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Easier Than You Think ...because life doesn't have to be so hardThe Small Changes That Add Up to a World of Difference
By Richard Carlson
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Richard Carlson
All right reserved.
A Penny For Your Thoughts
When my daughter Kenna was a little girl, she would occasionally wake up in the morning and say to me, "Daddy, this is so great, I get another one of these!" Have you heard the expression "Out of the mouths of babes"? The excitement in my daughter's voice suggested that she was thrilled to have been given yet another day to do with what she would. Even at a tender, young age, she somehow knew that she had the choice to make each day special.
Our thoughts are the most powerful tools we have been given during this lifetime. We can use them, as Kenna did, to create joy, anticipation, excitement, fun, happiness, and peace.
Of course, we can just as easily allow our thoughts to be self-destructive weapons. We can wake up in the morning with a list of complaints as long as the front page of the newspaper. And whichever road we take--positive or negative--our choice is likely to have little if anything to do with how "good" our life really is on the "outside."
Be that as it may, our well-being depends on how we process our lives on the inside--on our thinking. What do we think? When do we think? How much significance do we give to our thinking? And most important, do we remember that we are the ones who are doing thethinking to begin with?
If you can keep in mind the reality that you control your own thoughts and nothing else, you will be in pretty good shape. Whenever negativity creeps into your mind (which it will do on a regular basis), remember two things: You are the one who is creating the negativity with your own thinking. But more important, you have the power to stop it.
Our thoughts have the power, if left to their own devices, to take us to either great heights or miserable depths. This is why it is so important to remember that we are the ones in control. We can follow our thoughts as they arise, or we can change or drop them. We alone have the choice.
I encourage you to start paying attention to the thoughts that are taking up space in your mind. Are they leading you places you want to be going? Or are they encouraging you to be unhappy, self-defeating, angry, or frustrated?
If you are having any of these feelings, or any other feeling that you wish would go away, the first place to look is not outside yourself. Instead, try to recognize what's going on inside your own mind. Once you recognize your negative thought patterns, you have the power to stop them. The change is just that simple.
Step forward and change your thoughts and you'll improve the way you feel. It's a slight shift from believing the world is going to somehow come around to your way of thinking to realizing that you are the one who must change the way you think. Bingo. What could be simpler?
Here's a case in point. Joseph was a thirty-fiveyear-old lab assistant who had spent most of his adult life complaining about his job and resenting everyone around him. He woke up bitter in the morning and remained that way until he went to bed. From the outside, it appeared that he had good friends, a nice apartment, and a solid job. But to hear him you would think that everything in his life was miserable.
One of his fed-up coworkers introduced Joseph to the idea that it was his own thinking, not the world, that was responsible for the endless resentment he was feeling. The coworker encouraged him to stop complaining and start paying attention to the harmful noise going on within his own mind.
Much to the relief and delight of his family, friends, and colleagues, Joseph did just that. When he was home alone, he noticed that his negative thoughts rarely let up. For the first time in his life, he was curious about his own mind. He asked himself the following questions: "Could it be possible that my own thoughts have something to do with the way I am?" And then, "Can I stop this way of thinking?" He soon learned that the answers to both were yes. And from that day forward, Joseph had much less to complain about.
Excerpted from Easier Than You Think ...because life doesn't have to be so hard by Richard Carlson Copyright © 2006 by Richard Carlson. Excerpted by permission.
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