Cogito Ergo Sum

1855645010_thinking_thoughts_xlargeCogito Ergo Sum is a Latin phrase that means I think therefore I am.  The little mental messages that flash through the mind act as a backseat driver that determines the direction of a person’s life. They either read the map clearly or they act as a dysfunctional detour.

With this being true, a person needs to give some thought to his thinking.   Are you more prone to mindless musings or mindful meditations?  Zig Ziglar was an often quoted motivational speaker who knew the importance of the thoughts we think.  Ziglar encouraged people to perform a “daily check up from the neck up to avoid stinkin ‘thinkin’.”

Ziglar was a Christian, and it’s possible that some of his quotes were Scripture-based.  The words of the Apostle Paul may have provided Ziglar some food for thought:  We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ (2 CorInthians 10:5).

Let me share a couple more Ziglarisms:

  • Remember that failure is an event, not a person.
  • You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.
  • People often say motivation doesn’t last. Neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.
  • If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.
  • Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, he encouraged them to think about their thoughts:  Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.

Have you given much thought about how you will think in 2014?  Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Think excellent thoughts and not ones of mediocrity
  • Think thoughts that are full of compassion and not misdirected passion
  • Think constructive and not destructive thoughts
  • Think powerful thoughts of faith instead of paralyzing thoughts of fear
  • Think thoughts of reconciliation and not retaliation

Thomas Edison once said that, Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.

Where are you in Edison’s equation and are your thoughts mindless musings or mindful meditations?

The Certainty of Adversity

Life is an experience of one lesson after another. Some of these lessons come from the school of hardknocks.  I know there have been times in my life when I felt like I was a student at the University of Adversity.

Even though I loathe the times that I have endured the trials and heartaches of life, I know such experiences have taught me valuable lessons.  I made the comment this past Sunday, that success goes to the head, but trials bring us to our knees.  It is when we are on our knees that we lean on God and learn from heartache.

Let me share a couple of quotes concerning adversity:

Zig Ziglar:  We need adversity, difficulty, struggle, conflict, and resistance on our way to success to make us strong enough to take that success for with it comes issues the weak cannot withstand.

Helen Keller:  Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Silver is purified in fire and so are we. It is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed.

Abraham Lincoln:  Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.

The prophet Jeremiah was experiencing a tremendous amount of persecution when God spoke to him:  If you have raced against others on foot, and they have tired you out,  how can you compete with horses?    If you stumble in open country,  how can you live in the jungle along the Jordan River?   Even your relatives and members of your father’s household betray you.   They have also formed a mob to find you.   Don’t trust them when they say good things about you  (Jeremiah 12:5-6).

The lesson in Jeremiah is that we should not worry about the struggles and trials of the future until we learn to manage the stress of the present.  Don’t waste your energy worrying about a potential problem in the future; instead, focus your strength on the present reality.

If, however, your are compelled to focus on the future, do it within the framework of Romans 8:18:   I consider our present sufferings insignificant compared to the glory that will soon be revealed to us. 

I’ll wrap this up with one more quote that I hope will be enough to keep you thinking:  Difficulties mastered are opportunities won –Winston Churchill