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.
How our thoughts influence the way we act.
I often go back to the time whenever I face uncertainty or the unknown fear.
You might have 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 in 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 Amy was a morning person. I was not (although I’ve been converted since).
On this particular day, like any other previous days, I was dragged out of my bed by exceptionally annoying Amy.
She’s always full of energy in the morning jumping up and down in excitement like a 6 years old girl who got her first bike.
On the other hand, I looked at the bike with a silent wish 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 Self-Fulfilling Crash
By the time we entered a small but long footpath running alongside the hill, I was fully awake, 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 minds 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 eyes, the size of the baby stroller was enlarged big enough to block me.
But the momentum of the riding 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.
– Henry Ford
It’s a well-known fact that we can’t multitask.
Our thoughts are drifting from one to another rapidly, which gives us an illusion of multitasking.
But we can’t.
At this particular moments, 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 the potential crashing scenario.
My repetitive thought reinforced the prevailing fear.
Made it all the more plausible to the point that I had self-fulfilled it.
Had I focused on the fact Amy did ride past 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 ponder over your possible answer.
When I got to the tipping point due to my debt, I asked the same question to myself.
Think carefully 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 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 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 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 think I can, I’d find out all the possible ways to do it.
How we think determines how we feel, 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 about what kind of thoughts you’re feeding to your mind in any given moment.
Because they can either spiral into disastrous actions or lead to successful ones.
Ultimately change your life.
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