• Home
  • >Articles
  • >Life choices - challenging your conditioned thinking

Life choices - challenging your conditioned thinking

Conditioned thinking

Conditioned thinking is about what you hold onto and how you relive the way things should or shouldn't be. This is a burden you choose to carry. However, due to what you are conditioned to believe and think, and what you perceive others expect of you, you take on the challenge of carrying around unnecessary weight.

For example:

“There were two monks walking together, an older monk and a younger monk. They came to a shallow river, and there was a lady there who demanded that one of them should carry her across the river. So the older monk carried her across, and the two monks continued walking.

At the end of the day they decided to rest for the night. While they sat by their fire, the young monk said indignantly to the older monk, “I can’t believe you carried that lady across the river! She was perfectly capable of walking across, and she was so rude! She did not even thank you! I really don’t understand why you did it!”

The old monk smiled at the young monk and said, “I set her down hours ago; why are you still carrying her?”

This is conditional thinking. 


Now cast your mind back to your childhood, your education and your youth. What transpired during those years? You would have been largely and directly influenced by your parents, your teachers and society. The conditioning you received became ingrained in your mind, your thoughts and your actions, as a result. Consider the impact of not changing the way you think, especially when you know you need to.

I have a client who has experienced a fantastic voyage of self discovery and a typical roller coaster of emotions since leaving employment. Having investigated a few alternative options, they decided that these are not suitable. Why? Because the realisation dawned that he would just be going back into ‘jobs’ he was trying to get away from. Unsure of where the process was heading, there have been emotional ups and downs. He realised that going through the process is a means to move forward, to look at what he can do, however the need to look for a ‘job’ to earn an income will allow him to feel more settled. Will it?

These feelings and emotions are perfectly natural and he is right that going through this process will help him move on. Even more important is for him to remain true to himself and not to go for what he believes to be ‘the easy option’ i.e. getting another similar job, as this will more than likely only increase his frustration and anxiety.

'Uncondition' your thinking

Another example is someone who is exploring alternative opportunities away from the conditioned thinking around the ‘need to get another job’. Working a few days per week on business development for an old contact, he sees this as one way to start to build a variety of income streams, to give him the chance to develop a working portfolio lifestyle.  

When you think broadly about what you can do, with the array of skills, talents and passions that you possess, you give yourself permission to unravel your thoughts and ideas around your conditioned thinking. Imagine your own personal realisation when you discover that it is OK not to have to have a ‘job’. Perhaps you can research some new ideas, gain clarity on the paid work you wish to pursue and let the rest evolve?

Choose to focus on reaching your own true potential by releasing your conditioned thinking. Getting a ‘job’ says this: “I’ll stick with the known, believe what others had told me is the right thing to do (conditioning), and remain as part of the ‘big herd’?” Why not become an individual (unconditioned)? Become the cow that escapes and goes on to discover a new pasture, and then reaps the benefit of greener, tastier and more nutritious grass?

Life Coach Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

Share this article with a friend

Written by Steve Preston Career Coaching

Are you a Professional or Executive who is a work casualty of Covid?
OR has the Covid crisis has made you realise it's time to do something different?
Maybe your company hasn't offered you any Outplacement Support OR you have been given a budget for Outplacement to use with the provider of your choice?
Either way you're stuck at a career or life crossroads and seeking clarity… Read more

Written by Steve Preston Career Coaching

Show comments

Find a life coach offering Career Coaching

All coaches are verified professionals.

Related Articles

More articles