Act in Accordance with Thinking

Consider these words from Alan Watts: A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts, so he loses touch with reality and lives in a world of illusions.

I’m a thinker. Not one of those ground-breaking scientists or a philosophical savant, but I do like to think. Maybe, a little too much. Maybe, even so much that I often have little to show for it.

I believed this was a good thing. Aren’t we supposed to use our heads, to be more thoughtful? The thinking part is easy. It requires little effort. Unfortunately, that’s where it goes wrong. If you want more than thoughts and live in the world of reality, then you must do something with all that thinking.

“By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground…”

Genesis 3:19

The hard part is work. that requires effort. It requires movement and action. Often, manual labor is looked upon as base and work fit for only the unintelligent unable to use their heads. If asked, many would rather work in an office than on a factory floor. They would rather use a keyboard than a wrench.

Working in a factory, I have done jobs that have required minimal brain power. If you repeat a process enough times, it will soon become second nature. I loved this type of work because it was a form of escapism. My brain could wander free without having to concentrate on the task at hand. Maybe, it was because the thinking was the easy part. I could disconnect from the hard labor. But even so, there was still a disconnect. Something was still missing.

To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To act in accordance with your thinking is something only a few can do. Imagine the possibilities if we could all do this.

Feature photo by Magnet.me on Unsplash

Who Is Thinking?

Do you have an opinion that is not the same as the generally held beliefs of the masses? Would you consider your thinking contrary or against the grain of popular belief? If yes, then: good.

Well, somewhat good. Your opinion, if voiced, could come at a significant cost. You could get publicly shamed, silenced, cancelled, or even killed. Jesus rubbed a few people wrong with His voice, and He was crucified. Many of His early believers followed Him and was on the wrong end of government-sanctioned murder. If you upset the mob, the mob will find a way to retaliate. Such is the way of the dissenting voice.

What is the alternative? To have the same beliefs and thoughts as the rest of the world? You could. You could go on autopilot, do the same as everyone else, believe what they believe, , think like they do. Isn’t this unity? A part of the collective?

If everyone is thinking alike, then no one is thinking.

Benjamin Franklin

To think like everyone else means you have shut down your own ability to think for yourself. You have taken the easy route and have done your best to remove what makes you unique. You might think there is nothing wrong with this. You might be right. But what if the world’s way of thinking is wrong? What if the direction of the mob or Big Brother does more harm than good? By not thinking differently, by not using your voice, you have made yourself complicit in the harm.

In Franklin’s time, men stood up and spoke out against a government they disagreed with. They fought for their ability to think differently. Not just for them, but for all who come after them.


Feature photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

Note to Self: Shut Up Already

Prudence 11/4/2019

I read books. When I read, I don’t talk. I “listen” to the words of another. As I read, my mind sometimes tend to wonder. I start thinking other thoughts that do not have anything to do with the book in hand. I think about the things I read. I want to say something, but the author won’t hear me. I can meditate on it. I can discuss it with others. I can even write about it when I’m not actually reading it. I have many options available to me, but the best option is to read, to digest it, and then to think about it.

I have many conversations throughout the course of a day. When someone else is talking, I don’t talk. I listen. As I listen, my mind sometimes tend to wonder. I start thinking other thoughts that do not have anything to do with what I am hearing. I also think about the things I hear. I want to say something, but the person I am conversing with really wants to say her part without me interrupting her. I can let her finish. I can think on it. I can discuss it with her or, if appropriate, with others. I have many options available to me, but the best option is to listen, to digest it, and then to think about it…before I offer my opinion.

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Yes, this was redundant, but I felt it was necessary. On occasion I start talking, and I can’t shut up. When I get in trouble by saying or writing the wrong things, it is because I kept on going, when it was best to zip it. It is a fault in discretion. I’m not thinking; I’m just going. What I am not doing when this happens is listening. So many problems can be avoided if I would only shut up and listen.

The less men think, the more they talk. –Montesquieu

5 Ways to Reprogram Your Mind

We become what we think about all day long. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

What do you think about? Do you ever pay attention to the song that gets stuck in your head? What about the video clip that seems to be burned into your mind’s eye hours after you watched it? Did you ever imagine the things you exposed your mind to on a regular basis could have a long-lasting effect on you?

Take any aspect of our current political environment. Regardless of chosen sides, every aspect can be perceived as negative. Consume enough political news throughout the day and soon you will be seeing the negative around every corner.

Now look at the videos, music, and social media you consume. Is what you are consuming in line with where you want to be in the future? Does it match your current set of values? If not, what are the chances of your values going to the same level as the media you consume?

Photo by neONBRAND on Unsplash

All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become. –Buddha

Your mind is one of your most valuable resources. To get where you want to go in life, you have to ensure your mind is functioning at an optimal level. Fortunately, our minds are programmable. We can believe what we want to believe. We can consume what we want to consume. We can protect our minds from the media that is preventing us from achieving our goals.

In his book, Speaking to Win, Brian Tracey makes a great point about our minds and thinking:

The highest-paid and most valuable work in America is thinking. This is because, of all things that people do, thinking has the greatest possible consequences. The better you think, the better decisions you make. The better decisions you make, the better actions you will take. The better actions you take, the better results you will get, and the better will be the quality of your life and work. Everything begins with thinking.

With this in mind, here is a simple list to help reprogram your mind:

1. Define your values or what you want to value. This can be a goal, it can be what you want to stand for, or it can be who you want to be.
2. Program your mind by consuming the things that will help get you closer to your destination.
3. Discern what media is pulling you away from the path.
4. With discipline, turn away or turn off, the unproductive media. You have to learn to say no to the things that pull you away. They are vying for your attention and your time.
5. Do the work. Here is your call to action. Your mind, by this time, should be in the right place. But without working toward your goals and values, you will have only unused knowledge. What is the point of that? Take what you have learned, act on it, and see how far you can go.

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results. –Willie Nelson