Traditionally this is the season of renewed anticipations – goal settings, vision formations, resolution making, plans re-evaluation, more commitment towards objectives, etc. All these are fantastic moves to ensure that you have a very productive year. However, our lofty goals may never crystallise until we understand the workings of an intangible realm called the mind.
Regrettably, we always think of mysticism whenever a discussion about the mind arises. Man is tripartite in nature. In other words, man is made up of three parts; the spirit, soul and body. Let’s focus on the soul. The soul is made up of emotion, mind and will. It is also important to note that we all have a mind and that there is nothing so abstract about it, though still to a large extent, the workings of the mind are enigmatic in nature. The mind is the seat of intelligence. It is the centre that generates thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions and stores knowledge and memories. Succinctly, the mind is the centre of all human activity. It interfaces the activities between the spirit and the body of man.
For you to win the battles of life, you have got to win the raging battles in the mind, for this is where the most controlling and deciding battles are fought in life. As a matter of fact, life is constantly a mind battle. A struggle between good and evil, light and darkness, strength and weakness, purpose and indolence, and the winner here takes it all. Napoleon Bonaparte puts it this way, “there are but two powers in the world, the sword and the mind. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the mind.” Often, it is not our goals, resolutions, plans or aspirations that are the problem but the very volatile state of our mind. Just as it is futile to sprinkle seeds on a land that is filled with thorns, so also it is non-productive to deposit well-intended elements to an ailing mind that is filled with all manner of toxic components.
But, if the battle is won from within, then the external fortifications can’t withstand you. To move outwardly then you need to gain internal motion. You can’t be standing inside and be wondering why your external efforts are not yielding dividend. Prime Minister Winston Churchill beautifully puts it this way, “the empires of the future are the empires of the mind.” To gain prominence and status in the mundane, then you need to have secured this quality first in your mind without any iota of doubt or limiting belief!” So, believe me, your mind is your most potent tool to battle your way through life’s uncertainties. The monsters of the mind are far worse than those that exist. Fear, doubt, and hate have hamstring more people than beasts ever have.
On the power of the mind, another sage has this to say, “What lies before us and what lies behind us, are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Another added that a man’s felicity consists not in the outward and visible blessing of fortune, but in the inward and unseen perfections and riches of the mind. Don’t try to gain prominence by enforcing visible changes at the expense of internal changes, because it will ultimately mean nothing has or will change.
The Great Wall of China
For instance, the Ancient Chinese had the problem of enemies invading their territories, and they decided to do something about it. They built, still standing, one of the world’s longest structural projects – The Great Wall of China to protect its most volatile areas. Let me quickly and briefly provide you with some of the features of the Wall to help you understand the magnitude of the project:
- The Wall ranges between 15-30 feet wide and 25 feet high; though its highest point is over 5,000 feet.
- The Wall has more than 10,000 watchtowers, and each is up to 40 feet tall.
- It is said that the Wall can be seen from the moon/space.
- As I earlier mentioned, it is the longest man-made structure in the world – over 6,000km long and considered the longest cemetery site because of the over 1million people that died during its years-long construction!
But guess what? This Wall was invaded twice on account of Barbarians just bribing the gatekeepers without lifting a weapon on those two occasions. So, what was the problem? Simple – premium was given to external activities, but internal ones were trivialised – like educating its citizens about the value of patriotism. In the same vein, the mind must be taught or given expectation or else it will run anarchy.
The Legendary actor, Charlie Chaplin said of himself, “Even when I was in the orphanage, when I was there I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world. You had to feel the exuberance that comes from utter confidence in yourself. Without it, you go down to defeat.” Seneca added, “It is the power of the mind to be unconquerable.” Don’t ignore your within and don’t act at the expense of your internal processing. Keep ensuring that your content is not compromised, that you are doing everything possible to grow your mind because, for a fellow that has a lot of external glamour without growing his or herself internally, there is no hope of a glorious future. One of the early signs of sophistication is not giving way to all inclinations but rather sending your emotion to school, so they will learn how to behave.”
Open Your Mind
The law of the universe is this: no matter how fragile it may seem, the world of circumstance shapes itself to the inner world of thought. If a person is just keenly a physically oriented kind of individual with less focus on internal subjects, then such a person is doomed to failure at all the deciding corners of life. Hear James Allen – “man is buffeted by circumstances so long as he believes himself to be the creature of outside conditions, but when he realizes he is a creative power, and that he can command the hidden soil and seeds of his being out of which circumstances grow, he then become the rightful master of himself.”
You must earnestly keep watch over the kind of thoughts that emanates from your mind because they are responsible for forming your personal philosophy which in turn is directly responsible for the outcome of your life. A wise man once said that thoughts are things. How true! Society itself is a composite fabrication of the mentality of its citizenry. Now if the thought pattern of people is sufficient to reflect the state of a nation, then what do you think a certain thought-pattern will do to a single individual. It is an irrefutable fact that the quality of any community is a direct mental framework or quality of its immediate indigenes.
My advice then is this: watch carefully the kind of thoughts you generate. Fight to preserve the sanity of your thinking. Don’t just allow any thought in and stay in your mind. Engage a screening process. “Be cautious,” said a sage, “for circumstances grow out of thought and any person knows this, who has for a given time practised self-control, will notice that the alternation in his circumstances has been in exact ratio with his altered mental condition.” Wow!
Professor of Anatomy at Harvard and Father of Modern Psychology in America – William James, concluded at the end of his industrious career that, “the greatest discovery of his generation is this, that human beings can alter their lives by altering the attitude of their mind.” Friend, you may be poor, your shoes may be broken, but if your thoughts continually align and reason with kings in the confines of your mind, then one day you will dine with them in their very earthly palaces. Remember the saying that what the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. Just thinking is work-in-progress, so once again be cautious!
I have made bold to say that intended victories in life are first won in the mind realm. That is, if you want to have absolute control of your life, then you should take complete control of your thought. Somebody once said, “the first aid to changing your life is changing the kind of thoughts you process daily.” When you think, you generate thoughts. And thinking as far as life is concerned, is always a progressive act. Thinking occurs both consciously and unconsciously. Your mind is constantly processing data, whether you are aware of this or not, the results are always in direct proportion to the kinds of circumstances that have been generated. For instance, you keep thinking of an opportunity where you will meet with somebody that will help you achieve a goal, over time what begins to happen is this, your inner circumstance begins to commandeer your external circumstance to respond to your internal need. You suddenly start to attract all the necessary provision to achieve your vision.
Hear James Allen: “The soul attracts that which it secretly harbours; that which it loves and also that which it fears.” Listen, your present circumstance is in direct proportion, or it’s an exact reflection of your internal condition – the state of your mind. You must win this mind game – for men do not attract that which they want, but that which they are!
To win, do the following:
- Be Aware That Your Thought Has Powers: Our thoughts hold enormous influence over our lives. Just as in the game of soccer, that harmless looking round leather object called the ball has the power to determine the success or the defeat of a team, so does your thought. All that a man achieves and all that he fails to achieve is the direct result of his thoughts.
- Lift Your Thoughts: The Great Teacher Paul, in his writing to the Philippian Church said: “Whatsoever things are true … honest … just … pure … lovely … of good report; if there be any virtue and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Discipline yourself to focus your meditative might only on things and subjects that will naturally uplift your spirit. A man can only rise, conquer, and achieve by lifting his thoughts. He can only remain weak, and abject, and miserable by refusing to lift his thoughts. Don’t settle even on moderate thoughts.
- Wrap Your Thoughts Around Your Goals: Jim Rohn said, “the ultimate reason for setting goals is to entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” Give your mind expectations. Try to limit its activities to a given focus. You can’t depend on circumstances to function. You can’t migrate like the birds, simply because the season has changed. Pre-determine events by focusing your imagination. With a decisive goal(s) in view, it is easier always to dominate the mind battle. We are all architects of our fortune.
Your mind is a part of you that you have absolute control over and in an approximate fashion has absolute control over you. Thoughts are the product of the mind generated by the process of thinking, that is, capable of using the mind to reason or reflect. Thoughts are not independent in form but an accurate reflection of our very nature and circumstances. Your thinking sequences your life. The first real principle in solving a problem is not looking over the foyer to cast blames, but caging yourself for a deep reflection. You are nothing without a productive thought. You are a fabrication of your mental state. Never think your thought is nothing; it is all that you are and all that you truly have.
Let me run you through some amazing lines on the mind:
- Thoughts are chemical. They can either kill us or cure us – Bernie Siegel
- Thought is your only currency – Mark Victor Hansen
- Physical concepts are free creations of the human mind, and are not, however it may seem, uniquely determined by the external world – Albert Einstein
- Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your mind – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- What we think determines what happens to us so if we want to change our lives, we need to stretch our minds – Wayne Dyer
- A mind is a terrible thing to waste – The Talmud
In conclusion, hear James Allen on the efficacy of the mind:
A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth … therefore let it be noted that the body is the servant of the mind. It obeys the operation of the mind, whether they are deliberately chosen or automatically expressed. At the bidding of unlawful thoughts, the body sinks rapidly into disease and decay; at the command of glad and beautiful thoughts, it becomes clothed with youthfulness and beauty.
POINT TO RUMINATE ON: “Let a man cease from his doubtful thoughts, and all the world will soften towards him, and be ready to help him.”