The ancestor of every action is a thought. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I’ve been reading more and more about the power of thought.
The more I read, and think, the more I believe that our thoughts are the prime movers of our lives.
Everything else is tactics.*
Without a solid understanding of how thought – and the tool of thoughts, our brains – work, we are, at best, likely to achieve only a percentage of what we could and, at worst, doomed to a life of mediocrity (or less).
Thoughts (both the conscious and un/subconscious ones) produce our feelings and emotions which determine our attitude and willingness.
When we have a constructive attitude and a willingness to work hard we are effective.
When we’re effective we create an amazing and authentic life.
That’s what we all want, right? (I know I do… ).
So we must learn to think constructively, usefully.
Notice I didn’t say the “p” word? (The opposite of negative.)
I use the word constructively on purpose.
When things go well, ask yourself why and how? So you can learn from your successes.
When things are okay, get curious about what is working and what isn’t quite working. So you can learn from your average experiences.
When things go to sh!t, ask yourself what went wrong? How did things get off track? And ask yourself what role you played in the event or experience.** Why? So you can learn from your negative experiences.
The other key to harnessing the power of thought is learning to effectively manage your thoughts (/brain).
Notice I didn’t say “control your thoughts?”
Why not? Because you can’t. You can only hope to manage them.
(Now, of course, there are some who are amazing managers of their thoughts (think Buddhist monks… ), but 1) they have devoted their lives to contemplation and meditation and 2) even they don’t have absolute mastery over their thoughts.)
I’m talking about meditation. I suggest – to start – you commit to sitting quietly for 3 minutes each day. Sit comfortably, close your eyes and notice only your breath. As your thoughts come and you lose focus on your breath, re-focus.
Do that for 21 days and you will feel better, think better, be more aware and conscious of each moment and be a overall better version of yourself.
But it will take three minutes a day.
* Well, not “tactics” exactly, but it was fun, pithy thing to say…
** We always play some role in our failures… at least to the extent that we create our success. You will see this if you’re willing to tell yourself the Truth.