American motivational speaker and best-selling author, Byron Katie created a framework called, The Work to help overcome limiting thoughts. The Work is a simple and powerful process of inquiry that teaches you to identify and question the beliefs that cause you suffering.
Katie asserts that many of our thoughts cause stress and suffering. Once we shine a light on them, we have more freedom and control. Doing the work can decrease anxiety and depression, improve relationships and increase mental clarity and energy
The Work involves four steps:
- When you have a limited thought ask, Is this true and can I know that it’s true? Can I prove it?
- Who do I become when I believe that thought is real?
- What does my life look like when I believe this is true? How does it limit me?
- Who would I be if I didn’t have this belief?
After making this inquiry, rewrite limiting beliefs to more positive, expansive ones. Called Turnaround Statements, use statements like, I am willing to, and I look forward to...
Until you can see the enemy as a friend, the Work is not done. Further inquiry and repeated focus are often necessary to cement in more positive mindsets.
Stress compounds when we argue with reality. Katie says this need to be right is your ego speaking, and it drives most stress. The ego is also in charge when someone has an alternate point of view, and you instinctively rally against it.
Questioning your own beliefs is where freedom unfolds. Using the Four Questions in The Work above is the first steps to self-inquiry.
As a funny motivational speaker, I suggest audiences use humor to deal with upsetting emotions and thrive under stress. However, more in-depth work is usually necessary. Just laughing at your pressure will make it easier to handle but it doesn't go away. I find the four questions above an excellent way to better understand limiting thoughts and beliefs.