An average person has between 20,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. The lower number aligns to Daniel Kanheman’s idea of “psychological present” that he alludes to during his fascinating talk on experience vs. memory.
Kahneman said that we have about 600k ‘psychological presents’ in a month, where a psychological present lasts for about 3 seconds. So we have 20,000 psychological presents or thoughts in a day. Majority of these thoughts occur to us spontaneously because we don’t do a lot of conscious thinking.
Another study suggests that 70% of these thoughts are negative and up to 98% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
Most of the negative thoughts are about our fears, our insecurities, our losses, thoughts that irritate us or cause stress. Not all these are bad. Many negative thoughts make us more alert about what may go wrong and prompt us to prepare better.
The logic of having the exact same thoughts is the tunnel vision approach to life. We do the same things every day and allow the same worries to bother us day after day instead of working through them. We also think about solving problems in the same way we have always thought. Like thinking about money will solve every problem or rarely thinking about 10x financial growth.
How To Change Your Thoughts
The key to changing your thoughts is not to fight them but to carve out conscious thinking time.
Start with 10 minutes which is equivalent to 200 thoughts. In these 10 minutes think different thoughts than you are used to thinking. Think about new ways to solve your problems, look at new sources of information and knowledge.
Don’t limit yourself in these 10 minutes. Think wild thoughts like how would you change the world or how would you change your own world. Take it to next level and think about what is good about your life and be grateful for it. Instead of thinking about what you lost, think about what you still have. Instead of thinking about what you fear, think about how you overcame one of your fears earlier.
Key is to do it every day. This process will slowly change your thoughts and make you more in control of how you think about situations and how you act. It’ll also make you more proactive and allow you to create your new reality starting with new thoughts.
Now it is up to you, how bright and big a world you’ll create with your thoughts.