Think of your life as a long sailing journey across the ocean. The successful sailors, those who safely reach their intended destination, are those who have the vision to pick a destination and the skills to meet the challenges along the way. Much of the work of a successful journey is done in advance. For a sailor, the time to study currents, wind patterns and stop overs is before the journey begins. The same is true for a successful life, but too many times people head out without a clear direction, let alone a definite destination. The importance of a long range personal vision can’t be overstated, but this article will assume that you are working toward your long term goal and heading in the right general direction.
Let’s go back to the sailing analogy. Despite best efforts and diligent planning there will undoubtedly be some unanticipated challenges along the way. Daily the winds and weather will change and to stay on course one must constantly correct and adjust. Always with the destination in mind. In our lives it is no different. Our best intentions are derailed by unforeseen circumstances, situations, relationships or most importantly thoughts. You may think that thoughts are not as important as the externalities that happen to us, but in reality what happens within our thoughts is the most important factor.
DETECT – Just as a sailor constantly changes tack, trim and course depending upon the wind, we must constantly be aware of our thoughts and have the ability to discern the difference between what is helpful and what is not. Our lives are a constant procession of thoughts. We are, moment by moment processing the world around us and running what we see, hear, read and experience through our own filter. What comes out is our thoughts and our thoughts collectively make up our experience. In order to have a successful life, whatever your definition is, you must be able to cultivate a filter that eliminates from your mind what isn’t helpful to you reaching your destination. Being successful is having the ability to constantly detect the quality of our thought and keep it sailing in the right direction.
REJECT – Some people have a hard time thinking for themselves. If they read an article about a new throat ailment, they start to feel a scratch in their throat. If they see a story about others having a hard time financially they start tightening their belts. To put it simply, their lives are open to suggestions, especially negative ones. In order to chart your own positive course you must be able to reject the negativity in all of its subtle forms and embrace the beautiful possibilities of life.
REPLACE – Like a well run sailboat that gets the most out of each breath of wind, this last piece is the key to moving in the right direction and not giving up ground in life. Once we are able to detect and reject the negative, there exists a vacuum in our thought which can be either be filled with a positive, productive thought or another negative suggestion. To correct thought means to immediately fill the space where a negative thought has been with something positive. Replace suggestions of scarcity with affirmations of abundance. Suggestions of depression with thoughts of beauty, harmony and joy. Ideas of limitation with the deep seated knowledge of personal worth and possibility.
Use this easy formula to cleanse your thinking and keep sailing in the right direction.