am tormenting myself with.  Regardless of how much I may be able to justify that these thoughts stem from me noticing “reality” the fact remains that it is often the thought more than the reality that is the direct cause of my suffering.  So we are trying something new here, which is being called “Thought Control“.  My first idea about how to implement better thoughts is to heap praise on myself for what I actually do as a substitute for being annoyed that the things I actually do prevent me from doing what I want to do.  The latter definitely makes me feel bad.

It used to go like this:

Oh my Gawd!  Why is it taking so long to research this hard drive?  Why are all the reviews so bad?  If I don’t get a hard drive today I can’t back up all the files and clear the space to edit the thing and then I won’t be able to stop working in time to make dinner and then I will stay up too late and be miserable tomorrow.  Damn it!

Now it goes like this:

Oh my Gawd!  You are researching the hell out of this hard drive!  Way to go McCaleb.  You are so conscientious!  Once we find the right drive we are finally going to be able to clear space and work on that awesome project.  I love working with you.  You get so much done every day.  Also, congratulations on going to the dentist and getting that plaque removed.  You are my hero.

This new technique is way better at making me feel good.  I have been working with it for a few weeks and I like it.

If any more useful rules come up, I will share them.  Also, sooner or later we are going to try that Soylent that finally arrived in December (seven months after we ordered it!) and I am going to report on the experience.  I am just waiting to get good and stressed enough.

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5 thoughts on “Thought Control – Rule #1 – Mental Credit

  1. david says:

    ok, let me see if I can do this too. My attitude and mental control-thought credit is extremely lousy so just bear ( or is it bare?) with me on a little practice run taking from your lead above. Great job on getting your plaque removed, by the way. You are a real super hero in the fight against the cavity creeps.
    I used to be like; Damn that f*#@ing edge of the stump I have set up as a stool, I’ve stubbed my toe so hard, and drawn blood and cracked my toenail in half. I should throw that thing in the fireplace and burn it, after going into a rage and displacing my anger at my kids and loved ones…
    but now I’m like; way to save time david, clipping your nails is tedious and you’ve just been helped with a head start at reducing them, and letting some of the blood from your swollen feet. The stump has also aligned you with your goal of more contact with nature, and spending more time communicating with my kids. father of the year!

    Or maybe this
    I used to be…Ugh I just wasted the entire morning cleaning up stuff that doesn’t matter, rearranging things I don’t even use and as a result of organizing some of my records alphabetically got drawn into a listening session of the cult’s Love and Electric albums, now the day is half over and I’m frustrated and beating myself up about wasting so much time, ahhhhhhhh!
    but now using Caren’s rule #1 I see it like: Wow, that bookshelf moved over there is really no different, but at least now my native american novels aren’t all mixed up with those vapid rock autobiographies anymore. Had to get them in order, it was messing up my ideals. And after all that searching for suitable imagery for a design logo idea, I think I’ve found it wHile staring at the album cover and linear notes to the Cult’s Love, which I only spent too many hours listening to 25 years ago…Oh Time, you scurrilous bandit, having your way with me…time to pick up my step and get on with the day.

    Am I doing it right?

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  2. eaglecrowowl says:

    David – you’re the best. Your comment is better than my post. Yes you are doing it right. Do you feel the intense relief? I can tell that you do!

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  3. Yes! I love it 🙂 Especially ‘I love working with you’….being self employed and being alone for most of my work, I really need to apply that one. I’m all for positive self-talk – but need to remember to do it. Have you practiced Byron Katie’s method for inquiring into thoughts that cause stress? That’s helped me a lot too.

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  4. eaglecrowowl says:

    Hi Morgan – thank you. I am familiar with Byron Katie and have read her and listened to her online. There are many Byron Katie videos online where she does “the work” with different people. That is really interesting to me, to hear other people turn around the framing of their thoughts. It’s very inspirational. So simple and so effective. I am glad you mentioned it.

    I am taking this enterprise seriously because I want to have fun while I am alive. And because it is more pleasant for my family if I am not grumpy. Part of making it pleasurable for me (and therefore helping me to remember to do it) is to make it really ridiculous. So I am just saying to myself, all the time, “Hey Caren, I love how you get dressed everyday. That’s so cool!” Mental cheerleading for what I am actually doing is at least putting a smile on my face and giving me less time to formulate crappy thoughts. It’s also brought to my attention that I actually do a lot of stuff everyday. It’s just that mentally I was letting far too much of it irritate me for no good reason.

    Thank you for reading and commenting!

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    • Having fun while you’re alive sounds like a very good way forward 🙂 I realised recently I kept waiting for some time in the future when things would be easier/more fun etc, and laughed at myself. I could see that it was now that I needed to live, and it could only ever be now. This could be it!

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