“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Choose your words, for they become actions.
Understand your actions, for they become habits.
Study your habits, for they will become your character.
Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Read those words again, and again, as they are very simple, very powerful, and very true. Think about the ripple effect, how things are touched and shaped that you may not even know about. Your thoughts will lead you to your destiny. You do not have a pre-determined destiny, except that destiny that you choose for yourself by your own thoughts. Your only pre-determined destiny is the one you choose for yourself. Your future is just one decision away.
Those things that determine your thoughts are most times the things that catch you unaware, those little everyday things that slowly seep in and shape your opinions that you think are your own. These can be radio, television, discussions, political events, religious teaching, or whatever surrounds you every day. Think about it this way, if you pour half a glass of milk, do you expect to taste orange juice when you take a drink? Do you expect to smell the sweet refreshing aroma of orange juice? Do you expect to see orange juice in the glass or on the table if you pour it out? Of course not! If you put milk in, you get milk out, plain and simple. So why is it that we think we can fill our heads and hearts with garbage from music, television, negative political discussions, hanging around the wrong people, or incorrect religious thoughts and get pure, unaltered opinions and thoughts? How can we fill ourselves with junk and not portray junk back out? Well, although some will disagree with me because they think they are strong enough to battle these constants, it is impossible to put garbage in and get anything of value out of a person, even you.
Making the right decision for your future is indeed a difficult and concentrated task. For this reason alone many, in fact, most people do not make the best choices. Our society likes the easy and convenient things in life, and that includes easy thinking. We’ve all heard it before that if you want to change some things in your life, then you have to change some things in your life. This now cliché statement is referring to this same idea, that if you want to change where you will be tomorrow, change how you are thinking today, because those thoughts today will determine your actions, your words, your character, and your destiny for your future… and it all starts with your next single decision.
You are nothing more than a reflection of your thoughts, and your thoughts are nothing more than a combined reflection of your surroundings and past experiences. To grow, you must overcome your current reflection and become a projection of what you want to become. When you project that image and choose to begin focusing on the goal of becoming that projected person, then you will overtake the reflection, break the cycle, and become great. Whether the best janitor or the best physician, you will be a great person with value to add to every life that you come in contact with, whether directly or through that ripple effect we’ve discussed.
We’ve heard it said many times, that the height of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. That is a powerful thought if you really take time to think about it. So, if you want a different result, you change those things getting you there, right? “Well, yes, but; I’m too old; Too young; Too poor; Too well-known in this area; Too whatever…” No, you’re just too full of excuses! You want that cycle to change…
Then you need to change the path that you’re on… change your direction. Although it is not possible to change your circumstances overnight, it IS possible to change your direction overnight. And if you don’t change what you are doing today, all of your tomorrows will look like yesterday.
Our inherent physical nature is that even if we are what we think is “content”, we still strive to do better. And that’s ok… in fact it’s what we should do. If we are remaining complacent and just coasting, then we are not growing. If we are not growing, then we are regressing. There is no stopping the movement of our lives. We either move forward or backward, and maintaining is just a slow backward movement of who we are. We better be out there trying to improve our lives in every area if we want to please our Creator, but always keeping in mind that it is for Him, not ourselves, that we work to be better, do better, have more, do more, etc.
For example, when Paul (in the Bible) said that he was content to have his “pillow a stone” as he traveled from town to town in the Middle Eastern deserts, he wasn’t for one second saying that he hoped it stayed that way, just that he was OK with that for now… that he could deal with that because he was focused on the positive in his life, not the negative.
Paul would certainly have liked to be more comfortable, like all of us, but his mind and his heart and his energy was focused on something much better and much higher. He had a goal bigger than himself. The stone was better than nothing to lean on, so it was OK with him for that time. But I bet if you would have offered Paul a nice soft cushy pillow and some warm blankets, he wouldn’t have said “Oh, no thanks, I kind of like my rock. Thanks anyway.”
The point here is that we need to change where we are now. You need to find a focus on something that is bigger than you, and that can only be something that betters the lives of more than just you. Focusing on a thing will only suffice for a short while, and the rewards of attaining it last even shorter. It is only through touching others and serving others that we become great.
To summarize, back to the short saying that started this chapter; your thoughts will determine your destiny. Only you have the power to change your direction and determine your path. Change is uncomfortable, yet causes growth that becomes natural and second-nature. Find a goal bigger than yourself, worthy of your time, something that serves the needs and good of others, a goal that inspires you to great actions, making you the leader that you are within, even if you don’t realize it yet. Arise, be who you are, not who society tells you that you are. You are a leader, unaware, waiting to lead the march towards greatness.