I don’t think it’s possible for my grandsons to understand how deeply I love them. It wasn’t until they were born that I began realizing how much my grandparents loved me.
I ran across a quote over the weekend that isn’t new. I’ve heard it said for as long as I can remember and have seen the same quote attributed to many others, but my research on the net gives me confidence I’m attributing these powerful words to the correct source.
Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny. — Mahatma Gandhi
I’ve written about every line of this quote, in one way or another. It is one of those quotes that sticks with me, and I find it to be on both my heart and mind this morning as I sit to write my column.
Caleb and Noah were in town this weekend. I find myself being more deliberate with them than I was with my children. I think because I only see them five to six times per year; I watch and listen to them, then try to teach them something useful. I’ll see them again for five days over Thanksgiving. I’m already thinking about some way to give them something they can learn and take home after the holiday. I think the teachings in this quote is it.
Your beliefs become your thoughts: With every cell in my body, I know this to be true. I’ve written in this column dozens of times about the power of your beliefs. I’ll always have someone tell me they can’t help what they believe, so they have no control ... but it’s not true. We are in complete control of what we believe. It’s a choice we make, so always choose to believe that you have the ability and power to determine your destiny ... because it’s true.
Your thoughts become your words: What we believe in our hearts and mind, always comes out of our mouths. We all know the negative and positive people in our lives by what they say. It’s no coincidence that the positive people are almost always happier and more successful.
Your words become your actions: And it’s so because what they believe comes out of their mouths and their words become actions. If someone else says it, your mind understands it may or may not be true, but if you say it, your mind absorbs and believes it.
Your actions become your habits: There are many takes on this but Zig Ziglar said if you purposely do something every day for 40 days, it becomes a habit.
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Our habits drive our actions and our actions drive our success.
Your habits become your values: This is a column of its own that I’ll address soon, but the more you do something, the more it becomes part of you.
Your values become your destiny: Our destiny is not up to chance ... and certainly not up to others. The saying “If it is to be it is up to me” comes to mind here and it’s true. Destiny isn’t something that you sit and wait for ... it is something you create, beginning with your belief system.
It is difficult to do Gandhi’s words justice in a mere 800-word column. I am writing this with several purposes. First, to formulate how to help a couple of boys, 7 and 9, begin to understand these truths and make them part of their lives. Second, to cause you, the reader to think about this and, hopefully, put these truths to work in your life.
I also need to hear these words, as we all need to fortify our beliefs and strengthen our weaknesses. I am far from perfect, and like you, a work in progress. When I write to also strengthen my weaknesses … I never run out of material.
I do understand the best way to teach behavior is to model it. I had a college professor, Dr. H. E. Nutt, who is legendary in the field of music education. He would always say, “The best way to learn to play the clarinet (or any instrument) is to teach someone to play the clarinet.” By doing so, it forces you to think about the correct methods and the more you do, the more it becomes part of you. By teaching these words, like teaching anything else, it forces me to put them into action.
So, as I try to share this with my grandsons and readers … it also is my hope that by writing this column … it makes all of us happier, stronger, kinder, wiser and more optimistic people.
Life is too short to be otherwise.