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

I have a friend and associate who have a wonderful question about thoughts – ‘what have your thoughts done with you today?” Have they served you, your goals, passions and ambitions – or have they taken you to self talk and memories that bring sadness, invoke fear, anxiety and guilt feelings that are negative or even self destructive.

To understand its impact on our perceptions, and experience of life, it is necessary to reflect on what thoughts constitute. While many definitions are available a practical and also reasonably accurate way to describe it is to indicate that thoughts are essentially a culmination of our subjective perception, and manifest, so to speak in our mind as sounds, visions, kinesthetic sensations.

Thus, our sensory modalities assist us in the process of bringing forth thoughts. In addition do these sounds, visions etc also have specific characteristics that provide special quality to our thoughts. For example, if we love chocolate cake, then our thinking (depending on certain conditions)vprobably makes the internal visual representation vivid, while from a gustatory point of view we also have an intense sensation (how many times have we said I can taste that….)

A further aspect is that these thoughts have emotional content, and again it is represented by these sensory modalities. In the book The Descartes Error, the author highlight that no thought is possible without emotion. So the essential message is that if one allows your thoughts to take you anywhere (like a spoilt child) then you should expect that the outcomes would be anything and not always what one wants. After all, although we live and interact in a world of spaces and places (except for the virtual world) our experience of that world is internal – we do not see things out there, we see them in here (in our minds eye). Thus, our reality is created and reinforced by the thoughts we allow… So again the question… What have your thoughts done with you today?

“What we think, we become.” – Buddha

“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” – Lewis Carol

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.” – Peace Pilgrim

“A man is what he thinks about all day long.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Note: Acknowledgement to Heine W for the basic premise.

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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