As a new regular feature on the blog here, each week I am going to write some basic thoughts on popular quotes or often used expressions prevalent in the personal developments fields as well things that proliferate the fields of hypnosis, hypnotherapy and those related.
We used to have the words “you are what you think” all over this website, almost as a strap line to impress upon people the importance of getting your thoughts in order.
Much of my work today is influenced by the field of cognitive behavioural hypnotherapy and as you’d expect, cognitions feature strongly within that. Part of the basic premise is that if our thoughts continue to be of a depressing nature, or are anxiety inducing, or are overly critical, then that influences our demeanour, our actions and also our feelings.
One of my favourite books when I was a young man exploring these fields is entitled “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen – I give copies away free to anyone who downloads our hypnotherapy diploma course prospectus – written over one hundred years ago, impresses upon it’s readers that thoughts can and do effect our hwealth and wellness in such a wide variety of ways and it examines various facets of our lives and how thoughts effect those facets. The opening paragraph of the book sums it up very well:
The aphorism, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he,” not only embraces the whole of a man’s being, but is so comprehensive as to reach out to every condition and circumstance of his life. A man is literally what he thinks, his character being the complete sum of all his thoughts.
James Allen is not alone with this sentiment. One of the pioneers of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Albert Ellis, stated,
People and things do not upset us, rather we upset ourselves by believing that they can upset us.
From A Guide To Rational Living, 1961.
There is then also the famous and often quoted line from WIlliam Shakespeare that does the rounds here, there and everywhere because it resonates so well with so many,
There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
More recently, there has been great success for the book and ethos of John Parkin author of F*ck It. The tweets, the facebook messages and the book’s message encourages an almost spiritual thought process of letting go, and simply thinking “f*ck it” from time to time and people really embodying the philosophy tend to share fabulous results of feeling great in response to thinking that way.
In my hypnotherapy consulting rooms and throughout my audio programmes and within my training school’s courses, I spend much time teaching clients, students and others how to be constructive, how to use their internal dialogue, how to have progressive beliefs, how to let good ideas dominate their minds and a huge gamut of techniques, strategies, approaches and interventions all aimed at helping people to think in ways that advance their lives.
This is not just about being unnecessarily positive or sickly sweet for the sake of it. Rather, it is about being progressive, constructive and using our thoughts in a way that enhances our experience of life.
What really resonates well with me and the reason I am so fond of this type of quote mentioned here today, is that it implies and reminds us all that for the most part, we have a choice.
That is, we can choose how we think and therefore, we can (to a major extent) choose how our experience of life is going to be. There is so, so much to discuss with this often used quote…