Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Vaccinate Your Mind With Positive Thoughts

If you believe in James Allen's metaphor of your mind being a garden, then how are you going to prevent overgrowth of useless weeds that will choke your flowers? Left unchecked, the fear of the unknown can cripple you. This is Emily's second time of taking her final examination in philosophy. She was a brilliant student, but lacked the self confidence to take examinations. The first time she took the examination she failed. It wasn't because she did not know her material, instead, she was scared of failure. Although she had studied enough, she wasn't able to conquer her fear in order to pass the examination.

In my own life, I also have had such moments of doubts and fear. In the 70's, there was only one medical school in Ghana. It only admitted 50 students into its premedical program every year. If you failed the premedical examination, you were out of the program. Many brilliant students' lives were ruined after being thrown out of the program. I was admitted into the program at this time. The weekend before the final examination, I was scared that I was going to fail.
I had a headache which nothing could take care of. I was sweating and my heart started beating like a drum in my chest. I could not sleep, neither could I study. I went to The Methodist Book Store in Accra and found The Power of Positive Thinking. Instead of studying for the examination, I spent the weekend reading the book to weed the thorns from my mind. One quotation that stuck in my mind was "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I would stand in front of the mirror, look at my myself and repeat the quotation several times until my fear was banished from my mind. Though I did not study that weekend, I passed the examination because positive thoughts replaced my doubts.

Positive thoughts alone will not help you if you haven't prepared yourself to face a particular challenge in your life. For example, If I hadn't studied, no amount of positive thinking would have helped me. For positive thoughts to work, you should have a direction and commitment. The positive thoughts just give you wings to fly and provide your sails wind to propel you towards your destination. In Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull , "The gall sees furthest who flies furthest." However the gall who flies furthest did not get there by one leap. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said:
"The heights by great men reached and kept, were not obtained by sudden flight.
But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night."
Finally, recognize that it takes a lot to keep your mind at peace. However, without the peace of mind, nothing can be achieved .

The element of belief is also important. You first have to believe in whatever is feeding your mind. I strongly had a belief that with God's help, within reason, I could do all things. You become like a child who is receiving a pep talk from his parents. There is trust that reassures the child to move on to do greater things. This also can only happen if there is a trusting relationship between the parents and their child. Therein lies the importance of trust and belief. To be a positive thinker and achieve your dreams, you have to learn to trust God if He is your source of positive inspiration.

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