A guest post from Dr Chris Thomas www.miltoncontact.co.uk
When Ann reminded me about her 2010 article “Thoughts do not become things” (http://goo.gl/SMabr) in a recent tweet, she was railing against those who use trite phrases to promise the earth such as “Thoughts become things – choose the good ones”. Ann was angry at the feelings of guilt caused by psycho-babble remedies that are the quackery of the modern age.
Yet, underlying the simplistic concept is a more complex, fascinating and surprising reality. It is a tale that weaves its way from the very origins of our humanity, via mental sex to survival in a hard business environment. I’d like to debate for “Thoughts become Things – choose the good ones”.
The ability to have thoughts is not unique to humans. There is even evidence that animals are capable of a higher level of thought – thinking about thinking (http://goo.gl/mNrK9). However, combined with language, we humans are able to take thinking to a more complex and abstract level.
Many of our internal thoughts are still related to our physical and emotional needs. In turn, our thoughts have physical effects on us. The most immediate are the subtle micro-expressions in conversation (try reading them yourself here http://goo.gl/Fpp5I).
The impact of our thoughts has more profound effects on our bodies.
Mind you, thoughts alone can create orgasmic experiences. Kim Airs is not unique in this (http://goo.gl/CWXpM) as other women and many hormonally-fired teenage boys can testify.
Optimism accounts for a 5 to 10 % difference in outcome such as cardiovascular disease, depression, cancer and are less likely to have or develop certain diseases over time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimism ). In cases where optimism does not appear to have an effect on health, it helps with coping strategies.
We also have an incredible ability to build mental worlds. Mathematics and the sciences are logical constructs that try to make sense of our physical world. Euclid’s “Elements of Geometry” (http://goo.gl/b4a2t) or Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” (http://goo.gl/8uXof) are just two examples of abstract thought put to paper.
The world’s religions and philosophies are thought structures too, based on belief and metaphysical factors.
The most explosive effects of our thoughts are – when we share them with others. Our ideas are challenged, changed and evolved out there in the wider world – or they can die. Richard Dawkins coined the word “memes” for ideas, behaviours and styles that spread from person to person in our cultures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meme ).
Thoughts also lead to actions. You are reading this article on a device that is the product of several thousand years of applied science and technology. On the flip side, the idea that women are not equal to men has disenfranchised half the population in significant parts of the globe.
Thoughts become things
Thoughts are such an integral part of us right from birth that our thoughts make us who we are. Because we are humans, our thoughts collectively make our environment, our society, our culture, our businesses.
By our sheer existence, our thoughts become things, no matter how small or how significant.
Choose the good ones – What are they?
This is where I find myself back in partial agreement with Ann, because there are thoughts and there are thoughts. Here is my personal interpretation:
ñ There is no universal thought cure-all – but we can learn from the experience of others.
ñ A wish for something to happen is unlikely to work – but we can have our own aspirations or goals to strive for.
ñ Unpredictable bad things happen, whatever we think – but having our own flexible, positive coping strategies can help us recover faster.
I can give you my thoughts as an opinion or example, but ultimately you have to decide how and what the good ones are that work for you.
Taking the subject to a more practical level. As businesses, our thoughts are realised in our products and services. We have a pretty prompt reality check – if our ideas do not work, we can be out of business!
The Inspired Group provides a forum for those of us who wish to grow and develop their businesses by sharing experiences and ideas. It is up to us which of our conscious thoughts become things – and choosing the good ones is a bespoke lifetime project for each one of us.
What do you think?
Chris Thomas www.miltoncontact.co.uk