Control Your Thoughts
by: Matt Coulthard
Often I wonder why people don’t achieve more in life: Why is it that so few people achieve greatness in this world despite their potential to succeed? Do people choose to live dull, ordinary lives, or is something else keeping them from the extraordinary? Why are some people in history books while others merely read them?
The answer to all these questions has to do with our thoughts—something we all have the power to control.
Throughout our relatively short history as a country, there have been many individuals who have put their stamp on America. From Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln to more current figures like Ronald Reagan and Steve Jobs, certain Americans have reached levels of respect and received accolades that most never even dream of. What separates them from the average person? Aren’t they also just human?
Again, the answer has to do with their thoughts.
Each of the above men had a cause they were working toward or a crusade they were passionate about. Each faced a great deal of adversity and had threats made against their lives, but that didn’t stop any of them in their quest for greatness. The crusade they were fighting for was bigger than they themselves were as individuals, and so no amount of adversity could slow them down. Though the temptation to retreat to a quiet, ordinary life was no doubt strong at times, the overwhelming responsibility to follow through on their paths kept them going. Their vision had been stretched, their minds broadened, their thoughts changed. With this change in their thoughts came the power to continue thinking forward, in spite of any obstacle. With this change came control.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it,” according to Peter F. Drucker. To create the future, we must act; but before we act, we must think. What kind of control do you hold over your thoughts? What future are you creating in your mind and through your actions? Is it the future you desire?
Let me share a few suggestions on how to control your thoughts in order to better shape your destiny.
Stretch what you think is possible: We rarely achieve more than we believe. Could a US Presidency be in your future? Someone has to first think of becoming President before acting in a way to make that a reality. Will you become a millionaire next year? There are already 5.1 million of them in the US alone, but to join them you have to direct your thoughts toward an achievable goal. With enough thought, you could even become the 450th billionaire in the country! My point is that you must believe that you are worthy of great achievements and that you deserve what you are going for. It is all within your reach, and your thoughts must reflect this reality
Think about what you want to achieve and choose your path to success. Many people allow others to determine what actions they take; this essentially means giving mind control over to others and letting them think for you. If you’re constantly looking to please others and ignoring your own ambitions, you’re a victim of mind control. If you give up on opportunities because of someone else’s fears or small mindedness, you aren’t in control of your own thoughts or your own destiny. I challenge you to always think bigger, as small thinking serves no one. It’s okay to make others uncomfortable; it just means you are getting them to self-reflect and grow. Don’t let others think and decide for you! Think for yourself, plan your path to success, and choose to follow that path to its end.
Know what you really want. Just as you need to think about how to achieve success, you need to know what it is that you really want out of life—what you want, not what your friends or family want for you. Getting in touch with what you really desire is paramount to thinking bigger and believing in a crusade. Whether it’s buying a new home, retiring a parent, or just being a person of greater significance, it must be your crusade, your dream, your desire. Reflect on what you want, remain conscious of your goal, remind yourself of why you wanted it initially, and don’t lose focus on achieving it.
Choose your mentors wisely. It’s unfortunately easy to lose control of our thoughts and give our power over to either our own fears or to other people. But think about this: If the person making your decisions or giving you advice does not have the life you would like, why are you giving that person power over your future? I have yet to meet a successful person who doubts the dreams and ambitions of someone else, so only listen to people who want to build up your dream of success or vision for the future.
The power to make an impact and earn a place in this history books rests in your thoughts. It is your choice to make a million dollars and help others do the same. It is your choice to change the world through creating the next big invention or living a life of philanthropy and service. It is your choice to shape your own destiny and achieve success. But whatever you choose, your choices begin with a single thought. You can choose to think small and achieve small things, or you can dare to think big and achieve big things. Our thoughts manifest our reality, so why not manifest a life of greatness?