Saturday, November 19, 2011

Habitual Thought and Greatness

Yesterday, I was at yet another training seminar where the facilitator spoke about "your background not having a right to put your back on the ground".

I have often refrained from joining discussions centered around this statement, for the simple reason that I try to avoid cliches. I do not like to dwell on, or even use, words or statements that have been used so frequently that they seem to have lost their meanings. However, I have decided to write about this - because it is true.

In the 1911 classic, Science of Being Great, Wallace Wattles posits that "habitual thought, and not environment or circumstance has made you what you are". I do not think there is a more fitting way to put it than that.

In fact, I would say that a major difference between someone who comes from a 'rich' background and one who comes from a 'humble' one lies in the difference between their perspectives i.e. habitual thought. Both parties find it natural to adopt the 'thought patterns' and 'mindsets' that created their environments - often shaping their own lives in the same pattern as a result of thinking those thoughts.

Very often, we 'externalize' - attributing the underlying factors and causes for our inadequacies or 'failures' to factors outside of ourselves and beyond our control - a point of view which is easy to take, but which fails to deliver necessary change and growth.

The opposing point of thought would be to 'internalize' - taking responsibility for your actions and their consequences, and engaging in a rigorous improvement process based on feedback from said consequences.

Today, make a decision to be responsible for your thoughts, the actions that arise from them, and their consequences. Make an effort to think certain thoughts consciously. Attract thoughts of greatness, and hold them in your mind; allow them to govern your actions. Refuse to give the lazy excuse of environment, background, or any such external constraint... and watch your life gradually grow and develop.

In the words of Barack Obama, "if we work hard and take responsibility, we will have a chance for a great life".

Let's do this, shall we?

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