As we grow up, we hear and adapt to “life rules.”
These golden rules of sorts are given to us through our parents, friends, religion, or through society in the forms of TV, social media, movies, and our education system. They help shape who we are as a person; they play a part in our identity.
We hear them all the time:
>> Treat others as you would want to be treated.
>> Mind your elders.
>> Say please and thank you.
The list goes on and on. I’m sure there are a dozen rules in society that have absorbed into our lives as a child that we live by today.
It’s not until we become adults and go out into the world that we slow down the absorption rate of life rules. Do you think, perhaps, there are not really any more left to learn?
Well, what if there are still rules that haven’t been discovered yet but could shape who we are as a person—for the better—regardless of what age we are?
I was in a conversation with my mentor the other day and he mentioned an audiobook that he listens to frequently and recommends to people he works with. The book is “The Inside-Out Revolution” by Micheal Neill.
I had never heard of this book and since it had a less than three-hour listening time, I decided to give it a try. Besides, I never turn down a book recommendation! I started listening and immediately, I was hooked. I loved the way it opened my mind to how to view life and understand that everything is an “inside-out” job.
And then, there it was! A rule that stuck like a thorn in the foot:
“You’re only one thought away from happiness, you’re only one thought away from sadness.” ~ Micheal Neill
Read that quote again.
Let’s break this into two segments:
Why is this a life rule?
It falls outside of the typical rules we are brought up with. Nowhere in mainstream media, our upbringings, or in our environment do we talk about levels of consciousness or how our thoughts can be powerful in how we live our life.
A majority of people run on the same mental programming or operate in the same rules that govern their life. It’s only because we aren’t aware that there are more rules to absorb in life. We could be content with what we know, and that’s okay.
But despite not learning this life rule in our formative years, it ought to be the one rule we should learn about life because, as humans, we look too often to our “outsides” (our environment, our circumstances, etc.) to control how we feel.
It’s like a reflexive action: bad things happen on the outside; we think bad thoughts and feel bad things. Good things happen on the outside; we have good thoughts and feel great things.
For example, the other day I got pulled over for speeding on the way to an exercise class. I wasn’t paying attention and sometimes I have a lead foot. The circumstances were not pleasant, and I could’ve let the situation deter my mind into thinking, “Oh great! Now I’m going to be late for my class and I hate showing up late.” (One thought away from sadness). Instead, I chose to think, “Well, that’s my fault. I gotta own up to the consequences of my irresponsibility. Be nice and cooperate with the sheriff. Thank him for his service. He’s just doing his job.” (One thought away from happiness.)
That shift in thinking helped me to be positive in the situation despite getting pulled over and the result ended up being good for myself. If we’re really only one thought away from happiness or sadness, does this require more effort on our part? Not any more than changing the channel on the TV.
The issue lies in the awareness we may have in catching the thoughts in our minds. We can be the master of our thoughts or let our thoughts be the master of us.
How do we become a master of our thoughts to implement the one rule about life?
First, we become aware of the thoughts that are in our minds—thoughts that we are currently having.
Next, we decide if they are the thoughts that we want to be entertaining. We are the master of our own mind and we can control what we want. No one can take that from us.
There is a well-known saying, “Be the gatekeeper of your own mind.” Are you the gatekeeper or are you letting anything and everything through the gate?
This is the one rule we should truly and deeply learn because it can potentially change the course of our lives.
How we think does factor into how we react and engage with the world. Just like all the other life rules, this one can shape and mold who we are as a person. We are only ever one thought away.