“You can’t imagine just how much believing in negative thoughts is affecting your life…until you stop. Charles F. Glassman
Some examples of negative thinking are thoughts that focus on what might go wrong, what we lack, what went wrong in the past, what we don’t want to occur, thoughts based on fear, anger, resentment, to name a few. Another way of phrasing it, is to say “Negative thinking focuses on what we don’t want in life.” I’m not saying we should avoid giving these things attention, it’s OK to be aware of negative factors. Just don’t remain there for long, and be sure to avoid giving them more power in your life than they merit.
Much of what follows is inspired by Joseph Clough’s book, Be Your Potential. I own the audio book version, which I picked up, on a whim, at Half Price Books. I had a “Why don’t I stop in and see what they have” kind of a thought. And there it was, for about $4. Never opened! A steal!
Our minds can’t distinguish between what is imagined and what is real. So, if I’m deathly fearful of public speaking and I am scheduled to speak at a gathering, tomorrow, my entire being will experience anxiety and fear, right now, as if I were speaking, even though the speaking engagement doesn’t occur for 24 hours. Conversely, if I absolutely love public speaking, and have a killer talk prepared for tomorrow, I’ll experience the joy and satisfaction of giving that talk, right up to, and including the time I give it. Our minds and bodies can’t distinguish.
“Read it with sorrow and you will feel hate.
Read it with anger and you will feel vengeful.
Read it with paranoia and you will feel confusion.
Read it with empathy and you will feel compassion.
Read it with love and you will feel flattery.
Read it with hope and you will feel positive.
Read it with humor and you will feel joy.
Read it with God and you will feel the truth.
Read it without bias and you will feel peace.
Don’t read it at all and you will not feel a thing.”
Sharon L. Alder
People who have been extremely successful in life, Martin Luther King Jr., Bill Gates, Stephen Jobs, Edison, Mother Theresa, enjoyed their success because they had a clear idea of what they wanted. Not how to get there, but what they wanted. The questions they asked themselves, throughout their journey, were based on their vision. These remarkable people maintained a “view from the top.” They didn’t waste their time reflecting on limiting and negative “what ifs.”
It’s a sad fact that if we don’t put much thought and energy into what we want, and instead focus on the object of our fears, failings, and perceived lack, then what we want becomes non-existent in our minds and lives. In that consciousness, even when opportunity arises to bring us the very things we desire, having not focused on what we desire, we can’t see or experience the gift that lies before us. If we haven’t thought about it, it’s not in the fore of our awareness, and we pass it by.
You’ll see this happen frequently, when self-employed entrepreneurs complain about being too busy because their business is a success! Here’s a true story. I was attending a network marketing group and one entrepreneur, who is in the T-shirt business, was complaining that “This is baseball season, and we’re overloaded with team jersey orders. The printing machines that apply the graphics take hours to clean. And, we have more orders in the wings.” This was all stated with eye-rolls and gestures of frustration. Here was a victor, talking like a victim. This person obviously had not spent much time focusing on his vision; a successful T-shirt business. There it was, it was here, it was his to appreciate. Yet, he could not see it, and could not experience it.
Let me tell you a story about an English couple visiting New York City for the first time. They were rather afraid of New York City. They thought it had a sordid reputation – full of crime. Their host, however, was a wise person. He took them to the top of one of the tallest buildings in New York City to an observation deck. They went up there and took a look from the top. It was a clear day and they could seemingly see forever. They were most impressed with the beauty of New York City. The vista, the buildings, everything about it was just spectacular.
All during the rest of the week, as they traveled around town, they could not keep the vision of that view out of their minds. They wrote, later, to their host that it was the greatest experience they had ever had in traveling around the world. They loved New York City. They thought it was one of the loveliest and friendliest of cities. All because of a view from the top.
What you think about, you bring about. What you focus on and give attention to, expands in your life – Where you place your attention becomes your experience. It is my hope that my words have reminded you to place your attention and intention on clearly held visions of what you want to experience in life.