The Big Idea
Use the bad for good.
Questions I Answer
- What are the 3 different kinds of thoughts my brain has?
- How can I change my thinking?
- What if only negative things have happened to me?
- How do I find the good in the bad things that have happened?
Key Topics in the Show
How to use negative feedback as fuel for success
Types of thinking
What is a negative thought loop?
How to break out of a negative thought loop
Changing negative thoughts
Resources and Links
- Related Episodes:
This is The Intentional Advantage podcast with your host, Tanya Dalton, entrepreneur, best-selling author, nationally recognized productivity expert and a mom of two. On Season 16, Tanya is taking real to another level, sharing more of her story and opinions, and engaging in conscious conversations to start bringing more women together. Are you ready? Here’s your host, Tanya Dalton.
Hello. Hello, everyone. Welcome to The Intentional Advantage podcast. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is Episode 199–the very last episode of the 100s, which is crazy. Next week is Episode 200, which is so exciting. And speaking of exciting, this season has been an exciting one. I have loved y’all’s reactions about this season and the topics that we’re talking about with Conscious Conversations.
Now, if you remember back in Episode 196, which was our first episode of the season, I said that one of the reasons why I wanted to do this soapbox season is because I’ve reached my limit on the tension and the negativity that’s been brewing in our world. And I’ve been hearing from a lot of you that you’re feeling the same way.
And I mean, I’m seeing it all over the place, even in my mailbox. I mean, I live in a swing state. I live in North Carolina and my mailbox every day has about an inch-thick pile of mail every single day that’s postcards that are completely negative accusations. Finger-pointing, dehumanizing other candidates. None of it is about what anyone stands for or how they want to help or anything good.
It’s just nastiness and negativity. I mean, it was exhausting going to the mailbox and, side note here, I really believe that if we took the amount of money that campaigns spend on sending these negative postcards, we probably could have poured millions of dollars into a problem that really affects people directly. You know, childhood hunger, inequalities in education, medical access for people who need it; about a thousand other places we could have spent that money.
But instead, the mailbox has been filled with just rants and garbage. And we hear negativity in other places too. We see it on the media, on social media feeds. We notice it in conversations around us, and that ends up affecting how we view the world. We are directly affected by the negativity around us. And I’m not just talking politically, I’m talking socially too.
I mean, have you read the comment strings on articles or posts anymore? Don’t. Just, don’t. Avoid it because it’s filled with people taking out their frustrations on
1 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
other people. It’s like, we’ve reached this boiling point where that’s all that’s around us anymore is this negativity. And I think it’s because people feel so frustrated. And so they’re kicking the dog.
That’s where they take their frustrations out. They’re taking it out on other people because they don’t feel like they have an outlet. I understand that. I totally get it. We’ve we’ve all done it. I mean, I know I’ve snapped at my husband because I’ve been irritated or we’ve gotten mad about something silly simply because we’re in a bad mood. But the problem is, is that people aren’t stopping to realize we’re just putting more negativity out there, so it continues to grow and grow and grow.
And it’s this vicious cycle. So I’ve been thinking a lot about this because there has been a lot more negativity lately. Even though we can’t totally get rid of our own negative thinking or those that come from other people, who says that we can’t change things just a little bit?
Who says that we can’t become a catalyst for change? In our lives and in the interactions that we have with other people, can we find a way to handle it all a little bit better than what we have been so that we can make things feel good overall? I mean, is that possible? Isn’t that the point, after all; I mean for life?
Right? It’s about learning how we grow and rolling with the changes that come our way so we can become better people and build better, more meaningful lives so that we can truly leave a big impact, the impact that we want to make on the world. So to me, when it comes down to is this 2020 has been a shit show of a year.
I mean, there’s no arguing that I don’t think it’s been kind to any single one of us. Right? And frankly, the year isn’t even over. I know I feel this way, but I’ve heard other people say that they can’t wait to flip that calendar over to a fresh new year. And it’s okay to feel that way. We all are feeling that way.
To some extent, it’s okay to have those thoughts and feelings. It’s okay to feel negative and to let those playthrough. But let me tell you this, it’s not okay when those negative thoughts and feelings become troublesome, or worse, just constant. When they become these incessant thoughts, that’s when we start to feel all the tension building and that’s when we disconnect; that’s when we stop truly connecting with other people, and that’s when we stop realizing we actually have the ability to significantly change our ways for the better.
I think negativity becomes the default. It becomes this routine way of thinking. And I want to take a second just to clarify what we’re talking about here because what I’m not talking about is clinical depression. I want to make that crystal clear. I’m talking 2 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
about creating that negative spiral for yourself through your thoughts. That’s what we’re talking about today.
If you’re depressed, it is so important to seek professional help from a therapist. And I’ll be honest here, I think everybody benefits from going to counseling. I think everybody should go to counseling–everyone–because it truly does help. But for these negative downward spirals of thought, here’s the thing: We have the power to make any situation feel better and easier to navigate.
We have the power to change and alter our negative thoughts and feelings and turn them around. We really do. And not only that, we’re capable of doing the same thing with the negative thoughts and feelings from other people as well. I mean, right there, finding ways to take the negative thoughts we have or the flak that we get from other people and use it to our advantage. That sounds pretty good to me. Doesn’t it?
I mean, there’s a lot of negativity around. How can we use that as fuel? How can we use that as a way to push us toward the life we really want? And if we’re being honest here, it reminds me of the advice my coach gave me; the advice I shared a couple of episodes back on the show, I think it was on 196, where she told me, “You’re going to get hate mail. You might as well earn it.” And I’ve kind of embraced that idea. I love the way that sounds, so let’s own it together.
What do you think? Here’s the thing: When I shared that advice several weeks ago, I did have a few people comment, which was great. They reached out to have a conversation because they didn’t agree with me and they thought it’s maybe inviting negativity. So I thought what might be good here is to take a minute to share with you in case you’re feeling the same way.
What I said in my conversations with them is this: to me, it is not about inviting the negative; the negative is already there. I’m already going to receive negative emails or comments, so I’m choosing to acknowledge that they’re there. And then I’m choosing not to allow that to hold me back. A lot of successful people will tell you if you don’t have haters, you’re not making waves. And I definitely buy into that.
When you encourage people like I do to step outside of the norm, maybe go counter to the status quo, to stand true to who you are, you’re going to ruffle some feathers and people don’t like their feathers ruffled. So they snap back when they see you stepping out of line. And especially if they see you telling other people to step out of line too.
3 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
Because tapping into that power that we all share – because we all have the ability to turn our thoughts around . . . When we take that power of taking negative energy that we’ve been dealing with, maybe over the course of a few months or the course of a whole year, or let’s be honest here, maybe the course of an entire lifetime, it’s really important.
That’s what I mean by embracing this hate mail by just earning it. If you’re going to get flak, if you’re going to get grief from other people, do it for things that have meaning for you. It’s going to happen anyway, so you might as well own your actions. So I want to circle back to this topic a little bit more later on in the episode, but before we get too deep into that, I want us to first understand the different kinds of thoughts that we have; there are different types that we have, and how we can turn those around . . .
We know that energy cannot be destroyed; that is a scientific fact. But it can be transformed and it can be transmuted. And truly whether you realize it or not, there are ways to pivot around negativity and you do have the power to use other’s negativity as fuel for your own success.
It’s just a matter of how, and it’s like I’ve been saying, it’s all about how we think. Once again, it comes down to that. Now getting into the nitty-gritty of our own negative thinking, it’s not easy work to do. Let’s be honest. But it’s not impossible either. There are actually three types of thoughts that our brain produces and all three happen in three different areas of the brain.
The first type of thoughts that we have are called insightful thoughts. So these are primarily used for problem-solving and long-range planning. When you, for example, sit down to map out your goals for next year, you’ll be tapping into your insightful thought process. Okay?
So then the second type of thoughts are called experiential. These are thoughts that come up when we’re doing our deep work; when we’re really focused-in on the task at hand. And this is what we tap into when we engage with our different senses, such as our sight, our ability to touch, smell, hear, and taste. Those are experiential thoughts. So both experiential and insightful thinking is crucial in navigating the real world that we live in.
But then we got our third type of thinking, which is on the other side of the coin. This is incessant thinking. Incessant thinking is the useless chatter that happens in the background of your brain. You know what I’m talking about, all those extra noises, all the extra thoughts that are happening while everything else is unfolding in our brain. It’s this inner narrator, your inner monologue that you might call it, that just 4 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
keeps yammering away, on and on and on, kind of like a really bad seatmate on a cross-country flight.
Have you ever done that? Where you sit down, you’re getting on a long flight and you sit down and the person just launches into a conversation and talks and talks and talks and talks and talks until you finally put your headphones on to kind of signal, like, I don’t want to have a conversation. That’s the same thing here. Only you can’t put your headphones on because it’s yammering on in your brain.
So this is where we commonly run into our problems when it comes to our thinking patterns; it’s this incessant thinking because when we engage in this constant chatter, our attention gets diverted away. It’s taking our focus away from something meaningful, something that we’re wanting to work on, and shifting it to some maybe real, but maybe imaginary pain, possibly a recent grudge or a long-term frustration; something that we’re clinging to. It’s this incessant chatter.
And to be successful, we need to be able to distinguish between what’s working for us and what’s working against us. Sometimes it’s our own thoughts that are sabotaging us. So while we have insightful thinking and experiential thinking, those are designed to really work for us; the complete opposite is true when it comes to this incessant thinking, and this is where we sometimes can fall into a problem.
We don’t really need the constant, endless chatter that it brings into our daily life. Kind of like, we don’t really need that seatmate next to us on the plane to talk non-stop, we don’t need this constant reel of negativity going on in our heads.
And that’s where the problem lies, with this chatter that’s happening in our world and in our brain when that is largely negative. Because what it’s doing is it’s getting you to worry about things that are yet to come. Or it belittles us; it disciplines us; it argues; it fights; it debates; it criticizes; it compares.
You know what I’m talking about there, right? And here’s the thing: it’s so busy talking, it never stops to take a breath. Day after day, we listen as it talks and talks and talks. And not only that but when we are triggered by an emotionally charged thought–which, come on, let’s be real, 2020 has been full of emotional ups and downs–it tends to stay in our minds for a long, long time.
So the trick of stopping our incessant thoughts before they turn into this cycle is to really disrupt them to stop that cycle. And we do this by switching to one of those other modes of thinking, experiential or insightful. When we interrupt this mindless thought pattern, we can break the shackles of the negative loop that our incessant
5 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
thinking has created. And that’s amazing news because the problem is not thinking, rather it’s thinking mindlessly with zero intention behind it.
When we allow our brain to just run wild in the hallways unchecked, that’s when we get into a little bit of trouble. So I want to explore some ways that we can interrupt our own negative thought patterns. And then I want to share some momentum builders that are going to help you use any negative feedback you get from other people, not as something to fixate on or to take personally, but as fuel to propel you forward instead. But first, let me hop off my soapbox just for a minute because it’s time for a quick break.
As I mentioned at the start of the show, this is Episode 199, which means next week is the big 200th episode, which I am so excited about. I have loved the last almost 200 weeks of getting to chat with you here on the podcast. So I wanted to do something extra special to celebrate, and I wanted to celebrate along with you. So I am giving away one 30 minute one-on-one session with me. We’ll hop on zoom, we’ll chat back and forth, have a conversation, talk about some of the things that maybe are issues or struggles for you, or what you need help with. And we’ll together create a solution.
I would love to coach you for free, so enter the giveaway. It’s really easy to do. All you need to do is film yourself in selfie-style one minute or less video sharing why you love intentional advantage podcast, or sharing something that you’ve learned on the podcast you’ve applied to your life or your business.
And then post it on Instagram, making sure to tag me and then share the video with me simply by going to Tanyadalton.com/200. All the details are there; if you need any more information, Tanyadalton.com/200. I truly would love to connect with you one on one in a 30-minute coaching call, and I would love to do it for free. So make sure to enter today.
All right, let’s get back to today’s episode because I want to talk about how you can break yourself out of that negative thought loop. That way you can start focusing on things that make you feel good and that help you do good as you move forward.
You see, these negative thought loops have three points to pay attention to. Adversity, belief, and consequence; those are the three points. I want to go through each of those really, really quickly.
The first one is adversity. So in other words, this occurs when something happens, some sort of unfavorable event . . . Maybe you get some complaints after your business make some changes, or maybe somebody sent you a nasty DM about 6 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
something you posted on social media. It happens. It’s happened to me. I know it’s happened quite a bit to me actually. So something happens to you and that’s the adversity.
And then we get to the next point, which is belief. And this essentially is a lie that our inner monologue creates and clings to based on what’s happened to you. And then the third point in this loop is consequence. This is the point that affects our behavior, all based on the beliefs that we’ve come to accept.
Adversity happens, we build a belief, and then there’s a consequence that comes from that. Let me give you an example of this. Actually, let’s talk about what we discussed last week on the show, because last week on the show, we talked about how John and I have this core argument in our marriage. So if take that core argument that I talked about, which is the lie that I’d been telling myself for years, that when I asked for what I want, I’m not going to get what I want.
Remember that from last week? All right. So let’s back it up and look at this loop. So we can see that a point of adversity for me was when I voiced my wish to have hamburgers for dinner on a Friday night, and somehow we ended up having pizza instead. So that was the adversity. I mean, let’s be honest, that’s not huge adversity, but this is just an example.
It stimulated a negative thought and that negative thought stuck with me. But what’s key here is that this incident, this point of adversity in my marriage, created an opportunity for my inner narrative to then create a story that when I ask for what I want, I’m not going to get it. This became the belief that I was telling myself over and over again. And that of course sparked some consequences that affected my mood and my behavior well past that Friday night of hamburgers and pizza, right?
I would find myself irritated with John when we’d have discussions about what one of us wanted, whether it was dinner or movies or buying a car or anything, and that irritation kept me stuck in a negative cycle that I couldn’t break out of until I truly started untangling my memories and doing some of the deep, personal work that I talked about doing this year. And again, hamburgers are just one example.
It’s a silly example of a fight, but it’s a symptom of a bigger problem. Hamburgers on Friday night is definitely not our biggest fight or argument, but it’s a micro example of a theme where I’d see this on a bigger scale. The story that I told myself wove itself into bigger arguments and discussions. And regardless of which example we use, the key point of any thought loop that occurs is between adversity and belief. So when we encounter adversity, this unfavorable event, the narrative that we create, that’s what drives our beliefs.
7 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
And here’s the thing: When we let incessant thinking drive that narrative in our mind, it’s almost always going to drift towards negativity. Our minds are wired that way. So the key to breaking away from our negative thoughts is to interrupt our minds before those false beliefs are formed. And there’s a really powerful way to do that. And it’s by switching to experiential thinking.
By focusing on our senses, our breath, sight, hearing, and so forth; when we do that, we can break away from those negative thoughts. And this is because it’s incredibly difficult for the mind to pass judgment on things it’s only meant to observe: what we see, what we hear, what we smell. It’s self-evaluating, and it just starts witnessing.
Consider for a moment what happens when you direct your attention to the outside world? You know, watching the way that the light touches different things in the room, focusing on the objects on your desk, or, you know, catching the smell of coffee percolating in the kitchen, thinking about how the ground feels underneath your feet. All of these are really simple observations that can take you out of a negative thought and adjust your focus and a more mindful or even positive way.
And essentially, these are just forms of meditation. We think of meditation as you know, sitting cross-legged with our fingers together, saying “ohm”, or whatever you imagine, but meditation is really just mindfulness. It’s taking a moment to notice your breath, to be present with where you are, and that’s what can disrupt your patterns. By taking control of how we think, we can create opportunities for our incessant negative thoughts to go away.
And that’s critical. Now I know that if I have an opportunity to make a few small tweaks when it comes to the way I think to stop feeling negative and instead start feeling positive, I’m going to do it. And I hope the same is true for you. And it really is as simple as stopping yourself in the moment when something bad or negative or just not-so-good happens, taking a few deep breaths, focusing on something else, and redirecting our brain. It sounds really easy. Doesn’t it?
And I know we covered a lot today. I don’t know about you, but all of this conversation about breaking away from negativity, not letting it control me is very freeing. That’s how I want you to feel. I want you to understand that you can choose and control your thoughts. Just because the rest of the world is negative, doesn’t mean you have to let that negativity seep inside of you and take hold of you. Okay?
So I have a few momentum builders to get you started. First, enter the Toast to 200 Giveaway. I would love to hop on a Zoom call with you, and we can talk about this
8 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
topic if you want to, or I could coach you through a struggle or frustration–anything you want to talk about one-on-one.
Here’s the truth about negativity from others: It’s inevitable. No matter how much good you put into the world, no matter how good you behave yourself–and I hope you know that there are some giant quotation marks around ‘behave yourself’, there will always be someone who is simply negative and won’t understand your special magic. And that’s okay.
But we can’t do that unless you enter. So, head to Tanyadalton.com/200, where you can enter and you can get all the details. All right? My second momentum builder is really built on this idea that we don’t have to take the negative feedback from everybody else and internalize it. So building off that idea we talked about earlier when we talked about that idea of owning your hate mail . . .
Instead of getting worked up about it, we can find ways to pivot away from the negative energy and use it as a catalyst to keep us moving forward. So here’s what I want you to do: Consider the idea that you’re actually doing things right. You’re maybe doing things just right. If you get flak from someone, whether it’s a DM or an email or wherever it comes from, I want you to flip it on its head and say, ‘Hey, maybe I’m getting this pushback because I’m actually doing something right.’
There are people out there in the world who just love to take other people down simply for the sheer thrill of it. So if you’re getting hate mail or naysayers or dream-killers or whatever it is you want to call them, I want you to really tap into the idea that it’s because you’ve reached a level of success and someone out there feels a little threatened by that. And it’s okay. If someone is triggered by what you do or how you live, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and how they’re feeling about their own choices.
Life is not about fitting in. It’s about being true to who you are and embracing yourself, imperfections and all. We belong; we don’t need to fit in. Just choose to be yourself; belong as you are, because you definitely, positively, absolutely, belong here.
So I want to encourage you to be able to see that you can sit through the noise in your head. You can be more mindful of your thinking, and you can use your own thoughts to break free of the negative cycles in the world. And that is when you know that you have the intentional advantage.
Want to have more conversations with Tanya and other like-minded women? Head to Tanyadalton.com/group to request an invitation to join Tanya’s free community! 9 of 9
© The Intentional Advantage
**This transcript was created using AI – excuse misspellings, typos and grammar errors.
Tanya Dalton is one of the best motivating female keynote speakers, she speaks to entrepreneurs, corporate audiences and women’s groups and organizations. Her topics include finding balance, goal setting, time management and productivity