Quote of the day


Joseph Campbell

Friday, January 17, 2014


Negative thoughts. 

Instinctively, we try to push them away, ignore them or replace them with what we think are more "peaceful", "happy" and "kind" thoughts.

MY negative thoughts have a tendency to hang around in my brain- the frontal lobe to be exact. I obsess with these thoughts (think hamster wheel) and it has proven to be exceptionally detrimental at times. Some, maybe 25%, of my mindful obsessive thoughts have become fuel for my academic, musical and athletic career (good things).... but most of these thoughts create(d) a chaotic and unpleasant environment in my mind.  In school, I was never satisfied with an A-. 25% isn't even a D, its a clear F. And, as its turns out, me, nor anyone else, should be OK with that grade.

Wednesday night I was able to listen to a Teleconference offered by MentorCONNECT featuring a wonderful member of our MentorCONNECT community, Shannon Doyle. In this hour long teleconference Shannon said a number of poignant things but one thing really stuck. She made a clear differentiation between negative thoughts vs. negative actions. She said that negative thoughts do not have to create negative actions.  This concept probably seems pretty obvious to you but, for me, in that one instance, it seemed profound- it gave me clarity, pause and might have helped me to "re-set" a little.  Teleconference Link

So this is what I think. Maybe we should stop focusing on or, in my case, obsessing over, the negative thoughts. Maybe we should simply acknowledge them, accept them on some level and then let them go. Our mindful energy should instead be spent on not allowing (refusing!) negative thoughts to manifest into negative actions. The truth, the very important and hopeful truth is that one does NOT have to precede the other.

Remember, thoughts are just words in our head. They are not law. They do not control us. Negative thoughts will come and go but they certainly do not implicate negative actions...that is....as long as we don't let them. 


  1. Exactly, don't let them, which means you have to let them go as soon as you recognize the spiral. Thoughts are words in our heads but they are words that can become actions, or rather a cascade of consequential reactions to the stories we create in our minds. I've seen many an athlete undo themselves because they couldn't break the negative spiral and they gave up. You are on the right path: acknowledge, then dismiss. ��

  2. You're amazing Emi! I can't wait to see how your training and blog unfolds leading up to your next Ironman (Ironwoman???). A friend of mine had a great quote the other day.... "every time you think 'I hate my body', instead think about how amazing it is i.e. 'this body / legs etc just carried me for 50 miles / up that huge hill / for a whole hour run' etc".

    It's true, we spend a lot of time being very negative about our body and forget that we're very lucky to have one that responds when we push it and, when we step back and take an objective look at it, does some pretty awesome things for us!

    Keep up your fantastic work and training.

  3. I really loved Shannon Doyle's event too - and especially the comment about how negative thoughts don't have to inevitably result in negative actions. So glad you were able to join!!