Do you struggle with keeping your thoughts positive? Jim Cathcart teaches you the action steps needed to change your thoughts into positive ones that can and will attract success.Sign Up to Watch
-Whatever you get your information from and think about most frequently, that's your "thought diet." You're the center of your universe, always.
-Jim Cathcart, welcome to the center of the universe in Tulsa, Oklahoma. How are you my friend?
-This is it.
-You can feel it.
-The Thrive studios right here. And how was-- I know it's different. But if we were comparing climates, you know, and you were just looking at the climate you're used to now--
JIM CATHCART: Southern California.
-Southern California. And the climate here in the center of the universe.
JIM CATHCART: It's almost identical.
CALEB TAYLOR: Really?
-Except for the whether.
CALEB TAYLOR: It's-- oh, OK. So that's the only difference in the climate, is the weather? Here, we've got it to where sometimes the rain kind of comes from the north and the south and east and the west.
-Those are the same directions we use except we don't use rain.
[LAUGHS] Yeah. Yeah.
-I'm excited to sit down with you today. We are talking about the daily "thought diet" and specifically, how to help yourself become the person you want to be.
-And I know this is something near and dear to your heart, something you've written a lot about, speak a lot about.
-When I first developed the model that I call "The Thought Diet," it was a way of helping myself become the kind of person I needed to be. Because see, the person you are attracts a future that's compatible with that kind of a person. So if you're an ugly, mean-spirited, small-thinking person, guess what your future is going to be like? Just like you. It is. It's going to shrink to the size you are and it's going to repel anything positive that would have replaced it.
CALEB TAYLOR: So the person you are attracts the future.
-You're the center of your universe always. You're not the center of the universe but you're the center of your universe and I'm the center of mine. And so whoever I am as a person and all the dimensions that one inhabits to be a person, that attracts to me or repels from many things that are compatible or incompatible. OK? So if I become a friendly person, guess what I'll have more of? Friends. If I become a cheerful person I will have more cheer. Whatever you bring to the world, it's going to say oh, yeah, I got some too. Here. And it gives it back to you. It's like magnetism.
-I love that. That's huge.
-So how do you achieve a humongous goal? Become the kind of person who would achieve that humongous goal.
-What are, as we kind of dive into this and we're talking more about this "thought diet," what's an example of the typical person's "thought life" or "thought diet?"
-Well, first off, think of what a diet is. A diet is what you feed on, right? It's what you eat. It's the pattern. Not just the content, but it's the pattern. Because there's the diet itself, which is the food, and then there's the diet meaning the eating style and pattern and habits.
CALEB TAYLOR: The habit itself.
JIM CATHCART: So I'm looking at both of those together. A person's thinking diet it would seem-- if your eating diet affects your physical being and your health and nutrition, then clearly a "thinking diet" would affect your attitude, would affect your mindset, would effect your world, right?
JIM CATHCART: Your confidence level. You know, all the different things that manifest out of the mindset. So what do you mean "thought diet"? Well, you're feeding on something. You're either feeding on what your friends and neighbors tell you, what your parents tell you, what the newspaper tells you, what your websites or smartphone tells you. You know, whoever you tune into, that's what you're hearing.
-So you're saying everyone has a "thought diet."
-Yeah. You're eating ideas now. And if you're reading only comic books, well, that's your intellectual diet. If you're reading only philosophical works, that's your intellectual diet. You know, the trouble-- a lot of time you talk about cultural differences between the US and other countries around the world. In some cultures, the only intellectual study that's done is of religious works.
Wow. That's going to make you a fanatic because that's the only option, OK? So in the United States, intellectual study covers the entire spectrum. We study religious works. We study general philosophy. We study physics. We study science. We study biology, sociology, entertainment.
-Sure. That's incredible.
JIM CATHCART: Yeah.
-So let me ask you this then. If everyone has a "thought diet," just like a physical diet, this impacts you.
JIM CATHCART: Everyone has a physical diet. Everyone.
-Everyone. And everyone also has this "thought diet." I guess let's roll out the Truth Cannon. Do you really believe that everyone has the power, the potential, the ability to become the person they want to be?
-I do. Yeah. I don't believe it'd be the same as they expect it to be, but I think, well, I know, everyone has the ability to change themselves in some profound ways. There's a wonderful quote from JC Penney, James Cash Penney, the founder of the retail chain. He said "No one need live a minute longer as he is because the Creator endowed you with the ability to change yourself."
-Wow. No one need live a minute longer as he is, because the creator endowed you with the ability to change yourself. And I've proven that to be true in my life and in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of others I've known over the years.
-Hm. That's incredible. So you've seen it happen, though, firsthand.
-OK. And it's happened in your life. And we'll get into that. I want to now start getting into the specific actions steps here.
-So I feel that we've defined what that thought diet is. Everyone has one, and you've got the ability to impact and become the person you want to be. What's the first step?
-OK. First step is recognize you've got a thought diet, period.
-OK. That's the first step.
-Yeah. It's not like, I don't want one. You've got one. Whatever you get your information from and think about most frequently, that's your thought diet. What I'm suggesting is you become more intentional about it.
Let's take an analogy-- eating diet. Everybody has an eating diet. Some of those are really unhealthy.
-OK? If they're really unhealthy, you should become more intentional about it. Interrupt the pattern on the unhealthy and add more of the healthy. Reduce the quantity, increase the quality, et cetera. OK? Same thing on thinking. It's increase the quality of your thinking, the kinds of things you think about, the way you think about it, who you think with, who you collaborate with, where you turn for information when you're seeking the answers, when you want to know what the truth really is. Where do you look?
-So this is big.
-That's number one.
-The first step is just to believe and understand that you have a thought diet.
-Yeah, to recognize it. You don't have to believe it.
-OK. Recognize it. It's a fact. It doesn't need you to believe in it.
-It's kind of like, I don't believe in gravity.
-Oh, well. That's interesting.
-Still works, but I don't believe in it.
-OK. So recognize that thought diet's real. But then you're saying second step is to be intentional to establish habits. Break it down like fractions for us.
-What's an example? What do we do? What is-- how do we be intentional about this?
-Let's say you're me at 23 years old, newly married, working in a bank for $500 or $600 a month. You've got a wife who also works in the bank and she's making a little bit less than that. She's working as a secretary. You've got a baby on the way. You've got no money in the bank. You've got a small amount of credit card debt, a car that you're making car payments on. Neither of you have a college degree, and you've got no connections in the community, and neither of you have ever been a high achiever to where you could leverage that to give to a career opportunity or something.
You're just nice people that work in the community and live a normal life in almost every sense of the word.
-This is you, right now?
-This is me.
-This is you.
-This is me in 1970 when I got married. OK? And I went through a series of jobs. I took a job selling mutual funds and life insurance, stumbled along for about a year and a half, and finally quit because I wasn't making enough money to meet our bills. And our bills weren't that much.
So I went to work in a car dealership, because anybody could go to work at that car dealership. They would hire whoever walked in that could fog up a mirror. Breathe on the mirror. If it makes a fog, you're hired.
-So that was a qualification that I just barely met. And they hired me, and I stumbled along for a month or so. And they always fired the person who was last in sales. Well the first month, I was third from last. Second month, I was last. So I got fired. Only time I've ever been fired in my life.
The guy said, Jim, he said, terminations are never pleasant. And I said, Lester, are you firing me? He said, yeah. I said, you haven't even taught me how to sell cars yet. He said, we always fire whoever's last.
-OK. So I left, and I went to work sacking groceries. Now I'd been selling mutual funds and life insurance. I had my securities license, my variable annuities license, my life insurance license. I had a few years college, but not a college degree. And now that I'm newly married, now we got a baby at home. I weighed, at the time, 200 pounds.
-You weighed 200 pounds.
-Yeah, this is 150.
-You weighed 200 pounds.
-Yeah. I weighed 200 pounds, and I was smoking two packs a day.
-Two packs of cigarettes?
-It didn't seem like a lot at the time. So I go to work sacking groceries in my friend's dad's supermarket.
-OK. This is real life.
-This was not good for my pride.
-No, this is honestly. This is story time with Jim. This is big.
-And I hated that. I was so embarrassed. And then I started sending out resumes to banks, because I'd met my wife when I was working in a bank as a bill collector, and I wanted to go back to banking, but at a different level that was more fun than bill collector. I sent out a stack of resumes this high, and they were pretty lame resumes. So I only got three responses. And only one interview out of the three. And another guy got that job. So I ended up as a government clerk for $525 a month, working for the Little Rock Housing Authority.
-So what did you have to do then, as far as being intentional about your file bag to change this.
-First off, you got to picture what kind of life do I have going for me. I'm happily married. I've got a beautiful baby at home. And I've got good friends and a nice family. And I'm not unhealthy, but I'm headed that way, because I'm overweight, and I'm a smoker. So I remember, in the mornings, going to work at the Housing Authority, my wife would, this is literally the truth, she would say, Jim, it's time to get up, Jim, Jim, get up, and she would pull me to a sitting position. And I'm sitting there going, aaahhhh--
-She had to just physicaly pull you up.
-Yeah, yeah. I mean, poor her, and shame on me, but that's the way I was at the time, and I'm 23, 26 years old, whatever, somewhere in there, and I hated my job, but I'm bored to tears, because the guy I'm assisting is not busy, and I decided, I don't like this. I want to change my life. I want a good life. So I got a college catalog from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. And I thumb through it, and I found 36 three-hour courses I wanted to take. Well that's a lot of college courses. And there was no way I could afford it, but there were all kinds of things I wanted to learn about. And I kept circling, oh, yeah, that would be interesting. Nah, that won't -- oh, that would be good, yeah--
-You just went through them all.
-Yeah, and it-- well, that was a good, kind of, a winnowing process to get me down to my goals. And I thought, you know, I want to make a difference. I want to be a person that, it matters I was here. And then I heard Earl Nightingale on the radio in the next room. That was the big moment. He was a commentator on the radio at the time, the Dean of Personal Motivation. And he said, if you will spend one hour extra, every day, in studying your field of interest, in five years or less, you'll be a national expert. Well that's what warped my world. One, I just said, wait a minute, even fat, out-of-shape loser me, I could, an hour a day, I got eight hours a day, I'm a government worker, I have nothing going on in this job, I could do this.
-One hour a day.
-And maybe I should do two hours, because I'm starting so far behind. So I started thinking, what do I want to be. I don't want to do this. Do I want to be a banker? Maybe, I don't know. Then it hit me one day. I want to do what the guy on the radio is doing. I want to do what Earl Nightingale does. I want to be an expert in the field of personal development, human behavior, and success motivation. But I didn't know anything. I had two limitations on a speaking career, never gave a speech, and had nothing to say.
-Well, there you go., Those are two big ones.
-That will keep you modest for sure. So I thought, well, I'm going to take him at his word and study an hour a day, in the field of personal development, until I become an expert in that field.
-Did you have to be like-- how did you affect your thoughts?
-That's the thing. I still thought like the guy I had always been.
-But I had a new want. Ding. A major moment.
-That's big. That's big time.
-Major, major, major moment. I decided on what I wanted, and what I wanted was different from what I had had. When I decided I wanted to be an expert in the field of personal development, I wanted to help people grow, I had to become the kind of-- this is big-- I had to become the kind of person, who could help people grow, who could help people grow. Well not some 25-year-old kid, who's smoking two packs a day, and is basically a loser, except is pleasant to be with. Not going to cut it.
So how do you, if you're going to help people grow, seems like the first thing you should do, is, I'm thinking, I don't know, grow, you know, so I didn't want to grow my size of my body, but I wanted to grow as a person. So what does that mean? Well I had to start thinking about it, because I didn't know. You set a goal long before you know how to get there. And I had no clue how to get there. I just knew what I wanted.
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