Planting and Watering Dominant Thoughts

The old saying goes…”You are what you think”, and you could say that another way “You do what you think”. So, you have more influence with others if you can influence what they think, and have them thinking about that more often too. Get others thinking about it all the time and you have created a Dominant Thought.

Success leaders understand the power of planting dominant thoughts in their people and then continuing watering them by reinforcing those thoughts in all their communications and interactions. However, why is planting and watering dominant thoughts so important and why are they so powerful?

First, let’s talk about the sub-conscious mind…

It’s the mind that never sleeps.

Here’s a key question? What percentage of your habits and behaviors (what you do every day) is driven by your conscious mind? When I ask this question in my leadership sessions, I hear guesses ranging from 10% to 80%.

What if I said that between 2-4% (*) of what you do every day (your habits and behaviors) is driven by your conscious mind (what you consciously do)…would you believe it?

It’s true, and I will prove it to you with just one question: Can you tell me your next thought? You can’t, because it just pops into your head…from your sub-conscious mind. So, that means that 96-98% of what you do each day is driven by your sub-conscious mind!

Second, why is the sub-conscious mind so powerful….

To illustrate this, I will give you a couple examples.

If you have children, think back to when you or your partner was pregnant, and in the middle of the pregnancy with your first child. When you went out of the house back then, did you see more baby buggies as you walked your neighborhood? Yes, and over your breakfast each morning did you tell your partner “Let’s go look for baby buggies today?”. No, right? You see, you were always thinking about the baby (a dominant thought), and a thought with lots of emotion attached to it, so your sub-conscious mind kept pointing out everything connected with that thought…the baby buggies. Now, that’s powerful.

The same happens when you buy a new car. Don’t you suddenly see more of the same type of car you now have and even the same color. You might be saying to yourself…”Damn…I thought I had a unique car, and everyone has it!” The same number of these cars were on the road six months before, but you never noticed them, did you?

You see that a dominant thought (with lots of emotion attached to it) will drive what you see in your life.

Now, and Third, Why should you be planting and watering..

If what your people see and do is based on what they are thinking, then influencing what they are thinking will influence the opportunities they see and what they will do with those opportunities.

The best leaders focus all their communications and interactions on planting dominant thoughts in their people and watering them to keep those thoughts strong. You see the power in this when leaders continually share the direction, and then keep reinforcing it with stories and examples that bring the direction alive in their people’s minds. The stories and examples are adding emotion to the direction and sort of amplifying the dominant thought in everyone’s mind. When your people have the direction as a dominant thought, they will see opportunities to take more action on that direction, just as you saw all those baby buggies and cars in the examples above.

Are you focused on planting and watering dominant thoughts in your people?

If you aren’t, you are missing the influence you could have on what your people do and what they could achieve within your organization. Your people will see more opportunities, take more action on those opportunities, and achieve more too on the dominant thoughts you plant and water.

From today…

Determine the dominant thoughts you should be planting and watering, and start planting and watering from today…then focus on continually sharing stories and examples within all your communications and interactions to keep the dominants thoughts strong and full of emotion.

(*) from the book The Answer by John Assaraf and Murray Smith

Mark Fritz is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, mentor, and professor, and has spoken in more than 50 countries worldwide. He is the author of the new Daily Thoughts Collections (Volume 1), The Truth about Getting Things Done, and Lead & Influence: Get More Ownership, Commitment, and Achievement from Your Team.

Connect with Mark on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

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1 Comment

    • Conor Neill

      Reminds me of the american indian story of the 2 wolves… within each of us lives a good wolf and a bad wolf… which one wins? The one you feed.

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