As soon as you say “positive thinking,” one is apt to assume you are some kind of semi-reputable motivational speaker. Many have “thinking positive” reduced to chanting “I will succeed” over and over or something like that. And while that is not a particularly bad idea, there is more detail and a lot more potential in the positivity of one’s thinking, one’s attitude, and one’s actions.
There is a quote I have used a number of times. It is from a small book you can fit in your pocket called the Dhammapada, a book of proverbs attributed to Gautama Siddhartha, the Buddha. The word comes from dhamma (or dharma) which means law, justice, righteousness, discipline, truth, and pada, meaning path, step, foot. While I am not a Buddhist, I find wisdom in many different places, including the Bible and other texts – that is why I have pictures of some of the great leaders and philosophers on the walls at Best Drug Rehabilitation.
There are different translations of this book; a common version opens with these lines: “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.” I think those words sum up quite well what is fundamentally meant by positive thinking, but there are a few more lines right after those that put the concept into an even broader perspective: “Speak or act with an impure mind, and trouble will follow you, as the wheel follows the ox that draws the cart…Speak or act with a pure mind, and happiness will follow you, as your shadow, unshakable.”
It does indeed matter what we THINK, what we SAY, and what we DO. Put those together and we have positive thought, positive words, and positive action. You have it in your power to make these three forces work in your favor or against you.
Defeat vs. Win
How do we govern our very being with our own thoughts? When faced with an obstacle, how do we approach it? The term “defeatist” means accepting defeat easily or one who expects defeat. We may think of a defeatist as one who preaches defeat to others, and this is accurate – but you can also adopt a defeatist attitude with yourself without even realizing it. If, when faced with opposition, we take on the persona of the “defeated person,” we are in effect practicing negative thinking and are inviting defeat. If on the other hand we decide we can do something about it and affect a positive change, then we are practicing positive thinking and positive doing.
How does one “speak or act with an impure mind”? One fundamental way is to fail to keep one’s word. One gives a solemn oath and then goes back on it – one should then seek to correct the situation. Another way is to speak in lies – there is no limit to the lies a person can tell, and no limit to the repercussions. The opposite is true. Make a point to keep your word and you will elicit support and respect from others. Live with the truth and you’ll be a much happier person.
When faced with a task at hand, do we think of ways to avoid it or do we follow a path of rational thought and adhere to a straight line of action? Positive action means doing what you intend to do and possessing enough perseverance to see the realization of your vision. You will find people that are very assertive and positive in action but who bring about negative results and cause destruction. These individuals are not the majority and they sooner or later bring collapse upon themselves. Trouble follows them. They are an example of a sort of inversion of positivity – they are positively destructive.
Think Big & Outside the Box
If it seems all too simple, that is because it is. But many people interject a massive amount of complication into it. The simplest things are the most powerful.
Another point to add is that there is no limit to your imagination when it comes to positive thinking. You may have been told to “THINK BIG.” This is an extremely valid approach. If you think you’ll only make “X” amount of money then that is what you’ll make. If you think on larger terms you’re far more likely to do and receive on larger terms. You’ve also been told to “think outside the box.” This too is perfectly valid. You don’t have to be pegged with “how it’s always been done.” The great thinkers and innovators thought light years outside of the box. Look at people you know who are successful. Talk with them and you’ll find a common thread – they are positive in thought, words, and action.
Ultimately, thinking for yourself is integral to positivity. Think for yourself.
Don’t Give Up
When things don’t work out as planned, then it is time to reinforce and rekindle your positivity – not always easy but nonetheless necessary. Perseverance is a positive attribute.
Those are a few points to keep in mind and practice. When you catch yourself chanting “I can’t do it,” “I’m going to fail” and that type of thing, just remember that you are what think and switch it around: You can and you succeed. Period.
Speak or act with a pure mind, and happiness will follow you, as your shadow, unshakable. Over to you!