The difference between success and failure in any endeavour in life lies not in Race, Creed, Colour, Gender or Socio-economic background but in Our attitude towards the people and circumstances that we encounter.
Positive or Negative Our Attitude is Our choice.
So how can we choose to have a more positive and empowering State whenever we want it?
In short, Programming, just like a computer. Only in this instance the “software” is the stimulus that we are exposed to on a daily basis – YouTube, Facebook, people, places, TV, radio, magazines, books and papers.
If you recall, during the introduction I made reference to what I called “Social Hypnosis” and the nature of humanity being, “survival by adaptation.” In order to better understand this we need to take a look at a couple of very important factors that underpin our basic character.
VALUES and BELIEFS
Beliefs are formed from our values, those things in life that we feel to be important. That which we see as being inherently right or wrong, good or bad all forms the basis for our beliefs.
Who do we believe we are?
Our self-image is the foundation on which the rest of our lives are built. It will determine every aspect of our existence, from the way that we feel about our-selves, to the quality of our relationships with others and the careers that we pursue. How we see ourselves is our “blueprint” for success.
The way we think about ourselves determines everything that we say, do, believe and feel. If we want a happy fulfilled successful life we must first believe our-selves to be happy, successful and fulfilled individuals.
Don’t panic if you are one of the many challenged with self-esteem issues. As you begin to understand the true power of thought you will be able to see yourself in a different light.
We all have them, good bad or indifferent we can’t get away from them, but we can control them, to a point. I say to a point because whilst we cannot control what pops into our head we can certainly control whether or not we let it influence us negatively. Let me explain.
Our thoughts in our waking state our no more real than our dreams are in our sleep. The difference is in the function of our conscious mind. When we sleep “our little Voice” sleeps too. This means that the most weird and wonderful thoughts can race through our minds completely unchallenged by our sleeping conscious mind. Fast forward to our waking state and it is a whole different ball game.
If you remember from earlier the purpose of the conscious mind is to compare, contrast, analyse and try and understand or make sense of things. It is vital for our ability to adapt and survive long term, so in this context it is a valuable tool.
Unfortunately when a thought pops into our head in our waking state our conscious mind wants to know why it appeared. After all it must have appeared for a reason right? Wrong! Your conscious mind will try to compare, contrast and analyse this thought to try and make sense of it. Dependent on how much attention you give your thought this process can last for a fraction of a second or sadly in some cases a lifetime.
Imagine if you will, walking through the park, the sun is shining, the sky is blue and a light breeze keeps you cool as you reflect on what has been a great day. All seems good with life until in the distance you notice someone looking in your direction; they seem to be staring straight at you, a cold hard stare -unflinching. You glance around to see if they could be looking at any one else but no one else is around. As you get closer there is no doubt in your mind, they are staring straight at you. Initially, you think to yourself, what’s their problem? Why are they staring at me? You check yourself over to make sure a bird hasn’t left an unwelcome gift on your clothing. As you get closer you can see that this guy is looking a bit rough, dishevelled and you begin to think to yourself that he might be about to mug you, after all there is no one else around and he looks like your stereotypical down and out. Your heart begins to beat faster and you can feel your stomach starting to churn, your mind races on, your breathing starts to speed up as you think to yourself what if he tries to take my phone or my money, how will I get home, has he got a knife? Will he stab me…..what should I do? Should I run……that might provoke him and make things worse?
The reality of the situation is that this down and out mugger who is about to pounce on you for your money or phone (according to your logical thought process) is in fact a company director who has recently lost his business and has been struggling to sleep. He has lost interest in personal hygiene and his appearance. He is worried that he will not be able to provide for his wife and young family. The cold hard stare that triggered your avalanche of thoughts was no more than a guy caught up in his own little world of challenges totally unaware of your existence!
The point behind this tale is to identify what I refer to as a Choice Point. When the first thought of “why is he staring at me?” popped into your head you had a choice (even if you didn’t know it at the time!) if you had thought “poor guy is obviously having a bad day” your experience of the walk would have been very different than the fearful one that took place. You could have continued your walk in the sunshine letting life drift by. Instead, your logical conscious left brain had to do it’s thing and from this one thought developed a thought attack!
So how do we protect against such thought attacks and ensure that we are able to make the right decision at a choice point?
We begin by raising awareness of thought. Most of our 60,000 thoughts per day happen in an instant and pass pretty much un-noticed.
The early stages of meditation are an excellent tool for raising awareness of thought. When you first sit and try and think of nothing (as most beginners do) you get the polar opposite, an avalanche of thoughts popping into your head. It is a bit like a computer downloading!
With time and regular practice will come a greater awareness of thought, first in meditation and then in life in general. Once you are more aware of your thoughts you are better placed to decide what choices to make.
If choosing one particular thought process will lead to pain, anguish distress or a less than positive outcome and another to happiness, contentment, peace and your desired outcome, you dont have to be a rocket scientist to work out which choice to make, so long as we remember WE DO HAVE A CHOICE!
Our thoughts profoundly influence every aspect of our lives.
PERCEPTIONS / EXPERIENCE
Our interpretation or perception of a particular set of circumstances is once again profoundly influenced by our own experience of life and the state that we happen to be in at the time of participating in or witnessing an event.
In the example of the mugger, had we been used to communicating with people down on their luck and outside societies norm our perception, thought processes, behaviour and subsequent experience would have been very different from that detailed in our example.
STATE / MOODS
Our “states” of mind are dynamic, changing minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, continuously evolving in response to the people, circumstances and environments that we encounter and the choices that we make. Our state at any given time is a culmination of our thoughts, feelings and actions towards life’s experiences. A meeting with the boss, a chance encounter with an old friend, the opportunity to meet with new experiences all create changes in our moods or states.
The link between our thoughts and actions.
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to think one way and behave another? After a disagreement with a partner, friend or colleague how difficult is it to act as if nothing has happened? Our heads are filled with the sights and sounds (thoughts) of this disagreement constantly replaying over and over again. We are in effect reliving that incident that made us feel uncomfortable in the first place. Is it any wonder that each time this happens we feel equally uncomfortable? Are we being unreasonable to expect any other outcome?
It is said that time is a great healer in times of dispute or emotional turmoil. My question is, is it really? Or could it simply be the fact that as time goes by our heads are filled with a myriad of different thoughts and we cease to remember those things that upset us in the first place. We no longer run the thought patterns that resulted in our emotional turmoil and as a result, we no longer feel the associated emotion? In any event, the point here is that
The secret to a more confident, successful, empowering, dynamic and energised outlook on life lies in understanding what influences and underpins our basic character and then consciously choosing to surround ourselves with positive stimulus.
Paraphrased from Paul Mc Kenna: Success For Life and Dr Richard Carlson: You can be happy no matter what….