For most of us, conforming to societal norms is part of our daily lives. There is a definite need for structure in families, schools, communities and amongst nations. However, learning how to think outside the box (with caution and respect for societal requirements) is an essential element in personal happiness. Once developed, this skill can reduce depression, improve mood and increase creativity and performance in our personal lives, at work, in our communities and ultimately in our world.
Rene Descartes, Father of Modern philosophy, further developed the concept of “I think therefore I am”. If we were to take this concept and apply positive behavior change to it the phrase then becomes “I think therefore I behave”. And taken one step further …
“I think… therefore I am empowered to act”.
This new phrase has the potential to change your life, your productivity, improve your mood and change the world.
The hidden platform for this concept is that to begin to change our thoughts we must change our worldview. For those of us that believe we are fatefully predisposed to the lives we are living and that our actions are worthless -are limiting themselves and reducing their ability to perform and create a positive impact in their own lives…as well as in the lives of others.
This belief is known as an external locus of control. We become a mere pawn or a “victim” to the world around us- which whittles away at our self esteem and reduces our desire and motivation to play an active role in any capacity. This thought process increases the incidence of depression and reduces creativity. Why bother thinking at all – if we are just along for the ride?
Development of an “internal locus of control” or in other words the belief that we have the ability to affect change in our world- immediately causes a change in our mind and raises self esteem. First, we empower ourselves. I like to say we “take back our power” because in essence we have given it away with the belief that the world is beyond our reach (external locus of control) and that we are merely “along for the ride”.
Second, when we “take back our power” we change. We become active and by being active we have the ability to adopt the concept “I think therefore I am” and ultimately “I think therefore I act”. We literally empower ourselves to ACT upon those things we wish to change, move or improve. We give ourselves permission to be creative. We give ourselves permission to make a difference. We instill in ourselves the concept that our contribution is valuable in some way.
Now apply these two basic principles (Internal locus of control, and self empowerment) to the world we live in. If 20% of the people in the world adopted this type of thinking and changed their behaviors to active participants and let loose the creative genius in their minds what change could we see? The ripple effect would be instantaneous. It would be marvelous.
If you are an educator, a doctor, a leader of nations or simply a parent or an individual… this information could change the world in which your children, grandchildren and indeed all future generations live in. It could create a sense of personal happiness for those who adopt these concepts as well as for those who cannot…or will not make a change.
So consider freeing your mind for a moment, think outside of the box you have created for yourself …and consider making a change. Give yourself permission to “take back your power” and begin by changing your thoughts in your head. Challenge those old beliefs and ask yourself..
“Can I make a difference”?
Even in some small way, a ripple effect can spread out beyond your wildest imagination.