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Ep #188: The Contrast of THOUGHTS

This week, we continue our conversation about emotional management and dive deeper into my theory that a good balance of feelings in our life is 50-50 – half negative and half positive. And in this session, we’re focusing on the contrast of thoughts and why we choose to think negatively or positively about neutral circumstances.

Join us as we explore why most of us don’t question our beliefs, and why we don’t take responsibility for choosing what to believe, and simply believe what we’ve been taught.

I explain why it’s so important to be more conscious about our thinking and talk about why you should revisit your current thoughts that are causing you pain to decide whether you want to keep on believing them.

Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book.  It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!

Listen to the show

What You will discover

  • Why we think negative thoughts.
  • Why most of us don’t question our beliefs.
  • The importance of being more conscious about the things we want to believe.
  • How you should consider changing thoughts that are causing you pain.

Get the Full Episode Transcript:

download the transcript

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hello, my friends. What's happening? Such an amazing, great day here in Dallas. Have I mentioned how much I love it here? You guys, I don't know if I've told you, my girlfriend just texted me, she's like, "I need you to tell me the truth about how you feel about living there." Like, okay, are you ready? I love it.

I love living here. We have the most beautiful home, it's the most amazing city, the airport's awesome, right in the middle of the country, which makes it easy to get to anywhere, the weather is not bad. I don't know what you all were talking about, freaking me out about the weather; the weather is fine. It's starting to cool off a little bit here, but I prefer it hot, so this weather has not been a problem at all for any of us.

We just - our whole family, we just like look at each other, we're like, "This is like our home. This is our place. I don't think we're going to leave." Now, you never know with me. I love a little bit of change, so I'm open for change, but I do feel like we can have a lot of change without ever leaving this beautiful house, beautiful area, beautiful place, awesome neighbors, everything.

We just are getting our pool done, they're going to pour cement this week for our base, and then if you guys are in Scholars, you'll see behind the scenes, I'll do another video. I did a video right when we moved in, but since then we're gotten all of our landscape done, and we got the pool done, and it looks amazing. We got a hockey table put in the front, we bought one of those sit-down Pac-Man machines. You guys all know about Pac-Man, right?

When I was a kid, my parents had stand-up Pac-Man and stand-up Donkey Kong in our garage. We had Atari too, let's not forget, but I had stand-up video games. We got them for Christmas one year, and I can't even tell you guys how amazing I was at Donkey Kong. Like, seriously, every level, no problem, amazing. And so we got one of these sit-down machines that has Donkey Kong on it, and I'm playing with my kids and they're beating me. It's very heartbreaking; I just want you all to know that.

But anyway, we just - we love it here. We're so excited to be here, and we love having the events we've had so far here have been great, but we can't wait for our building, which is in the process. They are finalizing the drawings as we speak for The Life Coach School building. I have many ideas about how I'm going to evolve my business, so if you're in Scholars, make sure you look at the behind the scenes where I'm talking about - I think I'm going to be in the very near future hiring a CEO. So if you guys know someone you think would be a spectacular CEO for my company, will you - don't just send me an email saying, "Hey, give me more information." That's not useful to me at all. Send me an email with the person's name, maybe their resume, do you think they'd be a good fit for a CEO of the company.

I'm looking for someone with CEO experience, at least revenue generating, leadership experience for the company because we're going places my friends. We are going places. I say a lot to my friends and my team and my students that you can put whatever you want in the R line. This year I think more than any other year, I've proved that to myself.

I put some stuff in the R line of the model that even I thought was impossible, and I went for it anyway because why not? Nothing's impossible, right? Nothing's too good to be true. But wow, that's pretty exciting to create as much abundance and fun and contribution that I did this year, so I'm like, "Hey, what could we do next year? What could we do the year after?"

So I'm really excited about our building getting built, it's going to be huge. We're going to have so many cool opportunities for coaches and clients and I can't wait to share all of our ideas with you. But if you know someone you think would be a good fit for my CEO, send it to [email protected], and then who knows, maybe we'll find the next CEO from you guys.

I was thinking about this on a walk actually. I listen to a lot of business podcasts, and a lot of people who make a tremendous amount of money. I love listening to Russell Brunson who makes a hundred million dollars a year with his company, ClickFunnels; I like listening to the LeadPages podcast, I like listening to The One Thing, where the guys from Keller Williams are over there talking about building huge companies, and so I'm always fascinated to listen to how they recruit talent.

And there is a way where you go and you recruit talent through a recruiter and I think that that's brilliant and I have a whole process for that, but when I've had the most luck with people in my organization is when I ask you guys if you want to come work with me. So most everyone on my team right now I have found through you, so who knows, maybe you guys will send me the next CEO. I can't wait to see.

So anyway, today we're going to talk about the contrast of thoughts. Like I mentioned last week, we're working on - in Scholars this month, we're working on the balance of emotion, and this whole theory that I have about 50/50 being a good balance of emotion, instead of 80/20, trying to be positive all the time and then feeling bad that we don't feel positive all of the time, really embracing that there is a balance to our emotional lives and that's okay, and that a lot of our negative emotion is on purpose, and that's okay. It's part of the human experience. So I'm hoping that through some of these podcasts, I can share with you a little bit of what I'm teaching in Scholars, kind of doing a deep dive in there, but I do want to give you the lessons as we go along as well.

So one of my instructors who teaches for The Life Coach School, she teaches certification, one of the things she said to me is that I'm going very deep into the podcast, I'm teaching a lot of really advanced concepts because of Scholars, because part of what they get in Scholars is part of this book, the podcast book, which has all my podcast notes and the deep dive into how to apply when I'm teaching in the podcast.

So I love that, I love that I'm going deeper and more advanced in the podcast because I feel like a lot of you have been with me from the beginning. You've been listening to me for you know, almost four years now, and I know that a lot of you are ready for this stuff. So here's the question. Why do we think negative thoughts?

If we thought everything was awesome, we would always be happy. So why don't we do that? What is this contrast about? We think that observations of negative things are different than thoughts, but remember, there are no "negative things". Circumstances are neutral, so we're the ones who make things negative. Isn't that crazy, you guys, to think about? I talked about this a lot in the last podcast, but it's kind of like - if you let your mind really except it.

So what are the things that you have decided are negative? Think about it. Why do you think they're negative? Who told you they were? I have been a little bit obsessed lately with Leah Remini, who is doing this reality series on Scientology, and I watched a documentary on Scientology. When I was 18 years old, I got involved with a martial arts studio that was actually a cult. Martial arts was kind of its front door and then once you got in there they sucked you in to a cult.

I went in willingly, they didn't have to suck me in very hard. I was searching desperately for someone to tell me what to do, and so anyway, I joined a cult through this martial arts studio, and gave them a bunch of money and worked for them for free, and wouldn't change the experience for anything because I learned so much from it.

But since then, I've always been fascinated by cults, and here's why. Because when I was involved in this cult situation, I was involved when I was 18 for almost two years. I wasn't - like the first year I wasn't really involved, but I got involved really significantly in the second year. And one of the things that's so fascinating to me is first of all, I'm a very well educated, intelligent person. How did I get sucked in? And so many of the people that were there with me were incredibly intelligent, sophisticated people.

And I remember this one woman, she had graduated from Cornell University, she had all sorts of degrees, there were all sorts of engineers, they were like older men that had been there for you know, years upon years, who are highly educated, really intelligent people. So I've always been fascinated, like how did we all get hooked into this? It has nothing to do with your intelligence, so what is it that got me involved in this situation and how is it that people that I was there with 20 years ago are still there?

Right? I was only there for a couple years, but there were people that were there for years upon years upon years, and so fascinating to me to see how that happens. And so, I've always been fascinated with cults since then, and so to see this explanation that so many people have of Scientology - now, the truth is, I don't know. I've only - literally, only heard one side of the story. I've heard Leah Remini's story, her reality show on Scientology is fascinating to me.

So here's what's fascinating to me. Whether it is a cult or isn't or whatever is not for me to say, but what I'm fascinated by is how so many kids were born into Scientology and taught to believe a certain way, and I think that's true for all of us, right? All of us who are born into our households and whatever religion we're born into, whatever value system that we're born into is what we're taught is what we end up believing.

And whether you know, for Scientology, what this documentary and what this show about Scientology has been saying is that Scientologists believe that the work that they're doing is about saving the planet. It's about what they call clearing the planet, and they feel very strongly about it, it's very important to them. And it's a very positive, wonderful view of the world, in my opinion, the way that they are taught it.

Now, there are a lot of you know, things that have happened within Scientology according to some of these people, that were misleading I guess, but that being said, why do we believe what we believe? And when I look at this kind of indoctrination that we have in religion, the indoctrination that we have in our families, indoctrination that we have in our society, I think it's totally fascinating how our brain - what it does is it takes on these belief systems and it gets efficient at them and then it doesn't question them again unless we do it consciously, and I think that is so fascinating.

So if you combine the fact that our brain is primitively taught to look for danger in order to keep us alive; that's our primitive brain, and then you look at what we've been indoctrinated to believe, so much of what many of us have been indoctrinated to believe is negative, that doesn't serve us. Now, many of us have been taught wonderful, beautiful things that are positive to believe as well, but a lot of the negative beliefs that we have, a lot of the contrasting beliefs that we have are not even conscious.

And when there is widespread agreement about something, we tend to think the things are true. So I want you guys to really think about this question. What makes something true? So if you listen to Leah Remini's story, the way that she describes it is that she was taught and believed for so long all of the ideas that were taught in Scientology. And then she decided that they weren't true, and she decided not to believe many of the things that she was taught.

And that is seriously the exception to the rule. Most of us continue to believe what we have been taught our entire lives. Many of us don't ever question anything that we've been taught. We see it as an observation, we see it as our education. We don't question it.

So I think about this a lot in terms of like, prejudice, and I have a lot of compassion for people who were raised in a prejudiced environment, meaning they were taught to be prejudiced. They were taught to think that other people weren't as good as. Whether it's another race, or whether it's women, or certain careers or certain money or whatever, to be raised in a way to believe something is true, and then to believe it, and then to be held accountable for it, is a fascinating thing to me because I feel like many of us don't take responsibility for choosing what we believe. We simply believe what we have been taught.

So if we were taught our whole lives that the world was flat, we would believe that the world was flat. Isn't that crazy? That's what we would believe. If every book we read, if that's what everyone told us, if there was evidence to prove it, where we could walk outside and everything's flat, like, that's what we would believe. And then someone would say to us, "But that's not true" and you would say, "Well, of course, it's true. That's what I've been taught my whole life." To be told that that's not true, to have a belief questioned is actually a very identity shaking experience. And that is why most of us don't do it.

We don't question our beliefs, let alone our negative beliefs, to see if they're true. So think about this. What are some of our collective beliefs that are negative? Sometimes we on purpose agree as a group that something's negative. And so we choose to believe things that make us feel awful on purpose. Have you thought about this?

Like, the belief child abuse is bad, fighting is wrong, young deaths are heartbreaking. Now, we want to believe these things on purpose. Right? If somebody said to you, "Child abuse is bad", you'd say, "Yes, I want to believe that", "Fighting is wrong", "Yes I want to believe that." That is a belief that I choose to believe, and I'm willing - think about this, I'm willing to feel negatively in order to believe that belief. Isn't that fascinating?

Like, we think, like we just need to change the world, we need to eliminate fighting, we need to eliminate child abuse, we need to eliminate young deaths in order to feel better. But the truth is, we're choosing to feel bad about those things on purpose. That is our humanity, yes? We want to feel pain and fear and sadness and grief. We want to have thoughts that cause these emotions. Have you thought about this, you guys?

We tell ourselves we don't want to feel this way, and we think the solution is to change the world, but really, we want to feel this way because this is what makes us human. This is what makes us the people that we are. We feel sad and horrified and grief and pain. We agree to believe these things based on our values, how we see ourselves and how we identify as humans.

Now, these are the obvious things, and I like to start with them because then we can go less intense and we can look at other things being our choice. Child abuse is bad, is not a circumstance. Right? Child abuse is bad, is a thought. It's important that you distinguish between them. It's true because we believe it, because we choose it.

But what about the smaller things we believe, our observations and truths, that are actually choices? We sometimes misunderstand and think that we should always choose to feel happy when we can, but this is not what any of us want. So we might as well be more conscious about the negative things we are choosing to think.

Which ones are conscious and deliberate, and which ones do we maybe want to change? What are the beliefs that we've been indoctrinated to believe that so many of us believe collectively, that maybe aren't serving us, that maybe aren't conscious choices? If we were to go back and look at all the beliefs that we've been programmed to believe and question each one of them, maybe there are things we would choose not to believe.

And I want to suggest that you start with any negative observations that you have about yourself that feel true but aren't serving you and are completely optional. So many of you have unconscious beliefs that sound like, "I'm not good enough", "I should be happier", "I should be better".

I want you to think about thoughts there, I want you to think about what else do you believe. "People shouldn't do that", "I should have had a different childhood", "I should be prettier", "I should be skinnier", "I should be" - what is it that you're believing that is negative that maybe you don't have to believe, maybe you choose not to believe anymore?

You have to decide, "Yes, I want to think those things are negative, and I'm willing to feel sad and grief and pain over them." But is there a middle ground? Are there other thoughts that I don't want to choose to believe anymore, that I want to change?

I want to understand the reason why I'm thinking negative thoughts. One of the reasons is because of my primitive brain that's afraid, trying to keep me safe. The other one is because I choose to, because of my humanity. But the other reason is because I've just been indoctrinated to believe something since I was a child, and maybe I can revisit those beliefs and choose to believe something different.

So I want you to ask yourself, what is a thought that you're thinking at any point that is painful? And ask yourself this, why are you choosing to believe it? Is it a conscious choice? Are you doing it on purpose? Does it serve you and your humanity? Is it worth it to feel this way in order to believe this thought?

Child abuse is bad, yes, I think all of us can agree that it's worth it to feel horrible in order to keep that belief and that thought. But there are many thoughts - "I shouldn't be doing this", "That person shouldn't be doing this", "I should be richer", whatever it is, what are those thoughts that you think aren't optional that you could change?

The contrast of thoughts need to be by choice. The balance of thoughts can be within your control when you decide what you want to believe and why. Do not be confused. Every thought you have is a choice. Many of the thoughts you choose to think will serve you even though they cause you pain, but many of them won't.

Look at each one consciously and make sure you decide again that it's a belief that you want to keep. And if it isn't, I want you to think about changing it. Own it so you can have some authority over it, so you can change it maybe into something that serves you more.

I look forward to talking to you all in Scholars about thoughts that you've decided to change on purpose because you've identified the contrast. You've identified what thoughts serve you even though they're negative, and what thoughts don't. Alright, you guys, have a beautiful week, I'll talk to you soon.

Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.

9 Comments

  1. Love your content, and great thinking, like I learned from Pema Chodron. Thank you for your podcast and the great content that you provide without advertising. It does seem like your podcast has an ever-increasing amount of advertising for “Scholars” and talking about how awesome your life is. I get that you are using the podcast nowadays to sell your product, but the first 8 minutes of this 22-minute podcast was not about the topic. That’s over 1/3 of the time. Seemed a bit much.

    1. Hi Rose, Thank you for the feedback. Brooke is passionate about sharing the benefits of Self Coaching Scholars, the results for her students, and how this work impacts her own life as inspiration for others. –Rebekah

  2. I am a scholar and I love Brooke’s Podcasts as well as her program. I find them amazing and I will remain a scholar as long as I can afford it. As for now I’m a consumer and preparing to ask a question on “Ask Brooke.” I’m 76 years old and feel the change this program has caused in my life and my friends have commented on my change also. Thank you Brooke and I do enjoy hearing about all your adventures and new ideas!!!!

  3. I just want to say Thank You Thank You Thank You!! I stumbled across your podcast and listen to at least one a day if not more! I am a LCSW who works full time as a School Social Worker in a high school classroom for students with Emotional Disabilities and work in private practice part time! I have been in the classroom for 3 years and have become a behavior coach and at a point where I am wanting to develop my own curriculum and become get my life coach certification! I have sent the vibes out there and am hoping I can get into your Scholars Program!!!

    Just wanted to send a note that I truly appreciate the work you do and reminding us of the human experience and all that it entails! I listen to your Pod Casts and bring the energy of what I learn to my classroom everyday to help rewire the students that I work with that they are not their disability as well as teach them the skills to resilience! I am a certified Art Therapist and I have been taking quotes from your Pod Casts and coming up with fantastic art directives!

    Again thank you for the work you do!! Truly appreciate all your wisdom and energy!

    Jenn

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