2 Toxic Thoughts You Accidentally Think Every Day


You might not think you have a morning ritual, but you do.  “I didn’t get enough sleep.”{&} “I don’t have enough time.”  According to Lynne Twist,  author of The Soul of Money, we unwittingly think those two scarcity-themed thoughts every single day, before we do or think about anything else:

“Before we even sit up in bed, before our feet touch the floor, we’re already inadequate, already behind, already losing, already lacking something…what begins as a simple expression of a hurried life, or even the challenged life, grows into the great justification for an unfulfilled life.”

Do you practice this morning ritual without even knowing it?

When our default mode is set to scarcity, we basically train ourselves to seek out proof that we need more of everything.  We focus on what we wish was different, and in doing so, we subtly reject all that we already have.

This thought pattern breeds thousands and thousands of other thoughts with the same scarcity genetics, resulting in you chronically feeling as if you have nothing but problems.  Considering we average about 60,000 thoughts per day, that’s quite a barrage of negativity.

 There’s a little trick you can do to test how powerful focus is.  The trick goes like this:

Spend 15 seconds looking around you and finding anything that’s blue, the label on the Purell, someone’s socks, a screen icon, anything…

Now close your eyes and tell me everything you saw that was green.

When you hone in on something, you naturally notice it more at the cost of whatever else is in the landscape.  Your brain is trained to do this; taking in all the stimulus around you would be too overwhelming and dangerous.  You brain needs to be able to focus and whether you realize it or not, it gets all its instructions about what to focus on from you.

When your brain’s first instructions of the day are to think about how you didn’t get enough sleep and how you’re not going to have enough time to to do all that you need to do, guess what you’re going to be noticing all day long (again, at the cost of whatever else in the landscape)?

Before your feet touch the floor tomorrow morning, before you do anything else, take a second to engage in a new morning ritual — point your thoughts in the direction of gratitude.

This doesn’t mean pretending everything is perfect.

Gratitude is not about shallowly telling yourself that you have everything you could ever want or need.  Gratitude is about acknowledging what enough looks like for you.

I got enough sleep, and I have enough time.

From those two thoughts, you begin a day where your brain seeks out what else you have enough of:

I have enough patience to deal with this.

I have enough creative ideas to find a solution.

I have enough clothes.

I have enough food.

And progressively, like magic, these thoughts breed thousands and thousands of other thoughts with the same abundance genetics, resulting in you chronically feeling grateful for all that you have enough of.   It works both ways.

When you consistently come from a place of enough, you cultivate a steady sense of gratitude and you naturally give.  You give your attention, patience, ideas, time and most importantly, you give your presence.  It is emotionally intoxicating to be around someone who is present, who is not scurrying around in their mind for the next thing to do or think about.

To be around someone who is confident in the moment, someone who isn’t in a rush to do more and get more because they know they already have enough, that is attractive.  It’s attractive to bosses who want to promote confident leaders for their team, it’s attractive to potential romantic partners who want to be with someone with a special charm, it’s attractive to the child who feels a soothing sense of calm from an adult who’s present, it’s attractive across the board.

This is why people who are genuinely grateful for what they have often get even more of it, not because they imagine desirable scenarios and those scenarios just magically manifest, but because they give naturally, so they get naturally.

Here are a few other thoughts that can keep you on the abundance track:

What do I have to give today?  (A toy from Duane Reade for the Toys for Tot program at your office?  A book you loved and think your friend might like?  A more friendly disposition?  Your full attention?)

What can I be generous with today?  (Your warmth during a difficult conversation? Your physical affection? Your patience? Your effort? Your planning?)

Enough is the bridge from scarcity to abundance.  What do you have enough of?

6 Responses to “2 Toxic Thoughts You Accidentally Think Every Day”

  1. OK i’ve just got to comment. Last weekend I was around a bunch of little kids (i guess toddlers) and it got me thinking-on the bare necessities re taking care of yourself kids are smarter than adults. They wake up naturally EVERYDAY (how many kids wake up to an alarm!), take naps during the day if they’re tired with no shame, go to sleep at the same time everyday like clockwork (your body responds well to routine etc.), do activities to get into sleeping mode (reading a book etc.), and make their bed each morning (maybe a ritual to break into the day like this article suggests). I wondered why kids have so much energy–because they cover their basics! And don’t even get me started on food. Could you imagine a kid saying they were too busy checking their emails to eat breakfast. Random thoughts that may or may not apply to this. Sometimes adults are competitive with each other, who can accomplish the most on teh least amount of sleep. Ridiculous. Sleep smart = live smart.

  2. Those are the two things that I say to myself every day. I was not even aware of how ingrained those two thoughts are in my morning ritual. Thanks for the fresh perpective!

    • Katherine Schafler

      Thanks Barbara, I had the same reaction when I read the book!


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