from the Soundtracks book by Jon Acuff

I love the book Soundtracks by Jon Acuff.

Are you aware of your subconscious thoughts? We all have subconscious thoughts that we say in our minds all the time. This is what Jon calls a “soundtrack”. We have lots of different soundtracks about different things. Jon does a nice job of calling out a few different types. Here they are so you can check your soundtrack and make sure you are trenching in thoughts you WANT to have!

Here are 5 different types of soundtrack thoughts Jon talks about:

  1. YOUR DAILY MANTRA. What thought do you wake up saying to yourself? Are you aware of your top-of-day “soundtrack”?  Take a moment to listen to what you are saying to yourself and make sure it is an inspiring and positive soundtrack. This is why a sage habit of a lot of performance experts is to include a quiet and reflection time at the top of the day. Tune into your inner voice so a soundtrack you don’t mean to play isn’t running your day.
  2. YOUR GOALS. What is your mantra for your goals? When you think about your goal, what is the “mantra” thought you are repeating in your mind about it? Jon gives the example of “writing is easy” or “writing a book is torture”. This is an example of a soundtrack that runs in the subconscious of your mind that impacts your thoughts, feelings, and actions about your goal. What soundtrack do you need to have for your goal and what soundtrack is running now?
  3. OTHER PEOPLE. What thoughts do you have about others? If you had to describe them, what would you say? Often this is a “brand” we have for people. We usually have an opportunity to upgrade how we see that person. Are we holding them with the best construction or in a positive and kind light? Do we see them in their strengths?  How would you rewrite the soundtrack?
  4. NEGATIVE THINKING.  What thoughts are you telling yourself? Jon challenges you to ask yourself, “Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it kind?” Assess your soundtracks and find inspirational books, videos, reels, or information to help get your soundtracks in line with a positive and motivational pattern.  Because humans are wired to be a bit more negative or pessimistic, our default soundtracks tend to be more negative, critical, or discouraging. We must be intentional to notice and direct the soundtracks playing to support the thoughts we want to have, which directly affect the actions we take and the results we get.
  5. OVERTHINKING. Recognize what we do when we overthink something.  Overthinking is a soundtrack that our brains can love. It feels smart, clever, and strategic. Really, however, it is just delaying meaningful and needed work or action. Sometimes thinking is needed. That is not overthinking. Overthinking is stalling, procrastinating, or adding additional complexity to something that does not need that degree of thought. Recognizing the difference between good solid thought and overthinking is key. To identify overthinking, you must be able to recognize your overthinking soundtrack (which is usually popcorning to excessive variables that really don’t matter but you convince yourself they do). Start to notice and hear your soundtracks more, especially when you need to act. Notice what you are telling yourself. Often overthinking is a soundtrack and not useful planning.

We all have soundtracks and the practice of noticing our thoughts is a soft skill. It can make you feel like you have multiple personality disorder (like you are talking to yourself)!  However, without recognizing the voice in your head, it runs your day and life. Often our default is a wounded or smaller-self soundtrack that does not allow us to operate in our highest potential. By starting to notice the different types of soundtracks we have, we can be intentional about what we think.  What we think affects how we feel and then what we do. Give it a try and see what you notice!