Ok, I’ll say it directly. Most of what you achieve—or fail to achieve—in your life has a great deal to do with what you think about, such as what is on—as much as in—your mind. Say what you like, but individual responsibility is an absolute. It axiomatic; our weaknesses, strengths, virtue, or lack of it, are our own and no one else’s. They are conceived or earned by us and no one else.
Only we, as individuals working on ourselves and our issues, can change traits. What that means is that our suffering or our joy comes from us alone. As you think, so you speak; as you speak, you do, and as you do, so you become…or even remain as you are. It is in the beginning, middle, and end that your thoughts point you in the right direction. Learning to control them is the critical first step to anything you want to accomplish.
It is you and you alone who
can change your circumstances.
It doesn’t matter how smart or successful you are; you can’t help someone who is not willing to be helped. And even on the occasions that you find someone who is willing to be helped, they really do have to do the work themselves if they intend to attain and maintain their success. They have to develop the very strength that they admire in others in order to emulate it.
It is you and you alone who can change your circumstances. I know, this is different from what you hear. Lately I have heard it implied or even said outright as some version of “people are poor because of an oppressor; let’s all hate the oppressor.” Then other people with an opposing opinion say “the oppressors just appear to be that way because there are so many poor; let’s hate the poor.” But there is another, very different way to see things. Suppose for a moment that the oppressor and the oppressed are actually cooperators in ignorance and, while apparently hurting each other, they are really hurting themselves. How would that change your world view if it were true? Take a moment and just let that sink in…”while apparently hurting each other, they are really hurting themselves.” Pretty big thought, huh.
If we were all had perfect understanding, we might see actions of weakness in the oppressed, while seeing the misapplied resources in that of the oppressor; a perfect regard might see the suffering of both types, and remain critical of neither, while if we had perfect compassion, would we be equally open to the needs of the oppressor and the oppressed? Yes?
So. Those people who have overcome their own limitations no longer think just of themselves and can no longer be the oppressor or oppressed. They are their own person/people. They are free, regardless of their position in life. You only grow, work successfully, and achieve a goal by focusing your thoughts by lifting them up. You remain weak, adrift, possibly a failure by refusing to focus your thoughts.
In this world of immediate gratification, you really do have to keep your thinking above the line that includes social media, video games, and all that distracting shit on your iPhone. You may not have to give it all up, but in order to succeed; you will have to sacrifice a portion of it. If your first thoughts are about your play time, then you won’t be likely to think clearly and methodically about your goals. Lacking a very real effort to control your thoughts, and through them your actions, you won’t be in a position to take serious actions or handle the serious responsibilities of your life. You simply won’t be fit to act independently and stand alone in achieving your goals. You will wind up limited by the thoughts and actions of others; those will soon be the only thoughts you have—other peoples’ thoughts, not your own.
Most of us over the age of 25 know that there really can’t be much progress or achievement without sacrifice. How much you sacrifice will be one of the things that increase or limit your successes. You can set your mind on strengthening your determination and your self-reliance, or on those video games. The higher and harder you aim or focus your thoughts, the higher and more successful your actions will become, and with that, your success. If you do this, you are on the path to long-term achievement and all that comes with it.
Unless you make a real effort
to control your thoughts,
and through them your
actions, you won’t be
in a position to take serious
actions or handle serious responsibilities.
In spite of what you might think to the contrary, the world does not favor the greedy, dishonest, and/or the vicious person. I know it might look that way, but if you think so you are wrong. (Forgive yourself, we are all wrong from time to time.) It is actually the opposite; it is the honest and dedicated person, one who meets their commitments, is magnanimous, and good… those are the ones who finally make it.
The great teachers of the ages have all agreed—to one extent or another—that one of the important ways to achieve your success is by controlling your thoughts, by focusing on the things that will help you achieve your goals, keeping them in constant view. This is not the pop-interpretation that thinking makes it so. This is the idea that your thoughts are the first step in a long, hard journey to success. Think 10,000 hours of hard work.
The achievements you are looking for are the result of your dedication to finding the answers you need to succeed, searching for things of real value in life and in the world. When you see those successes connected with hollow and disgracefully ambitious people, you need to keep in mind that their successes are not a result of those traits. They are the result of their long and difficult efforts alone.
People who don’t accomplish very much
don’t sacrifice very much, while those who accomplish a lot are usually required to
sacrifice a great deal.
Your achievements, regardless of what kind, are the result of your efforts; they are the crowns of your thoughts. With the aid of some hard-earned self-control, mindfully resolute action, honesty, and well-directed thought, you grow in the direction of your success. If you take the other path, and are simply lazy, aimless, corrupt, or confused, you fail. It is a simple sort of math. Even those folks who, by their own hard work and effort, reach whatever success they hope for, slip into weakness and failure by allowing arrogant, selfish, and negative thinking into their life.
In my experience, success gained by hard work will only be maintained by the same hard work and care. Lots of people quit and start to play just as their success is within their grasp, and then let it slip back into failure. Don’t listen to the people who denigrate focus and really hard work; nothing else leads to success in the long run.
In the end, all achievement and success, without regard to what kind, (e.g., business, intellectual, or spiritual) is, in the final analysis, the result of finely focused thoughts. I don’t mean The Secret kind of focus, but rather the Jack Welch kind. People who don’t accomplish very much don’t sacrifice very much, while those who accomplish a lot are usually required to sacrifice a great deal.
It is an axiom—nothing comes for free.
SEE A LIFE COACH IN BATON ROUGE
Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.