The average person has about 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That's an average of 2500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour.
Some will inevitably revolve around logistics and operatives, such as, “What can I eat today” or “Where is my bloody charger again?”. Common sense says that’s about a third of your thought capacity gone. That’s a conservative guess, because a lot of you may add child or spouse management to that. (You could argue those factors simply make you have even more thoughts, but let’s assume capacity does not expand with dependents.)
After that, let’s drop another third for work, fixing unforeseen problems and generally dealing with the external world. Hence, assuming we had an average of 3000 thoughts per hour to begin with, we are now left with 1000 free thoughts per hour. If you have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or MPEPIVD (Must Pet Every Puppy In Vicinity Disorder), you may have even less.
We can probably all agree that we would want to spend those thoughts wisely. Do not mistake “wisely” with “efficiently” though. First of all, your mind has already worked hard 2/3rds of an hour trying to efficiently make optimal decisions, so you would need an exhaustive amount of self-discipline to constantly monitor even more “effective” thoughts for the rest of the hour. You may manage for a few hours, even days, but ultimately, it won’t be sustainable. Your brain needs freedom of efficiency to make new synapses connect, create, build, grow...That’s what play does for children, and why adults should play more.
Let your thoughts roam free, daydream, enjoy the float-about-y process. (yes, that IS the scientific term).
But have a little listen to yourself. Are you spending those 1000 thoughts in a positive mindset or in a negative one? Almost everyone has the ability to listen to themselves and monitor their attitude. It’s what Freud called the “Über-Ich”, or educational professionals call “self-regulation” or what my dad simply called “Aufmerksamkeit” (mindfulness...he was ahead of his time, Dad was a hipster at heart before artisan coffee was invented.)
So be mindful, not efficient. What are you focusing on with these 1000 free thoughts? What you focus on WILL mushroom and become bigger. It will ultimately determine your actions.
Christopher Voss, longtime chief negotiator for the FBI backed definitive research, proving that the brain operates 31% better in a positive frame of mind.
Voss: “You make yourself 31% percent smarter by being in a positive frame of mind, you are 31% more likely to come up with a better answer...that is no small jump [of improvement].” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llctqNJr2IU)
Next time you mull over a problem or a goal or an idea....
Monitor yourself, reframe your position, give those 1000 free thoughts the mindful, positive attention they deserve!
No-one will judge you of even the craziest mind gymnastics because thoughts are private, but actions are not!
“Careful what you think, your thoughts will become your words.
Careful what you speak, your words will become your actions.”
The original article on this from the https://www.nsf.gov/ is disputed over heavily, however, even if the number cannot be unequivocally determined, there is neuroscientific consensus that the capacity for conscious thinking is limited. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120315161326.htm. The numbers used here are to be taken as a abstract model.