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My kids have an audio presentation called Brite Music – Safety Kids (not an affiliate), and they have learned some important safety principles along with some fun songs! There is this one song that goes, “I think that we will all turn out to be whatever we think about,” and then lists scenarios like, “What was Columbus thinking when he crossed the ocean?” “What of the Brothers Wright when they flew the plane?” “What was Beethoven thinking when he wrote his music?” “What was Armstrong thinking walking on the moon?”
You get the picture. Basically, when you consider what the rest of your life will look like, you have more control than maybe you think! In fact, what we think about is exactly what will determine that future!
Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.
It isn’t clear who first said this quote, but it is worth examining here.
Thoughts are things. Every thought you release — good or bad — is a form of energy that can affect those who receive it, for better or worse. More important, your thoughts affect you. You become what you think about most. If you think about success, you condition your mind to seek success, and you attract large portions of it. Conversely, if you think about failure and despair, you will become miserable and desperate. To keep your mind on a positive track, the moment you begin to experience creeping negativism, make a conscious decision to eliminate negative thoughts and replace them with their positive counterparts.
This is why a practice of being conscious of our thoughts is so important, as I discussed in my previous blog post about our two brains – feeling and thinking/emotional and rational/subconscious and conscious – being aware of the chatter, and being more intentional about the thoughts that fill our minds are what will guide our future.
“All evils to which so many become addicted begin in the mind and in the way one thinks. Experience teaches that when the will and imagination are in conflict, the imagination usually wins. What we imagine may defeat our reason and make us slaves to what we taste, see, hear, smell, and feel in the mind’s eye. The body is indeed the servant of the mind.
“In his widely acclaimed essay As a Man Thinketh, James Allen reinforced what Jesus so beautifully proclaimed. Mr. Allen wrote:
‘Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace. By the right choice and true application of thought, man ascends to the Divine Perfection; by the abuse and wrong application of thought, he descends below the level of the beast. Between these two extremes are all the grades of character, and man is their maker and master. …
‘All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his own thoughts’ (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., n. d., pp. 8–9, 34.)” (Joseph B. Wirthlin).
Here are some ways I suggest guarding our thoughts so that we are more intentional about the outcome of our lives and the vision we have:
- Be intentional about the media you consume, and when. It matters. Avoid anything that may become an addiction, or stir up carnal feelings. Be aware of how often you consume media, such as using your personal device in front of impressionable people, during mealtimes or family time.
- Create a mindfulness practice. When you can be alone in your thoughts, and take control of what characters play in the theatre of your mind, then you don’t need constant entertainment, and you exercise the muscle of the conscious mind.
- Fill your mind with good things. There are so many things to do with our minds and our hands to create and decompress. Classic literature, and other good books; hand crafts; and creativity of every kind.
- Visualize your life. Start with your day, then move on to more. Michael Phelps has won 22 gold metals, and his routines involved vision, mental rehearsal, and practice according to Forbes. Basically, he took the time to really focus on the outcome he wanted, visualized it, rehearsed it again and again in his mind, and then applied it to his actual practice. Whatever you can do to remind yourself of this daily vision is so important. Start a vision journal, create a vision board, etc.
- Speak daily affirmations, universal truths about you, your worth, and your potential. You are a child of God. You have infinite potential. You have unlimited inherent worth. Speak them in the present as though they are indeed true.
I just love that song from The Greatest Showman “A Million Dreams” because in the movie, Charity is anxious about a transition, but P.T. tells her he knows exactly what the future holds because the future is whatever you can dream.
How do your dreams and thoughts shape your family culture? If your thoughts shape your behavior, how are your thoughts influencing your family?