Here’s a story about what I call “Wrong Thinking.”
Way back in high school when I was playing baseball, a pitcher named Catfish Hunter became the first baseball player to get paid over a million dollars a year. I thought that was crazy, in a bad way. One day I talked to my dad about it, and asked him why people like farmers and engineers who did more important work didn’t get paid like that.
He didn’t have a great answer at the time, and that thought kept on bothering me. These days I think a correct answer he could have given me goes like this: “Baseball is in the entertainment business, just like singers and actors. For whatever reason — some sort of supply and demand, and a need for entertainment — society is willing to pay those people a lot of money. So if the money bothers you, what you can do is make that money just like Catfish Hunter, and then give it away however you see fit.”
My shoulder was pretty messed during my senior year and a doctor I saw back then said it couldn’t really be fixed, but maybe, just maybe, if I didn’t have that wrong thought in my brain, I would have gone to see more doctors to see if someone else could fix my shoulder. (Today it would probably be a routine surgery.)
These days, every once in a while I’ll be talking to someone and they’ll tell me something like that, a wrong thought that’s been rummaging around in their brain for a long time, really bothering them. Having been there (more than once) I don’t judge, but I tend to say something like, “Gosh, how did that wrong thought get into your brain? Can you remember when you first had it?”
(I’ve known a few people who have been the victim of abuse, and wrong thoughts get in their brains from their abuser. I remind the people that the abuser wasn’t a mentally healthy individual, and you shouldn’t concern yourself with something a mentally unhealthy person said. (FWIW, there are “forgiveness” practices you can do that help to transmute those wrong thoughts from negative to positive as well.))
I usually follow that with something like, “Here’s what you need to do: You need to get that wrong thought out of your brain and live your life the way you want to live it before it’s too late. However it got in there, don’t let that wrong thought dominate your life for another second. YOLO!”