Mahatma Ghandi said that men often become what they believe themselves to be. “If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn’t have it in the beginning,” he said.
Believing that what we consistently think about and how we think about it will eventually manifest in reality is not a statement based on some esoteric concept but rather originates from the direct link between our dominant thoughts and our actions.
Our lives are shaped in line with our most dominant thoughts, because our most dominant thoughts mould our beliefs and our beliefs direct our actions; and it is our actions that determine the results we get in our lives. On a very basic level, this is how the relationship between thought and action unfolds:
Negative begets negative
Consider a sales person who has experienced a lull in sales and now begins to “think” that they might not be the best sales person around. Sales go from bad to worse and he continues to hold the thought that he is poor at sales and clients are not willing to do business with him. Left unchecked and unaddressed, this “initial concern” snowballs into a dominant thought, and held consistently enough, this dominant thought evolves into a belief. Once well established, this negative belief will flash through his mind every time he picks up the phone to make a sales call to a prospective client. He will expect the worst and this will automatically affect his confidence. The prospective client will pick up on the lack of confidence during the conversation and will be hesitant to do business. He again loses the sale and this then further reinforces the belief in his mind that he is indeed a poor salesperson – thus creating a vicious cycle of frustration and disappointment. I know this from personal experience at my very first job.
Consistently holding this negative belief in my subconscious resulted in me experiencing results that further reinforced this belief in my mind. Eventually I came to the point were I was faced with a crisis – losing my job. I had one of two choices quit my job and look for another or become better at my job. The former was not much of a choice given the state of the job market at the time jobs. Besides, if any prospective employer had taken a look at my sales figures, I doubt if they would have warmed up to the idea of hiring me. The latter however required that for me to get better at my job, something had to change. I had to change. My dominant thought had to change. My beliefs in myself and my ability had to change. To get better results, I had to become better. I had to spend less time and energy thinking about how bad I was and begin redirecting my energy towards how I could get better.
Believe the best
I started off by changing my dominant thought and began telling myself that I was a great sales person. However, I also went one step beyond that and began to take action that was in line with this new positive dominant though – I began to listen to how the “heavy-hitters” made their sales calls, I began making more calls than usual (after all it was numbers game),I evaluated my sales recordings to established what I needed to correct the next time around, I began to find out more ways to add value to clients by doing more market research, began to make my presentations more visually appealing, I began to dress more smartly, began doing more prospecting and asking for more referrals etc. Suffice to say that the story ended well and not only did my sales improve drastically, but within 18 months, I was promoted to a management position.
I was faced with a challenging situation, however by shifting my dominant thought and proactively acting in line with my new and empowering dominant thought, I was able to influence the outcome. If I had instead chosen to remain worried, perplexed and fearful, my actions would have continued to undermine me, and further reinforced the negative belief that I was not cut out for sales.
The morale of the story is simply this – our own minds, if properly harnessed can do our bidding and give us whatever we desire; if left to their own devices, our own minds can become our worst enemies. Given how the mind operates, it becomes imperative that we develop habits and behaviour patterns that will empower us and propel us closer to our goals and ambitions. It becomes imperative that we choose thoughts that empower us and stir in us the belief that we can achieve whatever we set our minds upon.