If you’ve been a Thought Partner for some time now, you’ve either seen or have read about my awesome (now) 8-year old son. Not because I’m one of those helicopter moms who think their kid is the most exceptional child on the planet (although I do and I would put that on a bumper sticker if I could) but because his insight just stops me in my tracks at times. And when I respond positively to his ideas, he usually follows that up with a ridiculous snap and finger point, accompanied by a statement like “you can use THAT in your Thought Partner Friday, Mom.” So, seriously, how can I not?

Today’s particular pearl of wisdom came out of a conversation we were having regarding information we consume daily and its effect on our psyche and subsequently our outlooks and viewpoints. (Scaled up a bit for our purposes here).

With so much negativity, fear, and sadness surrounding us on the news, social media channels, and even in our work and home environments, it can be hard to maintain a positive outlook and remain optimistic about the trajectory of our lives and surrounding circumstances.

It takes hard work and focused effort to ward off fear in favor of hope, see challenges as opportunities, and find strength in the face of adversity.

But according to my son, it’s not that hard if we simply “choose to use the right fertilizer in our Thought Gardens. If we use ‘bad fertilizer’ our thoughts and ideas won’t grow. If we use ‘good fertilizer’ our ideas, thoughts and imaginations grow faster and healthier.” (See what I mean? BOOM. Stopped in my tracks.)

To a certain extent, if we simplified life down to this, he’d be right!

The messages and information we choose to fertilize our Thought Gardens with will either stagnate our ideas, creativity, possibilities, and perceptions OR they will help them flourish, develop and inspire. 

What we THINK, we CREATE. What we EXUDE, we ATTRACT. 

When I coach and speak about communication and feedback, I often use the 1:5 formula. For every 1 unfavorable interaction you have with someone, you need 5 favorable interactions for people to believe your exchanges come from a place of positive intent and the relationship can continue to build. 

I challenge you – for every 1 piece of negative information you consume today, seek out 5 positive ones and see how you feel at the end of the day. 

(Here’s a hint that might help – stay off social media for the day as well; that’s a big time source of ‘bad fertilizer’.)

Use the right fertilizer and your Thought Garden will flourish and grow; be on alert and actively watch out for insidious weeds that may creep up. Keep your Thought Garden, your most precious resource, as well-tended as possible and you’ll see your world will begin to look a little different.