A friend of mine, Joe McQ, tells the story about hanging on to an old chair that he, for some reason, just couldn’t live without. While his wife would carry this old chair out for the garbage men to pick up every year during spring cleaning, Joe would seem to always get home just before the truck arrived. Joe would jump out of his car and lug this old chair back up to the attic and again convince himself that, some day, he would have time to restore it.
This poor old chair had been painted a few times during its life. The places where the paint was chipped, he could see about four different colors underneath. The covering and padding were once in pristine condition but now was torn in many places with the springs beginning to pop through. Joe’s wife would try to understand why this chair was so important to her husband, but Joe never seemed to have a very good explanation and even couldn’t recall where or how he got the chair. All that mattered to him was the thoughts of one day bringing this damaged chair back to its original condition.
The day finally came when Joe decided to fix up his beloved chair. He brought it down from the attic and dusted it off. He began to remove the old covering and padding. Joe sanded off several layers of paint until reaching the wood. Having removed all the stuff put on over the years, Joe was able to view this chair as it was originally designed. He discovered that this chair was made with high quality wood and spectacularly constructed.
Joe loaded the chair into his car and drove to a local furniture restoration shop. The gentlemen at the shop listened to Joe’s story of the chair -- how he had saved it from the dump many times and explains to his wife the importance of rescuing this seemly worthless chair. After briefly inspecting the chair, carefully examining it from different angles, the owner of the shop offered Joe $3,500 as is. Joe was shocked! He couldn’t believe that this chair had sat in his attic year after year and that no other person saw its value. The shop manager showed all the details of the chair and explained its history. The chair was designed and constructed by a well known craftsman, who offered a lifetime guarantee for all his work. The craftsman’s products were in high demand and every piece constructed was a one-of-a-kind work of art.
This is really the story of most of us. We have allowed a lifetime of troubles to collect on us. We have used numerous and various substances to cover all of the resentments, fears, humiliations, regrets, etc in our lives. After several years of trying to cover up our flaws, with various substances we and others are unable to see our worth, value and original purpose.
It is way past time for us to change our thinking about our own lives. If we think we are a certain kind of human – like worthless, of no value – then we act based on that thought.
You Are Not What You Think You Are – But What You Think – You Are!
That’s right! If you want to change, you first have to change your thinking. You cannot be a different person thinking the same things. You cannot remain the same thinking differently. Again, if you want to change who you are, the first step is to change your thinking.
When Joe’s wife looked at the damaged old chair, her first was, “what a piece of junk!” Her thought led to her act of dragging that piece of junk out for the garbage men. Although the truth was that chair was very valuable, her thinking controlled her actions. Thinking is a very powerful force. It is very difficult to change someone’s thinking and most times someone’s thinking is much more concerning and dangerous then their actions.
The Act of Rape
For instance, several years ago a friend, Ron, and I used to conduct lectures in a men’s prison. Ron, who had been in prison eight times during his life, would get everyone attention and explain what the lecture was about. Because the lecture’s topic was about alcohol and drugs (about 85% of folks incarcerated have an alcohol and drug problem), Ron would ask how many of the men were locked up due to alcohol and drug related charges. Most nights everyone raised their hands. I recall a man in the back roll not raising his hand one night. Ron spotted him and asked why he was in prison. The man reported he had raped a woman and did not have a problem with alcohol or drugs.
I was sort of shocked and surprised he admitted to the crime of raped, but relieved he was caged up, at least for that moment. Now…stay with me here, I plan to make a statement that may be unsettling. There is something that is worse than the act of rape. That something is – his thought process prior to that act! If that man leaves prison with the same thinking that resulted in raping a woman, I fear his violent acts will someday follow. Reminder…you can’t be a different person thinking the same things. You can’t remain the same, thinking differently. Changing behavior begins with changing thoughts.
You Are Not Limited By Your Ability – But By What You Believe (Thinking)
Our world has been greatly altered by some simple beliefs. Remember when some folks believed that the world was flat. That belief was very limiting for that specific community. Do you recall the time when there was a belief that some women were witches? They were tied to a stake and burned to death. If the community was not sure if a woman was a witch, in order to make sure, the community would tie stones to the suspected witch and throw her into the nearest river. If she was able to save herself – she was a confirmed witch resulting in being burned at the stake! This was when the term “no win situations” began. The thinking and believe systems during these times were very disastrous and limiting. Thinking and beliefs finally changed in this community resulting in changing behaviors.
Before the Wright brothers there were many books written about how humans would never experience flight – it was a right given only to birds. Very intelligent, educated people tried to develop aircrafts that would take flight and they all failed. The Wright brothers, who were bicycle repairmen and high school dropouts did not read these books. They believed they could fly! The Wright bothers had very limited education and experiences but their belief system and thinking were very strong. Their belief system overcame their limited abilities.
What is Believable is Achievable
Sayings like that are so corny. I hate even using them. However, this is a powerful statement. Go back to the story of the rapist. He openly admitted what he was able to achieve, I’m sorry to say. I am also sorry to say that the prison system probably did not work to alter his thinking, but probably made it worse. That’s another story.
Every successful person I know has a strong belief and thinking process. Success, whether it is in business or overall health and wellness, begins with how it is thought about. Folks who think that they have value and worth – do. Just like Joe’s old chair, we too were produced by a master Creator. Once we believe this and think of ourselves as having high value, we live as we were originally designed. Thinking positively and having a positive outlook on life greatly benefits our overall health and wellness. Once we begin thinking positively we will be positive. And the best news is that we each have a lifetime guaranteed by our Creator.