Android users were welcomed to the Clubhouse audio chat app yesterday. This evening I joined a London-based room discussing the question of “Choosing Your Thoughts.” It was a discussion that drew a lot of people. Some had credible answers. Some were seeking a sort of crowd-therapy. Some were very long-winded. It was informative to me to know what not to do if I wanted to be taken seriously by the group.
I decided to join in and was asked to hold on to speak near the end. Here’s what I said.
Hi, I’m Joe. It’s my first time on Clubhouse. Yes, I’m an Android user! Thanks for sharing the stage.
I’ve enjoyed what I’ve heard from so many so far — from Victoria, Paul, Zoe, Baiju, Allan, Marcus, and others — on the subject of choosing our thoughts.
Let me be clear — I’m not really profound, and I’m no psychologist. I’ll be concise given the lateness of the hour, so I won’t elaborate on my background and career as a speaker and entertainer which you can look up in my profile, but just cut to the content I want to share about choosing our thoughts and what I’m personally learning from my own misadventures, missteps, and learning in my own life. I’m going to share a single-piece-of-paper exercise for you.
First, though, I’m not sure we can always choose all of our thoughts, because we will constantly be interrupted by distractions, or challenged by temptations, or confronted by our own weaknesses. But what we can do is choose our response to our thoughts – but in order to do that, we need clarity. To choose a response, we need a way to measure and weigh options, and the only way to measure options is to have some standard. It requires a weighing, a discriminating factor to say “this and not that.” Some standard has to be set.
I propose that we can pursue clarity in two facets:
- Clarity in Values – you can only choose your thoughts and your responses to thoughts if you have done the work of laying out what you truly value. When you know what you value – honoring God, or your marriage, and your family, and the other principles you hold in your heart. Forgive me for my “core values” corporate jargon but it’s really just a term for what is most important. Once we identify them, then we can see what thoughts and actions take us closer to that or further away from that. Take a piece of paper and make a list your top 3 or 5 or 10 or 20 things that you hold as fundamental values.
- Clarity of Boundaries – this is partly about understanding the triggers that put you closer to emotional paths or physical actions that don’t align with your values, but it’s also about making choices before you get to the triggers. We can choose behaviors that put our thoughts and actions at less risk of being pushed or pulled into proximity with whatever it is that draws us away from our core values. Those boundaries are good, and they are FREEING. Constraints are a boon to creativity. Artists need a canvas, and a canvas has a particular size and shape. We need constraints in our lives and those constraints free us to act and to unlock creativity the same as artists do.
That’s the very, very short share about choosing thoughts, planning ahead, and taking what could be a negative and using it to make positive choices. After all there’s always a positive – as I read recently, the worst spellers have the most secure passwords.
I’m Joe M. Turner, and I’m finished speaking. Thank you.
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