Twenty years ago, comedian Flip Wilson made famous the phrase, “What you see is what you get.” While this is a common belief, it would perhaps be more accurate to say, “What you think is what you get!”
Thoughts, like seeds, sprout and blossom according to their variety, and the thoughts you cultivate create your experiences of life. Just as a seed planted in fertile soil produces healthy fruit, your mind may be lightened or darkened depending on the type of thoughts planted in it. If apple seeds are planted and nurtured, you can harvest delicious, juicy apples. If you plant and nurture thistle seeds, you get prickly thistles. This analogy also holds true for the mind. Positive thoughts can produce positive results, whereas negative thoughts can lead to negative results. Understanding this cause and effect relationship can help you “think into being” the kind of life you wish to have.
The personality, ever in a state of change, creates itself anew based on ideas that move through the inlet and outlet of the thinking faculty. It is important to monitor the traffic because “thoughts held in mind do produce after their own kind.” It may take practice, although no more energy, to direct the active, zealous, impulsive thinking faculty to retain thoughts that build one’s world according to a wise pattern.
Each of us is born with the freedom to choose the thoughts we want to direct our lives. We can choose the path we desire to pursue; we may choose the pace at which we wish to travel, and also what we wish to carry along the way. Have you ever realized that you have the ability to precondition your mind to success? When you precondition your mind, you invest in the process of transforming your life. This is a basic principle of positive thinking. You can forecast whether you find future success or failure by your present type of thinking. How? Because what you consistently think is likely to happen, tends to happen! Let’s take a further step and define the meaning of “success.” In its deepest sense, success means to live graciously, humbly, orderly, lovingly, and compassionately as a person and to use fully your talents to help others, not merely to achieve things.
Napoleon Hill, the best-selling American author of Think and Grow Rich, was born and raised in a one-room log cabin in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Young Hill’s home was so isolated that he was twelve years old before he saw his first railroad train. Adding to his impoverishment was the loss of his mother when he was only eight.
Dr. Hill, in his later years, remembered the day, a year after his mother’s death, when his father brought home a new wife.
“My father introduced her to the relatives. When my turn came, I was standing in the corner with my arms folded and a scowl on my face. I was all set to show her how tough I could be.
“Father walked up to me and said, ‘Martha, here is your son, Napoleon, the meanest boy in Wise County. I won’t be surprised if he starts throwing rocks at you by tomorrow morning.’”
All the relatives roared with laughter.
“My stepmother walked up to me,” Hill recalled, “put her hand under my chin, and lifted my head upward so she could look squarely into my sullen face. ‘You are wrong about this boy,’ she said. ‘He is not the meanest boy in Wise County. He is a smart boy, who has not yet learned how to make the best use of his wisdom.’”
With his stepmother’s encouragement, Napoleon Hill traded his rifle for a typewriter. She taught him to type, to research information, and to express his ideas in writing. When later he said, “There is but one thing over which man has complete control. That is his own mental attitude,” it was his own experience speaking. For when Napoleon Hill replaced the belief that he was mean with the seed-thought that he was wise and could do great things, he became the successful person he was meant to be. He went on to advise kings and presidents and to inspire millions through the power of the written word. His book Think and Grow Rich is still a best seller after some thirty years.
As you are reading this book, you presently reflect what your thoughts have created over a period of time. Defeatist thoughts, angry thoughts, dishonest thoughts, self-centered thoughts, and failure thoughts are destructive. Loving thoughts, honest thoughts, service thoughts, and success thoughts are creative.
Just as fruit generated from the best kind of seed is the most delicious and pleasing so, too, the life most worth living is cultivated from the best and most loving thoughts. Before you can utilize the positive power of your thoughts, it is necessary to become aware of your current pattern of thinking.You may not have a stepmother who was as helpful as Napoleon Hill’s in pointing out negative thought patterns. Nevertheless, in quiet times on your own, observe your habits of thought, and begin to weed out those that do not suit your higher purposes.
You can train your mind to nurture positive, loving, and unselfish thought patterns and, through them, develop a deeper, richer personality that may be the fulfillment and fruition of your greatest creative potential.
Try making friends with the most powerful and positive ideas that are available to you as a human being. Give them your attention and belief. Instead of filling your mind with aimless chatter or with fears and negativity, work at filling your mind with the presence and instruction of positive, constructive ideas. As you do, you are not only blessed but you can become a blessed representative in our world of the life-transforming “law of good ideas.” You can grow from negativity and limitation to an abundance of usefulness and happiness.