The seminar was about the power of thought and how, by creating clarity for ourselves in everything we do, we can improve our lives in a very simple way. It was the best seminar so far. It was also the one with the lowest attendance, which not only highlighted one of the main points of the session – that thoughts influence feelings – it also offered an example of an important aspect of personal development: non-attachment. But more of that later. Here is a brief summary of the seminar’s contents, with links to the relevant blog entries. (The corresponding page numbers of the book are in brackets.)
It’s a straightforward equation: the clearer you can be about what you want, the more likely it is to come your way.
The Power Of Intention (p.543)
With its example of a disrupted train journey (which is also described in the video below), this entry encapsulates the two main messages from the seminar, both of which have the power of thought at their source:
- We create what happens to us.
- We decide how we feel about what happens to us.
The train example tells the story of how, just hours after my girlfriend and I expressed a clear desire to extend our weekend together, the rail network malfunctioned and I was ‘forced’ to remain in the Netherlands for an extra night. I was overjoyed, but my reaction was in stark contrast to some of the other passengers. Even though we had all experienced exactly the same event, their thoughts created dismay, whereas mine created euphoria.
Be Careful What You Wish For (p.490)
We have thousands of thoughts each day, all of which have consequences. Think the right ones, and the right things are more likely to happen. But if you happen to think otherwise, don’t be surprised at the results.
Therefore, if you are able to create your future just by thinking about it, why not relax and await its arrival. But don’t assume that you can do nothing while you wait. There is still work to do, it’s just more enjoyable when you know you will succeed.
The same approach works when you establish your boundaries. Be clear about where you stand, what you are willing to accept, and what you are not prepared to tolerate. Do that and you not only help yourself, you also help those around you because people will know where they stand with you. This extends so far that there are times when it’s not even necessary to communicate your boundaries to others – you are so clear that people automatically fall into line without even realising. (See also ‘Be The Boundaries’.)
Now back to the low attendance. I felt disappointed by it, even a little embarrassed. But that is what this work is all about because it gave me an opportunity to grow. (This is best explained by this short and delightful video on responding to stress.) I had a choice to make. I could either work to improve future seminar attendance (increase the marketing effort and attract more people) in order to avoid further disappointment; or I could work on my response to the situation (seek a perspective on the situation which created a more positive outlook).
Choose the first option and I plaster over the cracks of my disappointment by trying to prevent such an experience arising again. Choose the second option, however, and I create the possibility of being able to deal with all disappointing experiences in the future. The choice is an easy one because it is always a good idea to be unattached to the results of your endeavour. Non-attachment: the art of giving everything, but remaining unaffected by the outcome. (The post, ‘It’s Easier To Look At Yourself’ (p.170), draws a similar conclusion about where best to focus one’s attention and resources.)
As soon as you realise that this is how it all works – that what you think today creates your world tomorrow; and how you think about your world determines your feelings about it – you begin to appreciate the power you have. It’s a power which means that we are the creators of our external and internal worlds. So relax, create your world, and then just enjoy the show.