One quote has made a huge difference in the quality of the business and personal lives of many thousands, perhaps millions, of people. The quote came from Earl Nightingale, the original dean of personal development. I am not proud to say that when I first heard the 6-word statement some 15 years ago, I vastly underestimated its power and importance. Fortunately, I heard it again and again and it finally sunk in, and it became a part of my personal philosophy. Earl Nightingale boiled down the secret to success and happiness in one potent statement: “You become what you think about.”
“You become what you think about.” That shared wisdom has been the key for countless people to be, do, and have what they wanted in life. That quote helped me to realize the critical importance of controlling the type of thoughts that I allowed to enter my head. It taught me that your mind can either be a magical ally or your worst enemy … the choice is up to each of us.
Nightingale was saying that your dominant thoughts (your mindset) determine your actions and that your actions ultimately shape your outcomes and destiny. Therefore, blame no one else for your circumstances or results. You are where you are and who you are because of your past thinking and actions. To change your results, conditions, and circumstances, YOU must control and change your thoughts. All positive outcomes first start between your ears!
What are you really thinking about as you go about your day? Success or failure? Solutions or problems? Goals or obstacles? Opportunities or risks? Strengths or weaknesses? Regrets or new beginnings? Things outside of or within your control?
You become what you think about. A few times a day, pause and become aware of your thinking … the internal dialogue that’s occurring in your head. Everyone engages in “self-talk”. They real question is not IF you do it but whether your self-talk is positive or negative. Does your habitual thinking support or sabotage your success?
Seth Godin said it this way: “It’s rare to find a consistently creative or insightful person who is also an angry person.”
So here’s one way to become more aware of and in control of your mindset. Follow your emotions! Your emotions reveal your thinking patterns. When your thinking is positive and supportive, you have positive and pleasant emotions (happiness). When your thinking is negative and destructive, so are the emotions and you’ll experience unhappiness. Your emotions function as a warning system. The next time you feel a negative emotion, ask yourself, “What is bothering me?” “What am I focusing on that is causing negative feelings?” “What’s the negative self-talk loop I’m playing in my head?”
Becoming aware of your thinking (using your emotions as a guide) will help you correct course and more effectively manage your mindset and attitudes. Once aware, you will be able to re-direct your thinking toward goals, success, solutions, strengths and opportunities.
At The Growth Coach, we help business owners and professionals become more aware of their thinking and the consequences of their thinking. Helping our clients adopt more productive thinking and mindsets is critical. Why?
You become what you think about.