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Empowering Thoughts Only

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read

Building a one-person enterprise is hard.

You have to handle clients’ work. You also have to take care of marketing, accounting, invoicing. Well, you get my point.

Some of you are building your "personal brand" on social media. Others are hoping to crush it on YouTube.

But with limited time and resources, when results from these efforts do not match expectations, you start having that inner chatter:

These are negative thoughts that intensify stress, worry, anger or frustration. These are thoughts that you absolutely do not need.


Disciplined thoughts

Starting this year, my therapist told me to "wise up" by disciplining my thoughts. Okay, she didn't use those words. But that's essentially what she meant.

Step 1: Acknowledge it. Attempting to silent the inner chatter is like trying to prevent from ever falling sick. Don't do it. You may succeed for a while but then the inevitable will happen.

Instead, acknowledge it: "I'm starting to think negative thoughts! Hey there, negative thoughts!"

Step 2: Neutralize it. The next step is to neutralize the thought. I kinda prefer "nuke-tralize".

Without neutralizing a thought, it usually leads us down the path of self-critical thoughts.

For example, when you didn’t achieve a goal the first time, you may start thinking:

  • Shit! Another failed goal!
  • I'm such a loser. I can't do anything right!
  • I'm never going to achieve my goal!

Instead of going down that path, neutralize (or nuke-tralize) your thoughts by writing down your thoughts. When you write them down, you begin the process of gaining control of your thoughts, rather than letting them control you.

Which, to be honest, resonates with me since I'm a control freak.

Step 3: Empower yourself. The final step is to replace those (nuke-tralized) thoughts with empowering ones. Those thoughts you wrote down in Step 2 can often be categorized into three areas:

  1. Focusing on the negative,
  2. Overgeneralizing, and
  3. Catastrophic thinking.

For each negative thought above, replace it with an empowering one:

  • Only those who have never tried anything never fail. Grow up and find another way!
  • When was the last time you got something right the first time? Keep finding other ways to achieve your goal!
  • You'll certainly never achieve it when you quit. Winners don't quit. Ever.

Choose your thoughts wisely

Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, has this to say (and he's probably right since he thought and grew rich, right?):

Self-discipline begins with the mastery of your thoughts.

I know. Replacing negative thoughts with empowering ones is hard. But so is building a one-person enterprise.

There are two types of people in this world:

  • Those that see the good in every situation
  • Those that see the bad in every situation

You’re probably thinking, “which dumb-ass would see the bad in every situation?

Well, I was once that dumb-ass.

Question is, are you still one?

Melvyn Tan

Over the last 19 years, I've built a badass one-person enterprise that allowed me to live life on my terms. Here, I write weekly about what I'm thinking and doing running my one-person enterprise.