I had a great phone conversation today with an old friend. Remember that technology – the phone? Great tool. Anyway, we were talking about success, goal-setting and things like that. He knows that I read a lot of books on success, psychology, and personal development and he asked if I could distill in one sentence the essence of the many books that I’ve read on these subjects. It didn’t take me long to formulate a sentence. And it’s not originally mine. There’s nothing new under the sun, and everything is just a variation on everything else. So the sentence is “We become what we think about all day long, whether we want to or not.”
There have been a lot of other people who have said this in the same or similar wording. James Allen said “As a man thinketh, so is he.” Or was that Jesus? I can’t remember. Earl Nightingale said the same thing. So did Aristotle and Shakespeare. There’s way too much intelligence there for me to fit in with that crowd, but I get their gist. We become what we think about all day long. And the kicker is the “whether we want to or not” part. That’ll bite cha. Or not, if you’re thinking about the things that you appreciate or desire.
We are literally what we think, our character being the complete sum of all our thoughts. Is it a coincidence that things always seem to turn out poorly for people who think that they will turn out poorly and vice versa? I’m not saying that we should live in some fantasy world and deny reality. I’m suggesting that we create the conditions of our lives. We have all the evidence to support this right in front of our eyes. The question is, do we see it? As James Allen wrote in As a Man Thinketh, “Most of us are anxious to improve our circumstances, but are unwilling to improve ourselves – and therefore remain bound. If we do not shrink from honest self-examination we can never fail to accomplish the object our hearts are set upon.”
Set a goal to watch your thoughts for the next day. You may be surprised. Just observe. Don’t try to change your whole life or rearrange the planets in the next twenty minutes. Just observe where your mind goes. Watch it like you would watch a cat playing with a ball of yarn. Don’t make a judgment on it, just observe it. And then when you’re ready, when you notice thoughts that you don’t enjoy thinking and that you know don’t serve you, think of something else. Think of something that you do enjoy. Think of something that you’d like to have happen. If you really want to make a quantum leap, don’t just think about something you’d like to have, do or become, give thanks that you already have, are doing , or have become that person. Think this in gratitude and appreciation as if it already is your reality. Because it is. But that’s a subject for another post.