March 20, 2013
The Power of Patterns by Daryl Leisey
No doubt you’ve heard it said: The definition of insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result!
Author Andy Stanley fleshes out this idea in his book, The Principle of the Path. He says the path you take will make a difference. Not just the goal you’ve set, but the way you travel toward it. In order to get where you want to go, you have to understand that your path will be the most significant factor in determining your ultimate success. In other words, how you travel impacts whether or not you will reach your desired destination.
We might think that this path mainly includes our actions. I’d like to suggest that it includes our thoughts as well. Over the years, I’ve become more aware of the power that subtle thinking patterns have. These patterns develop over time and influence who we are, how we behave, and ultimately, where we end up. We need to think about what we’re thinking about!
Of course not all thinking patterns are bad. Some are good while others have no significant impact. Many of them are developed in our formative years. They simply exist. They are a fact of life. The key is to recognize that they exist, and to decide whether or not our recurring thoughts are helping us achieve the results we want.
Which of our thinking patterns bring life to us and others? Which don’t? Some patterns of thinking are easy to identify and modify, others are extremely difficult. Maybe the most difficult to recognize relate to how we think about ourselves. If we want to change our thinking path, a good place to start is where our thinking seems to be particularly negative about ourselves and other people.
We need to be honest with ourselves. Notice the power of our patterns. Take a hard look at why we are doing what we are doing. Give ourselves and those around us the gift of a well-examined life. Only then can we be intentional about challenging, overcoming and changing these negative patterns that exist in our heads. Only then can we choose life-giving thoughts.
They may only be thoughts, but Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote shows their eventual impact: Sow a thought, reap an action, sow an action, reap a habit, sow a habit, reap a character, sow a character, reap a destiny.