|How to Go From Thinking to Life Change |
By Dr. John C. Maxwell
When you change your thinking, you change your beliefs.
I am going to work you through a six-step
process of how to change, and it begins with thinking. It begins with the mind. Beliefs are nothing more than a by-product
of what you have thought long enough about that you have bought into--always remember that. What you believe is a collection
of continual thoughts that have formed themselves into a conviction.
"Although not all change is the same,
there is one common element to change, and that is thinking." That is a great truth. That is not mine, it's out of a book
called, The Seven Levels of Change. When you break down the process of thinking
into manageable number of steps, you reduce the perceived risk associated with change. Being creative is when you think about
your thinking, being innovative is when you act on your ideas.
When you change your beliefs, you change your expectations.
Belief is the knowledge that we can do
something. It is the inner feeling that what we undertake, we can accomplish. For the most part, all of us have the ability
to look at something and know whether we can do it. So, in belief there is power: our eyes are opened; our opportunities become
plain; our visions become realities. Our beliefs control everything we do. If we believe we can or we believe we cannot, we
are correct. Accomplishment is more than a matter of working harder; it is a matter of believing positively. It's called the
"sure enough" factor. If you expect to succeed, "sure enough," you will; if you expect to fail, "sure enough," you will. We
become outside what we believe inside.
When you change your expectations, you change your attitude.
I love Ben Franklin's quote: "Blessed
is the one who expects nothing, for he shall receive it." I heard a story the other day about a man who went to the fortuneteller
who looked in the crystal ball and said, "Oh, my. This is not good. I look in this ball and see that you will be poor and
unhappy until you're 45 years old." The guy said, "Oh, that's terrible. Well, then what's going to happen?" The fortuneteller
said, "You'll get used to it."
Your expectations are going to determine
your attitude. Most people get used to average; they get used to second best. Nelson Boswell said, "The first and most important
step toward success is the expectation that we can succeed."
When you change your attitude, you change your behavior.
William James was right when he said,
"That which holds our attention determines our action." When our attitude begins to change, when we become involved with something,
our behavior begins to change. The reason that we have to make personal changes is that we cannot take our people on a trip
that we have not made. Too many leaders try to be travel agents instead of tour guides--they try to send people where they
have never been. We give them a brochure and a "Bon Voyage!" And off they go and we wave to them, and we ask them to tell
us how it was when they come back. A tour guide says, "Let me take you where I've been. Let me tell you what I have gone through.
Let me tell you what I know. Let me show you what I've experienced in my life."
When you change your behavior, you change your performance.
Leroy Eims said, "How can you know what
is in your heart? Look at your behavior. There is no better sign of the heart than the life." The truest test of where a person
is going is their behavior.
Unfortunately, most people would rather
live with old problems than new solutions. We would rather be comfortable than correct; we would rather stay in a routine
than make changes. Even when we know that the changes are going to be better for us, we often don't make them because we feel
uncomfortable or awkward about making that kind of a change.
Until we can get used to living with
something that is not comfortable, we cannot get any better.
When you change your performance, you change your life.
Change makes a person feel alone, even
if others are going through it. You say, "Oh, man! Goodness! I know the others are changing, but I don't think they're having
the difficulty I'm having." There is something about the awkwardness and the time that it takes to make proper changes that
just seems to isolate you from everyone else, even when a group is going through it together. You just kind of feel, "But
my situation's a little bit different, and I think I'm just not quite as fast as the other ones," and there's a tendency to
feel isolated, lonely, and withdrawn when you're going through this change.
It is easier to turn failure into success
than an excuse into a possibility. A person can fail and turn around and understand their failure, make it a success; but
I want to tell you--a person who makes excuses for everything will never truly succeed. I promise you, when you excuse what
you are doing and excuse where you are, and you allow the exceptions, you fail to reach your potential. Don't you know some
people who just have an excuse for everything? Why they could not, should not, did not, would not, have not, will not. If
"ifs" and "buts" were candies and nuts, we would all have a Merry Christmas. It is impossible to turn excuses into possibilities.
Hope is the foundational principle for
all change. People change because they have hope. If people do not have hope, they will not change. You are responsible for
the changes that you make in your life, but the good news is, you can make the changes you need to make in your life.
That which holds our attention, determines our action