POSITIVE THINKING TIP: Choose wisely the images, music, and movies that you allow into your mind, because they will inevitably influence the way you think… and therefore the life you live.
What do Jackson Hole, Enfamil, and a crack house have in common? They all love their white powder.
I found it perplexing one day as my family was traveling in the mountains with our friends on vacation. We were at the RV dump, preparing to hit the road for the 6-hour journey home, when I realized that I was fresh out of baby formula. My girlfriend’s youngest was also a baby, so she had just what I needed.
She ran up to her vehicle, and returned with a little zipper locked plastic bag of formula. She chuckled as she handed it to me, and said, “I promise, it isn’t what it looks like.” My eyes squinted, I looked her in the eyes, and waited for my neurons to fire their little connections in my brain so that I could recall ANYTHING that would help me know what she meant. I waited. Nothing.
Finally, I shook my head and said, “huh?”
She was incredulous. “Well, white powder… in a little bag…” she said as she waited for my neurons to fire as well. Still nothing. Dropping her chin just a little and keeping her eyes fixed on mine she said, “Drugs…”
She really expected to see the lights go on in a profound way, but the reaction was absent. “Oh!” I said, and gave her a chuckle. “I NEVER would have thought of that!” Now, for the record, my friend does not do drugs, but she has been instrumental in helping many children born to parents with drug problems. She has to work extra hard at not letting the issues she is exposed to bring her down.
Many things can shape the way we think: life experiences, the movies we watch, the music we listen to, the environment to which we expose ourselves. But they DO shape us. There was a time when a little bag of white powder would have only meant “laundry soap” to me; say, at a time when I didn’t have a baby in the home. I anticipate that there will come a day, (when I have finally learned to love cooking) that a little bag of white powder will mean “confectioner’s sugar.”
It all comes down to “garbage in, garbage out,” the cliché that sums up this principle in, I must say, a rather negative way. A new, more refreshing campaign could be, “virtue in, virtue out.” But that wouldn’t fly very far in today’s media, would it? Well, all of that aside, the principle is true. We need to feed our mind with images and messages that capture the kind of life we expect to live.
I’ve heard it said: “What I watch on TV doesn’t affect me.” Teenagers love to say that. I love watching their faces when I demonstrate in my seminars in 5 minutes how untrue that is. I split the group into two, and show one group several images of fresh fruit. The other group sees images of dark alleys, jail, weapons, etc. Then I show them both a poster with these letters: “R __ P E”and have them make note of the first word that comes to their mind. Almost 100% of the fruit viewers thought “RIPE”, while the other group is usually split between “ROPE” and “RAPE”.
The fact is, the way we view the world and the way we will react in any given situation is, in fact, bent even if just a little bit by the input we have fed our minds.
So, what if our past, or our environment, IS lending to negative or destructive thinking? It must be combated with uplifting input. How much? More than the negative. With enough inspiring food for the mind and spirit, eventually the heavier thoughts shrink away. Although they will always be stored in the mind, the desire and natural tendency to bring them forward into the conscious mind will depart.
After spending considerable time in an environment that was gradually leading my thoughts to baser things, and recognizing what was happening, I began to flood my mind with inspirational media to combat the effects it was having upon me.
Two years of a bad environment required about one full year of nearly 24/7 inspirational and uplifting input (ie. movies, music, reading) before the effects were no longer prominent.
So what if you feel like, “I can’t wait a whole year to see the change!” Don’t worry, you’ll actually feel better very quickly. It just might take a long time before it isn’t a constant battle. It does require a determination, however, to win the battle no matter how long it takes. I wanted to be free of the negative effects so badly that I didn’t care if it took until the day I died to be free of it, I was going to do all I could to overpower the negative effects.
Something interesting to note – I hadn’t yet changed the negative environment, I had only decided to fight the effects of it. But after fighting the effects for a very long time, I became weary of the fight and finally became conscious to the reality that I had to change the environment itself. I was able to make that change, but wouldn’t have learned how if I hadn’t first subjected my mind to all of those months to uplifting input. The inspirational messages taught me how. I had learned things that I didn’t know I didn’t know!
It takes time, and it is not easy. But it is worth it. It’s your choice. Virtue in, virtue out. We all have room for improvement, and it all begins in our minds. You may not be able to entirely remove what is already in there, but you CAN control what you feed your mind from this moment on. It’s why I do what I do… thanks for stopping by 😉
Originally published March 29, 2002.