The Link is What You Think

By: Dr. Michael Mantell

When Elyssa Tommer asked if I had a moment to chat, I didn’t expect her to be asking if I would grace the pages of her blog with my thoughts about living life better, healthier, fit and happy.  That’s exactly what this inspirational woman was asking me though. And so here I am, happier than I can express, to actually be a part of her virtual space.

So for my inaugural weigh in, I thought I’d start with a simple, yet all-powerful insight that I bring to everything I do in my work counseling folks “in the living room,” coaching athletes and fitness enthusiasts “in the locker room,” and building executive prowess and organizational effectiveness “in the board room.”

Here it is, so repeat after me: the link is what you think.  I’ll say it again: the link is what you think.  Write it down in this box and look at it the next time you are in traffic, have a run-in with your boss, look at your bank account (if you have one), weigh yourself, or wake in the morning and wonder what the heck you did the night before. The link is what  you think, it’s not—NOT—the external event.

This box is my secret to happiness, so I suggest you study it carefully.  See the numbers? They mean something.

Position #1 is filled with all of the situations, events, people, places, and events that actually happen to you in life.  Position #2 is filled with your thoughts ABOUT those events. These thoughts lead directly to, and fully create, what’s in position #3, your feelings (some variant of anger, sadness and worry on the negative side of the emotional spectrum). Finally, position #4 is filled with your reactions/behaviors to the feelings you created within yourself by what you thought in position #2—not the event itself, in position #1. We never go from an event to an emotion without thinking about the event first. It’d be like cutting off your head to think an event “made you” or “got you” upset.

Here’s the important thing:  unless and until you THINK ABOUT events, you won’t have any – any – feelings or emotions about events. Do you think if someone shouts, “boo,” while you are in a coma, you’d feel fear? No, you wouldn’t because you wouldn’t be thinking anything about that event.

Have someone shout “boo” while you are home alone having been told there is a prowler in the neighborhood, and your position #2 may be filled with thoughts that something terrible was about to happen to you. Position #3 would be filled with fear. At position #4 you’d quickly get a baseball bat and call the police. See? The link is what you think, not the actual event.  Tell yourself (at position #2) that you know it’s just your roommate playing games with you and instead of fear, you might just smile and feel happy (at position #3). At position #4 you might leap off your chair and warmly greet your jokester roommate. See? The link is what you think, not the actual event.

I suggest you do this exercise frequently and see how quickly you learn that you are in total control of your emotions, you are never, ever, “made to” feel something, and you never “get” angry, upset or worried—you create it yourself. How?

The link is what you think.