Our leadership never rises above our thought patterns. It was Benjamin Disraeli who said: ” Hold great thoughts, for you will never go higher than your thoughts “. Far from being just rational, the ability to reflect and think is a creative process. It allows us to find solutions to our various problems or makes us approach life’s opportunities differently and with innovation. Yes, change your thoughts and you will change your life. How successful people think?
So here are five ways of thinking that are destructive to leadership and that we need to overcome:
1) Selfish Thoughts
Human nature plays ugly tricks on us, including focusing our attention on ourselves. Isn’t it written that “each wants to go his own way” (Isaiah 53: 6)? Unfortunately, when we allow selfish thoughts to influence our leadership, we run the risk of making decisions that are in our best interests, rather than those we serve. As a result, it will be easy to fall into a spirit of rivalry, simply seeking to make a good impression or to consider ourselves superior, yet our focus is the selfless and even sacrificial role model of Jesus, who shows us extremely effective and enduring leadership.
Possible Solution : Human nature always draws attention to oneself, but we should not allow selfish thoughts to influence our leadership.
2) Unrealistic thoughts
Leaders have big dreams, a big vision, and the aspiration to make a difference in their world. It is easy to see how this tendency, multiplied by hope and great determination, can lead to unrealistic goals. It is therefore wise to have good advisers to accompany us in our reflection. Because unrealistic thoughts manifest themselves in different ways, including excessive promises and sometimes insufficient results. As a spiritual leader, there is a tension between showing faith and at the same time realism. We have to think big, but faith and prudence are a wise combination. Having a good group of counselors with you and humbly listening to them can prevent the damage caused by narcissistic thoughts.
Possible solution : Our goals must be big enough to stretch us out of our comfort zone and require God’s intervention, but not so big that they are no longer credible.
3) Fearful Thoughts
In some ways, thoughts based on fear are the opposite of unrealistic thoughts. Because fear has a paralyzing effect and limits progress. Fear is sometimes related to a lack of trust in God, but in the majority of cases it is a lack of trust in ourselves. There are other causes, including the worry about not being ridiculed or the fear of failure.
Fear holds our thoughts captive, while faith and trust in God frees our creative ideas. It is therefore important to be convinced that the projects we have started are in accordance with God’s will. Then we must grasp the promise that ” it is not a spirit of shyness, cowardice or defeatism that God has given us, but a spirit of courage, love and enthusiasm, it is an active spirit. and loving who gives us sound judgment and perfect control of ourselves ”( 2 Timothy 1.7 LPV )
Possible solution : Fear holds our thoughts captive, while faith and trust in God frees our thinking.
4) Negative Thoughts
Over the years, a number of leaders have told me that burnout and discouragement lead to negative thinking (and vice versa). The pernicious side of the latter is to cause a harmful outlook on life and the people around us. It then becomes logical to perceive only the weaknesses of others, to foresee the only disadvantages of the new plans and to even tend to minimize our own leadership.
Possible solution : Let us remember the title of this column: Change your thoughts and you will change your life. It is possible to change your thoughts and let go of toxic thoughts. An excellent book to read to operate this process is ” Switch on Your Brain ” by Dr Caroline Leaf.
5) Anxious thoughts
You have certainly noticed that most of the things that worry us never happen. Yet about 12% of Canadians have anxiety disorders, and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorder in children
If your anxious thoughts seem manageable, I suggest discussing them with a trusted friend, mentor, or coach to get a different perspective. If, however, your anxious thoughts are causing anxiety, it is in your best interest to seek professional curative help. Similar to fear, anxious thoughts have a crippling effect in our life. So let’s make an effort to find the right accompaniment to overcome these thoughts. Rather than worrying about our future, let us understand that God has our future at heart and that He constantly desires to give us hope.
Possible solution : Let us remember that most of the things that worry us never happen. But above all, let’s avoid isolating ourselves.
It is a fact that successful people in life think differently from those who fail. So what way of thinking would contribute to a more meaningful life?
• Scattered thinking or focused thinking?
• Restrictive thinking or creative thinking?
• A fanciful thought or a realistic thought?
• Impulsive thinking or retrospective thinking?
• Selfish thought or altruistic thought?
• Illusionary thinking or results-oriented thinking?
Effective leaders don’t keep doing something that doesn’t work for a long time. They know how to manage time. It is therefore smart to be vigilant, to identify our ways of thinking that are not productive.
There is wise advice in the Bible: “ Don’t just fit everyone’s mold. Do not conform your life to the principles which govern the present century; do not copy the fashions and habits of the day. Rather, let yourself be completely transformed by the renewal of your mentality. Adopt a different inner attitude. Give your thoughts a new direction, so that you can discern what God wants from you.
Sasindu Jayasri is an Engineering student at Faculty of Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.