The [Delete] Button

Delete Button

(Image: Mixy Lorenzo)

When using computers, the Delete function is necessary to remove unwanted information. We use the [Delete] button countless times a day. When we make a typo, we hit [Delete]. When we have unwanted data, we hit [Delete]. When we have no use for a file, we hit [Delete].

What if there is no [Delete] button? Our hard drives will become a total mess. Firstly, our emails will be incoherent because we can’t correct typos. Our documents will be useless because of all the junk data mixed with the important stuff. Our hard disks will be cluttered with unwanted files. Within days or weeks, our computers will become useless scraps of metal because we can’t delete and organize our information.

Our Minds as Computers

Now, think of your mind as a computer. Think of the thoughts that run through your mind as the data in a computer.

The negative, fear-based thoughts that appear in your mind are the useless data you want to get rid of. The positive, constructive thoughts are the valuable data you want to keep. Same for the important information you get from your daily conversations and from reading.

Like a computer without a [Delete] button, you may have lots of good ideas, but if your mind is constantly cluttered with negativity, you won’t be able to get much value from the good thoughts in your mind. You are constantly trying to deal with the negative thoughts to make sense of the positive thoughts.

Using [Delete] For Our Minds

This is where the [Delete] button comes in. Imagine you have a [Delete] button for your mind. Use that for every negative thought that floats into your mind.

  • Have negative thoughts about something? [Delete]
  • Not feeling confident about yourself? [Delete]
  • Feeling fearful about something? [Delete]
  • Loading up on ‘Buts’? [Delete]
  • Feel like complaining? [Delete]
  • Thinking about an unhappy memory? [Delete]

For each thought that has no positive impact on your life, delete it right away. Don’t waste time entertaining those thoughts, because every time you do that, you clutter up your mind. A thought is like a seed — when you give it energy, it grows and becomes a web of 10, 20, 50 thoughts. Pay attention to 10 negative thoughts, and soon you will be dealing with 100, 200, 500 negative thoughts!

See how you use the [Delete] button freely when you type emails and documents? Delete your negative thoughts so that they don’t have a chance to fester.

In doing so, you free up your mind for the positive stuff. For example, positive thoughts. Positive actions. Positive ideas. Solutions to problems. Because the negative stuff is readily deleted, you now have the mental space to receive the positive stuff and to let them blossom and grow. 

The [Delete] button is best when dealing with pointless, unconstructive thoughts. E.g.

  • If someone is irritating you, [Delete] that thought and get back to work.
  • If you want to complain, [Delete] that thought and do something that will solve the problem instead.
  • If you are thinking self-defeatist thoughts, [Delete] that thought and do something that makes you happy.

When [Delete] Doesn’t Work

The [Delete] button is more of a quick hack to get rid of negative thoughts. There are times when using delete doesn’t work, and that’s when the same negative thoughts keep surfacing even after you have deleted them multiple times.

In this case, you want to get to the root of the problem. First, write down what’s bothering you. Next, understand why it’s bothering you. Identify the action steps that will solve this problem. Then, work on these action steps. I’ve written more on tackling root causes here: Create Real Change In Life and 10 Tips To Deal With Daily Setbacks.

At the end of the day, our mind is the most powerful tool we have in life. How we manage our thoughts directly affects our feelings and actions. These in turn affect what we achieve and our quality of life.

What unconstructive thoughts do you have today? How can you use the [Delete] button to create a more positive mind? The next time you use the [Delete] button on your computer, ask yourself: What unconstructive thoughts can I delete today?