Take Control of Your Thoughts


  • “From this day forward, from now on every day, I’m going to be very conscious about the meaning I put on things. I’m going to start putting meaning on things that are supportive of my life. I put meaning on things that help me learn and get better. I’m going to put meaning on things that allow grace and forgiveness and self-love and self-awareness versus self-hatred and negative judgment.”
  • Do you find it hard to stay positive about your life and your future? Are you someone who has a lot of negative associations with your past that is blocking you from feeling happy and grateful? In this episode, learn how to shift your mindset and take back control of your thoughts so that you can live a more positive and joyous life. 
  • “You know who feels incredible meaning in their lives? People who cherish their life.”
  • In this episode, learn ways to improve your mindset even in your hardest moments, so you can bring joy to each day.
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How to Take Accountability For Your Life
Develop Your Self-Acceptance
Develop Your Self-Awareness
3 Life-Changing Habits
The 6 Steps To Lifelong Success



[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Brendon Show. Please note that this episode, like all TBS episodes, features Brendon speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited. Filmed in one take, The Brendon Show has become one of the most viewed unscripted, direct-to-camera self-help series in the history of YouTube. It has also been the #1 Podcast in all of iTunes and is regularly in the top podcasts in Self-Help and Health categories around the globe. Subscribe to the free motivational podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.)

Often, when we were young, we weren’t taught personal development. It’s why I’m so passionate about teaching kids. If kids don’t learn personal development, they don’t learn to take control of their own thoughts. A fundamental in all personal growth— take control of your thoughts again. Get to define the meaning of the events in your life. Many of you took an event in your life and ascribed, defined meaning to that event that actually harmed you over the long- term. Your parents did something bad and you decided as a small kid that the meaning of that was you were bad. Have any of you ever been there? That’s therapy 101, right? I’m not a therapist or neurologist or psychiatrist or anything that ends in an “ist”, but isn’t it true that we do that? There were things that happened to us where we ascribed a bad meaning to it. We attached a label of bad meaning.

Well, guess what? The more of those bad meaning labels you ascribe each year to something, the more you’ve got a big thing — a big backpack of negative meanings that you’re carrying around every day. That’s what’s happening.

One reason people don’t feel a positive meaning towards life is that they have hammered negative meaning into every event so many times that that baggage is real, it is heavy. And how could they possibly lift their eyes in their head to destiny and greater meaning and positivity? Because they’re carrying the weight of all these negative meanings. They even ascribed to everything throughout their lives. And it sounds flippant as hell to say. But you gave yourself those meanings. Maybe you didn’t know back then. You unconsciously created those labels, you unconsciously ascribe that meaning you believed what they said and their meaning you took as your own. And you carried everyone else’s meanings or all the negative meanings. And you never decided as an adult, as an adult decided, you know what, from this day forward? This is a demarcation line.

1. Assign Positive Meaning On Things

From this day forward, from now on every day, I’m going to be very conscious about the meaning I put on things. I’m going to start putting meaning on things that are supportive of my life. I put meaning on things that help me learn and get better. I’m going to put meaning on things that allow grace and forgiveness and self-love and self-awareness versus self-hatred and negative judgment.

You start that as an adult one day or you do not, period.

And that impacts your sense of meaning in life. I believe most people have never been taught any of this. And I know that sounds crazy for me to say as a person. Like my job, my career. And yet I know that most people, about 98% of the world, don’t read personal development or spirituality books. They don’t read sociology, they don’t read psychology. They have no background, no start. They’ve never taken a class on any of those topics.

So they’re never even taught about how we interpret the events of our lives into safety. Not safe. Belonging. No belonging. Into our identity, into our next intentions, into the patterns of behaviors and thoughts that we have in the future because most people don’t get taught that.

2. Avoid Living Life On Autopilot

They’ve been running on autopilot. And when you run on autopilot, do you know what the problem with autopilot is? The manufacturer set the speed for you. The manufacturer said that what’s possible in your life and for most people, their thoughts have been manufactured by others. They didn’t ever learn to take control.

I know this sounds almost flippant to someone who’s struggling in this area, because you’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re just saying I don’t sense my meaning in life because I never learned to define it.” I’m like, “No. I’m saying you don’t sense the depth and the fullness of meaning that you deserve in your life because you haven’t been consistent enough in defining the events of your life in supportive and meaningful ways for you.”

Not saying you’ve never done it. I’m saying we’re lacking the consistency and the depth in it. I know some of you will be like, “Yeah, I already know all this, Brendon.” I’m like, “Great. Lots of people know lots of things.”

Common sense is not always common practice.

I get it if you are here to get this, great! But have you been doing it?

3. Don’t Just Think It, Act On It

I mean, think about this year. What meaning did you consistently ascribe to your daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly experiences? Most people said,” Oh, I’m so glad this whole year is done.”

Look, the pandemic sucked, right? That’s what lots of people say. It sucked. I’m like, “Whoa, we’re still in it. So a year or two, the whole thing sucked. Everything sucked. Every moment sucked. And that’s what we do. If we don’t like something, we throw away these whole timelines. I know people who are so maladjusted as adults because they throw away entire seasons of their childhood. Something awful happened to them in high school. Well, my high school sucked. I’m like the entire thing every day, 365 for four years. You never endured a single moment with joy, happiness, fulfillment, passion, excitement, adventure, love? Nothing? Not once, ever? But that’s what we do. We throw out things. See, the more you throw out of your life, the less meaningful it feels, doesn’t it?

4. Cherish Your Life

Do you know who feels incredible meaning in their lives? People who cherish their life.

They truly cherish their life. And if you feel like I’m speaking philosophically to you, I’m not. I’ve had both the blessing and the very real difficulties of being with a lot of people at the end of life. and I volunteer in hospice, I’ve been with my own father as he passed away in our home. And I can share that with you that it’s not until too late that many people finally start cherishing their life. Really owning and appreciating different parts of their life. And if you can remember to do that, I think something magical happens.

5. Self-Reflect Through Journaling

And so that is why I ask everybody to go to your GrowthDay journal, every day, and capture any meaningful moment, capture any sense of gratitude, capture any event you didn’t like and spin that meaning into such a way where you acknowledge what’s real. Put yourself back in control of your emotions, feelings and your next actions. It’s like by the more often that we capture moments that we can cherish our moments that we can learn, the more life becomes more meaningful. But absent that self-reflection, it’s just a busy blur.

That’s why journaling has proven over and over and over in psychology, including mental health practices and, yes, therapy to dramatically shift people’s thoughts and feelings and life satisfaction over the long term. Almost no single tool other than journaling has ever proven to do that. Period. Outside of speaking consistently with a therapist, it’s an incredibly powerful tool to gain more meaning in life. That moment of self-reflection, that moment of capturing something as soon as you capture it, you start to recognize it and feel it and cherish it a little bit more. But all that takes what you decide to define. The moments of your life more actively and consciously and consistently. And people like to ask, “Do you do that every day, Brendon?” Yeah. As simple as you know it right before bed thinking like, what’s the meaning? I need to put on some of the events today that both gave me energy and took some energy away. What’s the meaning I would put on that argument I had today? What’s the meaning I need to put on that reward I got today? What’s the meaning I need to put to this frustration I keep having? What’s the meaning I need to put on that beautiful moment with the cat and my wife? Oh my God. Like, if you don’t see them again, reflect and put a label or a meaning on it, then guess what disappears? The more disappeared moments that we don’t capture, appreciate, cherish, ascribe meaning to the less meaning we feel.

So if you feel little meaning in their life because they’ve never actually consciously put meaning on anything. Put more meaning on things more consistently. You feel it more.