Saturday, August 19, 2017

You Become What You Think About

A few years ago, a friend turned me on to Earl Nightingale's talk, "The Strangest Secret." I found a YouTube of it and embedded it below. The payoff starts around 9:40 for those who can't bear listening all the way through.

"We become what we think about."

I don't think it's as simple as that, but I think it's a big portion of success. The brain happily rewires itself to match stimuli and responses. That's how neural networks work, mathematically. We've also seen this born out in all kinds of research. It's why studying before a test is advantageous and it's how porn works to destroy your desire for normal sex. Repetitive thoughts dig grooves in our heads that can become very hard to escape. See also: Bias, confirmation.

I've got a pair of repetitive sins I really want to eliminate or at least dramatically reduce. They keep me from a fuller embrace of God's will for me. I've tried all kinds of things, but these grooves are pretty deep. They are some of the reasons I've spent so much time on self-help books.

In The Strangest Secret, Earl proposes a trial for his hypothesis. Go for 30 days, he suggests, and focus on your goals. Think of them as often as possible. Write them down on a 3x5 card (this is an old, old recording, you know) and re-read them many times a day. Beyond that, allow your subconscious mind to work. He says you'll see a big difference and be much closer to your goals after 30 days.

This is a marked difference from my boys Zig Ziglar and Brian Tracy. They recommend a full plan with steps and measurements and so on. Earl wants me to think about it. It's like being one of the band kids using the "think system" in The Music Man.

I love to listen to Christian rock. These days, with a few detours into AC/DC, Judas Priest and Van Halen, it's all I consume. For the next 30 days, as I drive or take walks, I will turn on my Newsboys Pandora station and focus on the words, applying them to my two sins. When it's a song about failing and trying again, I'll think of times where I've failed. When it's a praise song, I'll think about how controlling these sins will glorify God. When it's a song of loss, I'll think of how my sins have hurt others.

You get the idea. I've tried this method before, but in the absence of, let's call them musical study aids, I've never been able to make it 90 seconds down the road before my brain is back in its old grooves, having a good time, doing something my soul doesn't want done.

Maybe I'll blog on Sundays about how this is going. I started it yesterday and it was a marked difference from previous efforts. I was really encouraged.

Hopefully that will help some of you. God bless and have a great Saturday.

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