“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” ~James Allen
We are what we think about over time. We are the accumulation of all our attitudes, beliefs, fears, hopes and dreams, all the thoughts that fill our minds on a regular basis. (Tweet)
We are our own self-fulfilling prophesy. (Tweet)
We are the products of our attitudes and mental states of mind. We are the external manifestation of the internal environment we create. (Tweet)
Those who live in the poverty of the mind eventually find their lives steeped in environmental poverty as well. Those who live in the poverty of the soul find their emotional and spiritual lives impoverished too. Those whose minds play in the gutter can’t help but pick up the mind diseases that lurk there.
On the other hand, when we elevate our thinking—in time—we also elevate our circumstances. All creation begins as thought. Every invention was first born as an idea. Every discovery and development passed through the birthing canal of imagination and contemplation. Every breakthrough was initiated by the thought that formed it.
Want to Change your Life? Change your Thoughts
“The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” ~ Albert Einstein
Our thoughts are the prisons we condemn ourselves to or they are the keys we use to unlock possibility and potential. (Tweet) What role thought plays in your life is determined by the nature of what you choose to consistently think about and how you choose to think it.
Just as your health is not the result of any particular meal you eat, but the kinds of meals you tend to eat generally, so happiness is not the result of any particular thought, but of the kinds of thoughts that regularly inhabit your mind.
If I think life is ugly, I will see the ugliness in life. But not because the world is predominately ugly. Ugliness is simply what will register in my mind as proof of what I already believe or strongly suspect is true about it. If I believe something is one way, I will seek evidence for that interpretation. It’s a self-fulfilling prophesy.
The Thought You Feed is the One that Grows
“A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.” ~ Gandhi (Tweet)
Thought has a way of expanding into reality. It takes shape and form as the thing you invented, the condition you imagined and the circumstances you gave birth to as you thought them into existence.
What you think becomes true by the force of the power you give it, by the food of thought you nurse it with, the physical dimensions you create for it, the home you house it in, the canvas you paint it on.
And just to be clear, I’m not talking about supernatural powers of vibrational attraction. It’s really much simpler than all that. It boils down to some combination of these 3 self-fulfilling conditions:
1. If I think negatively, I will more likely act negatively. Action is the outgrowth of thought. So negative thinking will repel positive people and the influence, friendship and opportunities they would have brought with them.
2. How I think influences what I focus my attention on. By focusing on the negative, the positive is more likely disregarded, overlooked or downplayed, thereby amplifying and magnifying the unfortunate and ugly by comparison.
3. Thinking negativity ignores opportunity. The more my attention is trained on the negative, the less of the positive I see or even believe is accessible to me, further “proving” I just don’t get any breaks in life. And so our thoughts dim the lights on the reality we experience, not fully realizing it was never the reality but our thoughts about it that dimmed.
We See What We Seek
If I’m looking down at the dirt all the time, I’ll less likely see the flowers on the bush growing out of it, the butterfly lighted on the flower on it, the hummingbird flitting above it or the sunshine washing over it. My world, then, is what I choose to look at, the way I choose to interpret what I see, the mental state I pass the input through, the interpretive framework of thought and belief and attitude by which I process it.
Proof in a Deck of Cards
Imagine a deck of cards fanned out in front of you. If I asked you to quickly find the Queen of Spades, the King of Hearts and the Ace of Clubs, you would train your mind on the immediate task at hand and likely spot them in short order.
But after palming the deck, if I asked you to tell me what card was on either side of the three cards you found, chances are you wouldn’t know. But why? Your eyes would have actually seen them. So why wouldn’t you remember? Are you blind to the other cards? Well, no, not if you were looking for them.
But you were, in fact, effectively blind to them by virtue of what you were looking for. Your brain blocks everything that’s not the cards you were searching the deck for to more efficiently locate the cards you instructed your brain to find. In other words, to streamline the search, your brain blocks information overload.
Unless, of course, the neighboring cards you were looking for were very similar to those you were asked to find. If, for example, you were looking for the Queen of Spades and the one right next to it was the Queen of Clubs, you would likely have remembered that card.
This process is immediate and automatic and lasts about as long as you are looking for those specific cards. Change the cards you’re looking for (say, a 10 of Hearts or 5 of Diamonds) and your “blindness” adapts to the changed set of cards you were asked to locate.
The Great Conspiracy
“If you think you can do a thing, or think you can’t do a thing, you are right.” ~ Henry Ford (Tweet)
If you are convinced it will rain today, your mind will notice the clouds in the sky more than the sky around the clouds. If you think people don’t like you, your brain will focus its energy on that thought and will pick up the frowns and notice the people not talking to you even while others smile and try to get your attention.
If you think negative, you will look for the negative and your brain will more likely and more often negate the positive as an inefficient use of attention.
You have, after all, sent your brain the order: “Only find the negative because that’s all I’m looking for.” Your brain will conspire with you against evidence of the positive just to prove you right and identify what you are already looking for. Brains are quite efficient that way.
They also pick up other negative cues because they are the “cards” similar to the ones you were already programmed to find. This way, negativity reinforces negativity and the wheels of the self-fulfilling prophesy are set in motion as our brains look for evidence to back up the beliefs we already harbor.
A Simple Solution
“If you correct the mind, everything else will fall into place.” ~Lao Tzu (Tweet)
Now that you know why you feel life is conspiring against you (that you and your brain are the dominant conspirators), you’re armed with the knowledge needed to begin breaking the self-destructive, self-perpetuating habit of thought.
Here’s the simple answer: Change the cards you’re looking for by conscientiously looking for proof that life is beautiful, challenges are opportunities and the world keeps spinning in the right direction, at the right speed, following it’s correct orbit.
Then, as you replace old habitual ways of thinking with new positive ones, thereby reprogramming your brain to find better cards, you will begin to see life as something profoundly more beautiful and happy.
This is not, by the way, an exercise in self-delusion. Just like being at a buffet and choosing some foods over others, you can choose among competing thoughts and interpretations as well. If it’s not delusional to choose pizza over oysters, it’s not delusional to choose happy over sad, noble over ignoble and positive over negative ways of thinking.
You are the master craftsman of your thoughts. What you think will eventually, and to one degree or another, become the fluid that lubricates the gears of your life. (Tweet)
Your Turn …
- What habits of thoughts have held (or are holding) you back?
- Do you agree that our thoughts create our realities?
- How has your thinking transformed your life?
- Please share your thoughts below.
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