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Dear Project Manager: What Have You Done With Your Thoughts Today?
By Phil de Kock

From the previous article the importance of thoughts is clear. Also the tendency of ones thoughts to direct our thinking rather than the other way round, and often (if not always) being the cause of negative thinking patterns. It could reasonably be assumed that our upbringing, schooling and later education often reinforce negative thinking patterns with devastating effects on our self image, and mental wellbeing. Our interactions with others, as well as the institutions in society are based on the premise that non conformance will result in some form of punishment (often very subtle). As a consequence are fear and guilt more than often the drivers of our thoughts. For example, in my own cultural grouping being wealthy is frowned upon, often to the extent that worldly success is kept secret, and certainly not talked about. Think for a moment what this does to one’s thinking pattern’s.

Notwithstanding, we have to accept that we are the owners of our thoughts and that we can manage them. Increasingly evidence are coming to the fore indicating that our external circumstances are a reflection of the internal state of our thinking. This makes it all the more important to manage our thought processes effectively. Here are some tips for doing this:

Self awareness – notice your thinking patterns and specifically negative ones. By identifying it you have the battle halfway won to managing your thoughts;
Responsibility – take ownership of your thoughts, and isolate the negative one’s. By identifying them and being aware of the effect they have on your mental well being you create an environment that is conducive to optimal thought management;
Replacement – consciously replace your negative thoughts with positive one’s and reinforce these through your sensory sub modalities. Humans are the only species with the ability to do this, thus to think about our thinking and to so to speak “change our minds”. Some examples of how to reinforce positive thoughts include:

  • Relaxing and enjoying the new thoughts;
  • Thinking about the sounds, the colors, and even tastes that goes with that thought and which make it ultra enjoyable.
  • Reflection – become aware and celebrate the extent to which new (positive) thought patterns manifest in your world. In the word of the old saying “things don’t change, we change”

Phil de Kock is an organization and management consultant with a career span of more than 20 years in several disciplines, including finance and admin, quality, project management as well as human and organization development.

His career development from a very junior level as a finance cashier to managing partner of a medium sized consulting firm is backed by sound growth and development at an academic level. Philip consequently has obtained a masters degree in people and organization development and is currently reading for his PhD. He is the co author of several publications and received awards for his post graduate academic achievements.

In addition to being visiting lecturer in project management he also trained more than 250 students in the relevant discipline during 2006/7. In addition, he published about and presented public courses dealing with ROI of Training, HR Scorecards, and Metrics as well as Job and Competency Profiling.

He consulted to various companies, including Namdeb (De Beers Namibia), Deb Marine, Anglo Base Metals (Skorpion Zinc) as well as public sector organization such as the Health Professions and Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council. His most recent work include lecturing on project management, leadership and Human Resources Management at the institutions that include the Centre for Learning, Training and Development (WITS University), Varsity College (ADVTECH Group Ltd) and Global Business School.

Phil runs a professional project management blog: Project Management For The Rest of Us.

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