Keep your thoughts in check

According to several studies, we have over 6,000 thoughts every day.

Eighty percent of them are negative, and 95% of them are repetitive.

Let that sink in. Ninety-five percent of the thoughts you will have today are thoughts you had yesterday, and the vast majority will be negative.

It sheds new light on the expression “How you handle any day is how you handle every day.” Or this other one: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”

I can’t think of a better proof that we are creatures of habit, and that good habits matter. As Will Durant wrote when discussing Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

The ethical leader will be aware of her propensity to have negative thoughts over and over again. She will be aware of this tendency in others. She will work to replace those thoughts with more positive ones, in herself and in others. More importantly, she will not tolerate a single instance of bad behavior, knowing that actions follow thoughts, and are thus likely to be repeated the next day if unaddressed.

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