THINK STRAIGHT Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life
How much do I want to read more? 8/10
The idea behind "you becomes what you thing all day long", and that we can influence our thoughts the way we want, is so subtle that I love to read different perspectives about this topic. And here is a good one.
It is inspired on William James. And I love reading about him. He's such an inspiration with great insights.
This is such a short book on such a great topic. We should all write about our mind, how we use it, how we relate to our thoughts. It's a intimate exploration. An in-depth journey in one of the biggest mystery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anyway, I’m an entrepreneur, blogger, and podcaster.
For my podcast, The Darius Foroux Show, I’ve interviewed thought leaders like Ryan Holiday, Robert Sutton, Jimmy Soni, and more.
“If you can change your mind, you can change your life.”
-- William James
YOU BECOME WHAT YOU THINK
In 1869, a 27-year-old man, who had just graduated as a doctor of medicine from Harvard, was going through a “crisis of meaning.” This was not the first time he dealt with adversity. Throughout his six years in medical school, his education was interrupted by different illnesses and bouts of depression. But this time, it was worse. He even contemplated suicide for months.
The young man’s name was William James.
It took James three years to overcome depression. Something he did by himself. To be clear, James wasn’t just feeling down.
“James spent a good part of life rationalizing his decision not to commit suicide.”
In his journal, he wrote: “I think that yesterday was a crisis in my life. I finished the first part of Renouvier's second Essais and see no reason why his definition of free will — 'the sustaining of a thought because I choose to when I might have other thoughts' — need be the definition of an illusion. At any rate, I will assume for the present — until next year — that it is no illusion. My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will."
James realized that we have the ability to choose one thought over the other. In other words, we can control what we think.
However, James doesn’t say we can control our consciousness.
we will notice that a lot of things flow through our mind. The thoughts are just “there.” Nothing we can change about that. But since we have free will, we can decide which thoughts we focus on. Hence, we can influence the direction of consciousness.
It’s the difference between “I can’t help but feel this way” and "I feel this way because I decided to feel this way."
The emphasis is on deciding. And that’s what this book is about: With practice, you can get better at controlling your thoughts so you can decide what you think.
You have the ability to decide what you think. And since the result of your life depends on your thoughts, I think it’s the most important thing in life. When we improve the way we think, nothing is impossible to achieve. That simple realization changes everything. Many great thinkers have written about the importance of thoughts. But William James’ godfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson, who also inspired James a great deal, put it most simply: “You become what you think about all day long.”
WHY DO WE NEED A BOOK ON PRACTICAL THINKING?
The human brain is the most important tool we have. It’s more important than any technology, device, or instrument.
“If there is any instrument you must fall in love with and fetishize, it is the human brain—the most miraculous, awe-inspiring, information-processing tool devised in the known universe, with a complexity we can’t even begin to fathom, and with dimensional powers that far outstrip any piece of technology in sophistication and usefulness.”
-- Robert Greene
We think we make practical decisions that we base on logic. But that’s not the case.
“We usually think of ourselves as sitting in the driver's seat, with ultimate control over the decisions we made and the direction our life takes; but, alas, this perception has more to do with our desires—with how we want to view ourselves-than with reality.”
-- Dan Ariely
We often make decisions based on gut feelings, emotions.
I couldn’t find a practical book that explained how to change the way you think.
My goal is to give you at least one idea that you can use to improve your thoughts, and consequently, your life.