Dale Carnegie was once asked what was the biggest lesson he had ever learned. He replied that, “By far, the most vital lesson I have ever learned is the importance of what we think.”
You see, Carnegie knew that our thoughts make us what we are—our mental attitude is the “X” factor that determines our fate. He quoted Emerson as having said, “A man is what he thinks about all day long…How could he possibly be anything else?”
Carnegie claimed to know with a conviction beyond all doubt that the biggest problem you and I have to deal with—is choosing the right thoughts. If we can do that, we will be on the highroad to solving all our problems. The great philosopher who ruled the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius, summed it up in eight words—eight words that can determine your destiny: “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”
Yes, if we think happy thoughts, we will be happy, if we think miserable thoughts, we will be miserable. If we think fear thoughts, we will be fearful. If we think sickly thoughts, we will probably be ill. If we think failure, we will certainly fail. If we wallow in self-pity, everyone will want to shun us and avoid us. Said Norman Vincent Peale, “You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are.”
At the same time, Dale Carnegie knew that people couldn’t go around with a devil-may-care attitude about all their problems. Unfortunately, life isn’t so simple as all that. But he did advocate that we assume a positive attitude instead of a negative attitude. In other words, we need to be concerned about our problems, but not worried.
Our mind’s power to bring about change doesn’t stop with attitude, however. The famous British psychiatrist, J. A. Hadfield, asked three men to submit themselves to test the effect of mental suggestion on their strength, which was measured by gripping a dynamometer. Under normal waking conditions, their average grip was 101 pounds. When he tested them after he had hypnotized them and told them that they were very weak, they could grip only 29 pounds—less than a third of their normal strength.
Then Hadfield tested them a third time, telling them under hypnosis they were very strong—and they were able to grip an average of 142 pounds. When their minds were filled with positive thoughts of strength, they increased their actual physical powers almost fifty percent.
Remember…“Our life is what our thoughts make it.” Make yours strong, positive, and all it can be.
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