11 Eye-Opening Lessons From Jennice Vilhauer’s Book – Think Forward To Thrive

11 Eye-Opening Lessons From Jennice Vilhauer Book – Think Forward To Thrive

Today, I want to feature the book 'Think Forward To Thrive' by Jennice Vilhauer and share the top 11 inspiring lessons and insights from her book.

I hope you will find these lessons inspiring and insightful.

#1. Willingness to change is NOT the same as wanting to feel better

Jennice Vilhauer

"Willingness to change is not the same as wanting to feel better.

Everyone wants to feel better, but many people are not willing to do what it takes to make that happen. 

Willingness to change means you are open to doing something different and learning a new way of being in the world.

If you are open and willing, then change and new opportunities are possible.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#2. If you are NOT feeling good about what you want, you are likely focusing on the fact that you don't yet have what you want

Jennice Vilhauer

"It is important to recognize that when you have a desire but don’t yet have what you want, this is an unwanted state.

For example, if you want a relationship but don’t have one, not having one is something unwanted. 

Often people think they are focusing on what they want, but if they are not feeling good about it, what they are likely focusing on is the fact that they do not have yet have what they want.

I really want to be more organized but my house is such a mess; I get overwhelmed thinking about it. They may draw conclusions that what they want makes them anxious so they try not to think about it.

But this is never the case. 

Negative emotions are always the result of giving attention to some unwanted aspect of a situation.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#3. Take action, participate in the process, make progress and solutions will start to unfold

Jennice Vilhauer

"One of the tricky things about creating your future is that you often won’t be able to see how everything will unfold.

You may have a general sense of where you want to be. You may even have some very specific goals; however there are going to be many steps along the way that you won’t be able to see until you start taking actions towards your goal. 

For example, if you know you want to go to college, you may not know which one is right for you until you start doing research to narrow down your choices.

You may not know how you will pay for school until you explore the financial-aid options. You won’t know which classes you will need to take until you meet with a counselor who can explain them to you. You won’t know what you need to do to pass a class until you get there and wait for the professor to tell you.

While going to college is a very structured activity with concrete steps to take along the way, the path you need to take to achieve many of the things you want will often not be as clear.

However, if you participate in the process and keep heading in the right direction, solutions you never thought of will start to unfold.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#4. Taking action is a key component of participating in the process

Jennice Vilhauer

"Taking action is a key component of participating in the process.

Even if you have no idea what to do to achieve what you want, simply following very small threads can open up new possibilities that you didn’t even know existed. 

For example, if you want a new job but don’t know what kind of job, you can start with what you know to do

– go to a career counselor, read a book about your interests, take a career test, search an employment website until something of interest jumps out at you, talk to everyone you know about your desire to find a new career and ask them about all the different jobs they’ve had. 

All these activities can lead to new information, new ideas, and new directions.

As long as you participate, things will eventually start to happen and the information you need to make choices will start to appear.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#5. Be patient- it's going to take time to get from where you are now to where you want to be

Jennice Vilhauer

"There is always a span of time and distance between where you start and where you want to go. If you commit to your well-being and stay the course, you will get there.

Many people turn around before they even arrive, then decide they want to try again, then turn back again, creating an endless cycle of trying and giving up.

If you set out intending to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco but turned around when you got to Bakersfield because you didn’t like it there, then you would never make it to San Francisco.

The journey to well-being takes time, but once you arrive, you will find it has all been extremely worthwhile, and the field of psychology has well-tested maps to guide you. Along the way, however you may find yourself in some places where you won’t want to be.

Because the journey to well-being is an internal journey, the places you don’t want to be may include thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that you don’t like. You may have to face old fears, deal with anger, or let go of beliefs that your lack of success is someone else’s fault.

If you stay the course, you can get past these places to find the well-being you are seeking; if you don’t, you will end up back where you started.

If you want to achieve greater well-being, you will need to commit to staying the course, and if you are thinking about turning around, just ask yourself: Am I in Bakersfield?

- Jennice Vilhauer

#6. Remember that just because you haven't yet arrived doesn't mean you aren't making progress

Jennice Vilhauer

"Likely there will be many times when you feel like your efforts aren’t getting you anywhere. Try to remember that just because you haven’t yet arrived doesn’t mean you are not making progress.

Because we are in our bodies 24/7, we have difficulty noticing change as it is occurring, but change happens constantly. It is like your hair growing. 

From one moment to the next you don’t notice the growth, but every three months you need a haircut! 

- Jennice Vilhauer

#7. Discomfort is different from distress and stepping outside your comfort zone is essential for growth

Jennice Vilhauer

"When you first step outside your comfort zone, you will likely experience fear, which is very normal. You cannot live without fear, nor should you want to.

Fear alerts us to possible danger and tells us to prepare for it. You should also not just feel the fear and do it anyway unless you have assessed where the fear is coming from and decided that what you want to do is really in your best interest.

What you need to do is learn how to distinguish discomfort from distress. 

Any time you step outside your comfort zone and do something new, you will experience some type of discomfort- that is the very definition of being outside the comfort zone.

The good news, however, is that if it is just normal discomfort, and you can tolerate staying outside your comfort zone, you will eventually become comfortable in the new space, and your comfort zone will have expanded.

In essence, your comfort zone will follow you, and each time you step outside it and tolerate the initial discomfort of the new space, you give your comfort zone an opportunity to grow.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#8. Feelings and behaviors are two different things

Jennice Vilhauer

"When you are feeling really bad, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to do something, even when you know it is good for you.

Feelings and behaviors, however, are two different things.

While people’s behavior generally follows from their feelings, it doesn’t have to. You can choose a behavior that is different from how you feel.

When you do so, often you can create a new feeling that is consistent with the behavior. If you behave as if you are feeling good, the feeling will follow, and soon you will be feeling good.

Often when you are down, it feels as if you just can’t make yourself do the things you know you should do. It just feels impossible. The more you tell yourself you can’t do it, the more this will feel true.

However, can’t is different from won’t. 

If you felt like you couldn’t get out of bed but someone offered you a million dollars to do so, you would quickly find the energy to leap right out. You can make yourself do lots of things, but you won’t if you don’t feel motivated.

If you are depressed, you may feel less motivated to do the things you enjoy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do them.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#9. When your expectations about the future don't paint a picture you are looking forward to, you will need to learn how to change your expectations

Jennice Vilhauer

"Your future is like a canvas that you paint on, and your existing belief system is the paint palette.

If the only colors on your palette are dismal shades of gray, it is very hard to paint a brighter picture. In essence, you need new paint, or new beliefs about your future, in order to create a more positive picture. 

When your expectations about the future don’t paint a picture you are looking forward to, you will need to learn how to change your expectations. 

There are three steps to creating a new expectation:

1. Initiate a new thought about the future.

2. Detail what that thought might look like until you begin to feel it is real or possible

3. Take action consistent with the details of your thought.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#10. Don't take large leaps in thought

Jennice Vilhauer

"One reason resistance occurs is that the mind doesn’t like taking large leaps in thought.

Thoughts tend to occur on a continuum – the farther you try to leap in any direction on the continuum, the more resistance you will encounter.

Going from I hate myself to I love myself is a giant leap. It is much easier to go from I hate myself to I sometimes think I am okay.

Once you have fully transitioned to believing that you are sometimes okay, then you can move up the continuum to an even more improved thought, such as Much of the time, I think I am a pretty decent person.

If you keep moving up the continuum this way, every time you fully begin to accept the new belief, you will eventually reach the point at which you will be able to say, I love myself completely.

If you are experiencing a negative feeling about your new belief, it most likely means you have jumped too far up the continuum.

Try softening the resistance by reframing the thought in a way that seems like a smaller leap. Look for statements that feel like improvement but are still within the realm of believability. 

When you have strong patterns of negative thinking, your aim for your new thoughts is to generate feelings along the lines of relief or hope for something better. Use your emotions as the guidance system.

When the thought feels like something you can buy into, you will have moved into a place of less resistance, and your new belief will have more opportunity to grow.

- Jennice Vilhauer

#11. If you believe you CANNOT be happy until you arrive, you will ALWAYS be unhappy knowing you are not there

Jennice Vilhauer

"Many people, when they start to focus on their wanted future, get stuck when they let their minds drift back toward the realization that they have not yet arrived. This can cause distress since they are resisting instead of embracing the journey.

No matter how much you want to arrive, there is always travel distance; how much depends on where you start.

If you believe you cannot be happy until you arrive, you will always be unhappy knowing you are not there.

The main problem with this type of thinking is that every time you arrive somewhere you will find there is somewhere else to go. You will live in the pursuit of happiness without realizing that happiness is in the pursuit.

- Jennice Vilhauer

Excerpts from the book Think Forward to Thrive. Copyright © 2014 by Jennice Vilhauer, PhD. Reprinted with permission from New World Library. www.NewWorldLibrary.com.

Think Forward To Thrive Cover

Bonus: Enjoy Jennice Vilhauer's fantastic Ted Talk.

About Jennice Vilhauer

Jennice Vilhauer

Dr. Vilhauer is an award winning psychologist with over 15 years of experience helping people re-vision their futures and change their lives.She is a clinical faculty member in the School of Medicine at EmoryUniversity and has held leadership roles in numerous prestigious institutions including, Columbia University, Emory Healthcare, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA. She is the developer of Future Directed Therapy and the Author of Think Forward to Thrive: How to Use theMind's Power of Anticipation to Transcend Your Past and Transform Your Life

To learn more, visit her website www.jennicevilhauer.com.

Now it's your turn, what are your favorite insights from 'Think Forward To Thrive' and why. Share them in the comments below.

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