I used to run a lot. I think I ran over 2000 kilometers until now and finished some endurance competitions, the toughest being a mountain ultra-marathon of 64 kilometers.
But since I used to run on asphalt, in the last years I started feeling pain in my bones whenever I tried running and that was my sign that I should stop running. Eventually, I discovered the treadmill and I’m so happy that pain is not a part of this kind of running.
A few days ago, I was on the treadmill, running for a few kilometers. I have periods where I’m going to the gym just to run. In fact, this is the only reason I’m going to the gym.
Whenever I start running, my mind starts thinking about all the things in the world.
This time, I remembered a strong concept I used to care a lot about when I was running and training for marathons.
When you run and you get tired, there’s a little elf that pops into your mind and overwrites what you think, telling you that you should stop running. It tells you that eating an ice cream is far better than running. It tells you that you’ve already run too much and you don’t need to run anymore.
“Hey David. You just passed 10 kilometers. Maybe it’s better if you stop, buy some Pepsi, and go home to relax.”
That’s the little elf talking.
We all have it and, in your case, it may not be an elf. Maybe it’s a balloon. Maybe it’s just the voice.
Whenever you hear this voice encouraging you to do something you don’t want to do, you have to acknowledge it and realize that is just a voice. It’s just an elf or a balloon trying to influence your behavior and change what you think.
Acknowledging it is what should keep you focused on your task and keep going.
But, at the same time, acknowledging it makes you believe there’s a voice in your head, an elf that will try to shift your behavior. That’s exactly what gives value to what’s happening inside your head and keeps fueling the concept.
As soon as I realized that this concept is not part of my life anymore, I became grateful.
Maybe it means that I finally beat the elf and it left. Maybe it means that somehow I quieted the elf so much, that I don’t hear its voice anymore.
In a way, I stopped paying attention to whatever the elf was saying to me and now there’s no voice. There’s no whispering in my ear, saying that I should stop whatever I set myself to do.
That voice is everywhere
You’ll hear that voice when you think, when you eat, when you drive, when you dance, when you work.
You’ll hear that voice every time and it’s not really what you think. It may be connected to your thoughts, but it’s not your thinking.
In my case, I didn’t set myself to have an imaginary elf telling me, whenever I start feeling tired, to stop running and do something else. I never did that. But that elf appeared in my mind anyway.
That voice is connected to all kinds of concepts.
Let’s take fear for example.
You may tell yourself that fear is a protective mechanism and have this as a concept that guides your everyday actions.
But, as long as you think that fear is a protective mechanism, through these thoughts you’ll create value around the idea of fear and use the words ‘protective mechanism’ as a pillar on which you’ll focus your attention.
And by focusing your attention on the protective mechanism, you’ll actually focus (consciously or unconsciously) on fear.
Let’s move on and take courage for example.
You may tell yourself that courage is the ability to face and overcome fear. This is exactly the opposite of what we were talking about before.
But as long as you think courage in terms of fear, through these thoughts you’ll create value around the idea of fear and use the word ‘courage’ as a pillar on which you’ll focus your attention.
It’s literally the same thing but with a different wrapping.
Did you know that optimists are 12% more productive in the workplace?
You are not the voice. The voice is not what you think.
One of the myths in our society is that the voice you hear in your head is you.
You are the one who listens to the voice in your head. It is not what you think.
Just as you are not the screen you are looking at right now, while reading these words, you are not the voice in your head.
Make an analogy between the screen and the voice in your head and try to see the voice in your head as something you look at.
And as soon as you do that, assign the voice in your head to a character and befriend it. Give it a name, give it a gender. Next time you hear the voice in your head telling you something, take it as an advice, not as something you promised yourself.
Become aware of the difference.
You are not the voice in your head. You are the one who listens to the voice in your head.
With love and optimism,
What did you learn?
What are some valuable things you learned about the way you think?
I would love to know what you think, so share your insights with me using the form below.