Eckhart Tolle observed that if we see a stranger walking down the street talking out loud to themselves, we think it strange and perhaps a sign of insanity. However, all of us do the same thing all the time though we may not verbalize our thoughts out loud. We are constantly talking to ourselves in our head. Conversations, observations, celebrations, dos and don’ts, complaints- we do it all day everyday from the moment we wake up.
But who is driving the bus and who is in charge of quality control here? If I tell myself that I am smart, can I make it so? If I believe I am strong, will that make me strong? Are our minds powerful enough to influence who and what we are and do we have the ability to improve ourselves just by thinking positively instead of negatively?
Bruce Lee, the world famous martial artist, believed, “As you think, so shall you become.” The Bible proposes that, “As you think, you will become” (Proverbs 4:23). French psychologist and pharmacist, Emile Coue developed a methodology of personal self-improvement based on optimistic autosuggestion. He found that if people repeated his mantra-like phrase, “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”, they could improve themselves. If we strongly believe that we can overcome challenges we are more likely to do so than if we think the contrary. If we change the stories in our heads about how good or bad life is, maybe we can adjust life itself. A mindset filled with fear will be different than an approach where we believe everything will work out okay. I think we can use our thoughts to change our lives.
Espousing positivity, one could rightfully argue, is easy when one has sufficient food and shelter and nobody is seriously suffering. And ask my wife if I am all sunshine and light even half of the time. But I propose that embracing a positive outlook doesn’t hurt anything. And honestly, what have we got to lose?
Throughout the mountains and valleys of my life, I have seen that I do have some control over my well-being and mental hygiene if I think good thoughts. Every day, in every way, we can get better and better.