Something to think about

There is always something to think about. But is it worth thinking about it?
I can honestly say that, just before I go to bed, I don’t know whether I actually did more work or thinking during the day. I probably did more thinking.

My day is starting with the following thoughts: What do I wear today, what are my priorities, with whom do I have an appointment, what shall we eat tonight, what time do I need to pick up the girls from school… And the list goes on and on and on… Trust me, it’s a long list. For that reason I’m a big fan of important to-do-lists. The regular to-do-lists are not recommendable, because they often made me feel like ‘I still have something to do’. Which feeds stress. Neither I, nor you probably, have put these feelings on a Christmas wish list. I assume.

So, do you think a lot during the day? Is there always something on your mind? Do you sometimes have a desire to stop thinking?
This is normal given the fact that we all have 50.000 thoughts every day!
And I don’t want to turn this into a depressing blog, but 90% of these thoughts are exactly the same as yesterday. And it’s simple: same thoughts, same outcome.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
― Henry Ford

Like most people I want to be conscious about the things I do, feel and think.
But a couple of times a week, several thoughts ‘attack’ me at the same time: what was exactly said during that meeting? Did or didn’t I put my washing in the machine? And have I used the extra lock of my bicycle (which is kind of important when you live in Amsterdam)?
It feels like typing an important e-mail, while the phone is ringing, your colleague then drops by to have a social talk and you realize that your next meeting is within 5 minutes. So you have everything under control? Hell no!

So here is the 1 million dollar question: Can we change this? Yes!
But I’m sorry to say, there is no shortcut.
I can almost hear you thinking: well, then I will look for another blog, I need a quick solution. Stay with me, good news is coming.
The good news is, there are several ways to change this. You can start right now. It will take some effort to do this, though. One solution is: focus!
Like Clifford Nass has put it so nicely, “multitaskers are suckers for irrelevancy.”
So let’s make ‘multitasking’ a dirty word. Because whenever we do this, it causes divided attention and keeps us away from what we really want to do.

For me it helps to create a bucket list every 5 years. Indicating that if I do not finish the list, I don’t need a prescription for an antidepressant. My bucket list is a guide, not a goal.
It gives me the focus to put myself into unknown situations, like climbing one of the highest mountains in Europe, pursuing an Executive MBA and starting my own business.
It guides my consciousness in my thoughts and feelings: What is my focus (and how does it make me feel) and which things, like raising my two girls, are important to me (and how does it make me feel).

By knowing what you want you will think less about other things: you focus.
Thoughts only grow when you give them attention. The negative but also the positive ones. You can choose which thoughts you want to nurture. And that is something to think about!


Daphne is Founder of BrainExplainers. From her youth onwards she wanted to know: Why do we think in a particular way? How do we make decisions? And how do we decide what we want?
For this reason she loves neuroscience.
Currently she is pursuing an Executive MBA to bridge the gap between the latest business insights and neuroscience.
Apart from being a certified mindfulness trainer, because it creates a way to choose more freely how we want to react on situations in our life, Daphne also likes to climb mountains like Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc.
Her statement: ‘Be crazy enough to know you can do anything in life.’

Daphne will give a talk during the BrandedU New Year’s High Tea on January 8th. Tickets are available here!

Photo by Melissa Dziadowicz