A recent reaction of a person inspired me to write this week’s blog. He did not agree at all with what I said in my television interview last week, where I was talking about our conscious and subconscious mind and how we can create new behaviors by thinking differently and how we decide what thoughts* we give energy and which thoughts we let pass by. Let me elaborate.
My statement in the interview was, as I learned from some of the greatest teachers in the world on the subject dr. Wayne, W. Dyer, Louise Hay, Bob Proctor, Greg Braden, Marc & Angel Chernoff, Jill Bolte Taylor PhD….:
“We can choose what we think, and we become what we think.”
That person claimed: “we do not get to choose what we think, we think and act how we are trained to think and act”. His example was the military forces: the soldiers are trained how to (re-)act in a particular situation and when that situation occurs, they automatically react how they were trained to do without thinking for themselves.
My response was: this is the perfect example of how we do have a choice in how we want to think, and, who we want to become in life. When a person wants to be a soldier, that is what they want to be, that’s how they perceive** themselves. They picture** themselves as a soldier, they believe they can and want to be a soldier. For them it is the right thing to do, it feels** in accordance with what they want. They keep on repeating** that thought as it is their dream of what they want to be in life. Then they use the next mental muscle, their free will**, to enlist in the army. And then they enter the final stage in the process of creating a new behavior, which was originally just a thought: they make it happen by choosing** what to do next. They consciously take steps to becoming a good soldier. They are now part of the army, they get trained by their superiors, by people they look up to, by people they dream of being one day. They learn the necessary skills, they practice and practice and practice until their behavior becomes their automatic response in a certain situation, their automatic response is the way they learned how to think, analyze and react in that particular situation. They consciously created a new behavior, made it an automatic response by repeating it over and over again so that it now resides in their subconscious mind and is their automatic response.
Is that behavior created by someone else? The answer is yes and no. They want to be a soldier, which is their thought and their dream and then they choose their teachers to help them create that new behavior. You could argue they react in a way they were taught by others, by their teachers, yes, BUT that is who they wanted to become, that is why they enlisted, that is what their original thought was. They chose to take the necessary training to become this person. When for example, a person, who never wants to be a soldier, would never envision themselves as a soldier, the image of them being a soldier would not be in alignment with what they want and who they truly are. So, even if that person were to enlist in the army and get the same training, it would not become his/her new automatic behavior as they would not believe that is what they want to do, they would never see themselves as a soldier, they would second guess, they would hesitate, … they would not thrive in the army so it would never work out.
We choose who we want to be. We have an image of ourselves and of who we want to be. Then we take the path towards becoming that person. We stay away from the path that would lead us to what we do not want to become. We may stray from time to time but it will feel wrong for us and so we choose again to not stay there and take another path.
Whether we make good choices or bad choices, it still is our choice to think and behave in a certain way. Even people who believe they have no say in their life, can make the decision to step out of the victim mindset and start believing and living in a victor mindset. I am of course talking of day-to-day life situations, not war situations, nor hostage-situations, … as those situations are really extreme. We do however see, even in those extreme circumstances, people still make choices and act differently from one other. I hereby think of how Viktor Frankl*** survived the Holocaust and is one of the leading examples of how to make the best of even the worst circumstances thinkable. Of course, very few people have that ability, that mindset and I am not judging at all because we talk about really extreme circumstances here. I just want to state that it is possible to use your free will when you choose to.
The bottom line is: we always make a choice: whether that is, to stay in the behavior we learned growing up, or choosing to create**** new behaviors when we are not happy with the results of our old behavior in our life. Even not making a choice, is our choice.
So, do we really get to choose what we think? Yes! When we become conscious of our thoughts, we can decide whether it is a thought that we like, a thought that is making our life better and therefor keep thinking it and acting accordingly. Or, we can decide this thought is not helping at all, this thought is making us miserable and does not inspire us to take action to have a good and pleasant life and so, we decide to turn that thought around to one that is helping, to a thought that leads to positive action.
Believe you are in charge because you are.
Become aware of your thinking patterns.
Make changes where necessary.
Live your best life by thinking your best thoughts!
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*Which Thoughts Are You Feeding? Article by Katrien Degraeve.
**The 6 mental muscles: perception, imagination, intuition, memory, will, reason, by Bob Proctor.
*** Viktor Frankl, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist, writer.
****The Trouble is, It’s All Up to Us, The Good Thing Is, It’s All up to Us, Article by Katrien Degraeve