Over 2,500 years ago, a great Chinese philosopher said:
Watch your thoughts – they become your words
Watch your words – they become your actions
Watch your actions – they become your habits
Watch your habits – they become your character
Watch your character – it becomes your destiny
But he conceived this amazing insight only through his intuition, about the nature of thought and the consequences for the effect it has on the way your life unfolds.
His wisdom is still admired and followed today and nowadays he has an unlikely ally. Neuroscience.
How Neuroscience Helps Us Understand How We Think
The developments in technology that have exploded in the last 30 years means that neuroscientists, psychologists and any other scientist with the remotest interest in how the brain works and influences life; now has an unprecedented understanding of the mechanisms of the brain.
And what these scientists now tell us is that Lao Tzu was right.
Ok, the wording would be slightly different and if a modern-day neuroscientist was writing he would say the following
Watch your thoughts – they create your emotions
Watch your emotions – they create your feelings
Watch your feelings – they create your choices
Watch your choices – they create your actions
Watch your actions – they create your results
The implication is very easy to see; but maybe not as easy to take on board.
If things aren’t working out the way you want them to, that is – if you are not getting the results you want, there is only one course of action.
You Have to Change The Way You Think
For some people this seems a logical and obvious solution; but for others…… well they seem to think that world should change for them.
Maybe you know someone in the first camp or maybe in the second.
But the main issue is which one are you?
It’s all too easy to start blaming circumstances when things don’t go your way.
Perhaps you see it as being a luck thing. Where someone else always seems to get your slice of the luck cake.
Or possibly your upbringing meant that you had it tough with none of the advantages enjoyed by so many these days. Maybe you went to the wrong school, or were born in the wrong decade.
And it’s even feasible that you had life too easy when you were young, and you were shielded from the lessons that would have helped you to deal with life’s natural slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.
The thing is…
…when you choose to blame forces outside of yourself you take away any power you might have to do anything about your circumstances and the results you’re achieving.
Or as Lao Tzu might put it……your destiny.
It is only when you take total ownership of the results you are achieving in your life that you empower yourself to make changes.
The challenge with this line of thought, for many people, is they don’t understand the difference between the concept of ownership and blame.
Ownership and Blame are Two Different Things.
Some people take on the mantle of blame, by which I mean that they go to the other extreme. Instead of blaming circumstances that lie outside of themselves; they take it all on themselves.
There is a huge difference between taking ownership of the results you’re achieving and blaming yourself for not achieving the things you really want.
When you can see the difference is when you can take the decision to change the way you think.
Because if you want things to be different the only way to make it happen is to change the way you think.
2,500 years after Lao Tzu; another great thinker, Albert Einstein gave us a slightly different perspective on the same issue; when he said,
Insanity is doing the same things but expecting different results.
What Lao Tzu understood, and what neuroscience has confirmed, is that if you want to do things differently you have to think differently.
You have to have a Thinking Revolution.