Try to make at least one person happy every day. If you cannot do a kind deed, speak a kind word. If you cannot speak a kind word, think a kind thought. Count up, if you can, the treasure of happiness that you would dispense in a week, in a year, in a lifetime!
-Lawrence G. Lovasik
Are We Really In Control of Our Thoughts?
In a previous post on An Introduction to NLP I talk about this map that we all have in our minds. This map of reality that basically tells us what is right or wrong. This is also called our Map of Reality – Or just reality. When we are first born we have no map of reality. We learn from those around us to form our own map of reality. But how much of our reality is influenced by society? Have you ever wondered how many decisions you make are actually your decisions? How many of your tastes, thoughts, goals, personality, passions or beliefs are even yours?
Think about why you are even on this website. What influenced you to read this article? Find this website? What got you into reading about confidence? It is simply an accumulation of past experiences that caused you to go on this website. It may have started when you were slightly embarrassed or maybe you weren’t confident for a presentation. It may have started with a google search. Or maybe an ad, or some Facebook post you saw. Whatever the reason, something influenced you to read these words right now and if you take any other person; put that person through the same exact experiences as you, that person will be exactly like you.
Perhaps you think this view is a bit cynical, perhaps not. I mean, what I am basically saying is that we are all robots. In truth that’s exactly what I am saying. That’s how I like to look at the world and it’s how I understand people. A lot of people might think this is a very negative view on humanity but it actually allows me to be more positive and here’s why.
How to Be More Understanding
If we are simply an accumulation of past experiences and events it starts to put other people’s actions we may consider radical into perspective. These radical actions can be literally anything such as rape, murder, terrorism and other violent acts. The media is often populated with these kinds of things and it can lead one to believe that people are evil. With this new mindset you begin to realize that people are not evil – Just mislead by unfortunate events and circumstances which caused them to do evil things. That, if you were in that same persons shoes, with the same experiences you would commit the same crime. So who are you to judge?
Even if it’s something that’s less serious than a crime. For example, if your friend is stuck in a dead-end job or relationship and refuses to leave it. It’s easy to say “Oh, I would leave that job in a heartbeat.” But based on how your friend was raised, based on his/her current reality and past experiences, it is perfectly reasonable that your friend is staying in that dead-end job or relationship. It’s not that this person is weak or just doesn’t have the success ‘trait’ it’s again, an accumulation of unfortunate circumstances that made him who he is now. Now, that’s not to say as a friend you shouldn’t try to change his or her mind and move this person in a better direction but now you can do so from a place of understanding and not judgement.
The Hard Truth
The truth is, none of your thoughts are actually yours. In fact you are not even you. Think about this. What we really are, is just an imprint of all of these outside influences from our environment combined together and some random biological thoughts mixed in. Your dreams and passions aren’t even yours. I’m not saying you shouldn’t pursue your goals but realize that even your dreams won’t make you happy. Everyone wants to leave their mark on society and that’s awesome, but do it as an extension of yourself.
We like to think society has very little influence on us but the truth is it is influencing you more than you think. Literally every decision you have made since the day you were born, until today, and the day you die, is and will be influenced in some way or another by someone or something else. Everything around you slowly influences you and pushes you into a corner – That’s why I recommend meditation. Meditation is about shutting off all that noise and discovering what makes you happy. As it turns out what makes everyone happy is just being present.
The author of The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle puts it perfectly so I’ll end it with this. He says there are only two ways to get crazy:
- To get what you want. You are still upset except you don’t have hope
- To not get what you want. You have hope.
I hope I have influenced you to change your perspective on things. What other things have you learned? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great day.