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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Our Thought Life

Originally posted July 13, 2009
In my last posting, I confessed that I am indeed a hypocrite. But how do I shake this type of behavior? I believe it will start with my thoughts and the things I allow to influence my thoughts.

Let’s talk about measurement a little. If we change the time interval over which we measure anything, our perspectives change. For instance, managerial accountants work with fixed and variable costs. Offices, factories, and land are usually considered fixed costs, while production materials are variable. But if we extend the interval of measurement, all costs become variable. I can liquidate all assets given enough time, but I need to start well in advance if I want to convert a larger asset.

The same can be said of our behavior. Over a very short interval, behaviors can appear good or bad. I can identify successes and failures on a day by day basis, or even within a given hour. But over a longer interval, what’s the trend? The trend is comprised of data points - individual events and decisions. What we do every day leads us somewhere and a trend emerges.

Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Stephen Covey said “Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconscious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character.” It’s also been said (unknown source) that Thoughts become Words, Words become Actions, Actions create Habits, and Habits build Character.

So what influences this chain: Thoughts --> Words --> Actions --> Habits --> Character? Everything we are exposed to. Many of us think we are impervious to being negatively influenced - that we’re conscious and discerning. Psychologists and marketers both know otherwise. Images, sounds, smells, events...everything around us has an affect on how we think, feel, and behave, whether we are conscious of their affects or not. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll discover that we make decisions every day that expose us to influences that ultimately affect our character, one way or the other.

We have decisions to make every minute, hour, and day. It feels like I want to stay on this topic a little more in my next entry.

Blessings to you my friends.

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