The thing that fuels destiny-shaping decisions is your state of mind at the point in time you make a decision. Your state of mind is the motivating force behind the decisions you make. If you’re pissed off, depressed or stressed out then you’re not going to make the best decisions. If your state of mind is confident, hopeful and inspired, you’re going to make better choices. The bottom line is that the way you feel, your state of mind, influences the decisions you make. Have you ever been angry and said something to someone that you later wish you had never said? In the heat of anger you made a decision to say something. Later, when you were no longer angry, you felt regret for what you said. What changed? Your state of mind changed.
Since your state of mind influences the decisions you make it is important to know what brings about a particular state of mind in the first place. Remember, decisions have a ripple effect that continues long after you have made them so it’s crucial to make decisions from a good state of mind.
First, what does the term “state of mind” mean? If you look in a dictionary it is defined as:
“A person’s mood and the effect that mood has on the person’s thinking and behavior.”
That’s easy to understand and leads to the next question. What determines a person’s mood? Research in cognitive psychology has shown that a person’s thoughts will influence the quality of their mood as well as their life experiences and actions. In other words, what you focus on you will feel.
Whatever you focus your mind on (continually think about) is going to determine your thought patterns. Your thoughts will determine how you feel, which is going to determine your state of mind. Your state of mind will influence your decisions and your decisions will determine your destiny. To put it another way, your focus is the foundation of your destiny.
Understand that what you focus on doesn’t even have to be real in order for you to feel it. Have you ever had a terrifying dream? Someone or something is chasing you through the darkness. You’re running as fast as you can, tree limbs raking your face as you run. You can hear who or whatever is chasing you tearing through the brush in pursuit, and you know it’s gaining on you. You can’t run fast enough and you realize it’s only a matter of time until- and suddenly you wake up. Your heart pounding in your chest, a knot of fear in your stomach and you’re bathed in your own sweat. Why? It was only a dream. It wasn’t real, but because your mind was consumed with it, you felt all of the emotions just as if it had been really happening. The same thing is true when you are awake and your mind is consumed with certain thoughts. That is how powerful your brain is and why it is important to pay attention to what you’re focusing on.
When you imagine something you are creating a mental image of what that experience would be like. What if, instead of creating a negative mental image through worry or fear, you created a positive mental image? There’s a reason why so many world class athletes use visualization to create a mental image of the outcome they desire. They do it because it works. They do it because it helps create a winning state of mind from which they’ll make decisions that will serve them best.
I know that it can sometimes seem like you have no control over your state of mind. Some guy cuts you off in traffic, you’re significant other didn’t bother asking if you needed anything while on their way home, a relationship ended, or maybe a coworker took credit for your hard work. Such things are upsetting and it is okay to feel those emotions. It’s as natural for things like that to cause you to experience anger and frustration as it is for a surprise birthday party to fill you with happiness and joy. We are all human beings and we all have these emotions for a reason. We all go through good and bad states of mind and we all experience pleasant and unpleasant emotions. The key is to remember that we make decisions based on our emotions, or state of mind. So it is important to remember that whenever you feel one of the more negative emotions you don’t have to stay in that place. It is possible to shift your state of mind, and with practice you can learn to do it at will. Keep in mind that I did not say it is always easy, but it is always possible. As with anything else in life, the more you practice the easier it will become for you to shift your state or mind.
Let’s review the five key points, counting down to the foundation:
5. Your destiny is determined by your decisions. The decisions you’re making today is shaping all of your tomorrows.
4. Your decisions are made based on, and motivated by, your state of mind at the time you make a decision.
3. Your state of mind is a result of what you are feeling.
2. Your feeling, or mood, is a result of your thought patterns.
1. Your thought patterns are the result of what your mind is focused on. Your focus is the foundation upon which you build your life.