Mind is the master power that moulds and makes, and man is mind, and evermore he takes the tool of thought, and, shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: – He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass
This is the opening statement from James Allens short but powerful book “As a Man Thinketh.” It was my latest book in the 52 books in 52 weeks quest. I have to be honest, what attracted me to it was how short it was but what I found was about 80 pages of pure brilliance. I have never read a book with so much insight.
What I took away from the book is that your thoughts are more powerful than you could ever have imagined. However, your thoughts will only take you so far – it’s what’s in your heart that defines who you are.
EVERY GREAT ACHIEVEMENT STARTED AS A DREAM
The only people who realize dreams are the ones that actually believe them. Have you ever had a dream and woke up saying to yourself “Whoa, that seemed so real?” Yeah, me too – pretty often. I like to think of my dreams as signals as to what is truly possible.
Personally, I’m a big day-dreamer as well. Not sure about you but it’s often hard for me to focus because I’m constantly getting into my own head with thoughts, ideas, ambitions, new passions, and all kinds of excitement.
The greatest things ever invented started out as a dream.
- The light bulb
- The internet
- The computer
- The iPod
- The telephone
- The automobile
- The airplane
- The wheel
- The printing press
- Everything that Dream Works does (Kung Fu Panda, need I say more)
Think about how insane some of these things would have been for their time. Imagine Alexander Graham Bell sitting beside one of his buddies playing some poker and this conversation going down.
- Al: Alright boys, I’m turning in. The misses doesn’t want me out to late tonight.
- Jerry: (Making the whipped sound) Same time tomorrow bud?
- Al: I’m not sure… I’ll call you.
- Jerry: What???
The key for Alexander Graham Bell as well as many others was that they just didn’t dream the dream they fed it. They put in the hard work, consistency, and patience that it took to realize those dreams and deliver something that not only benefit themselves but others and the world as a whole.
A dream is one thing but are you willing to put in the work that it takes to produce that dream? The best way to get started is to declare your dream. Think of it as a promise of what you are capable of.
- Think it
- Right it down
- Say it out loud (works best if you say it to yourself in the mirror, visually see yourself saying the words. It is extremely powerful.)
- Tell someone about your dream (get ready for a rolling of the eyes, hard-core support, or laughter) more on this later
- Specify five behaviors you can take right now that get you one step closer to your dream
Having a goal to lose twenty pounds by New Years or to start reading 52 book in 52 weeks are very noble goals but they only focus on an outcome. There is no real direction or actionable steps for you to take.
What is your goal? What can you do this month? What can you do this week? What can you do today that get you one step closer to achievement.
To achieve anything you want you have to be committed. Through ups and downs, success and failures. It’s important to define why your dream is important to you. Avoid taking up a challenge simply because you feel it’s what you should be doing. Make sure that what you are striving for really means a lot to you.
Start small: There’s nothing better than a quantum leap. When you get excited about a goal its easy to meet it with an all-in attitude. If you want to guarantee success start smaller. Instead of opting to completely overhaul your nutrition plan start small by committing to drinking more water and taking out some of the liquid calories you are consuming. You’re much more likely to build habits that last a lifetime.
Keep thinking big but start acting small. One step, one habit, one action at a time.
EVERYTHING SHALL PASS, EVERYTHING
- The good
- The bad
- The ugly
Patience is a virtue but display it actively not passively. Whether times are good or bad, waiting them out does not do you a ton of good. If you’re struggling spend your time during the struggle to assess ways in which you can avoid this in the future.
What led to the struggle, stress, or discomfort. What decision and behaviors did you make that brought you her?. What decisions and behaviors can you make in the future to excel in this situation or to avoid it completely?
START SHOWING UP
Most people never succeed because they never get started. They never show up. I hear amazing dreams, ideas, and wisdom every single day from people – but unfortunately I don’t see as much action. It usually comes down to a lack of belief in the self.
You’ll get arguments for and against, but I am confident that your environment strongly influences the person you are. You may be the most confident and motivated person in the world but if your environment is not supporting your vision it can be hard to achieve your dreams.
Make sure to surround yourself with people who support the direction you are headed in. Noting is more powerful than a small community of people who support you. If you’re looking for motivation this is a great place to start. Most of us have no problem letting ourselves down but when it comes to letting others down we will have none of it. Just ask Tim
Not everyone you come across will support your choices. It can be extremely tough when those that don’t support you are close to your heart, family, friends, or significant others. Remind yourself that it is these people who love you the most and wish for your life to be safe and secure. Thank them for their concerns but explain that this is a matter of your happiness.
EMBRACE THE “MIGHT AS WELL ATTITUDE”
Are you familiar with the Law of Attraction? If you’re not it is the belief that like attracts like. What you focus on you will manifest in your life. Whether you believe in it or not is not so much important but ever notice how your passions, dreams, fears, and desires always keep showing up?
You may forget about some of those things from time to time but they will always find a way to knock on your door. You might as well open it up and embrace them because they are not going away anytime soon. They are who you are.
Personally I have always been afraid of falling into complacency. Waking up one day and realizing I have been doing the same thing over and over again with no personal growth.
Lack of action usually boils down to three things:
- Confusion – Information overload. To much coming in from to many sources.
- Fear – Focusing on a negative outcome in decisions you are about to make.
- Complacency – Having a bad day? Pull the covers over your head and hope it all goes away.
In order to embrace the might as well attitude I try to do a few things.
Calm down: Most of us get overly excited when tackling a new challenge and we set goals for ourselves that are nearly impossible to reach.. 30 pounds in 30 days anyone? Challenge yourself but set goals that are achievable. You’ll build momentum and confidence as you reach them.
What’s important: Time is often the biggest excuse I hear for not getting things done. Spend a week journaling how you spend you day. Hour to hour. It is an eye-opening experience. Most people find that they spend in insane amount of time of meaningless activities like checking their Facebook or emailing all day. Is doing the laundry right this minute more important than preparing healthy meals of tomorrow?
Stay positive: I’ve said it many times before but it bares repeating. To remove fear concentrate on the positive outcomes with any decision you are going to make. Carry an index cards around with you and every time your mind goes into negative mode take out an index card and write down a positive outcome instead.
Simplify: To much to soon leads to nothing getting done. If you want to avoid complacency concentrate on one thing you can do right now. Don’t google how to lose weight, you’ll get a million different theories and most likely find yourself bouncing from one to the other every single week. What ever your goal ask yourself what is the most important thing I can do right now that will lead to the outcome I want.
GET YOUR MIND RIGHT
If you don’t actually believe it you can never really achieve it. What ever your pursuits start your day by asking yourself if you are capable of this. Never stop believing in yourself.