Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thinking is out of the question

Don't ask why I was reading an article on baseball, I wasn't. What I was interested in was how many thoughts the average person has in a day. According to Jim Fannin, sports psychologist, two to three thousand -- and 60% of them are in chaos. New York Times, It's about finding a zone, not Zen for Rodriquez, Dave Anderson, April 2004

According to Fannin, the difference between the average person's thinking and a 'superstars' is what they eliminate. "The superstar has 1,100 to 1,300 thoughts a day," Fannin is reported as saying. "They eliminate worry, envy, jealousy, embarrassment and anger. The superstar thinks a lot less and holds a thought longer."

When my girlfriend N.R's daughter was about five she came to her mother with a very worried look on her face. "Mummy," she cried. "There's something wrong with me. My brain won't stop thinking."

I know how she feels.

To put it in perspective, according to Fannin, the average person has 2 to 3 thoughts per minute, though I'm having trouble figuring out how he came up with that number based on the 2 - 3,000 thoughts a day. Regardless, it's a whole bunch of thinking going on. Now, I'm not going to go into how many thoughts about sex men have in a minute but... needless to say, women think about 'stuff' way more than men!

And maybe that's part of the problem. If I'm always thinking about stuff (not sex) then I'm always creating chaos. If men are always, okay not always but a lot, thinking about sex, they've got less time for chaos in their thinking.

But it does make me curious. If I have to eliminate thoughts of worry, envy, jealousy, embarrassment and anger to be in the zone, what about thoughts of sex?

Or maybe, the thoughts about sex I have to eliminate are the one's based on worry, envy, jealous, embarrassment and anger!

High performance rodeo of the mind. Eliminate the negative thoughts -- keep the positive even if they're about sex.

Aldous Huxley said, “An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.”

So, does that make women more intellectual? The fact their thoughts aren't focused on sex as much?

I'm liking this. My thinking isn't the problem. In fact, my thinking is what makes me intellectual. Which goes to show, you can pretty well argue anything and make it fit your mindspace.

But, back to thinking. Or over-thinking as the case may be.

Last night C.C. and I had dinner with my eldest daughter. She is an amazing young woman. Beautiful. Intelligent. Heartfelt. She thinks about things, a lot. And in her thinking, sometimes gets stuck in believing everything she thinks is right.

And therein lies the problem.

Don't believe everything you think, I told her.

I once thought a man I loved would never hurt me. I thought his motivations were the same. His goals parallel. His values intrinsically sound. I was wrong. In my thinking, I thought my way into a pile of gooey, sticky horse manure. The chaos of my thinking led me astray.

Like Fannin's superstars, the objective is to quiet my thinking. To focus my mind on what creates value in my life and to eliminate the chaos that distracts me from living the life of my dreams.

Meditation helps.

Writing focuses me.

Breathing deeply quiets me.

My mind is a tool. A powerful one. It does not control me. I have the power to control it -- which means, I have the power to control my thinking. I have the ability to focus my thinking into a laser beam of brilliant light that illuminates my path, casting chaos into the shadows. The mind is a muscle. It's up to me to 'use it or lose it'.

I may not be a superstar tennis player or a high performance race car driver. I do, however, share core attributes of the superstar -- I am human. A complex being of many thoughts -- all of which I can control so that I can be and live my wildest dreams come true.

The question is: What on earth are you thinking? Are you breathing, slowing down the rate of information spinning through your mind so that you can connect into your 'zone' and reach your highest thinking?


Anonymous said...

yes, we think about it all the time! which actually compresses the time available for all the other thinking so we often don't deliberate long enough because there is not enough time. Looking back, I think our priorities are right, I just wish I'd starting 'thinking' a lot sooner

nice 'thoughtful' piece . . keep thinking Louise


CZBZ said...


I've been thinking A LOT about thinking A LOT which makes me think I overthink most of the time which I don't think is healthy thinking at all, but more like Stinkin' Thinkin'.

Did you know my house reflects the chaos of my thinking? I noticed this one day while searching for a 'thought' I just knew was in a brain-file somewhere. I couldn't find it of course, because there were enormous piles of information blocking a clean path to that 'thought'. Finally, I gave up in desperation and started organizing my house.

I've struggled a lot with obsessive thinking post-narcissist. There was so much I didn't know that I started filling my head with more information than a human being could organize! But now I'm learning to eliminate the rubbish and keep the good stuff instead of recycling worn-out thoughts over and over and over again.