Reflections at 40 – Action – 38/40

To celebrate turning 40, I’ve challenged myself to blog for each of the 40 days leading into my birthday. This is post number 38. You can read all the posts here.

My friend Brooke has a terrible voice in her head. She calls it her inner-mean-girl and that voice sounds like this:

You’re a bit shit.

No one likes you.

Who do you think you are?

No one likes the stuff you’re doing.

You’re completely full of it.

Round and round, on high rotation goes that voice.

I hate that Brooke has this voice.

I frequently want to punch it in the face.

(Sidenote: It was suggested to me recently that perhaps treating that voice with compassion rather than violence might be a better approach. Yeah, ok. Point taken.)

Anyway, the point I want to make is this. Despite having this voice whispering these vile thoughts in her head, Brooke has achieved a lot.

  • She’s a respected global voice on the topic of slow living.
  • Her podcast has been listened to by millions of people.
  • She’s written two books.

And the reason she’s been able to do these things is because she knows negative thoughts do not preclude positive action.

Or, as my psychologist friend Ellen would say, Take action for the win!

I’ve put this to good use in my life too.

Despite the voices thrown up by the social anxiety of my shyness, I still manage to hold functional conversations with people. I still manage to connect in a meaningful way.

By choosing action.

By choosing to say to the voices in my head, ‘Yes, I see you there, but, look, I’m going to do this thing anyway.’

Indeed, one of the most powerful things I’ve come to understand in 40 years is this:

Who we are and how we’re regarded is not the sum of our thoughts.

It’s the sum of our actions.


Image Credit: Isaac Wendland


Comments 7

  1. Hi Kelly. I love this. I found the last two pars extremely empowering. I listen to your S&C podcast on my morning walks and read many of your blog posts. Sorry I don’t often get a chance to comment but this one resonated so much I just had to stop and let you know. Thank you.

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      I’m so glad you liked it Shauna. It’s honestly one of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned over the years. It’s allowed me to stop wasting time trying to make the thoughts ‘stop’ and instead just get on with doing what I want to do!

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  2. It’s so true, we are not our thoughts. I have this thing I do where I imagine I’m a bus and some thoughts just aren’t allowed to drive. Some I tell to sit down the back and some are allowed to help read the map. But always I am the driver and so have the final say.
    Now I’m sounding completely weird.
    Cheers Kate

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  3. I think I first read or heard the idea from maybe Elizabeth Gilbert I’m not sure now, but that’s what it has evolved into.

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