This is a long post, and you could DECIDE not to read it, but that would just further illustrate and prove the point I’m making with this post.
Think back 2 years. Remember the things you were doing, and the choices you made and now try to single out ONE of those choices. It doesn’t matter how small it is, but now consider the other things and other choices that ONE choice led you to.. Let’s take an example of a choice I made about two years ago.
I had just gone through a breakup and was feeling fairly low, and one morning (I remember it clearly) I woke up thinking about what to do next. I’d just had to move out of my flat a few months prior to this morning, and now that the relationship was over I had to decide what to do next.
At that point, I’d been working at a bakery/fast food outlet and wasn’t really enjoying my job. There wasn’t much money coming in and so I couldn’t do things like driving lessons, investing in myself or traveling. I was ‘stuck’. So I decided to try and get a qualification in something I enjoyed which was traveling. I DECIDED to start a college course – Travel and Tourism.
That was the decision. There were many more, (such as the decision to end the relationship, move out etc, but they’re other stories) but we’re looking at this one. This is just an example and I’m going to explain in a while why every choice you make influences your future in massive ways that you can’t even imagine.
So from that decision, I started college, studied, did my coursework etc and through the course I was able to travel (a college trip to Paris) where I fell in love with an amazing girl, who I’m still with to this day and probably will be from now on. So let’s look at the chain reaction of things that happened as a result of that choice to go and do the course.
- I got to go traveling
- Started a great relationship
- Became happier as a result
- This motivated me to think about my life
- I did a skydive (why not?)
- I decided then to try and start my own business
- I then wanted to earn more money so I learned how to save, trade stocks and learned about passive income
- I started 5 websites on various topics that I enjoyed
- As a result of all of this, I gained an enormous amount of confidence
- This confidence allowed me to pass job interviews easily, approach people more and enjoy life more
- This led me to set a goal of becoming a millionaire by the age of 30
- As well as helping thousands of people around the world through my sites
- Who knows what will happen next (In fact, I’ve started an adventure around the world, follow me!)
But all of that came from that choice to go to college. If I didn’t, then I wouldn’t have gained the confidence I needed to get a job, start my own businesses on the side, afford driving lessons, and everything else. It’s opened up doors that I didn’t even know existed but AT THE TIME it just seemed like a pretty casual choice.
I liked traveling, wanted something to distract myself from my depression and I was still young enough to get the course for free. What actually happened was that I exposed myself to opportunities. Opportunities which are all around each of us, every day. and that’s what I’d like to talk about in this post.
You could also follow a similar path but on the ‘opposite side of the spectrum’ of someone who decided to try a serious and illegal drug one night for ‘fun’ and who then went down a path of self destruction and crime. It’s all out there and possible as a result of each decision we make which is why it’s so important to think about what you’re doing, and what you’re opening yourself up to.
This led me to a realization..
Every man is the SUM TOTAL of his own thoughts
Many famous philosophers have known this for years. I didn’t even bother listening to or learning about philosophy and that sort of thing before but now it interests me. Every man is the sum total of his own thoughts. What does this mean? Well, it means that everyone is where they are right now in life because that’s where they have decided to be, whether they’ll admit that or not.
Wait, before you viciously retort with things like ‘What about people who don’t want to be where they are in life, for example people working shitty jobs because they need to pay the bills’ or ‘What about homeless people who just want somewhere to live’
Now this might upset a few people, but hopefully most people will understand this as it’s intended to be understood. Let’s look at someone who is struggling and has gone down a path in life which has led him to be ‘broke’ or ‘bankrupt’. Well, that’s just the point isn’t it? They’ve decided over the course of their life to make decisions leading them to where they are now.
They would have DECIDED to:
- Not save money for emergncies
- Not look at trying to increase their income
- Decided that it’s a good idea to spend money they don’t have (credit cards)
Every step of the way they’ve made choices, either good or bad which have led them to where they are now, Broke.
The self made millionaire: Another example
Let’s now look at another example, again these are made up people but they’re there to illustrate a point I’m making. Let’s meet Jim. Now Jim has big dreams of starting his own company and making millions before he’s 30, so he actively looks up the ways other people have made their millions. He spend lots of his own time researching and dedicating hours to trying everything he can think of to make it happen. While he’s doing this, his friends are at the pub, drinking their money away while complaining about how they are struggling with money! It sounds crazy when you look at it like this, but that’s what happens! People will actually go to pubs, drink their money away and at the same time as downing their pints etc they’ll bitch to their friends about how they’re struggling with money. (I’ve seen this first hand).
So, back to Jim. Jim has watched more than a few motivational videos on YouTube and he’s come to the realization that every man is the sum total of his thoughts and choices. For that reason, he isn’t spending his money recklessly and instead is looking at the best savings accounts at his local bank. He’s thinking of ways to make a lot of money and in reality, he probably will in the end.
He must, because with enough focus, motivation and time, he has to achieve this. At the same time, if Jim decided at any point during his journey to success to give up, to ‘skip’ one day of working on his business, which then led to skipping a week, and then months, it’s HIS FAULT!
He could ‘fall off the path’ and decide it’s all just too hard, not for him and he could then decide to think that in order to pay the bills he must get a job he doesn’t like in order to stay afloat. Now, fair enough, sometimes you need a job to make enough money to pay the bills while you work on your entrepreneurial dreams but the end goal should always be to be a self made man. (or woman, but it’s just a figure of speech).
Going back to my first choice (going to college)..
So to go back to my introduction story, I realize now as I look back (hindsight is always 20/20) that before that morning when I decided to change things and go to college, I was where I was as a direct result of the choices I’d made. I decided to get into that relationship, and to stay in it when I knew it wasn’t working. I decided to work in jobs that didn’t pay very well, simply because I didn’t try anything harder or more rewarding.
I simply applied for any job I could get and stuck with it for no reason other than wanting to stay in my comfort zone. That’s pretty dangerous behavior right there, and it’s now my belief that if you’re not moving forward then you’re committing mental suicide.
If instead of those choices, I’d made other ones such as this chain of decisions..
Get out of school > think about starting my own business > not wasting money on drink and other things > saved money > increased income > ???
Then things would be very different right now. But they’re not, and I’m okay with that because of what I’ve learned..
Our choices birth our future
Again, every man is the sum total of his thoughts, as his thoughts then become actions. (habits > character > Destiny?). Our choices are what decides our future but when we’re in the moment and actually making the we rarely consider the future implications. Many people think as long as you’re focused on the future then small choices like what to wear or what to have for breakfast are relatively unimportant but even those choices can become something bigger long term..
A tiny choice – What to have for breakfast
You might think this is just getting silly now but I assure you I’m being serious here. The seemingly unimportant choice of breakfast items can have long term effects, for example let’s say you skip breakfast every morning. That would in time lead to you just feeling tired and groggy all morning until you eat something. Your metabolism would slow down and you’d become mentally and physically fatigued every morning. You’d probably decide that this is simply because you’re ‘not a morning person’ and there’s nothing you can do about it, and this would lead to other things.
You’d possibly miss out on a huge opportunity for success because you’re too tired. If you go into work with no energy (because you skipped breakfast) and the boss chooses a person with more energy because they seem like they’d be more enthusiastic and good for the project, you’ve lost out on a potentially huge opportunity to increase your income and improve your life, simply because you’ve been skipping your breakfast.
Hopefully by now you’re seeing that every choice we make has huge implications for the future, and it’s for this reason that every person is the sum total of his thoughts. Even if they’re not aware of their thoughts and they do things on ‘autopilot’ they’re still responsible for their lives because ultimately they’ve still made those decisions.
It’s often only the successful people who are willing to admit they’re the sum total of their thoughts, because for everyone else it’s just embarrassing. You wouldn’t want to admit that you’re a failure because you CHOSE to be, would you? But when you boil it down, that’s what’s essentially happened.
Every man is the sum total of his thoughts
So if you take anything away from this, it’s to be more focused on your thoughts and choices, because they will shape your life and determine your future. There are always going to be things OUTSIDE our control, but it’s not those things that really matter, it’s what we do as a result or as a reaction to those things. Our choices regarding what we do, think, say and feel will determine our future, and ultimately, our entire lives. Thank you for reading.