Your Thoughts are the Architects of Your Destiny

As A Man Thinketh, So Is He

by Randal S. Chase

We’ve all heard the phrase “As a man thinketh so is he.”  This truth, spoken by the Lord through one of his prophets, is found in the scriptures.  But is it absolutely true?  Are our thoughts and attitudes really the main determining factor in who and what we are?

What about the effect that others’ actions have on our attitudes?  We often say things like, “That makes me angry,” or “I don’t feel welcome.”  These statements imply that our feelings are the result of the actions of those around us.  But this is not so.  Nobody can “make us” feel anything.  We consciously choose to feel the way we do about the things other people do or say.  It is easier to blame others for our attitudes than to try to rise above our circumstances.

This is not to say that people and events do not affect our lives greatly.  They do.  Our parents and family life have a great impact on our self image.  But the greatest people I know are those who have risen above difficult circumstances.  They do not sulk in self-pity over the “bad deal” life has given them.  They have succeeded in spite of what others have said or done to them.  Sometimes we need help to accomplish this, but help is available, and there are people who care.  We must first simply decide that we are going to be happy, seek out any needed help, and then exercise the courage necessary to bring it about.

Depression isn’t fun.  Its symptoms are devastating.  We feel tired and unmotivated.  Nothing sounds good or rewarding.  Our view of the world around us changes and becomes distorted.  As Brigham Young once said, we cease to believe that grass is green or that the sun rises in the morning.  We become more critical of others, often for behavior of which we are equally or even more guilty ourselves.

Our frustration comes mainly from impatience.  When life hands us a blow, we need to give ourselves time to think through our feelings.  All too often, we want an instant resolution of problems, or instant justification from the Lord as to why we must endure it.  Time and patience, on the other hand, restore our perspective.  They are essential elements in building a good character, and the Lord wants us to learn from them.  Often, the need to acquire patience, endurance and faith is the only “reason” for the trials we endure.  “My people must be tried in all things,” the Lord said, “and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.” (D&C 136:31)

Accepting responsibility for our own feelings, and exercising patience and faith, let us then resolve to look on the bright and positive side of our circumstances.  Let us concentrate on the blessings we do enjoy, and not on those we are without.  And, knowing how difficult life can be at times, let us feel an obligation to make others’ lives happier.  Let us smile and be positive and hopeful about the future.  As we do these things, a marvelous thing will begin to happen:  our attitude will indeed change our lives.  Life will become more purposeful and more joyful.  We will become what we think—happy and positive.

I know that these things are true.  God has given each of us burdens for our benefit and experience.  He has also given us shoulders of sufficient width to bear our burdens.  Our trials are not defeats, but opportunities for growth.  If we become masters of our attitudes, we will have taken a giant step toward Godhood.  Let us take responsibility for our own feelings and attitudes.  Let us strive to be positive and believing.  For “as a man thinketh” about himself and his life, “so is he.”

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