Whether you think you can do or think you can’t, you’re right
– Henry Ford –
There was one pivotal moment in my life when I learned a great lesson about our thoughts and actions and how our thoughts influence the way we act.
I often go back to that time whenever I face uncertainty or an unknown fear.
You might have had one or two similar experiences yourself.
Years ago, Amy, a friend of mine, let me stay in her place for a short period of time when I was between places.
We were close.
But living together brought us a whole lot closer.
Before I was due to move into my flat, we came up with a few ideas we could do together to make more memories.
One of them was riding a bike in the morning.
The problem was that Amy was a morning person. I was not (although I’ve been converted since).
On this particular day, like any other previous day, I was dragged out of bed by an exceptionally annoying Amy.
She’s always full of energy in the morning, jumping up and down in excitement like a six-years-old girl who just got her first bike.
On the other hand, I looked at the bike with a silent wish that it would vanish when I blinked my eyes.
It didn’t happen.
So I dragged my feet, got on the bike, and followed Amy like a prisoner walking into his death row.
Heading to a Self-Fulfilling Crash
By the time we entered a small but long footpath running alongside the hill, I was fully awake and beginning to enjoy the freshness of the morning.
There was a steep incline that forced us to ride down faster than on the street we had just gotten off.
At the far end, I saw a couple walk towards us, pushing a baby stroller in front of them.
Beyond them was our destination: an open field where Amy and I could ride alongside, talking and laughing.
As Amy approached the couple, they stopped, pulling the baby stroller out of Amy’s way and allowing room for her to ride along.
It’s my turn.
But all of a sudden, the path looked so narrow that my mind started playing with a domineering thought:
Oh my God, I’m going to crash into the baby!
My thoughts and eyes were fixated on the baby stroller instead of the path I was on.
In my mind’s eye, the size of the baby stroller was large enough to block me.
But the momentum of the ride and the speed wouldn’t allow me to stop.
Fast approaching them but not as fast as Amy, I kept playing the image of me striking them.
Sure enough, I crashed right into the baby stroller!
How Our Mind Creates Fear
Every time I face some uncertainty or fear, I remind myself of that day.
Henry Ford put it aptly:
Whether you think you can do or think you can’t, you’re right.
It’s a well-known fact that we can’t multitask.
Our thoughts are drifting from one to another rapidly, which gives us the illusion of multitasking but we can’t.
At this particular moment, I had one of two choices with my thoughts: ride past them or crash into them.
Because I was too worried about crashing into them, my focus was on them rather than the path I could easily manoeuvre.
Because of the unknown fear and uncertainty, I chose to play out the potential crash scenario.
My repetitive thoughts reinforced the prevailing fear and made it all the more plausible, to the point that I had self-fulfilled it.
Had I focused on the fact that Amy did ride along and I should be able to, too, I would have done it.
Where are Your Thoughts Right Now?
Have you ever asked yourself whether your life is a failure or not?
If you haven’t, how about asking yourself now and let’s pondering over your possible answer?
When I got to the tipping point due to my debt, I asked myself the same question.
Think carefully about what Henry Ford said before you answer.
Here again, we have two choices.
We either think of our life as a failure, or it’s not.
In my case, I had one more question and an answer I contemplated: I either thought I could pay off my debt or I couldn’t.
Why is It Important What Answer We Give to Ourselves?
Because the answer will determine our actions and attitude towards the life we’re living right now.
I took my business failure very hard.
Of course, the massive debt I ended up with made it worse.
After an extended period of grief and self-sabotage, I made up my mind to change my thoughts to “my life is how I make it.”
I no longer think of my life as a failure.
Instead, I’ve chosen to believe all my experiences, including successes and failures, have been cumulative lessons.
They prepared me to make better choices in the future and become a better person.
If I think I can’t pay off my debt in a million years, that’s exactly what’s going to happen—I’d give up.
If I thought I could, I’d find out all the possible ways to do it.
How we think determines how we feel and, therefore, how we behave.
If we decide we’re socially awkward, we’ll feel socially awkward in a social gathering and behave that way to live up to our own expectations, reinforcing our belief.
Be conscious of the kind of thoughts you’re feeding your mind at any given moment because they can either spiral into disastrous actions or lead to successful ones.
Ultimately, change your life.
You Might Also Enjoy…
- 2 Lessons About Positive Thinking (and Be Better at Everything)
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- 68 Negative Self-Talk Examples to AVOID at All Costs
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