Mind-chatter exercise

powercord

Creativity & Personal Mastery has started again. This week’s exercise is to record our mind-chatter throughout the day. It is a very powerful reminder of how unproductive our thoughts can be. The objective is not to get rid of the mind-chatter, just to observe it.

A brilliant example of how useless mind-chatter can be:

I purchased a power-cord for my computer, paid in cash, didn’t ask for a receipt, and when I returned home and plugged it in, I discovered it was a dud.

My mind chatter began exploring the scenario of returning the item, and soon it was worrying about potential problems from not having a receipt. I actually started to feel angry at these mythical future attendants for refusing my request without a receipt – and worse, kept repeating the story in my head.

And continued repeating it for about 2-3 days… until I had a chance to return to the store. Of course, they exchanged it without any questions, leaving me to question why I had created all this completely useless mind-chatter to begin with.

Learnings:

  • Follow-up idea #3: Use the mind-chatter exercise to notice when you are repeatedly worrying about stupid things. Especially things that aren’t likely to happen in the future that won’t impact your life if they did.
  • Reminder #1: If you won’t remember it in a year, it is not that important.
  • Usability tip #6: Observing is just that – watching the thought, noticing the sensations, and accepting what is there without trying to change it. I find this difficult, as if I have a built in habit to try and fix what I don’t like. Unfortunately this just creates tension rather then to dissolve the undesirable state.