From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog comes this insight –
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” (Lee Iacoccoa)
I grew up in the era with some of the early proponents of changing one’s attitude. Norman Vincent Peele wrote his famous book ‘The Power of Positive Thinking” in 1952. Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, was on TV espousing a positive attitude through faith. Of course, there was Dale Carnegie and who could leave Zig Ziggler off such a list. More recently, lives have been influenced by the works of Eckhart Tolle, Thomas Anthony Harris, Tony Robbins and a host of self-help gurus. What all of these people have in common is the notion that you can change your life by changing your attitude.
In physics it can be shown that, in order to change the direction of an object that is in motion, some sort of force must be applied to that object – a force in a different direction than the object is traveling. The same is true of the trajectory of your life. It will continue down the path it is on, unless some force is applied that causes it to change direction. That “force” can be some external event or it can be an internal change of attitude, which causes you to react differently and take a new direction. One could sit around and hope that something happens to change things in your life or one can take the first steps of changing your attitude towards life.
Perhaps the greatest “force” that can change the direction of your life is the force of a belief in God and in God’s impact on your life. Nothing will change your attitude about life more than accepting God’s role in your life and learning how to see and do what God has in mind for you. You may not understand the “why” of it all and maybe you cannot yet be able see the “how” it will all play out; but, if you accept the will of God in your life, as in “not my will, but Thy will be done”, the outcome in your life will definitely change.
The outcomes that we desire or dream about are basically expectations or hopes. We try to visualize or “see” the desired state at the end of an effort. Many people set goals for themselves based upon an outcome that involves acquiring and owning some new thing – a car, a house, a boat, something. They may envision themselves being happy once they have acquired that thing. Few find any real happiness in even the best outcome of such goals. They find that having the items does not bring happiness, only a temporary sense of achievement of that goal; then it is on to the next goal.
Perhaps the biggest change that one can make to change the trajectory of their life is to alter their perception of the desired outcome. Since there is an inevitable end to life on earth, the question becomes, “What is the outcome that I want at that point?” People of faith have an answer for that question; and, having found that answer, their lives are altered and their goals change. They find satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment in service to others as they progress towards that ultimate goal.
Think about what you hear about people who are remembered, once they are gone. Do you hear people reciting a list of things that they were able to accumulate? More likely, if they are mentioned in a good context, you hear what a good person they were, how kind or generous they were to others. You remember that love that they shared and how they made you feel good. You hear phrases like, “He (she) was always doing things for others, giving of their time and helping whenever they could.” Often you will also hear, “She (He) was a good Christian.” What you are hearing is that they changed the course of their lives by believing in God and the teachings of Christ and thus they changed the outcome for themselves and others around them.
You can change the course of your life and the outcome by believing in God. There is still time. Alter your life. Let God into it and experience the change in your life. You’re going to like the outcome.
Positive thinking must be followed by positive action. The Benedictine monks had a phrase, “ora et labora,” Latin for prayer and works…the two go together. It’s one thing to pray about a situation. Some prayers are answered because of some work on our part.