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“Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.” -Mahatma Gandhi
Being a person is frustrating, isn’t it? I mean, you have many responsibilities to fill: being a good mother or father, a good son or daughter, earn money, live your passion, be healthy, and on and on the list goes. Then, not only do you have to fulfill the responsibilities for the roles you play in life, you need to manage yourself.
As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny”.
His quote above has many nuggets of wisdom in it. And it is true, if you carefully watch your thoughts, words, actions, habits, and values, you create tremendous amounts of choice to how you want to live.
However, ninety-nine percent of the people in the world do not want to take on the responsibility of being human. They would rather conform to past generations of beliefs, habits, and values, even if it cost them their happiness.
You see, what Gandhi points out is that happiness, success, and peace are completely under your control, if you’re willing to do the work. Gandhi even showed you the way to control your destiny in his quote.
But you’re right; learning how to watch your thoughts, words, actions, habits, and values is time consuming. And, how are you supposed to watch those things in the first place? Well, what Gandhi is communicating is that being aware of how you do your life is the key to freedom and controlling your destiny.
How the human being works
It apparently seems that your happiness and success are determined from what happens to you in life. In other words, the situations or circumstances that arise determine how you live, how happy you are, and what your destiny is to become; therefore, that would look something like this:
What happens to you —> determines how you feel —> determines your actions —> determines your results.
This model shows that you have no control over your functioning and what you create in life. However, there is a missing step that most people are not aware of:
What happens to you triggers —> an internal representation —> which determines how you feel and behave —> which determines your results.
The key to focus on are the internal representations. Your internal representations are the images, self talk, and other sensory experiences that happen within you. And before your internal representations even happen, the outside experience passes through a series of filters comprised of learned beliefs, values, decisions, and categories.
So, essentially, if you change how you filter your experiences, which means change what you believe or value, then you will create internal representations that create what you want to feel and how to behave, and those feelings and behaviors will create your results.
For example, let’s say that you struggle with intimate relationships. Each time you date a new partner, he turns out to be the same as the past dead-beat boyfriends. Futhermore, the relationship never lasts longer than six months. Well, 99% of people believe that when this happens, it’s because they haven’t found the right person, and it’s the other person’s negative qualities that creates the poor relationship.
However, what’s really happening is that you are focusing on what you don’t want in a relationship. In other words, you are making internal representations of what you don’t want, thus attracting the same dead beat boyfriends.
The way out of this trap is to become aware of the internal representations that you make. Go into your various life situations knowing that a particular result is going to happen, and watch with awareness the images, feelings, and self talk that happens as you experience these life situations.
Going back to the relationship example, you know that every man you attract ends up being a dysfunctional relationship. However, this time around, you want to change that and attract a loving, intimate partner. What you do is go out on a date and have interactions with men, observe what experiences trigger your negative thoughts and emotions, and observe how you do those thoughts and emotions – your internal representations.
Do not try to change the situation or do something different. Just watch how you do your life – the internal representations - in a "date" situation. Maybe you become aware that you only talk to the best looking men. Or, maybe you become aware that you play flirtious games that give the wrong impression. Or, maybe you become aware of self talk that is sex driven. It doesn’t matter what you become aware of, what’s important is that you can see how your internal representations, in the moment, are creating your feelings and behaviors.
Then, as you watch with awareness, whatever is dysfunctional and non-resourceful will automatically drop away. A more resourceful thought, feeling, and behavior will respond to what’s needed in the moment.
When you watch with awareness how you are creating your dysfunction in the moment, it’s too difficult to continue the dysfunctional behavior. Why? Because the human beings are naturally resourceful, integrated, and functioning.
To create the destiny you desire and have choice over what you attract in life, awareness over how you do your life – your internal representations – will drop the non-resourceful feelings and behaviors, and a new resourceful result will become present.
You do not need will power or constant affirmations to change your life. Watching yourself with awareness will give you choice over how you want your life to turn out.
This article is generously contributed by Nick Pfennigwerth from Big Heart Small Business, helping small business owners connect with their heart and larger vision so that they can make a difference and a healthy profit. At Big Heart Small Business, Nick applies his buddhist, spiritual, zen teachings into growing an authentic, heart centered business without the hype and strong arm tactics.
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© Thea Westra publishes a wealth of material for increased life power, self improvement, inspiration and personal success. Adding wings to our unique journey of life. See her many personal development resources at www.forwardstepsblog.com
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