How our thoughts affect our lives

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

 “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”  (Proverbs 23:7)

I was watching the movie Iron Lady today and a few lines of the character Margaret Thatcher jumped out at me and made me think of that verse above from the Bible. Here are the lines from Mrs. Thatcher, as she was speaking with her physician.

Watch your thoughts
for they become words,
Watch your words
for they become your actions,
Watch your actions
For they become  your habits
Watch your habits
for they become your character
Watch your character
for it becomes your destiny

What we think we become.

How many times do we prove those words, originally attributed to the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, to be true? How many times do our “self-fulfilling prophecies” become reality because we thought something bad was going to happen. Or we thought we were going to fail, and we failed.

Attitude is so important in how our lives go. How we think is instrumental in what we can accomplish, or fail to accomplish.

The balky mule

I may have told this story before, and if I have, please forgive me, but it bears repeating. My grandfather was very poor during the Depression and he had to buy mules that others either couldn’t handle, because they were dangerous or in some way impaired, but they were cheap to purchase. My grandfather was sort of a “mule whisperer,” and could “psych-out” these mules and get them to work for him.

He bought one mare mule that would “balk,” which was refusing to pull. My grandfather knew why horses or mules would “balk;” it was from poor training. They were hooked up to loads that were too heavy to pull, and then when they tried their best, they couldn’t do it. The trainer would whip them even though they were doing their best, and they would fail to move the load. They were convinced that they could not pull any load, so would not even try. They would “balk” (not try), and then just stand there and take the whipping they knew was coming. It was “trained failure.” They knew in their hearts that they could not pull the load, so they gave up.

This particular mare mule only balked at the foot of a hill, so my grandfather figured that she had been whipped because she was hooked to a load she could pull on the level, but not up a hill. So as they traveled along the first day when they approached the bottom of a hill where he figured she would stop and balk, he said “Whoa!” and stopped her before she stopped herself. Then he got out, whistling and happy, petted her on the neck, adjusted the harness a bit and then got back into the wagon and said, “get up” and she did. She never balked again. He had shown her that she didn’t have to take a whipping and that she could pull the wagon up the hill because he would not over load her. It was his idea to stop, not hers.

If you think you can, or think you can’t

Our own attitudes about what we can pull in the way of a “load” are partly determined (if not fully determined) by our own attitudes.

As the Bible says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” If we think we are weak and unimportant, then we become that. If we think we are strong and can over come obstacles, leap tall buildings with a single bound and be faster than a speeding bullet, then we can be.

We all find ourselves thinking “negative thoughts” once in a while, feeling down, and telling ourselves we are going to fail. When you find yourself thinking those thoughts, scream to yourself, “STOP!” Then reverse that thinking, and think “I CAN overcome this problem. I can succeed. I WILL succeed.” Then go out and do it!

God bless.

Comment on this article

41 Comments on "How our thoughts affect our lives"

Notify of

the dark knight, dark night..they do have a darkness about them. no contact is the exact opposite of what they want from us. I remember batman and robin movies when I was a kid. look how violent and sadistic they have become now. I wanted to take my grandson’s to see the latest spiderman movie and my dil said ” they dont need to see that” I always thot she was a little to rigid about what the boys could watch but I respect her more all the time…

yes hens, dil understands, I think. good job raising a son with good intuition.

The movie was much too dark for me, but I rented it expressly so I could analyze the Joker. I had heard that his spath performance was spot on.


Yup, Heath Ledger was spot on in that role of his as the Joker. What I found incredibly interesting was his spiel on how he got to be who he is… a different story each time, depending on who he’s talking to. Sometimes to evoke pity, sometimes to instill fear, always a different mask, and by showing that the script goes beyond this trap of ‘explaining why the villain is a villain’.

Usually, superhero movies and comics involve some explanation why the villain becomes a villain: fell into a bath of acid and his or her face is deformed (Nicholson’s Joker in the batman of the 90s); wife was killed in some science freak experiment (2nd spiderman movie?)… But these explanations has the premisse that everyone is good and will go stark crazy with revenge and off massacring people in devious planned ways. Now those ‘rational explanations’ for the most unreasonable and senseless behaviour don’t make any sense to me anymore.

Heath Ledger’s Joker tries to play that spiel, but since we as viewers see him give a different talk every time, you know it’s HIM, not some pitiful misfortune. That is one of the strong points about the movie, which for me is an adult movie.

Out of curiosity I decided to read something that was posted before I started coming to lovefraud.Amazingly I came upon your article about “How Our Thoughts Affect Our Lives.” EXCELLENT as are all of your articles!This one was “Spot-on” with what my counselor and I were talking about today!We were actually discussing what I’ve learned from what I’ve read thus far in the book “Self-Compassion” by Kristin Neff PH.D.Because we do learn the ways to live and make decisions from childhood,it becomes necessary to talk to ourselves(atleast mentally!)to change some things.Just as your grandfather “whispered” to mules.As for balking-it could have cost me my life!

The book I mentioned above shows that we need to be kind to ourselves.Everyone needs hugs,consoling touch.Hopefully we have lots of supportive friends.But if not,we can still (in private) talk kindly and consolingly to ourselves,stroke our face or arm gently;even hug ourselves.

Blssom4t, thanks for bringing this artcle back up. Actually I NEEDED TO READ IT AGAIN. I write articles as much (or moreso) for myself as for anyone else. I need to remind myself to be GENTLE with myself, and to give myself compassion and grace.

Glad you enjoyed the article. I have read about every article here on LF…I set out to read them all, by going to the Author’s category and starting and reading all of them from start to finiish. I occassionally come across one now and then from 2006 or 7 that I missed but I ave read most of them at least once and many twice or more.

1 3 4 5

Send this to a friend