Back in 1990 a gentleman by the name of Richard Metzger and his team of researchers published a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology entitled "Worry Changes Decision Making. The Effects of Negative Thoughts In Cognitive Processing."
Quickly recapping, what they found was that as a person's
anxiety and worry went up their intelligence went down. Richard Metzger's group observed that when people became fixated on worry and failure their performance drastically dropped and they produced more of the undesired result they didn't want.
Combine that with the alarming statistics from numerous studies that show the average person talks to him or herself upwards of 50,000 times per day with a staggering 80 percent of those thoughts being negative, meaning we can really inhibit our ability to succeed just by the thoughts we put in our head.
So what are you thinking about/worrying about and how is it impacting you?
Read this short story: Nick Sitzman was a strong, healthy, and ambitious young railroad yardman. He had a reputation as a diligent hard worker and had a loving wife and two children and many friends.
One midsummer day, the train crews were informed they could quit an hour early in honor of the foreman's birthday. While performing one last check on some of the railroad cars, Nick was accidentally locked in a refrigerator boxcar. When he realized that the rest of the workmen had left the site, Nick began to panic.
He banged and shouted until his fists were bloody and his voice was hoarse, but no one heard him. With his knowledge of "the numbers and the facts," he predicted the temperature to be zero degrees. Nick's thought was "If I can't get out, I'll freeze to death in here." Wanting to let his wife and family know exactly what had happened to him, Nick found a knife and began to etch words on the wooden floor. He wrote, "It's so cold, my body is getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words."
The next morning, the crew slid open the heavy doors of the boxcar and found Nick dead. An autopsy revealed that every physical sign of his body indicated he had frozen to death. And yet the refrigeration unit of the car was inoperative, and the temperature inside indicated 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Nick had killed himself by the power of his own thoughts.
But thankfully Richard Metzger and his research team continued on and found something else in their study. They observed that when the same test subjects, the ones who were filled with worry and were fixed on failure and performed poorly on the test, were guided to relax and reduce their state of anxiety their abilities, their performance and their outcomes went up and they produced
more of what they "DID WANT!"
Once again, proving that the secret, which really isn't a secret, is that You Do Get More Of What You Think About.
Want to learn more? Attend my next upcoming class "Communicate for Success" How you talk to yourself will make all the difference in "YOUR" world.
1. Richard Metzger, et al. Worry changes decision making. The effects of negative thoughts on cognitive processing. Journal of Clinical Psychology Vol 46, No 1 pg 78-88.
2. The speaker's Sourcebook, by Glen Van Ekeren (Englewood-Cliffs. N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1988).