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Thinking Makes It So

By Philip Humbert

There is great wisdom in the idea that "we become what we think about most of the time." The human brain is a goal- seeking, problem-solving machine, and the things we think about, focus on, and worry about inevitably shape our destiny. We all know this, and yet most of us completely fail to see (or seize) the opportunity.

Most of us know the term, "GIGO", which usually stands for "Garbage In, Garbage Out". If you give a computer false data or confusing instructions, it dutifully processes the "garbage" you put in and gives you "garbage" back out.

In human terms, however, the phrase can also stand for "Good In, Good Out." I like that interpretation much better!

This week I've been contemplating the things most of us "put in" to our lives.

I caught myself getting addicted or obsessed with the news from Boston. I think many other people did, too. For myself, the only good thing about it was that it was so obvious! By focusing on evil and violence, destruction and carnage, I made myself anxious! My blood pressure was probably up; I know my productivity was down. And for what?

Nothing bad happened around here. No one threatened my life, my family or my local community. But I got "caught up" in the drama and filled my life with some of the most gruesome images and fears imaginable. I can't see the benefit in that—awareness of current events, yes. Compassion for the people of Boston? Certainly! But fascination with violence and watching the "news" all day long? Not so good.

As I get older, I may be getting cranky, but there seems to be an amazing amount of garbage in our society. From local traffic fatalities to wars and famine and pestilence around the world, the news is full of stomach-turning images. There's even a cynical phrase for it: "If it bleeds, it leads!" How sick is that?

And more personally, why do we permit it to enter our brains?

This week, I also had several emails and conversations with people who inspired me for GOOD! One woman, age 67, wrote that she was considering canceling her subscription to my newsletter because she was no longer going to have any goals except to "do what I want, have fun and leave this world a little bit better." I wrote back that I thought that was "one of the most courageous goals I've heard in a long time." I hope she's still a subscriber!

I thought of a man who is leaving a lucrative law practice to teach high school math. He'll earn less, but as he said, "(our) kids are on their own, our expenses are down, and I think I can contribute more that way, than in the boardrooms where I've spent most of my life." He's pursuing a grand dream, and my guess is he'll have the best (and perhaps some of the worst) days of his life! At least, he'll know he's alive! Whoopee!

Several years ago, Michael Clark, gave me a wonderful phrase. He said, "When you do what you love, you'll never work another day the rest of your life." I love that, and have (usually) found it to be true.

Sure, some clients frustrate me, and sometimes I frustrate myself, and life throws a curve once in a while, but doing what we love, what we're good at, and what fulfills us, changes everything!

In my opinion, if you truly desire to live well, to achieve much and (perhaps) to make some real money, consider these two propositions:

  1. Refuse to fill your time, your life or your brain with garbage. Read the best stuff. Talk with the healthiest, wisest, smartest, most ambitious people you can. Attend the seminars, learn from the experts! Listen to amazing music. Sit quietly and listen to your heart. Laugh a lot, and take naps. Worship often, and be grateful.
  2. Do what you love. You will make your biggest contribution when you passionately pursue your talents and use your strengths. Martin Luther King, Jr. did many great things, but perhaps his greatest moment came when he proclaimed, "I have a dream!" We all remember that, and millions have been inspired by it. What's your dream?

Some of us can change jobs or move around the world whenever we wish. For others, there are responsibilities and obligations and things take more time, but in the end, life is to be lived and it requires our very best. Life, and success, will never settle for anything less. "Good In, Good Out!"

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