I spent much of my life believing that thinking fast was a good thing. It meant I was clever, firing on all cylinders and ‘on the ball’.
Then I saw that quantity didn’t necessarily equal quality. That lots of my thinking was rubbish, and was just clogging up my mental system.
TPM stands for Thoughts per Minute. Take a look at the chart below.
0 – 50 TPM: deeper wisdom/beautiful feelings
50 – 100 TPM: healthy functioning/good feelings
100 – 200 TPM: beginning to overload/mild stress
200 – 300 TPM: spinning out of control
Over 300 TPM: mental burnout/extreme stress
When I first came across this chart, I found myself feeling quite resistant to the idea that slowing my thinking down was desirable. I spent a lot of time in those days being ‘revved up’.
It was kind of exciting – in the way that I imagine getting ‘high’ on illegal drugs is exciting – but ultimately not that rewarding.
I equated slowing down my thinking to boredom, low energy and lack of excitement.
As has turned out to be the case so often, I discovered I was wrong about this.
This over-revved mind is, I believe, at epidemic levels. It’s like a cultural ADHD.
My experience of life gets better the less I have on my mind. And the thoughts that do come into my mind tend to be more creative and higher quality, accompanied by beautiful feelings of peace of mind, clarity, ease and well-being. It’s certainly not boring.
I was coaching a client last week who shared with me that he spent the vast majority of his time with a noise in his head very similar to the sound track from the movie “Psycho”, which brought with it a feeling of almost constant anxiety – the very antithesis of ease.
During our first session, he looked me in the eyes and said three words:
MAKE. IT. STOP.
He’s quietening down now – which happens automatically when we start to recognise thought as THOUGHT, rather than believing our thinking is US, or REAL, or SIGNIFICANT.
You can imagine the relief.
How fast is your TPM today?