3 Simple Phrases to Transform Your Thinking

By Andrew Walton

May 14, 2014   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

It was an ordinary sunny afternoon in June, completely unremarkable in every way, except for the fact that I had just locked myself in the bathroom and refused to come out.

Because I was sick. I was sick of having spent the last 2.5 years unable to talk and of the repetitive strain injury that had beleaguered me for the last 7. So I wasn’t coming out until I had a solution.

I had to find something that had eluded all the doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, and a host of other specialists to numerous to count.

And to do that, I had to turn to the one resource I hadn’t plumbed the depths of…

How To Run Your Mind

We can change our lives in two ways: change our experiences, and change how we perceive our experiences. I’d pushed the first strategy to the limit, so now it was time to try a different tact.

As it turns out, the things we say to ourselves are often just as important as the things we do when it comes to the quality of our experience in life. I’ve talked every day since that anonymous day in June 2013, and it’s because I fixed my mind, not my body. Here are the most important things I said:

#1 I am here:

The present is the only place where we can experience joy and contentment, and it’s the only place from which we can take the actions that shape our futures. When we are constantly trying to be elsewhere – living in the past or chasing the future, we rob ourselves of the chance to be happy now.

This tendency to want to be “somewhere else”, this implicit dissatisfaction with where we are now, cannot be escaped by pursuing pleasure. We can only end this cycle of pain and frustration by ceasing to fight this fight, by stopping and saying “I am here…and that’s okay.”

When we make peace with the present, we give ourselves the space to take a step in the direction we want, and ironically, this is how we can actually change the future without sacrificing our present happiness.

#2 I don’t know:

We tend to be uncomfortable with uncertainty, and as a result we look to create as much certainty in our lives as possible.

This usually means holding onto things so they can’t escape our lives – and this is particularly true for our ideas about the world and the way it works.

But this attitude prevents us from being open to new ideas and new growth as individuals. We end up trapped believing whatever is comfortable to believe, not what’s true.

By adopting the humble position “I don’t know”, we not only open ourselves back up to the possibility of alternative ways to see the world, but we make it acceptable for ourselves to be unsure.

#3 Life is easy:

Society puts a ton of pressure on us to become a particular type of person – a success. Whatever that means to each of us, the pressure to succeed often makes life a challenge, and we wind up feeling tired, frustrated, dissatisfied — that life is difficult.

But what if life were easy? If we believed that then suddenly pressure, obstacles, and setbacks would become opportunities. The things that make us procrastinate would engage us. We would flow effortlessly from one task to the next instead of fearfully attempting to wrestle a wild schedule to the ground.

And when life is easy, it’s also fun. We get to be more creative, have a greater sense of control, and feel more fulfilled.


These phrases, given enough practice and patience, can help solve the problems we feel are impossible. They can empower us to improve our lives by making different choices, or by opening up new opportunities for change that we never realized existed. So try them out and let us know how they work for you in the comments section below.

Andrew Walton

AJ Walton left home to travel the world in an effort to understand what makes us tick. He blogs at AJWalton.com

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