As you think, so it becomes.
We build our future, thought by thought,
For good or ill we know it not.
Yet so the universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose then thy destiny and wait,
For love brings love,
and hate brings hate
Henry Van Dyke
When I was 12 years old, I had a paper route delivering the local paper in my little town of Los Gatos, California. It was a wonderful introduction to becoming an entrepreneur and running my own business.
I would buy the papers from the publisher on credit at a wholesale price, deliver them daily to subscribers, and once a month go round on my bike and collect the money from them. With that money, I paid the publisher and what was left over was my profit. If I remember correctly, it was around $25 for the whole month–an absolute fortune to me!
One day, when the manager was dropping off my papers, there at the top of my pile was a flyer. The flyer announced a subscription contest for all the Los Gatos Times Observer paperboys. The boy who gathered the most new subscribers on his route over the next month would be the winner of a cash prize and a three-day weekend trip to Clear Lake, California to go boating and water skiing at the summer home of the publisher!
“Wow!” I thought to myself, “I’ve never been on a boat before and water ski too?”
Like a thunderbolt into my head, right then and there I made up my mind I was going to win that sales contest! With a level of conviction I had never before experienced, I was going water skiing!
I wasted no time getting started. The next day I eagerly went up to every house on my route that was not a subscriber and knocked on the door. The second that door opened, I opened up with my sales pitch as quickly as I could get the words out of my mouth:
“Hi My name is Tom, I deliver the Times Observer here in the neighborhood. I deliver to both your neighbors and your house is in the middle… it would be really great if I had three houses in a row cuz then I wouldn’t have to reach in my bag so much. You can ask your neighbor Mrs. Hicks, she’ll tell ya I’ll always put in on the porch and I’ll never throw it in your yard. I promise! It would be soooo great if you sign up to get the paper too! I have the sign up form all you have to sign it and I’ll bring your paper tomorrow”… Please?
It wasn’t till many years later I would eventually learn how to develop better sales skills. But for a 12 year-old kid on a mission to go water skiing, I wasn’t concerned about the nuances of my spiel.
While I was delivering my papers and selling door-to-door every day, I was also going to the library at school and looking at books about motor boats and how to water ski with just one ski. I was hyper-fascinated on the idea of learning to water ski! Every night I would lie in my bed and visualize in my mind what it must be like being pulled behind a speeding motorboat flying on top of the water. I could imagine feeling the wind in my face, the water spraying in my eyes, flying over the wake of the boat side-to-side catching air each time as I carved my turns into the water. I could see vividly in my minds eye how every move and the whole weekend adventure would unfold.
Then each day for the whole month, after delivering my papers, I would go around to all the non- subscriber houses and ask them again if they wanted to subscribe to get the paper delivered. I got a lot of “no thanks not today” and many doors would slam shut in my face. Yet I was undaunted! Day in day out, for that whole month, I repeated this process. Eventually folks began to breakdown and sign up just to get rid of me! I was on a roll, a hot streak. Each new subscriber gave me energy and motivation to keep going.
Then on the final day of the contest, when my manager delivered my papers, I turned in all my new subscribers. He took my all new subscription forms and without looking at them said to me “good luck kid…we’ll announce the winner in a couple days” and he drove away in his truck. I recall it seemed like those two days were forever a long time to wait for the news.
Not once in those two days did I let the thought ever cross my mind that I would not win! Not once (we’ll maybe once) did I stop believing in the idea I would win the contest and actually learn to water ski! I was so excited and relentless in my determination to visualizing me water skiing in my imagination.
When the big day finally came, I arrived early waiting impatiently for my papers to be dropped off. Before long, I could see the manager’s truck coming up the street. My heart was pounding and racing with anticipation. Hardly slowing down, and without saying a word, he threw my papers off the truck and they landed right at my feet. I looked down on my pile and there it was–an official looking envelope clipped to the top of my stack of papers with my name typed on it. I was frozen stiff for a moment. Yet before I knew it, I was opening it and unfolding the letter inside. It was from the publisher himself!
Instantly I saw the first words there at the top of the letter…
“CONGRATULATIONS TOM DAWSON”.
Incredibly at last it was true – I was the winner of the sales contest! I was the top sales person! I won by a mere handful of new subscribers but I didn’t care. All I could think about was going water skiing on Clear Lake for three whole days! It was so awesome. I never had so much fun in my life! I even got up on one ski the very first day. I was so proud of myself and I have never forgotten that weekend. It is one of my treasured memories from childhood and also my first important lesson on what it takes to create success in life and business.
Of course, I didn’t realize the significance of this lesson at the time. I was completely fixated on water skiing! That was all I wanted. Winning that contest was the means to accomplish the desire not the end. I kept my vivid imagination focused on the outcome I wanted. I never stopped thinking about it. It didn’t matter to me one bit how many doors would have to be slammed in my face. I took whatever action was necessary. I would not be denied.
Without realizing it at the time, I was thinking in a “certain way”.
Many times in my professional life and business career over the years, I have relied on what this early experience taught me– to get what you really want in life, you have to put your mind to it first. You must think in a certain way because as you think– so it becomes.
Every creation, every thing ever known to mankind is at first a thought in the creative imagination of the mind. The truth of this is so simple we often take this idea for granted. Our thoughts create our reality. As human beings we’re equipped with this marvelous reality-creating interface called the brain. Despite what we know about the human brain–it’s design, physical composition, complexity and operation–it is continuously revealing new mysteries to brain science.
And living inside of this marvelous mass of jelly-like grey matter is your magnificent creative mind. Your mind, unlike your brain, has no physical form. Your mind is pure electrical energy. What you think about and your ability to manage the quality of your thinking is the first principle in creating an exceptional life and a thriving successful business.
Thinking in a certain way.
Of all the other power strategies I’ve outlined in this Manifesto, none of them can be put to good effect in your life and business unless you develop Jedi level skills to be the master of your mind. If you’re big burning desire is to create an extraordinary life and business, first you’ll have to have an informed understanding of what the mind really is and how it works. Without this basic understanding, you won’t be able to think in a certain way nor accelerate your progress towards your goals exponentially.
Essentially you have two minds operating inside your brain at all times.
Without attempting to delve into all the detail and rigor behind modern brain science, let me share a brief 50,000 foot-flyover of what is commonly referred to as the “conscious mind” and the “sub-conscious” mind.
As you recall, I used an elephant story in my introduction, so I’ll continue using the same metaphor here to describe the conscious and sub conscious minds. The subconscious mind is like a giant elephant and the conscious mind is the rider on the elephant’s back.
I’m borrowing this metaphor from author James Mapes and his fascinating
book Imagine That! Igniting
your Brain for Creativity and Peak Performance. Mapes suggests, the sub-conscious mind
represents 90% of the operating system, hence the “elephant”. While the conscious mind, “the rider” represents
the remaining 10%.
The rider thinks he’s in control and the leader of the elephant. But alas, this is not so–for the elephant is massive and can move in any direction on a whim at any moment. The rider’s control is an illusion. The rider is outmatched. Whenever the rider and elephant disagree on which direction to go, guess who’s going to lose?
To paint this picture in more detail for you, here’s a brief description of the attributes of the sub-conscious elephant and the conscious rider:
The subconscious elephant is the core of our basic emotional self. It’s main job is to run all the automated systems within the body, thus freeing the rider to think, create, visualize and basically be the creative visionary. The elephant does not think nor reflect. It reacts strongly with emotions and feelings–especially fear. The elephant is skittish and its basic default mode is to survive. The elephant can’t distinguish between a real experience from one that’s imagined by the rider. The elephant will only respond to suggestions given by the rider if they are clear, specific and packed with emotion–usually in the form of vivid mental pictures and images consistently given to the elephant over periods of time.
The conscious rider is the creative visionary who can imagine multiple paths of choice and alternative futures instantly. The rider is the inner voice you hear inside your head. The rider is your self-talk. The only influence the rider has over the elephant is its ability to visualize in the creative imagination a desired outcome. The rider cannot really control the elephant. The rider uses the higher faculties of reason, logic, intuition and creative imagination to influence the elephant to move in the desired direction.
As you can see, the manifestation of any creative idea will require constant cooperation between the elephant and the rider. But it’s always the sub-conscious mind–the elephant–that has the greater power necessary to bring formless ideas into physical reality. What the sub conscious mind holds within and believes to be true will take its equivalent form in the physical world.
Your ruling state of mind.
Progress in every aspect of life and business is determined by the ruling state of mind. Because the forces of your personality function through your conscious mind, it’s obvious your dominant mental state, or conscious mindset, will determine in which direction the elephant’s power will lead you.
The power to think is an inexhaustible unlimited force. It’s
estimated you have roughly 15,000 thoughts a day. And it is the power of our thinking
that determines our state of living. The mind is like fertile soil. Mother
Nature, like your subconscious mind, doesn’t differentiate between the seed of
a flower or the seed of a weed when planted in the soil. She causes both to
The same energy is used for both, and so it is with your mind. Think flowers, flowers grow. Think lack and limitations, weeds grow–it’s a law of nature and much like gravity, it’s always on. When the rider and the elephant come together as one mind there is nothing that can stop you from creating and experiencing your greatest aspirations. Thinking in this certain way is first a willful choice, and over time, becomes a highly developed skill–the ability to be a Jedi Master of your own thoughts.
Elevate your business to the Creative Plane.
When thinking in this certain way, you will be elevated to the creative plane–a state of higher awareness, creativity, possibility and love. Thinking in this certain way, your choices and actions will assure positive outcomes for your employees, partners, suppliers and customers. Thinking in this certain way, you will never drive hard bargains or sell at cheap prices, win at the expense of another losing, or take unfair advantage of people. Thinking in this certain way you will bring new value in the marketplace and lead markets–creating products and services people truly care about, rather than compete for the value already created by others in your industry.
To gain all things, in life and business, first gain and maintain a disciplined, orderly, focused and constructive frame of mind. When you get this working, you’ll be thinking in a certain way. This will make all the difference in the results you experience in every area of your life. Thinking in this certain way will enable you to face all challenges from a position of strength rather than confusion and weakness.
Have a well-defined desire and objective, continuously use your creative imagination to visualize this desire with vivid, powerful images, living in the mind as if it’s already an accomplished fact. And finally, commit to whatever disciplined actions and behaviors are necessary in the present moment to bring your formless desires into physical reality.
When your two minds are in harmony and order, challenges cease to be perplexities and mysteries cease to be mysterious. We are what we are according to our thinking–to our prevailing state of mind. So far as we know, we’re the only species on the planet who possess the gift of creative thought.
The post above is a chapter from the forthcoming book:
“The White Hot Center Manifesto: 21 Power Strategies for 21st Century Entrepreneurs to Create More Impact, Influence and Income.”
Thomson Dawson guides early stage and
mid-market CEOs and their teams to create strategies that elevate the
quality of their presence in the marketplace, attract higher value
customers and move them beyond the reach of competitors. Read more of
his ideas and insight on vision, leadership, value creation and
influence in the marketplace on his blog: www.WhiteHotCenter.com