Jim Aitkins is an American writer who is still learning all about life. He finds that learning goes great with a small dose of humour, and we tend to agree. This month, he looks at the types of decisions we make in life.
Which of the following represents your predominant outlook: “I am, right now, living the results of my life’s worst decisions”, OR, “I am, right now, living the results of my life’s best decisions.” It happens that both are accurate, but since you can choose to emphatically agree with one of them while shrugging off the other, why not choose the more positive option? Why not remind yourself every day that you are poised for greatness, because, after all, you are, right now, living the results of your life’s best decisions?
None of us set out in life determined to make bad decisions. All of us would like to make better decisions, and to do so more consistently. And the fact of the matter is that, in general, bad decisions tend to lead to good decisions. So, if we actively view our life as a funnel for better decision-making (using statements like the above to help us anticipate better results), better decisions are, in general, what we will start to see more of.
This same principle is just as true for acquiring wealth, achieving workplace and career success, and quality relationships. We get what we expect. We find what we are most earnestly looking for.
I am pretty sure the following story is not true, but since it perfectly illustrates this point, it doesn’t matter:
An old preacher was dying. He sent a message for his banker and his lawyer, both church members, to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the preacher held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The preacher grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling. For a time, no one said anything. Both the banker and lawyer were touched and flattered that the preacher would ask them to be with him during his final moments. They were also puzzled; the preacher had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. They both remembered his many long, uncomfortable sermons about greed and avaricious behavior that made them squirm in their seats. Finally, the banker said, “Preacher, why did you ask us to come?” The old preacher mustered up his strength and then said weakly, “Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I want to go.”
Every day, you owe it to yourself to put yourself right in the middle of exactly what you want. You do that with your thoughts. Some have criticized my emphasis on thinking your way to getting what you want in life. They say you need to act, not merely to think. My response to that is that too many of us do not apply serious thoughtful analysis and emotionally intense thought about exactly, precisely what we want before we rush off into action. Doing the right things right – with firmness of purpose and an internal knowing that this is what ought to be done – is always better than action for the sake of action.
There is no such thing as action without some thought. But the question is: Would you rather enjoy the results of decisions made on a foundation of imagination and creativity, with focus and passion and purpose, or the decisions made after chanting, “I must do something. I must act!” with very little thought about the outcome of that activity? The first one? That’s what I thought.
So, go back to the top and think about the question I posed. Think about your life’s best decisions and how to make more of them. Your thoughts are indeed a summary of what you really want most in your life. Think about it. Change your thoughts. Change your life.
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