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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

"We become what we think about." Earl Nightingale

Flowers from our garden.

I have three echelons of life plans.
There are the Grand Plans.  They fall under the category of changing the world, serving humanity, bringing about peace to mankind. I find myself focusing on such large scale visions of change about twenty percent of the time.  I am self-effacing about having such plans; I barely entertain the possibility that I am capable of such large scale humanitarian gestures.  When I do allow such possibility, I do so with humor and a vast amount of humility.  “Really, it’s only me, what can I do?” I say to myself.  Yet, in quiet moments of self-reflection, I believe. I believe I have the potential to make a difference on a large scale.
There are the Big Plans.  Build a new house on Martha’s Vineyard, publish some more of my writing, integrate a landscape design into the twelve acres of property I own with my husband.  Big plans include disemboweling my overly-filled basement, a repository of the past and the abandoned.  Big plans are to achieve verbal fluency in French or to win a photography contest.  I allot about thirty percent of my physical and intellectual resources to advancing my big plans.
Finally, Quotidian Plans usurp about fifty percent of my time and resources.  These are the plans that generate daily “TO DO” lists.  Call security company.  Talk to Comcast.  Pick up dry cleaning, Write blog.  Schedule hair appointment.  Between conceiving, scheduling and following through on quotidian plans, I find myself spending an inordinate amount of effort overseeing tasks in this category.  The little things that go into a life: return towels to Bed, Bath and Beyond, write thank you notes, water outdoor plants, pay bills, wrap graduation gifts.  It is the quotidian acts that threaten to swamp the boat.  I have observed that the quotidian plans and their concomitant actions may obscure the big plans and threaten to eclipse the grand plans.  
During the 1980’s, I was an avid listener of inspirational tapes.  My job required distance driving and I felt I was using the time constructively when I listened to motivational speakers. Among my favorites was Earl Nightingale.  It was Earl Nightingale who wrote 
The Strangest Secret.  The gist of this essay can be summarized as follows:
    We become what we think about.
Nightingale arrived at this realization after extensive reading of religious and philosophical treatise.  His message, designed to inspire salesmen to greater performance, was so universally meaningful, that it continues to be conveyed today.
What a take-away those six words were for me, at twenty five years old.  Almost thirty years later, they have not lost their luster or their meaning.  
If we become what we focus upon, perhaps it would be in my best interest to spend more time with my eyes on the prize;  doesn’t it make sense that I focus more fully on my Grand Plans?  What would it take to the put the grand plans into play.  How much would I have to sacrifice?  What would I have to do to reprioritize my quotidian and big plans to bring attention to bear upon my grand plans?  

I intend to marshall my gifts, collect my thoughts, define what I want.  It is all mine for the thinking.  With such a truth in hand, I feel that my quest to find and to cultivate peace is readily within reach.  I believe that, with mental discipline, my Grand Plans are quite likely to come to fruition. 

We Become What We Think About -- Earl Nightingale
This link allows you to listen to an ten minute address
Nightingale made about The Strangest Secret.  You
won't regret the time spent!

Nightingale cites many sources, all repeating the same message.  For example, from Matthew 9:29,

"Then He touched their eyes, saying, "It shall be done to you according to your faith."
- New American Standard Version (1995)

The famous writer, Willa Cather, wrote,
"Miracles...rest not so much upon healing peer coming suddenly near us from afar but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that, for a moment, our eyes can can see ...what is there around us always."  

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