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Would you like to have the thought life that propels you into a life of the extraordinary? We all know people or know of people who seem to live beyond. They never allow themselves to settle for the ordinary in life, and they always pursue what is the “best” of their ability. Most of what you do is driven by your thinking.

Practice these skills and watch your ability to manage your thoughts grow, but be on guard as old ways of thinking try to stick around.

1. Believe in who you are. Don’t get too caught up in the concept of “self-efficacy” as you will quickly learn it is somewhat elusive at best. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Be aware of your social group and note the level of self-awareness in your friends. How do you manage your emotions? Are you hiding from yourself?

2. Beware of catastrophizing. Don’t confuse this with “all or nothing” thinking which is either you are great or you are horrible. Catastrophizing is also not the same as “black and white” thinking which can be advantageous if managed but also can be debilitating if poorly managed as it will become perfectionism. Catastrophizing is where you take any setback or struggle, no matter how small, and turn it into an overwhelming crisis.

3. Stereotyping, similar to over-generalizing, allows for taking mental shortcuts that sometimes lends to saving time in making judgements and decisions. However, as with most thinking skills, the downside is that we will sometimes move too quickly to make a decision or judgement based on instinct while we ignore facts or empirical data.

4. We have all heard some variation of the statement, “Beware of the danger in taking all the credit for what you do.” Some seem to have taken the issue of “pride” and have come to fear having pride in anything they do, or at least they don’t want to verbalize having any pride fearing others will perceive them as prideful. Somewhere in here is the need to address “false” humility and self-significance, but we will leave that for another time. I believe there is a healthy feeling and expression of pride when what you do is based on who you are and the gifts that have been bestowed upon you, because then you will always acknowledge the real source of your achievements and accomplishments.

5. Be aware of your filters. Our filters typically originate in our experiences and more specifically in our perceptions during those experiences. We have both positive and negative experiences in our lives that contribute to the construction of the filters. When something happens, how we respond is the result of our thoughts as they go through our filters. Negative filters result in negative responses. Clean your filters by challenging the self-thoughts and self-beliefs through the lenses of how real and adaptive they are. Are they realistic or just the result of negative experiences? Yes, our filters begin to develop very early in our lives. Have you ever thought about the saying, “sticks and stones may break…” This is just one of many sayings that are inaccurate and destructive as we have learned we heal from physical injury but the verbal and emotional injury remains with us on many levels.

6. Use focused and positive self-talk. Learn to see yourself in the light of who you really are, not who you have been trained or conditioned to believe who you are. Accept the fact that you have been created for a definite reason with a definite purpose. Seek to find who you are and what your life mission is but please know you will not find it in the negatives of your life. The negatives may help with clarification of your world view and some of those inner self-perspectives, but they are often smokescreens that are there to hide what is real. You may need to consult wise counsel through friends but whomever you reach out to for feedback and guidance, make certain they are not stuck in their “ordinary”.