Shanghai Noon… 6 pm UK Time

Flying back from Shanghai a few weeks ago, I realised that due to the time difference between China and the UK, I would be losing 6 hours of my life.  Six hours – not a huge amount of time in the grand scheme of things, but it got me thinking…. What could I have done in those 6 hours?  I could have watched 6 episodes of my favourite TV programme, Mr Selfridge, watched a couple of films, read a book from cover to cover, enjoyed a day out with friends. All good stuff (for me anyway!).

Whilst musing about the above, I then got to thinking about a point Richard Bandler made in a recent NLP event I attended – that we lose so much of our time in negative thinking. For example, If we hate our job or our relationship isn’t working out and we are constantly thinking about how much we hate it and going over and over it with anyone who will listen (and they get fewer and fewer as time goes on, believe me!) we are immersing ourselves in negative thoughts and energy. If we just spend an hour each day thinking or talking about a negative event, thats 7 hours a week, 30 hours a month, 365 hours a year, and over 5 years that’s 1,825 hours! Doesn’t that seem a huge waste of precious time and energy that could be used more positively into making our lives better?

Interestingly, when I was thinking about what I could have done with those 6 lost hours, it never once occurred to me that I would think about doing something negative. So why then do we hang on to negative stuff? Well, for one thing it’s easy! It’s easy because to actually remove it from our life and replace it with positive thoughts/energy we have to take action in some form or another. If we hate our job, it could be looking at why we hate it and what we could do to make it better, or perhaps putting steps in motion to find a job more in line with our values, or maybe looking at starting up that business that we dream about; if it’s our relationship, we could take a step back to see what we could do to change it or perhaps consider whether it is time to end it.

Sometimes though we hang on to this stuff because it serves a purpose for us. It keeps us safe from leaping into the unknown. Once we decide to take action, there are all sorts of unknowns out there – and that can seem quite scary. Whilst it may not be comfortable, its familiar territory and sometimes the thought of stepping out into unfamiliar territory is worse than the problem we are currently stuck in. However, that’s all it is – a thought – and we have control over our thoughts. We can choose what we think. At the end of the day, we have a choice. We can choose whether to stay immersed in the negativity or we can make a choice to be more positive with our thoughts. Take a moment to notice which choice makes you feel lighter?

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