By: Mimi Doe
“What a man thinks of himself, that it is which determines, or rather indicates, his fate.”
-Henry David Thoreau
You are what you think. Henry David Thoreau, who walked the same paths here in Concord, Massachusetts that I am lucky enough to walk, reminds us that what a man (or woman) thinks of himself (herself) is what he/she will experience. Wow! Mind blowing. You mean we get to pick how we feel and what we experience in our lives? Yes, thoughts are that powerful.
Thoreau’s mentor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, also walked the same streets in Concord that I walk to go to the bank or mail a letter at the post office. He too had something to say about how our thoughts impact our lives.
“A man is what he thinks about all day long.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
Fully take that in. “A woman is what she thinks about all day long.” It’s a powerful statement and one that can guide your life through high school and beyond. What are you experiencing today? What do you think of yourself? When you make a mistake what are your thoughts about what happened? When you are happy what are you thinking? First thing in the morning as you prepare for school what’s on your mind? What you expect of yourself, how you think about yourself, what your ongoing mental script tells you, can determine your fate and definitely can influence what you experience and how you see the world.
So, yes, your thoughts have power over what you experience day-to-day. No, you can’t imagine yourself as president of the United States and quantum physics will zap you right into the White House that moment. It doesn’t work quite like that, but it is a magical, powerful, always available resource as close as your next thought.
Why not, just for today, think positively about what it is you might experience as you open the door to your high school and start your journey down the hall.
“Things go my way today.”
“I move easily between classes today.”
“I have enough energy to get done what I need to do today.”
“I experience peace in between the busyness of what my life looks like.”
“I feel calm in math class.”
“Lunch is a happy time to connect with someone new.”
“Wow, look how clean the floors are.”
“I feel great in my new boots.”
It can be that simple. Be the boss of your thoughts. Pay attention to your thoughts today and when you have negative thoughts such as, “I’m so anxious I can barely get through this test” or “I am not a good test taker,” re-write that script to be, “I took concrete steps to learn the material for the test on Wednesday.” “I am fully prepared and ready for the test.” The best remedy for conquering negative self talk can be preparation. One of our SAT/ACT tutors Amy helps kids ‘over prepare’, that’s how she puts it, for standardized tests. Why? Because that preparedness replaces negative self talk with a script that looks more like, “I scored a 760 on my practice test and had plenty of time to check for mistakes, I am ready.” “I know this material and have the pacing down.” “I’m prepared and ready for this.” “I’ve done it once, I can do it again.”
If you don’t like what you’ve been experiencing in life lately, change your thoughts. Instead of, “Ugh, another rainy day, I hate the rain,” try “It’s raining and I’m grateful I have an umbrella.” I challenge you to give it a try. Thoughts are things and you have the power to transform your physical world by taking control of your mental world. One thought can ignite other thoughts, and cause an avalanche of similar thoughts that can change your life.
“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.” — Marcus Aurelius
Marcus Aurelius didn’t live in Concord, Massachusetts but he was studied by Emerson and Thoreau no doubt. He was Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and his wisdom lives on to inform us.
When students tell me they want to change the world, I cheer. I stand up in my office and applaud them if we are speaking on the phone. But, I always say, you can’t change the world without first changing yourself.
There was an article in Forbes Magazine recently written by Bruce Kasanoff. He writes that to change the world with your thoughts, you must think with coherent intention. He goes on to give readers a plan:
This means you must…
- Think the same thing every day
- Fully believe in your thoughts
- Match your actions to your thoughts, and more importantly…
- Conduct your life in a manner that is entirely congruent with your thoughts
Remember that your thoughts become your beliefs and your life is a mirror of these thoughts and beliefs. Want to change something? Begin changing your thoughts about it. Your life is your greatest masterpiece.