Layers of Thought

Thoughts are the lowest layer in the structure from which character proceeds.

Layer # Layer Name
1 Thoughts
2 Feelings
3 Words
4 Actions
5 Habits
6 Character

As the layer number increases, direct modification gets harder. It’s probably impossible to wake up one day and permanently change character traits before going to sleep that night.

If you want change, then go to successively lower layers until you are successful. If it is too hard to change your actions directly, start by changing your thoughts. It is a lot easier to change your thoughts because you don’t have to do anything physically exhausting, time consuming, or mentally straining. You just have to get intentional and consistently think a thought that is outside your normal thought life.

For instance, it might be too hard to consistently run 2 miles per day (layer 4) if you haven’t run for a while. Instead, set a daily reminder on your phone that says, “Lack of exercise makes me go crazy. I cannot think well if I don’t run. Other parts of my life become harder when I don’t run.”

When the reminder pops up, just read it and check it off. You don’t have to do anything but think the thought. The other layers will proceed from your thoughts. The thought will gather enough momentum in your inner thought life, that you will start to feel (layer 2) that you want to run.

I have seen more lasting success in changing my actions with this approach than trying to modify my actions directly. I really think this approach is the key to sustainable self-evolution. I have made several 1% changes using this approach that compound make my life a lot better. It takes time but it’s very reliable.

  • Rewritten and expanded 01-29-2022