“I don’t want to be a product of my environment; I want my environment to be a product of me.” 

– Jack Nicholson as Frank Costello, “The Departed”

Are you human?  Please know that you have priceless, inherent worth!  Let’s say that again slowly in our minds – PRICELESS.  INHERENT.  WORTH!  Nothing can take that fact away, even if someone says differently or perhaps you don’t yet know that for yourself.  I’m going to show you; and you, in turn, will show yourself!

Roots of the Word “BELIEF”

The words belief and believe come from roots that mean being and living.  It is very simple!  As Bob Proctor said, “We don’t get what we want, but we do get what we are.”  What we are is largely a byproduct of chosen belief systems in our hearts and minds.

Challenges: A Common Thread Between Us

All of us face challenges in this life. They are a constant companion in fact. What matters most when it comes to challenges is how we face them! We will have to face them regardless, but our thought process, attitude, beliefs and mindset are the key to their outcome. 

Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset

A fixed mindset is the thought process of essentially believing that you are stuck with your own limited abilities, talents, genetics, etc. – that nothing can be better than it already is and, essentially, that we all have a predestined outcome outside our control.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, is the thought process that not only the individual, but humanity as a whole, can learn, grow, develop and progress as people and groups. Our failures are not stumbling blocks, but stepping stones for future growth and learning potential.  We can continue to learn and grow throughout our lives and not be held back by wounds or difficulties of the past.

A Perfect Short Story Illustrating the Power of Belief

Have you ever heard the principle that 2 people can experience something identical and have completely different outcomes because of it?

A perfect illustration of this is the story of two identical twin brothers whose father was an alcoholic and caused both himself and his family a great deal of trouble as a result.  One brother followed in his father’s footsteps and likewise became an alcoholic, thus perpetuating a life full of related trouble and mistakes. His twin brother, who also was raised with the same father, became a successful business man and never drank a drop of alcohol in his life.

When asked why they each turned out the way they did in adulthood, both had the same response: “Because of my father!”  One chose a fixed mindset under the assumption that his fate was already determined by his childhood, genetics and other factors and chose not to take control for a more stable and successful life. The other, chose a growth mindset realizing the mistakes and lessons of his father and Avoided those pitfalls for a more successful and stable life and future.

YOU Assign Meaning

Nothing in life has meaning. We ASSIGN meaning to everything!

– Tony Robbins

What on Earth does that mean, you may be wondering?  Just as the twin brothers, whose father was alcoholic, each had different outcomes, each of us can likewise assign meaning to anything and everything in our lives.  Both twins arguably experienced difficulty associated with their father’s alcoholism.  The meaning assigned by one differed greatly to that of the other, thus determining their individual outcomes and ultimately near opposite destiny.

What difficulties do you face on a regular basis and what is the meaning you assign?  Do we give up and throw in the towel easily?  Or, do we persevere and become resourceful through trials to overcome and perhaps even find better outcomes than we initially planned by having a belief system and assigned meanings that foster such healthy outcomes?

Our “WHY” Is Crucial

Much has been said about the importance of “why” we engage in any career or activity in general. When we use the word “why,” we’re referring to a truly, deeply held, compelling reason and purpose behind the things we do.  For example, that “why,” or purpose, can be the well-being and stability of our children or helping retired parents to have stability in their golden years.  Our “why” can also be a greater movement or mission such as lifting the homeless and the hungry who suffer constantly in our respective communities and throughout the world.  Each of us must find our “why” if we are to have the strength and energy to persevere past the aforementioned trials and truly turn them into stepping stones and not stumbling blocks.

Are You A Thermostat Or A Thermometer?

An analogy can shed some light on what we are to strive for.  We should ask ourselves regularly, “Are you a thermostat or a thermometer?”  The thermostat sets the temperature in a given environment such as your home or office.  A thermometer simply measures the temperature and that is all.  Many in our society get lost in the measuring of the temperature instead of taking proactive measures to control the temperature within the environment by being a “thermostat” in our own lives.  Controlling that temperature, so to speak, is a product of managing our beliefs and mindset and, instead of getting stuck in the fixed mindset, fostering a growth mindset and letting our own actions speak accordingly. 

I believe in humanity and I know YOU, yes YOU individually, are capable of controlling your thoughts and actions – of choosing their meaning and outcome.