Do What You Know

farmer I once heard a story about a farmer who had been farming for many years. He had a son who went off to college and after a few years came home with a degree in hand, and a head full of knowledge. He told his father, “You know, Dad, this farm would be much more productive if you would use the new methods of farming. These days everyone is using hybrid strains of seeds. There are better methods of crop rotation and contour plowing. Plus you really should be using up-to-date insecticides and fertilizers. And did you know most farmers are milking their cows three times a day instead of two.” He went on and on expounding the virtues of all the modern methods of farming. Finally his father said, “Now just hold on there son! I’m not farming half as well as I know how already!”

Isn’t that the way we are? We seldom perform as well as we know how. I’ve heard people say that “knowledge is power.” To a certain degree it can be. But in my own personal experience I find that I know a lot of things that I should be doing but I don’t. Just having knowledge about something doesn’t necessarily translate to the ability or power to do it.

Many times over the years I would tell my children to do their homework. Invariably they would answer back, “I know dad!” and I would say back to them, “Then do what you know!” It’s kind of a joke around my house because I have said that phrase so many times to my children: Do what you know.

How many self-improvement books have you read over your life time? I have hundreds of them! We probably learn ten-times more than what we ever put into action in our lives. Yet we keep buying books and wanting to learn more.

At some point it’s time to stop learning and start doing. We need to put our knowledge to use. I’m not suggesting we completely stop learning but what good is learning if we never use it?

Here is my suggestion: How about making a list of all the things you know you should do but aren’t. Then from your list choose two or three things and start doing them! You can read books, read blogs and listen to tapes and CDs till the cows come home but until you actually do something you are going nowhere. It’s time to take real action! At the end of the day, knowing the answer means nothing if you don’t do anything about it.

Outside Changes Start Within

Thinker“If you always do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” -Unknown

If you look at your life and things are still the same as they’ve always been despite your efforts to change, there is a good reason. You are most likely trying to change the effect without changing the cause.

It’s like treating a cold with the typical over-the-counter cold medicine. It may relieve the symptoms for a while but the cold is still there. To make lasting changes in your life you must work on the root causes.

Henry David Thoreau, 19th century naturalist, wrote these words.

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”

Looking for love in all the wrong places

Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be miserable and unhappy no matter what? I know a woman who has been divorced several times. She goes from one relationship to another and always ends up getting hurt. The guy always turns out to be a dreadful twit.

I know a man who has had so many jobs I can’t even count them. He goes from one job to another and is never happy with where he is currently working. The standard reason he always gives for leaving his last job is because the boss was a big jerk.

There are other people who are never happy with where they are living. They are constantly on the move, looking for happiness and success in the next town.

The problem with these people is they are trying to solve their problems by changing the symptoms and not striking at the root of their problems.

Your mind creates the world you live in

So what is the root of their problems? In each case the roots are different but they all reside within the mind of the individual. The mind must change first. If your mind stays the same it will continue to produce the same results that you have always got. You can change your environment, your spouse, your job or your home but if your mind remains the same you will create the same problems over and over again.

Change your thoughts, change your world

So what can you do? You don’t want to go through life never being able to change yourself or your circumstances. The answer lies in you becoming aware of your thoughts. The creative force of your mind brought about the world you live in. You are responsible for your life through the thoughts that you entertain on a daily basis. You are the one placing limitations on yourself that are holding you back.

If you have the power to create a miserable world then it stands to reason that you have the power to create a happy world.

“Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruits and man is his own gardener.” –James Allen

As ye sow, so shall ye reap

You are the master gardener of your thoughts. The fruit it produces is the life you live every day. You must guard every thought that enters your mind and determine if it should be there. You need to constantly entertain thoughts that invite positive and good into your life. You must be aware of all the negative influences that enter your life, be it the media, friends, music, or the internet and only allow those in that you invite.

You are the sower of the seeds your life. What are you sowing?

Thank you.

Master Yourself, Master Your Life

Copyright © 2014 Gary N. Larson

Self-Image, the Catalyst for Change

What can you become?

Let’s talk about the topic of self-image and how it relates to personal change. Everyone has a concept of themselves – a self-image. You hear somebody say, “I’m just not good at math” or “I’m just not a runner” or “I’m just not musically inclined” or “I can’t sing.” You hear them describe themselves in these kinds of terms. Where did they get those ideas? Who told them these things? How do they know they can’t sing or they can’t run or they can’t do this or that? Where did they learn these things?

We get so convinced of these ideas that we believe them and that becomes who we are. This can happen even in the positive sense. We hear someone say, “Oh, I’ve always been good at art” or “I’m a creative person, I’ve always been a creative person.” How did we get those beliefs in the first place? How did those beliefs get installed in our mind?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that we do come to this earth with a package of personality traits and talents. Yes, there are certain attributes and strengths that make us unique as an individual. But I believe many of the strengths and weaknesses that we believe we have are self-created, that they were given to us or programmed in us either by our upbringing, or by the people we’ve associated with or by our personal experiences.

We try something once and fail and make a decision in our mind that we’re not good at that. We say things like “I just wasn’t cut out for public speaking” or “I’m just not good at football” or “I’m just not a sports-type person.” We tell ourselves this enough times that we believe it. I feel that the majority of those kinds of ideas are self-created and anything that is self-created can be changed.

Rather than have these beliefs created by default, we can create our own beliefs and concepts about our self. We can stop telling ourselves “I’m not good at this” or “I’m not good at that” and say “yes, I am a creative person, I’m an athletic person, I’m a health nut, I’m a good person, I’m a patient person” instead of “Oh, yeah, I have a bad temper” or “yeah, I’ve always had a weakness for chocolate.” I say baloney! You can change those things and it all has to do with your self-image, what you believe about yourself. That’s what your self-image is and it has a HUGE impact on what you CAN and CANNOT do!

Have you ever been to a hypnosis show where a hypnotist hypnotizes certain members of the audience and they do things they normally would not do such as belt out a popular song or sing opera? Well, this person has never sung opera before or at least never attempted it. How is it now that they are able to sing opera? Does the hypnotist have some magic ability to impart to this person some special talent? No! Anything you see somebody do in a hypnotist show is something that person already had the ability to do but just does not believe it. The only thing a hypnotist does is take away their unbelief and take away their fear and that is how they perform those things. The stutterer begins to speak normally. A shy person becomes extremely friendly and bubbly and able to carry on a conversation.

So when we see people in a hypnotist type show like that do things that they wouldn’t normally do, it is simply because the hypnotist has taken away their fear, has taken away their negative beliefs about themselves. The things you see them do, they already know how to do. They already are able to do them. It’s just that their beliefs limit them. The hypnotist just removes those negative beliefs about themselves and allows them to do the things that they really can do in the first place.

Exercise: Write Down a Description of Your Present and Future Self

Every one of us has these kind of incorrect, wrong beliefs about ourselves. If you sat down and just described yourself right now and wrote down a list of all the attributes about you, the positive and negative, what would you write down? “Oh I’m good at this, I’m not good at that, I’m this kind of person, I’m that kind of person.” Well, I think it’s worth it to sit down and do that. Describe yourself. What makes you you? Describe everything about you: your weaknesses, your strengths, your talents, your limitations, the things you’re good at, the things you’re not good at. Make a list.

Now examine that list and realize that most of what’s on that list is incorrect. Most of what’s on that list was created in your own mind as you grew up. These are programs or thoughts or beliefs that were given to you in one way or another, either by those that you associate with, your family, your friends or your personal experiences and you made decisions along the way about what kind of a person you are.

So examine that list. Now on another sheet of paper write another list of how you would like to be, the attributes, the strengths, the things you would like to have in your life. Now look at those two lists and realize that you have the power within you right now to reprogram your mind, to remove those negative beliefs and influences and to install positive beliefs about yourself.

You Can Change Your Self-Image

This whole list business has to do with self-image, of what you believe about yourself. It’s incredible how powerful that is. If you can realize that you can change those beliefs then you can make a huge change in your life about what kind of a person you are. You no longer need to believe that you are an overweight person, that you’re not an athletic person or a healthy person. That’s a bunch of baloney. It is, especially when you say you have certain weaknesses. Well, you have the same brain as anyone else, the same biological makeup as anyone else. It’s just that you have had things programmed into your mind that take you in certain directions when certain conditions exist.

It’s like the path or the trail that your mind follows when you encounter certain conditions. You can change that path. You can block the old path. A path not used will soon become overgrown. You can erase the old path and create a new path and part of doing that is changing the beliefs about yourself.

I have experienced this in my own life when I have actually made a concerted effort to see myself as another person that had admired. I forced myself, everyday, to say that “today I am going to think, act, walk and talk like that person.” There was a particular person that I admired at that time and it truly was amazing how my behavior changed throughout the day, how certain things never even came up as a temptation to me, how my mind went in certain directions that I normally wouldn’t go and my thoughts and my abilities had changed. That has to do with your self-image or your self-identity, who you believe or think you are in your mind. It’s a very powerful thing.

So the whole idea or thought or thrust about this self-image thing is that you really need to concentrate on your self-concept, what you believe about yourself and realize that if you have old, negative beliefs, you can change those beliefs. You don’t have to believe those things. You can begin telling yourself that, “I am a healthy person. I am a creative person, a musical person. I can sing. I can do this or do that,” whatever it is that you felt in the past that you couldn’t do or did not have the ability or talents to do. Realize that most of that is self-created and most of that can be changed. You have the power within you, so use it!

Copyright © 2014 Gary N. Larson