How to control your mind.
“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” — Napoleon Hill
Have you ever believed you are not smart enough?
Have you ever felt you’re not good enough?
Do you fear that others reject you?
What happened when you thought I couldn’t do a certain thing?
What is your #1 negative thought that holds you down? Write it down.
Do you want to change this thought? That’s what we are going to discover in today’s module.
Your thoughts are powerful.
Let’s do a little fun exercise.
Close your eyes and imagine you’re driving on a scenic road in the mountains. You see the beautiful nature. You hear birds singing. And then you soak in the stunning view. How do you feel?
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Now let’s imagine something else.
On your way back, you drive behind a garbage truck, and you smell a mixture of rotten fruit and stinky fish.
How do you feel?
Did you feel the difference?
Your thoughts matter.
They influence the way you feel.
In this article, I am showing you why your thoughts are so insanely powerful and why they can control your future and lead you to success or failure. You will also learn how to have excellent thoughts.
1. Your Thoughts Define You
“Cogito ergo sum. (I think, therefore I am.)” — René Descartes
Let’s look at Joshua’s life, the great leader who led the Israelites into the promised land. The nature of his thoughts defined who he was.
Moses sent 12 young men to explore the promised land. When they came back, 10 of the 12 spies made a bad report to the people of Israel. Joshua rose to speak to the rebellious people.
“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” — Numbers 14:7–9
Like his friend Caleb, Joshua was brave. He did not fear the strong armies, the fortified cities, nor the giants living in the land.
Fast forward 40 years later. We find a different Joshua.
Thoughts of fear have set in. As the new leader of the people of Israel, he seems afraid of his great responsibility to conquer the promised land.
Did his gaze gradually turn away from Almighty God towards the well-armed inhabitants, the fortified cities, and the giants who lived there?
God had to encourage him.
- Not once.
- Not twice.
- But three times.
He told him to strengthen himself and take courage. And then He continued, asking him to do something surprising.
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. — Joshua 1:8
In other words, meditate day and night on God’s promises and remember what God has done.
To meditate means to engage in contemplation or reflection. God showed Joshua that it was essential to control his thoughts.
Before Joshua could win the military battle, he had to win the fight in his mind.
He had to focus on the greatness of God.
God knew that Joshua could not fulfill his mission out of fear.
Whether we engage in positive or toxic thinking changes the outcome radically.
The twelve spies had seen the same thing: a country where milk and honey flow. And yet, their thoughts could not have been more divergent. Ten focused on the dominant inhabitants, fortified cities, vast cities, and giants, thinking they would lose the battle.
Two, Caleb and Joshua, thought that the land was outstanding, even excellent and that in his favor, the Lord would lead them there and give it to them.
The first thought their enemies were stronger. Caleb and Joshua were convinced that they would be victorious, knowing that God was with them.
Our thoughts influence us more than we think. The Bible speaks about it many times. In the book of Proverbs, Solomon insists that a person’s beliefs determine his being.
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. — Proverbs 23:7
You are what you think.
What we think we become.
2. You Choose to Believe ‘You’re a Victor’
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” — Napoleon Hill
Since the nature of our thoughts builds us up or leads us in the wrong direction, it is not surprising that the devil tries to focus our attention on what discourages us, demeans us, and ultimately separates us from God.
Our enemy makes us believe that we must remain victims, whereas, in Christ, we are overcomers.
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. — 1 Peter 5:8
You are not a victim. You are a victor.
The devil does everything in his power to make us have toxic thoughts that cause us to complain and become depressed.
What do you see in this picture? Is the glass half full? Is it half empty?
The devil tries to draw our attention to what’s missing. He wants us to see it’s half empty.
Don’t despair. We are not victims of our thoughts.
You can choose to see the glass half full. Always.
We take every thought captive to obey Christ. — 2 Corinthians 10:5b
There is a war going on around our minds. The stakes are high. Nevertheless, we can take all our thoughts captive in Christ.
Therefore, you must control your thoughts. You are the master of your mind. You can choose to engage in uplifting thoughts.
3. Your Thoughts Transform You
“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” — Paul the Apostle
Let’s look at the scientific side for a moment.
Neuroscience confirms what we have known instinctively all along. What you think becomes a physical reality in your brain and body that affects your optimal mental and physical health.
A few decades ago, scientists believed that the brain was a fixed and rigid machine. They thought that brain damage was hopeless and incurable, whether it was due to a stroke, cardiovascular disease, traumatic brain injury, learning disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, or even aging. For the most part, scientists considered them irreversible.
Today science confirms that we can renew our minds. Recent studies show that our brain is neuroplastic.
And this even at an advanced age. You can still learn a new language when you’re 70 or 80 years old.
Let’s look at this fascinating organ called the brain. It’s the size of two fists.
In our brain, we have billions of nerve cells called neurons connected with other ones. It’s a massive network of cables, firing electric currents back and forth.
If you do something repeatedly, let’s say learning English, certain connections become more active. The more you do it, the more neurons connect to make the road bigger.
It’s like a road. When the traffic increases, you make the road wider.
If you stop doing certain things, the neurons detach as the pathway is not needed anymore.
Now, what happens when you have positive thoughts?
When you say “I like myself,” you will connect new neurons, and over time, as the road gets larger, it will be easier to have this kind of thought.
And since you stopped engaging in negative thoughts, “I am ugly,” it will become less natural to think it.
This rewiring is what the scientists call neuroplasticity.
The nature of our thoughts also has an impact on our health. Have you noticed a stomach ache when you feel bad about yourself or when you are afraid?
You can rewire your brain.
That’s the reason God told Joshua to meditate God’s word. When we meditate on good things, we will have good thoughts.
- “God is great.”
- “God is in control.”
- “God will provide.”
- “God will make a way.”
And by doing that, we rewire our brain. How amazing is that?
Be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romains 12:2
Paul wrote 2000 years ago that you could renew your mind. Science now confirms that our thoughts rewire our brain and eventually transform us.
Science also found that we are made for good thoughts.
4. Only the Vision You Have of Yourself Can Limit You
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” — Roy T. Bennett
Let’s get very practical.
Since you can change the brain, change it.
You control your mind.
It’s not the brain that controls you.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. — Galatians 5:1
In other words, you have the freedom to choose your thoughts. Hence, watch your thoughts because they control your destiny.
“The only limits that exist are the ones in your own mind.” — Anonymous
Never underestimate how brilliant you are. We must never underestimate how brilliant we are.
Only the vision we have of ourselves can limit us.
You can limit yourself, your future, your success, and your finances by having negative and limiting thoughts.
Or you choose to believe you can do anything in Christ.
How can you change your thoughts? Mediate God’s word. I encourage you to follow Paul’s advice:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious — the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. — Philippians 4:8
Two artists illustrate the importance of directing our thoughts and the difference that follows when we make a choice.
The work of Vincent van Gogh, an undeniable genius, reflects his tormented soul of a man whose dark imagination weighed more than his hope. Extreme beauty and overwhelming grief characterize his story.
Claude Monet, a French impressionist, learned to see reality in a very different way. His inner voice was deeply rooted in the wonder and beauty of nature. The beauty fascinated Monet. He saw beauty everywhere. While van Gogh’s story was a journey of inner turmoil, Monet became a translator of beauty.
It’s up to you to choose which thoughts you want to entertain, how you want to change your brain. You can change your mind. Hence, change it for the better.
In Conclusion: Watch Your Thoughts.
Joshua took God’s command to heart. Throughout his life, he meditated the word of God day and night because he knew that victory over his fearful thoughts and limiting beliefs was paramount. When he summoned Israel’s leaders after defeating the enemies who had surrounded the Israelites, he said to them:
And you have seen all that the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake, for it is the Lord your God who has fought for you. One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you. — Joshua 23:3&10
What a change of perspective that took place in his life. He made it a habit to fix his eyes on God because watching over his thoughts had become a habit for him.
To quote Frank Outlaw,
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
What truth are you meditating on? What thoughts are you having? The right thoughts will make you successful.