The Thought Cycle

Laura Basha

Photo By: Jeremy Bishop

As we have stated before, basically, we think all the time.

The Thought Cycle is a visual way as well as a logical way to break down our thinking step by step so as to perceive more concretely how it influences our choices and their concurrent results. So, conscious or unconscious, we’re thinking!

The cycle works like this:



Something happens (someone says something, an event occurs, etc.). We then will have thoughts about it – sometimes a few thoughts, sometimes many. Writing down as many of the thoughts as we can think of associated with the event helps us see how many thoughts we have about a circumstance or event or relationship.


As we review each thought we can ask, “When I thought such and such, how was I feeling?” The idea is to start to see how our feelings are the indicators of the quality of our thoughts. Our feelings come from our thoughts, not the other way around. Our feelings actually are thoughts in motion.


Based on some of those thoughts that make sense to us, we then take some action. Behavior is informed by thinking. We make choices based on the way we see life experience.


Then based on the action we took, we get a certain outcome. When we see the results of our behavior, we can look at the thinking we have related to the results, and we can begin to see the cyclical nature of our thinking, for our thinking related to the results usually reinforces our original thought about the circumstance we first used as an example. The phrase “self-fulfilling prophesy” comes to life.

The Thought Cycle helps all of us as leaders in whatever area of life we find ourselves, to see the impact of our thinking more clearly. The more we understand the impact of our thinking, the better equipped we are to simply know which thoughts or thinking we should take seriously, and which we should probably ignore.

Healthy leaders see their thinking for what it is and discern which thoughts to bring to life with their attention and action, and which to let dissolve back to dust.


It can be quite an illumination to realize that we don’t have to take all our thinking seriously!

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