“Think and grow rich!”

“You are what you think!”

“Change your thoughts and you change your world!”

As I reflect on each of these sayings one thing becomes abundantly clear . . . like the mighty oak that grows from a humble acorn, it is from our thoughts and attitudes that success – however we define it, springs.

In this regard, the truth or veracity of the statements offered by people such as Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Napoleon Hill, are without question powerful and timeless.  But here is the thing, while obvious in terms of their meaning how many people truly understand what it means to “think and grow rich.”

Is it a matter of having a high IQ and an ability to solve complex problems?  Perhaps, but this would mean that only those of us who were born with a certain gift could aspire to the realization of our goals and dreams.  I personally do not think success is an exclusive club . . . at least not genetically speaking.

What about “you are what you think?”  Is our mere perception or belief that we are good at what we do, enough to ensure that we scale our heights of accomplishment firmly planting us on the pinnacle of prosperity?  Like words without actions simply seeing ourselves as being great does not make it so.  You merely have to watch a segment of American Idol or America’s Got Talent to realize that while many contestants believe they have “it,” very few have actually bridged the chasm between their desires and reality.

“Change your thoughts and change the world” might suggest that all we need to do is to think in a different manner and presto, we will be on the right path to having the world on a proverbial string.

Again I want to stress that these sayings in and of themselves are immutable truths that are right on the money.  So I am not questioning their value.  Far from it!

What I am questioning is both the manner in which they are interpreted as well as the fact that we might not be inclined to look beneath the surface to the foundational truths upon which they are based.  Specifically the beliefs and values that served as their inspirations!

Napoleon Hill expressed the opinion that 98% of all people have either few or no firm beliefs.  This is a sobering observation in that our values and ultimately the way that we think, are based on our beliefs.  If there is an absence of beliefs then no matter how true the above sayings might be, they are reduced to being catch phrases that are bandied about as a quick reference for circumstantial justification or consolation.

You know about what I am talking.

For example, in lamenting the loss of a job or missing out on an expected promotion to a friend, one might hear the words “tough times don’t last, but tough people do!”  Great! But beyond the admonishment to buck up because there will be better days ahead, does little to lessen the disappointment and fear of a new reality.

It is in these very tough and very real situations that “I believe” that our personal beliefs and values will serve as a beacon that will guide our response and our eventual emergence from difficult circumstances.

The key therefore is to first and foremost understand in what it is that you believe and if said belief is based on the reality of whom you are and the recognition of your individual talents and/or gifts.

So tell me, what do you believe?

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