One of the lessons I wish I had learned earlier in life was that my thinking often set up my opportunities. At the very least, my thinking sets up how I perceive events. And how I perceive an event will cause me to look at a situation as an opportunity or a setback.
With the new year, try to be more intentional in your thinking. Our thinking drives how we see the world. In As a Man Thinketh, James Allen wrote,
“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armoury of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself; he also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
Case in point: look how students respond differently to a tough teacher. Some students see the teacher’s difficulty as a challenge and rise to the occasion. Those students push themselves harder and excel. Others lament the unfairness of the world and wish they had gotten an easier teacher. If anything, they are discouraged; they tend to perform worse, partially because the teacher is more difficult and partially because they don’t apply themselves as much as they would with an easier teacher.
Life is full of unexpected events. We can plan every minute of our day and it all be undone in a second. However, if we are intentional in our thinking, we can respond better to those unexpected events. Also, we can set a direction with which we wish to grow and develop. We formulate a purpose and goals. In this new year, seek to be more intentional in your thinking.
Here’s a poorly kept secret: there’s a lot of systems for personal time management and planning out there, systems like Getting Things Done (GTD), Personal Kanban, Covey’s methods, and the list goes on. All of the “successful systems” start by the participant becoming intentional in his or her thinking and planning. You don’t have to spend money buying a book or taking a class to take this first step.