The story is told of a certain man who bought a new gadget – unassembled – and after reading and rereading the instructions, he still could not figure out how to put the device together and make it work.
Finally, he sought the help of an old handyman who was working in the backyard. The old fellow picked up the pieces, studied them, then began assembling the gadget. In a short time, he had it put together.
“That’s amazing,” said the man who bought the gadget. “And you did it without even looking at the instructions!” “Fact is,” said the old man, “I can’t read, and when a fellow can’t read, he’s got to think!”
Indeed, whatever we achieve or fail to achieve in life is largely the result of the way we think. Our thinking shapes our lives and influences our destinies. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”
You may ask, “What of family background, connections, education, opportunities, luck, environment, location and so on?” As a matter of fact, these factors have some influences on successes and failures but the critical factor, as illustrated in the opening story and many other examples all around us, is how we think.
Successful people think differently from unsuccessful people.David J.Schwartz once said, “Where success is concerned, people are not measured in inches or pounds or college degrees or family background; they are measured by the size of their thinking.”
People are different because they think in different ways. You want to be close to someone primarily because of the way he or she thinks. This is because thinking determines behaviour and attitude. For this reason, no normal person wants to befriend a mad man. His thinking makes him crazy.
Everything begins with a thought. For instance, you get up from bed in the morning and many thoughts start coming into your mind. You think of brushing your teeth, doing your morning devotion, bathing, dressing up, having breakfast, making important calls, planning for the day’s work and general activities. Everything is first thought of before decisions are made and actions are taken. Faulty thinking at this stage can mess up your day. This is why you need to think accurately. This is also why you need to base your decisions on facts and not mere hearsay.
Many times we take certain things for granted. Do you know that everything in the world was created by thought – radio, TV, the Internet, cars, computers etc? You know about Thomas Edison who developed tin foil phonograph, light bulbs, electricity, film and audio devices, and many more. You also know about Alexander Graham Bell, who, at the age of 29, invented the telephone. Do not forget Johannes Gutenberg, the German goldsmith, who invented the printing machine. Can you imagine the world without a printing press?
Do you ever challenge yourself to think of one good thing for which you would be remembered when you’re gone? It has been said that most people use only 10 per cent of their brain capacity. That means that you can think and do much more than you are doing today. Your potential is yet to be fully exploited.
One of the reasons people do not achieve their dreams is that they desire to change their results without changing their thinking. Every change in decisions, actions and results must first start with thinking. You must first change your thinking before any other change can be effected.
It was Albert Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” He also said, “We cannot solve our problems with same thinking we used when we created them.” Goran Carstedt put it this way, “We need a new way of thinking to solve the problems caused by the old way of thinking.”
Your situation in life can change only when you change your thinking for the better. Have a mental picture of what you desire to achieve in future. Visualise and meditate on it. If it is God’s will for your life, it will come to pass.
Your thoughts are seeds which you sow. According to James Allen,” You are today where your thoughts have brought you. You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” Before I entered the university to study Pharmacy, my mind was fully occupied with how to become a pharmacist. After graduation, my thoughts and desires changed to what aspect of Pharmacy practice to engage in – community, hospital, industrial, academic etc. I actually tried these areas but did not have fulfilment until I took the decision to go into publishing.
Note also that while thinking is said to be productive, only positive thinking will bring positive results. Therefore, make it a principle to avoid negative or destructive thinking – thinking about past mistakes or failures or possible losses, accidents, ill-health, disaster, death etc.
As Jerry Bruckner rightly said, “We become and attract what we think about most of the time.” The subconscious mind makes no distinction between constructive and destructive thought impulses. It works with the material we feed it, through our thought pattern.