People are often frustrated and confused that their lives have taken directions they are not happy with. These circumstances may include negative outcomes in the areas of relationships, work, financial affairs, and personal health. Much of the frustration stems from people feeling hapless, mistakenly assuming that they have no influence or control on these outcomes. The fact remains that we determine what happens in our lives by the habits we form in our day-to-day lives and how we choose to respond to events around us.
Three of the key drivers that determine the direction our lives take are our thoughts, words, and actions. Let’s take a look at just how important these are in influencing the results we get out of life and, ultimately, our happiness and success:
- Thoughts – Our thoughts determine how we see the world – our attitudes, how we feel, and how we behave towards other people and our life circumstances. These thoughts determine our self-worth and whether or not we have the courage to pursue our life’s dreams. As such, it is important that you do not allow your mind to be a vacuum where just about anything can come and fill the empty spaces. Instead you must consciously and actively direct your mind to positive and progressive thoughts. Think in terms of opportunities, possibilities and solutions instead of problems and obstacles. Passivity will only allow for negative thoughts to enter your mind.
“For as a man thinks in his heart so is he”
- Words – The words we speak are a product of our thoughts and ultimately give life to them – they explain to others who we are. Our words influence those around us, as they either repel or attract people. Not only can negative and hateful output push people away from us, but positive attitudes and words attract progressive people to be our friends and associates, and that in turn can influence our personal and professional lives. Words are so powerful that, through great orators and authors, they have influenced and changed the course of history. Examples of people who have changed the world starting with their words are Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela.
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it shall eat its fruit”
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear”
- Actions – The ultimate expression of our thoughts and words is in our actions. Successful people have positive attitudes and are people of action. When something needs your attention, be diligent in doing all that needs to be done by you. Sometimes you might not feel like it but you need to commit and see it through all the same. Faithfulness in deeds is what leads to people’s trust in you and that is a major asset for success in life. Diligence also enables you to actproactively on matters of priority.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit”
It is said that it takes about four weeks to firmly change habits through consistency and repetition, but it has taken a lifetime to reinforce those habits. As the great Charles Atlas once said, “Day by day you must make or break your body... your object is to build up your health, strength and personal power... To overcome your past injurious habits and develop better ones, you must bring your entire attention to the matter, you must think intently of the motives and the outcome involved and thus occupy your mind with better things, turning away from past habits toward freedom”.
Thus, I challenge you to review your current thoughts, words, and behaviours to see what you need to change, thencommit to act by addressing them one day at a time for the next month. The beginning may be difficult, but once you hit your stride you will wonder why it took you so long to act on them.