By Joe De Sena
A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.”—Gandhi
You are what you think. Make no mistake: The perspective you have about the world and your place in it determines who you are and how you live our life. If you think positively about your health, you will take actions to be healthy. If you think positively about success, you will take actions to be successful. If you focus on failure, you will do nothing and fail.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t mindful about how they think, living life as it comes. And when they don’t think, they don’t do. They give up their power, fail to grow, and become unhappy.
The good news is that you don’t have to do this. You don’t have to stagnate. Instead, you can orient your thinking toward acting, being healthy, and becoming successful. You can transform into the person you truly want to be.
This transformation process begins with self-awareness. If this sounds a little bit crunchy-granola for you, hear me out. I’m not suggesting paralysis through analysis, where you spend so much time looking inward that you get stuck there and never make any changes. Instead, I am suggesting that a small dose of self-awareness can have a really big impact on personal growth, achievement, health, relationships, money, and pretty much every other aspect of life.
If you are unhappy with some aspect of your life (or your life in general), pause a few times each day, especially when you are feeling unhappy, and ask yourself:
• What are my thoughts right now?
• What are my feelings right now?
• Why am I having these thoughts and feelings?
• What am I doing with these thoughts and feelings?
When you pause during your difficult moments and assess what’s going on, you become self-aware. Eventually, you start to see patterns in your thinking and you recognize how those patterns lead to the actions that make you unhappy. For instance, you might realize: “I’m thinking that my boss doesn’t like me. I’m feeling ‘less than’ and not good enough. I’m thinking this and feeling this because this is the message that my parents gave me when I was young. I am eating a candy bar to stuff these uncomfortable feelings. This pattern is a huge part of why I’m overweight, out of shape, and unhappy in general.”
When you develop self-awareness, you know what goes on in your head that holds you back in life and you can address this stinking thinking with contrary affirmations and actions. You can tell yourself, “I am good enough,” and instead of eating a candy bar, you can go to the gym after work to burn off your stress (and the extra pounds). Before you know it, you will transform into a person who no longer allows external factors to control your thinking and your behavior. You take your power back.
When you increase your self-awareness in this way, you see that life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you choose to think about it. You understand that what you think, you become.
Originally published on Spartan (life.spartan.com).
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