Doctor Henry Cloud, author of 9 Things You Simply Must Do To Succeed in Love and Life, once gave the following illustration at a seminar.
He told the attendees, “We are here in this extraordinary building. Look at the design, the way it all works. Look at those huge beams that hold it all together, and how they magically stretch all the way across the expanse of the ceiling.
“Look at how high the walls are, and yet they just seem to stand there. Notice how warm it is in here although you know it is cold outside. The design of this place meets both our appreciation of beauty and our need of protection from the weather.”
He then asked his audience where the magnificent building originated from. One person answered “the builder”. Which was somewhat true. However, the correct answer according to Cloud was that the building had existed years before in the “invisible world of a toddlers soul”.
He went on to paint a scenario of a little child playing with building blocks, creating a tower. Her parents walked in on her toddler efforts and exclaimed with delight and appreciation. In school, her teachers noticed she was good at drawing and they encouraged her.
Eventually she went to college, studied architecture and ended up winning the bid to design the arena in her town. “Everything that you can see around you, begun in the invisible world of someone’s soul. It was first a talent, then a dream.
It came into being because of talent, discipline, and desire, all invisible ingredients which live in the souls of men and women. A building, a business, a good marriage, a healthy family, a social movement of change, new technology, a medical breakthrough, a beautiful wedding celebration, a realisation of a hobby and skill, and all other things we see around us in this physical world, all begin in the souls of human beings.
That is the order of creation itself. The visible creation came from the invisible God. He dreamed it, saw it, spoke it, and it was. And He has passed to us the same way of creating,” concluded Cloud.
In Happy Pocketful of Money, David Cameron Gikandi writes that “our life progresses in the direction of our most dominant thoughts.” In effect, we become what we think about most of the time. There is no better time then, than the present, when we find ourselves on the threshold of a New Year to examine the thoughts that created our reality in 2017 and choose the ones that will shape 2018 for us.
The story of the girl who eventually designed the arena could have turned out differently. She could have been discouraged by her parents when they found her playing with building blocks. Her teachers could have failed to spot the potential in her.
She could have given in to a lack of discipline and a life of partying in college instead of honing her talents. She may have grown up weighed down by thoughts of inadequacy and low self esteem. In the end the dream may never have come to life, the sum total of negative thoughts, both hers and those of her caregivers.
Want a better year? Design it, intentionally, through consistent, positive thought and action. By becoming aware of your thoughts, by getting rid of negative debilitating thoughts and replacing them with positive, life giving ones, you will wake up and become a deliberate designer of your life. Present results are the effects of previous thought.
Cloud writes, “The reality of the life we see and live on the outside is one that emerges from the inside, from our hearts, minds, and souls. It is our internal life that creates our external one. So to find ourselves, we must find what lies below the surface of our skin. We must look at, listen to, discover, and be mindful of our internal life – of such things as our talents, feelings, desires, and dreams.” All these will eventually feed our thoughts.
It seems like a simple principle, too simple, in fact. Yet anyone who built a beautiful cathedral, painted a masterpiece, wrote an epic drama or created a life changing invention, got there in the mind first. Long before man landed on the moon, someone had been there already. If only in the mind.