Justin Donald Leader

Benefits Professional
  • Stop It!

    Jun 30, 2015

by Justin Leader


Bob Newhart is one funny guy.  There was a moment in time when I had no idea who he was.  That time was about 3 years ago.  I had seen Newhart perform many times on TV but would not have recognized him by name.  My Uncle formally introduced me to Bob Newhart the night before my first Tough Mudder in Northern Jersey.  As we were preparing for the next day’s marathon event, I caught myself complaining about an issue impacting my life in our hotel room.  Apparently it was insignificant as I do not remember what I was complaining about now.  What I do remember is my Uncle suggesting I watch a video that would eventually change my life.  If you are looking for a great laugh you can watch the skit from MadTV here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arPCE3zDRg4.  The video is about six minutes long however well worth it.

It is interesting to me the premise of that video.  How simple a thought that while funny is applicable to every day life.  How often are our minds clogged with worry and intrusive thoughts that  really bare no weight to our reality and most of the time are far out of our control anyway?  It reminds me of a great quote regarding worry. “Worrying is like paying on a debt that may never come due.” – Will Roger

Soon after watching this video, I started a mental game to combat negative thinking.  I have found that it has worked for me and have had others utilize it with great success.

Imagine for a moment you are driving down the highway.  You see a stop sign as you approach an intersection.  Assuming that you are not a new driver you instinctively move your foot from the gas pedal over to the brake.  Applying it slowly you come to a total stop.  After years of doing this your mind muscle connection takes over and you know that you must bring your vehicle to a complete stop, sometimes not even consciously recognizing that the stop sign is there. It has become an instinct.  This is where my theory comes in to play.

What I do and hope will work for you as well is that as you are going about your day, you are sure to encounter a negative thought or perhaps a habit that you wish to break.  It could be a financial worry, a relationship issue, a sale you did not get or perhaps a insistent worry about your health.  What I want you to do is visualize a big, red, “in your face”, huge white lettered stop sign.  Let it sink in for a second or two and immediately shift gears to another thought.   Continue to do this exercise as much as needed focusing on positive thoughts and actions while working to pump the breaks on obsessive and often compulsive thinking.

Let’s face it, type-A people, entrepreneurs and most modern day business folks are consumed by thousands of thoughts per day.  Work and life balance has become more of a work/life blender.  There are many things that we can do to take better care of our physical health but more importantly there is much that can be done to take care of our mental health as well.  I urge you to take a moment each day to reflect and relax.  The moment that your mind is racing to that dangerous intersection of negative self-speak, unhealthy habits or unnecessary worry, keep in mind the words of Mr. Newhart, “STOP IT”.