Useful thinking


5 tips for adopting a simple shift in thinking to triumph when times are tough.

Life is complicated. In fact, it’s more complicated than ever with everything that society is going through with COVID-19, to the lack of uncertainty of what life will look like coming out the other side. It is now more important than ever to think usefully.

Here are five tips to help you do exactly that.

Positive thinking doesn’t really work, useful thinking does.

1. Typical motivation speakers tell us to be positive. Our parents told us to try and be positive. Our teachers told us to be positive. Well, here we go. Idea number one. Positive thinking doesn’t really work.

I don’t teach positive thinking. I teach this word… useful. Because with everything that is happening, if you have been in a rut the last six days, six weeks, or six months it’s not positive thinking that’s going to get you out of it. It’s useful thinking.

If you are feeling like you are at ground zero in your life, the question is not how can you be positive, but rather what is the most useful thing for you to do to get from zero to two? What is the most useful action for you to take in your life to get from two to five? What about to get from five to eight? To progress, the question is also what is the most useful thing for you to believe about your reality. This thinking leads you to discover what is really important and helps get you through this situation.

Times are tough, if you let them be.

2. Some people would rather subscribe to tough times.

These are tough times. These are unprecedented challenging times. Some people love to be unhappy and want to stay that way. If this is you, I do have some good news for you. You will have a lot of friends.

You will probably have minimal personal success from here, but on the plus side you will have lots of people to discuss the seriousness of these tough times. Misery does in fact love company.

Gratitude leads to greater things.

3. Let me ask you, do you spend most of your time thinking about all the things that are wrong or all the things that you have going for you?

Do you think about all the things you don’t have, or do you think about all the things you have?

Actually, forget all the things you have. Some people right now may not feel that they have that much. That’s actually not what is really important. Instead, do you think about all the things you don’t have or do you think about all the opportunities that could be coming? That’s what really matters. It opens your mind to possibility.

Your body reflects your mind.

4. There is something that helps us called the Mind-Body loop. Useful beliefs affect the thoughts that you have in your mind and it changes your perception of how you view the world.

Those thought patterns and beliefs, in turn, influence your body movement. By the same token, how you move your body affects what you think about.

What the mind harbours, the body will manifest. Healthy people have better posture than sad people. Successful people have better posture than people who feel they are failing.

If you watch someone with excellent posture, you’ll notice that their body language conveys that they are alert and awake. When the body is alert and awake, the mind is alert and awake too.

The first words we say every day.

5. It is even amazing when we look at the words we say to ourselves first thing in the morning to start our day. Do we use words that get us excited for the gift of a new day? Or do we use words that tell us what a grind today is going to be? The most important words we say all day are the words we say to ourselves, about ourselves when we are alone by ourselves. Most people are cruel in those moments.

Be nice. Be the best version of you.

Chris Helder is one of the world’s most outstanding speakers on the topic of communication, leadership and influence. He is the author of the newly released book The Simple Shift as well as the best-selling Useful Belief, Cut the Noise and The Ultimate Book of Influence.

Find out more at

Peninsula Kids – Winter 2020


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