“You’re picky about the car you drive. You’re picky about what you wear. You’re picky about what you put in your mouth. We want you to be pickier about what you think.”
I learned about pivoting 10 years ago while listening to an audio book on my commute to work. This was back in the day when we had to buy the cd and play it in our car. The book was The Law of Attraction, written by Esther and Jerry Hicks. In this book, they take us on an exploration of our mind – deactivating a negative thought by activating another thought that is more positive.
Let’s start with thoughts. The longer you think about a thought, the stronger that thought becomes because it is given the time and space to gain momentum. Saying to yourself, “I’m not going to think about this thought that I have been thinking about all day anymore” doesn’t usually work. Why? Because saying you are not going to think about it, actually makes you think about it. Instead, it is more effective to think about something else. Meaning, activate new thoughts to deactivate the one you really want to stop stewing over.
Why Does This Work?
Anything that you put enough attention to, whether it is as simple as what you are going to make for dinner can become your dominant thought. Think about eating tacos long enough, and your brain won’t think that other nagging thought while you are thinking about the tacos.
That is what pivoting does in your mind. You don’t like a thought; you pivot to new subjects until you deactivate the thought you wanted to stop thinking about. You are programming your brain to think what you want it to think. It is like switching the wires, or turning a light switch from on to off.
What you want to do is guide your thoughts, not control them. Meaning, pick a new subject, focus on it consistently, and allow it to gain momentum until it becomes your most dominant thought. Just like that, you have pivoted.
Pivot from what is unwanted to what is wanted:
Don’t want to bump into someone, pivot.
Want to get the couch up the stairs and around the corner (Friends fans will get this), pivot.
Ball coming towards you, pivot.
Door closing as you are walking through it and you need to move out of the way, pivot.
About to go down the rabbit hole of negative thinking, pivot.
Not feeling the way you want to feel, pivot.
Pivoting is simply saying, “I am not feeling good, but I want to feel good, so I’m going to focus on good feeling thoughts, or any other thought that takes me out of the ones I don’t want.”
In the book, Ask and It Is Given, by Jerry and Esther Hicks, they write: “Pivoting is the continual, hour-after-hour, segment-by-segment process whereby you choose the positive. It is the way you get to feeling good-and it is a way that you can get whatever you want.”
Pushing The Pause Button On Your Negative Thoughts
Now I want to give you some examples on how you can stop your thoughts from becoming limiting beliefs. I get this question all the time: “How do I stop thinking negative thoughts?”
Negative thoughts will always come. As I mentioned above, don’t try to stop thinking, which is impossible, instead, advert your thoughts from going into a downward spiral.
A few weeks ago, in an IGTV video, I said that our negative thoughts are only true if we make them true. After sharing this video, I received a great question. “If most times it’s not true, how can we (or me) tell what the difference is?” The question you may be asking is: “If most times it’s not true, how can we (or me) tell what the difference is?”
My negative thought that I question, especially since starting my own company, is, “Who are you to do that?” This thought comes from one of my most common and earliest of limiting beliefs, which is; I’m not good enough. I don’t believe this to be true anymore, but it still likes to creep in. When it does creep in, I have this principle I follow and learned from Byron Katie, called The Work. It is simply questioning the thought, which is another way of pivoting.
First pivot: If the thoughts are coming from fear, if it in no way serves me, if there is no love in it, if it is based on the past, or I’m future-tripping, how can I know if it is absolutely positively true. This usually stops it in its tracks because I know that whatever I believe, it is only true if I make it true because, we, you are the creators of our own lives. And this includes our thoughts. It is only true if we make it true. Why do we call a flower a flower? Someone named it flower and now when we look at flowers we believe it to be flowers. If that same flower was given the name rock, we would look at flowers and call them rocks.
Next pivot: If the thoughts are, “I’m not good enough” which is my limiting belief that likes to creep in, I can continue to ask myself some self-reflection questions.
Is that really true?
Has anyone ever said that you are not good enough?
And if they have, that is what they believe not what you need to believe. Would you believe someone if they told you that you would only be good enough if you jumped off a bridge? Of course not! You would say, “That’s craziness!”
So, can you say that without a doubt, this is absolute truth that thinking you are not good enough means you are not good enough? No. That isn’t an absolute. It is a thought. Not a nice thought, and definitely can cause us emotional pain, but it is still just a thought.
If you need to pivot even more: If you are really into the dark hole of negative thoughts and they are turning into beliefs, go within even more.
What’s going on here, why am I thinking this, what triggered it, what’s the lesson?
If you question them, really reflect on the thoughts, you will feel what’s truth. It takes practice, and sometimes moment-to-moment reflection, but you will begin to pivot back from fear to love and trust yourself. Then you can ask, “Who would I be and how would I show up without these limiting thoughts?”
For me, if the thoughts make my mind, body, heart and soul ache with pain, and fear, worry and doubt; I know I’m off track and need to pivot. You can be, do and have whatever you desire. If that is true, which I believe it is, the thought, “I’m not good enough”, or whatever those limiting thoughts are that are taking you into the darkness, is a lie.
It is only true if we make it true. What do you want to make true?
You can’t ask to feel all the joy and happiness without fully accepting that sometimes contrasting emotions and thoughts will also exist. But you don’t need to take up permanent residence in those contrasting emotions and thoughts.
Your mind tells you all the reasons you should be afraid, can’t do it, won’t do it, aren’t good enough to do it. It starts with a thought, turns into an emotional response, and can either become a limiting or supportive belief. If you take control right away (pivot), the moment your mind begins the thought process, you can work on strengthening your mind to work for you, not against you.
In this short video above, I share some questions that I ask myself when I’m experiencing negative emotions so that I don’t take up permanent residence there.
I invite you to practice pivoting when negativity comes in. Begin to practice pivoting by simply replacing it with a positive aspect. This negative thing is happening, but here are all the positive things in my life that are also happening. Continue to make your list of positive aspects until you feel like you have control over your mind and emotions instead of them controlling you. It takes a little practice, but overtime it will happen so naturally. Again, this isn’t so that you never experience negative emotions or thoughts. You will always have contrasting emotions and experiences that are less than positive; it is about not taking up permanent residence there, not believe the ones that are not supportive and deciding which ones you want to make true.
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl