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In his book As a Man Thinketh, philosopher James Allen says that one is what one thinks, with character being the complete sum of all one’s thoughts. And upon analysis, one wonders how those thoughts and beliefs may also be analyzed in regards to personal failure.

Author Geoffrey James outlines “5 Toxic Beliefs That Ruin Careers.” Let’s look at those beliefs, and see how they relate to one’s thinking.

My self-worth is based on what others think of me. Too often in life, we are unduly influenced by others, some who mean well for us, and others who do not. It is something like “Well, if that is what they think of me, then that must be what I am.” How foolish.

Philosopher James Allen points out that “They themselves are makers of themselves.” It is actually the control that we muster over our thoughts that make us what we are, and more importantly what we want to become.

My past equals my future. Too often in life, when one experiences temporary setbacks, one assumes that goals are not achievable. Too often we become too easily discouraged, show little persistence and drive to continue toward a worthy accomplishment.

We accept that our life has been a failure so far, therefore we must by fiat continue to fail. This is not logical, but too often we allow ourselves to be caught in this ugly trap of self defeat.

My destiny is controlled by the supernatural. We need to blame someone. We cannot blame ourselves. What do we do? We blame such nebulous concepts as “Luck,” or perhaps “Fate,” and even our “Deity.” If we are able to blame such concepts, then we are relieved of placing the responsibility where it actually belongs, on our own shoulders.

This thinking is actually insidious because it robs us of our initiative, and makes us “passive as they wait for their “Luck” to change.” Remember, “Good Luck” is often the result of thorough preparation.

My emotions accurately reflect objective reality. Author Geoffrey James continues with, “Some people believe that their emotions are caused by external events. In truth, though emotions are determined by the perception of those events, combined with preconceptions about what those events mean. Such people find it difficult or impossible to ‘get out of their own heads’ and see situations from another person’s point of view.”

Could it be that too much emphasis is placed on how we “feel?” Would it be wiser to think a situation through and base our actions on facts and logical thinking?

My goal is to be perfect or do something perfectly. Let us face the truth: Perfection is unattainable. We are human beings and are not perfect. By expecting and insisting on perfection, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

If one strives for perfection, considers oneself a perfectionist, author Geoffrey James says “Perfectionists blame the world (and everything in it) rather than doing what’s necessary to accomplish extraordinary results.”

We are all the product of our own thinking. The realization of this fact is perhaps the first step toward solution and removing oneself from the rut of failure.

Napoleon Hill, author of one of the leading books for securing personal success, Think and Grow Rich, details 30 major reasons for personal failure. Some of these reasons one has control of, such as insufficient education, lack of self discipline, procrastination, lack of persistence, uncontrolled desire for “something for nothing,” lack of a well defined power of decision, over-caution, superstition and prejudice, lack of enthusiasm, intolerance, inability to cooperate with others, dishonesty, egotism, and vanity, and guessing instead of thinking.

An analysis of all of these “lacks” leads us back to our original point, controlling our own thinking. We are what we believe, and what we believe, we are. The most exciting point however is that our thinking may be changed.

Try this experiment: the next time someone says to you “How are you?” try answering with “I’m fabulous, and I’m getting better every day!”

You will be amused at the reaction you get from others, and you will also find that you feel better.

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GeoffreyJames July 9, 2012 @ 7:16 a.m.

Thank you so VERY much for a much more erudite statement about this issue. This is the post I would have written if I were as excellent a writer as yourself. Thanks again. Geoffrey


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