Most of us live life on default. We live off the programming of our upbringing and our society.
We don’t live a conscious, deliberate life.
It is only when you start doing thought work and coaching yourself that you begin using the most important tool given to you – your mind – to its fullest capacity.
Today, we’re going deeper into the topic of thought work and take a look at the key skills you need to learn in order do what I call “superthinking” – the highest level of thinking to achieve anything you want in life. We also revisit the main attributes of good mental hygiene and then dive into the ins and outs of exactly what it means to be in full control of your mind.
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!
What you will discover
- What superthinking is all about.
- The importance of “cleaning out” your brain daily.
- Top 3 skills for mental hygiene.
- The skills you need to master to become proficient at superthinking.
- Why you should take notes during your “thinking time.”
- How to balance your thinking with learning and getting ideas from external sources.
- Ideas for your superthinking questions.
- The physical tools that are an absolute must for this process.
Featured on the show
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.
Well hello there, my friends. Welcome to the end of the year. Can you guys believe it? I can’t believe the year is over. I am so grateful for this year. This has been the best year of my life by a mile. And I know that next year is going to be even better.
I have so many new ideas, so many new concepts, so many new tools that I am going to be sharing in 2019. I can’t even imagine the success compounding that’s going to happen. After having students for two years in Scholars and seeing the success that they have had, my brain just keeps exploding with excitement for them.
I often wonder if my own success is paling in comparison in my own mind, because there’s something about a student of mine being crazy successful that just feels more awesome to me now. I have several students who are making a million dollars a year in their business. I have several dozen students who are making more than 100K in their businesses.
I have all of my Scholars who have lost weight and quit drinking and bettered their relationships and healed their relationships with their selves, some with their families of origin; so many amazing time and accomplishment success stories within there.
We have so many testimonials and so many great videos from people that are coming out of scholars. I’m always saying to my team, if you go to our join page on The Life Coach School and you scroll down, the testimonials that we have on that page are endless. I’m sure there’s like 50 testimonials on there. Those are all just like 1% of the testimonials that we have.
We’re trying to figure out, what do we do with all of the amazing success stories? And we actually do have a plan. My videographer and I decided that what we’re going to do is travel all over the country and meet with our Scholars and do their before and after stories on video and put them onto Facebook once a week.
So you have that to look forward to in 2019, you’ll be able to see – everyone loves a good before and after story. And showing the effectiveness of our work, I think, is useful for everyone. I think we’re moving into an era – we have been moving into it and I think it’s just speeding up – where we’re out of survival mode, folks.
We have so much that we can utilize in terms of technology and abundance and growth. And as humans, we always want the next best things. Our brains are designed for survival, but we always want a deeper and more meaningful purpose. And that is what my work does, and I think creating the work that I’ve created at this time just happens to be a magical point in time where people are really needing it and really demanding it, and I have, I think, some of the most effective work that can be utilized on the planet.
And I’m saying that not because I’m bragging, although maybe I am bragging, who cares/ I’m saying that because this really works in people’s lives. I see the effect of it. I see it every single day. I receive emails every single day from people who are changed forever by the work I’m putting out into the world. And so I just want to tip my hat and give you a nod if you’re a life coach and you’re utilizing the Model in your life.
We have work to do and we have work to spread, and we have the tools, so we can’t let ourselves get in our way of sharing this work with the world. I’m excited for you, within the next two episodes, to listen to listener lessons. I did a callout for my listeners to record, on voicemail, the lessons they’ve learned from listening to the podcast and how they’ve applied them to their lives, so I’m really excited for you to listen. We’ve got so many awesome ones. We had to just narrow it down to a few, but super awesome.
So 2018 was a magical year for us. We exceeded our revenue by a crazy amount. I forwarded an email that my accountant bookkeeper CFO sent to me accountant that said, “Life Coach School exceeding income expectations…” because we needed to adjust what we held back for taxes. And I just loved the subject line of that email so much. I forwarded it to my coach and just kept reading it. It was super fun.
Super exciting to be in a position where we’re exceeding our own expectation. And just so you know, this goal, my financial goal for my business this year, was my impossible goal – was one of my impossible goals that I made a couple of years ago. And it’s interesting, I go back and look at my journal where I wrote 15 million dollars. And that seemed like the most impossible amount of money to make as a life coach, and now we’re ont0 100 million, my friends, so super exciting. I have no doubt in my mind that we will get there and I can’t wait for you to be there with me and for us to talk about it.
Alright, so today, we’re going to talk about super thinking. And I wanted to talk to you guys about this because I’m doing two programs right now. One of the programs that I’m doing is called my 100K Mentoring. And I have 10 people in that program who are working on making their first 100K.
At the same time, I’m also doing my Master Coach Training. And one of the things that I notice with both of these groups is one of the differences between the way that I work and the way that they work is super thinking. And I wanted to share it with you all because I think it’s a skill set that everyone should take time to develop and it’s not one of those parts we should just skip over.
I’ve talked about it in many different ways. And sometimes, when I ask people, “Hey, are you doing this? Are you making this happen in your life?” Many of them are like, “Oh, I’m going to get to it. Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I want to do it.”
So there’s two main parts to super thinking and I talk a lot about the first part on the podcast. And we’re going to call that mental hygiene, or thinking skills. And the practice for doing that is really just cleaning out your mind. That is the practice. And you need to do it every day if you want to be really effective at managing your mind.
And I’ve talked a lot about how every day, you should do a thought download. Which all that really means is you just take everything out of- your brain, have a look at it, and decide what to put back in and make sure you’re thinking on purpose and deliberately and you have a discipline and a practice of watching yourself think and managing yourself while you live your life.
Most of us live on default. We live off the programming of our childhoods and of society and we don’t live a conscious deliberate life. And here’s how that – the metaphor I use to describe that is almost like you have this amazing brain that you could program any way you want and you’re not even taking it out of the box.
You’re not even loading new software on it. You’re not even creating it or customizing it to the life that you want. You’re just letting it be on all of its default settings. And when you start doing thought work, when you start coaching yourself, is when you really start utilizing the tool that you’ve been given, which is your human brain.
It is the most important, the most expensive, the best tool that any of us have. And none of us are without a brain in consciousness, and so our utilizing our brains to the fullest capacity is really a function of whether we’re coaching ourselves.
So a lot of people will come to me and think that life coaching is kind of one of those soft skills; something that you do to cuddle yourself. And I couldn’t disagree more. I think managing your mind is the hardest skill and the best skill and the most effective skill, and the most money-making skill that any of us can develop. So take that, you soft skill people telling me that what I do is soft and fuzzy and doesn’t matter.
So the first thinking skill is being able to watch yourself think and do a thought download. So basically, emptying everything out of your brain and putting it onto paper. The second skill is being able to recognize those thoughts that you want to change because of their effect in your life. So basically, that’s looking at that sheet of paper and all those thought downloads and being able to look at them and do Models on them and question them and decide which ones you want to keep believing on purpose and which ones you want to stop believing on purpose.
And really, awareness and being aware of that is so important. The daily practice of cleaning – and this is just basically cleaning out your brain so you can super think. You’ve got to clean it out first.
The third skill is really creating new beliefs and thoughts to serve you, to practice believing, to practice feeling, to practice thinking and to practice living from. This is where we live a more deliberate conscious life, where we decide what we want to believe instead of what was taught to us, where we decide how we want to think and feel and what we want to do with our lives, instead of living some default programming that came with our brain in the box or in our childhood.
Okay, so those are the top three thinking skills for mental hygiene; thought downloads, recognizing thoughts you want to change, and the third one is changing them. That is a daily practice.
Now, I want to move into the practice of super thinking. Once you have your brain primed, cleaned out, organized – now, I want to offer that in the beginning, when you’re first learning how to coach yourself, this takes a few weeks to get this practice down, to understand mental hygiene, to understand how to watch yourself think, how to do thought models on your thinking and then how to think new thoughts.
So give yourself a chance to learn that skill and practice it. But once you’ve done that, one of the things that I want to suggest you do is you start requiring some super thinking from yourself. And I can always tell, when people are doing their own thinking, when they ask me questions.
Because a lot of the time, we aren’t utilizing our own brain for our own wisdom and to access our own answers, so we’re always asking questions to people outside of ourselves, believing that they will have the answer and that their brain has the answer and our brains don’t.
So, one of the things that I require in all of my high-end courses, and from everybody on my team, is that if you want to ask me a question, you have to already have an answer for it. And I will tell you, this has cut down on the number of questions that are asked of me.
Because, here’s the thing, if you ask me a question, I’m going to give you an answer, but what happens is I spend all my days answering questions for other people and making decisions for other people, and then I get more decision fatigue than is necessary.
And so, what I’ve told my students is, “Listen, there are a lot of questions that you’re asking me that I am finding the answers to inside of my brain. And my brain is not more qualified than your brain to answer. And so I want to make sure you’ve asked your brain first.”
There’s a couple of reasons – well, there’s many reasons for this, but the most important reason is I’m not always there to answer your question for you. And it perpetuates the idea that the answers are outside of you. And this is why, I think, a lot of my students struggle with creating their own intellectual property, because they don’t allow themselves to come up with their own ideas and their own thinking, because they haven’t practiced doing it.
So, step one is, we really want you to create some thinking time for yourself. And this is time when you only think. You’re not on the computer. You’re not reading. You’re not listening to podcasts. You are thinking on purpose. You’re accessing your own unique, creative, and original ideas by thinking on purpose.
I was telling my master coach students that I take notes when I think. I watch myself think and I have ideas and I write them down. So, a lot of times, when I’m teaching, I notice people are taking notes because of what’s going on in my brain. And I wonder, do they take notes based on what’s going on in their brains? What do they think is right?
And a lot of times, people will come to me and they’ll say, “I disagree with something you’re saying. I read this and this over here and they think something different.” And I’ll say to them, “But what do you think? What are your thoughts about this? I want to know what your brain has come up with.”
And people will say to me, “Well I’m just not that deep. I just don’t think that way. I just think everything has a surface answer.” And I say, “That’s because you haven’t taken the brain and reprogrammed it. You haven’t taken it out of the box to see all the cool things it can do.”
Have you guys ever had this, where somebody has the same computer as you and their computer is doing way more cool things than yours and you’re like, “What’s happening? What program is that? What are you doing? Why can’t mine do that?”
Or on my phone, people are doing the coolest things with their phones and I’m like, “Whoa, what? How did you do that with your phone? Where’s the flashlight I didn’t know it had a flashlight. What? That’s so awesome…” all these little things that people are doing because they know and utilize their phones so much more than I do.
I feel like that’s what’s happening with a lot of our brains because we’re not requiring our brains to do the work that it’s capable of doing. Now, I think a lot of us think that our brains are for studying material and regurgitating it, because that’s what we were taught the whole time our brains were developing, right?
Your job is to get the right answer and put it on a piece of paper. Your job isn’t necessarily to think up answers. You have to find the right answer. So we’ve programmed our brains that its job is to study other people’s answers, other people’s interpretations, other people’s opinions, and then write them down.
The only time we were really ever asked to write from our own brain is if we were doing maybe a creative paper. And I think all of school should be about us coming up with our own opinions and our own ideas. Now, it doesn’t mean that we don’t take input from the outside. But for as much time as we allow input, we also have to allow for output.
We have to allow for our own ideas. I like to have that very balanced. So if I’m going to spend an hour reading a book, I want to spend an hour coming up with my own ideas. Now, the way that that can work is, you take input from an outside source.
Now, let’s talk about inputs for a minute, because a lot of us are putting inputs in that aren’t necessarily useful, that aren’t necessarily going to help ignite or trigger our own wisdom. I laugh with my husband all the time because I feel like he has so much sports input in his brain. I’m like, “How are you going to use that in your life?” And he’s like, “It’s just entertainment.”
And I can relate because I like watching, or pretending to watch Netflix at night before I fall asleep. But I have a lot of, like, medical knowledge in my brain now from watching the Resonant and New Amsterdam. I like watching these shows that are putting all this medical knowledge in my brain. It’s funny.
Anyway, so what I think is important is to think about the area that you want to think more about, that you want to create some intellectual property, some ideas from. And get some input from other sources, but then spend some time taking that input and incorporating it with your own questions about what you want to discover and the answers you want to come up with in your own brain.
So the way that I like to think about it is read a book, and then ask a question. Like, what is something that you would want to ask about that book? And instead of looking up the author and sending them an email and asking them the question, or asking a teacher or someone else, ask your own brain to come up with the answer.
You will be amazed at the access you have inside your own brain to such wisdom, to so many great ideas. Now, a lot of your ideas won’t be great, especially in the beginning. If you haven’t practiced super thinking, a lot of your ideas will just be regurgitations from other people’s ideas. This does not mean you’re dumb.
You know what it means? It means you’re educated. It means you have gone through our school system. You have learned how to regurgitate other people’s ideas. And there’s actually nothing wrong with that. That’s a very good foundation for super thinking; having a foundation of ideas that people who have come before you have introduced to your brain is a beautiful thing.
But there’s a next level. There’s a next step in your evolution for you to be able to create your own legacy, for you to be able to create your own ideas, your own Models, your own creations, by utilizing your own brain and thinking critically and coming up with questions that will help you come up with amazing answers.
So the way that I like to do this is coming up with really high-quality questions for problems that you’re having, for ideas that you want to create, and then listening to yourself for the answer. And the best way I have found to do this is just to write and to let my brain do a stream of consciousness and just write.
And what happens is, when you start paying attention to your brain, because you’ve given it thinking time, you’ve sat down, you say I’m going to think for an hour, I’m going to listen to what my brain has to say, I’m going to listen to its ideas, I’m going to listen to its theories on things, and I’m going to take notes. Then it starts to generate and gets momentum because it has a clearing, it has a space for its ideas to flow into.
When your brain is filled with other people’s ideas and inputs from other people’s lives and other people’s opinions on the regular, constantly reading, constantly of Facebook, constantly watching TV, constantly getting inputs from everything else, there’s no space for your brain to think. It’s utilizing all of its calories, all of its units of energy to interpret other people’s work instead of creating its own work.
And so I really want to suggest that you can break the habit of looking outside for solutions and for answers. You can start looking inside. And by accessing your own unique creative ideas and setting up a time where, maybe in the beginning, it’s 10 minutes, then maybe you go to an hour, that you just call thinking time, where you access your own ideas, one of the things that I like to tell my coaches to do is – especially after they’ve been coaching for a long time, maybe up to a year, they’ve developed their own ideas.
They’ve developed their own way of communicating to their niche, their own techniques and tools. They don’t even realize that they’ve done this. They’ve just done it through the course of their own coaching. And I tell them, that is your intellectual property. That is your specific way of utilizing the Model. That is your way of utilizing the tools that you’ve learned from all of these self-help authors.
And you need to write it down. You need to pay attention to it. You need to access that as your own unique way of dealing with something and pay attention to that being super important. And you will notice that once you start coming up with ideas, then you will be amazed at what the human brain can produce.
If you think about it, all of the best ideas, every single one of them, came from a brain. It didn’t come from the ground. It didn’t come from the ether – maybe it did, but it had to go through the brain first. So these brains of ours are pretty amazing tools.
They’ve come up with all the greatest ideas. I always look at my house and think, it’s just amazing the stuff we come up with; the roads, the sprinklers, the lights, the candles, the décor. All of it came from brains. And so what is your brain going to come up with? What do you want to access? How do you want to super think?
So, super thinking is really asking yourself to look beyond the surface answers and to ask deeper questions. One of the most important questions you can ask is why. And especially about other people’s behavior, really asking why and understanding.
I do this all the time with my clients. I want to know why they have the problems that they have, why they struggle in the way that they do, so I can come up with awesome new solutions for them. I spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about them.
I talk a lot about how I only work three days a week. I work on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays. But when I’m not working, especially on Tuesdays and Fridays, I spend a lot of time thinking. I have a lot of space in my life to think up ideas and tools and solutions for my clients, for my employees, for my business, for my family.
I utilize my own customized process of super thinking in order to come up with new solutions that maybe are not perfect for everyone, but they’re perfect for me and my clients. So here are some questions that I think are great for a super thinking session.
First of all, you can come to the session with a question. So you come with a problem; how am I going to make more money? How am I going to finally stop overeating? How am I going to figure out this overdrinking problem? I used to spend hours thinking about that one. Like, how am I going to make 100 million dollars? What do I need to believe? All of those questions, and just let your brain come up with answers.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling like I’m hurt or I’m suffering, I’ll ask myself, what if I believed the opposite of what is hurting me? And then I just write, what would happen right now if I chose an answer to this question, if I just chose one? When this problem is solved, what is different? That’s such a good one. I use that one a lot. What would I do if I knew what to do?
You will be amazed at what your brain will tell you. What if I answered this question like my life depended on it? What does my future self, who’s already there, who’s already successful, advise me to do? How is this issue that I’m currently dealing with for me instead of against me? What are 10 awesome ideas for me, for my company, for my clients?
Asking your brain to come up with 10 ideas on the regular about anything is a very good practice. What are 10 ideas for my overdrinking clients? What are 10 ideas for my employees? What are 10 ideas for my business? What are 10 ideas for organizing my house? What are 10 ideas for vacations I want to take, for things I want to but, for things I want to get rid of?
Really ask your brain to come up with great ideas all of the time. Here’s a great one; what would I do if it wasn’t currently impossible? I got this question form the book, the Last Word on Power, which you guys know is one of my favorite books. What would I do if it wasn’t currently impossible?
So it’s currently impossible for me to make 100 million dollars a year. What would I do if it wasn’t? I have asked myself that question probably every day for the past year. What is the current paradigm, belief system, that I’m living, or Model, that I’m living under and what do I want it to be? That’s more of my before and after process that we teach in coach training that helps you understand, what is my Model now and what is the aligned Model that gets me everything that I want in my life?
So those are just a few questions, but here’s the thing; I don’t want you to just use my questions. I want you to ask your brain for the best questions for you to ask yourself during your super thinking sessions. What should you be asking yourself? And require yourself to answer. Please answer the question.
And if your brain says, “I don’t know…” you say, what would it say if it did know? And then it will answer. I got that from Tony Robbins by the way.
Okay, here’s the important thing to remember; the opposite of confusion and asking others for the answers is super thinking. It’s very rare that I ask a question that I haven’t already considered the answer to. And whenever I say I don’t know, I always ask my brain to know.
I ask it to come up with an answer. Now, if it’s a factual thing or something like that, I just look it up on Google, which is amazing. If it’s something I need to look up, like what was the guy that acted in that movie – it was Christian Bale, by the way – you just look it up on Google. It’s amazing. But if it’s an answer that Google doesn’t have, then I ask my own brain.
Now, here’s what really helps with super thinking. Number one, time alone, for sure. Number two, journals. I spend a lot of time walking by myself and listening to myself think, and I spend a lot of time filling up journals with ideas about everything – lots of super thinking going on in my journals.
I spend a lot of time asking and answering my own questions; high-quality tough questions that I would love answers to. Now, I want to tell you a little caveat here. Make sure, when you ask yourself questions, they’re positively phrased. Like, don’t ask yourself terrible questions like, why can’t I lose weight, who do I suck, why am I ugly?
Don’t ask negative questions. Ask positive questions; how can I, when will I, what do I need to know in order to make 100 million? What don’t I know yet? That’s kind of cool. What do I need to offer the world in order to meet my goal? What is the value that I can create for the world? That was one I did recently.
And then, write down your ideas. Write them all down, even if they’re crazy, write them down. That’s what we require; better, higher-level thinking. Now remember also, when you do your thought hygiene, that you are deciding what to make things mean. And you want to make sure that you’re deciding to make things mean things that serve you.
It’s completely optional what you get to think, and so super thinking is really a time for you to be creative with, “What would I believe if I could believe anything? What would I believe about myself? What would I believe about the world? What would I believe about other people?”
That is a very interesting exercise because your brain will be like, “You can’t just choose your beliefs. I’m in charge of what you believe.” But the truth is, you’re in charge of what you believe. And I really enjoy using super thinking for creative problem-solving. It is this practice that comes up with the skill of independent and creative thought.
You gain an understanding of the power of your mind. You become really clear in your own decisions, in your own observations, in your own wisdom when you take time to think, when you schedule time to solve problems with your own brain, to answer questions with your own brain, to create tools with your own brain instead of relying on Google or books or someone else to solve them for you.
I like to think that the answers are not out there. The answers are in here. I’ve been given a brain so I can figure out new questions to ask and new answers to those questions. When you utilize your brain for creativity or imagination, you come up with new answers. You come up with new things that were never created before, and they can’t be created by anybody else because what you’ve done is you’ve taken the inputs of the world and of your life and of your education and you’ve mixed them with the unique brain that is yours.
And the way that your brain fires and comes up with solutions and ideas is unique to anybody else. And so if you don’t do this work to come up with your own answers and your own ideas, we’ll always just be recycling everybody else’s ideas. And oftentimes, we’re recycling ideas from hundreds and hundreds of years ago that are no longer relevant to us now.
We need to use our minds to come up with modern ideas, to come up with modern ways of serving ourselves and our communities and the people in our lives. And if we disagree with something, instead of being mad about it, instead of yelling about it, instead of complaining about it, we can start asking ourselves about it.
Well, if we don’t like the way they’re doing it, how would we do it? What would we create? What is the solution? What is the solution I would come up with? And you’ll recognize, whoa, that’s harder than I thought, and it will make you more compassionate about the ideas that are being practiced and tried in the world. And it will also help you offer solutions and offer your ideas, because we’re missing out on them if you don’t take the time.
So I just want to say that I think super thinking and thinking time are something that the world is really ready for. We have the time to do it. We have the ability to do it, and I think we absolutely owe it to ourselves to see what’s going on, to see what we can create inside of our own minds, to treat our minds like the precious wisdom-producing objects that they are and to spend some more time honoring them and kind of being in reverence to what they’re able to do.
Alright, my friends, I hope you had an amazing 2018. I am getting ready. 2019 is going to be the best year of my life. I cannot wait. I’m so excited. I have so many things to share with you from my super thinking sessions, and so many classes I’m going to teach and so many cool things we’re going to do in Scholars.
So please make sure that you keep listening, you join Scholars. If you want to become a coach, join certifications so you can get on this wild ride with me. Have a beautiful New Year’s. I’ll talk to you next week; bye-bye.
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.