Change first happens in your mind, and then it happens in your life.
Unfortunately, millions of people try to change their life without first changing the way they think.
They believe that you stop smoking by trying to stop smoking. You stop drinking by trying to stop drinking.
It never occurs to them that they need to first change the way they think about cigarettes and alcohol.
It’s impossible to make any change by trying to make that change.
First, you have to change the way you think.
After you change the way you think, you can change the way you act, and amazing things start to happen.
You are the only one who can change your life, because you are the only one who can change the way you think.
When you decide to become a surgeon, you decide to think like a surgeon. Until you think like one, you can not safely put the knife to the patient. You will not know what to do with the knife when it’s in your hand.
The hard part of surgery is knowing what to do, when to do it, and when to stop doing it. You want to perform the least amount of surgery that has the greatest probability of success. You want to do definitive surgery without creating complications.
Only after you learn to think like a surgeon, can you stop just before problems happen rather than just after. You learn to do just enough and not too much. All of this happens first in your mind, and later it happens in your life.
I can take a person of average intelligence and show him where to make an incision and teach him how to sew tissue. However, that doesn’t make him into a surgeon. That makes him into a technician. He is a human robot who does what he is told. It only takes a few months to train a technician in the skills of surgery.
It takes more than four years to make a competent surgeon, because it takes that long to learn how to think like a surgeon. Only a surgeon’s mind knows when to cut, where to cut, how much to cut, and when to stop cutting.
It takes years to create a surgeon’s mind. Everything must first happen in his mind before it can happen in his life.
Whatever you are or ever will be as a person is first found in your mind. That is where everything starts.
The way you use your mind defines what it means to be you.
You have a body, but you are not that body.
You have acquisitions and achievements, but you are not your acquisitions and achievements.
All of these things are a part of who you are, but they are not who you are.
At the most basic level, you are what you think about all day long.
The three pound biocomputer that you carry around inside your head contains the thoughts that define what it means to be you. That collection of thoughts is unique to you.
You can not change your life by moving your brain to a new location.
It doesn’t matter if your brain is in a concentration camp, or if it’s in the Garden of Eden. It doesn’t matter if your mind inhabits a young or old body. It doesn’t matter if you attained great achievements or accumulated great wealth. None of this matters because you are not any of these things.
What you are is a unique collection of thoughts and beliefs.
If you want to change your life, you must change the collection of thoughts that define what it means to be you.
Externally oriented societies resist the idea that all changes begin in the mind.
We spend large amounts of money massaging our images and hiring spin-doctors to tell the world who we are.
We are actors on a stage in which all of the participants forget that the stage is only a set. The roles are only fantasies. The images are only images and not the real person.
The pictures, sound bites, paid political announcements, and expensive addresses are all part of the great charade that obscures who we really are.
In the game of charades, we make signals and signs to tell who we are.
In the game of life we make signals and signs to show the world who they should think we are.
Western society has massive expertise in the art of image creation. It worships at the altar of the created image.
We create images for our politicians, our companies, our leaders, and finally for ourselves. Calvin Klein and Michael Jordan make millions of dollars helping people create and project a particular image. All of the effort eventually has its desired effect. Not only does the world think we are the images that we project, we begin to believe in them as well.
We are swept away by our own propaganda. We become confused and get things backwards.
When we are overwhelmed by our material achievements and fully identified with our projected image, we lose track of who we are.
The more successfully we manipulate the outside world into accepting our image, the more we attempt to change our life with more acquisitions, and we create a more implausibly wonderful image of our self.
The high cost of living is the high cost of maintaining this fantasy. Children also have their fantasies that must be sustained with cash flow. It requires two full time wage earners to support the materialistic fantasies of middle class America. Name brand designer garments, fancy cars, and exclusive addresses define who we are.
It’s a powerful illusion. A materialistic and externally-oriented culture seems undeniably real. If it were not so serious, it would be a comedy.
Many people never discover who they are in our externally-oriented society.
Some people refuse to participate in the ritual of image creation.
These few individuals understand that the adventure of life centers on the real world of who they are.
They understand that who they are is determined by what they think about all day long.
Their life flows from their thoughts. When they want to change their life, they first change the way they think.
If you want to learn more about making positive change happen, you can read the Owner's Manual for Your Mind by Dr. Dave.