“Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Therefore, your thoughts become your destiny.”
— Frank Outlaw
I have always believed this quote to be true and am very careful what thoughts and beliefs I inwardly create. I always try to be aware how these thoughts outwardly shape my life and launch it in a certain direction. I am also very careful which words I use in my everyday life and have replaced the word ‘problem’ with ‘challenge’, ‘should’ with ‘will’, ’OK’ with ‘fantastic’ and so on. This ensures I stay in a state of power rather than fall into a victim mentality.
Just the other day, I was powerfully reminded of just how true this is. One of my children gave me not only a great lesson but also a reminder and validation that what we think really does shape how we feel, how we act, how we behave and therefore show up in life.
About a week ago, I was confronted with a great challenge. My challenge was to pick up my children from school at 4pm. At 3.50pm, my car wouldn’t start. No matter what I did, it made no sound and had no intention of playing ball. My husband tried too without luck so I knew it was time for a plan B.
We currently live in Italy and don’t know many people yet. The only people we really know are my mother, my grandmother and my aunt Loredana. My mum was two hours away, my aunt Loredana was at a medical convention thirty minutes away with her mobile phone switched off and my grandmother doesn’t drive. So I didn’t really have anyone I could call and ask for a favour.
So I called the boys’ school to let them know that I was faced with this challenge and that there was a good chance I would be late. The secretary of the school, in true Sicilian style, replied “Whatever happens, I finish work at 4.45pm”. I’ve realised she must have been added to this challenge to teach me patience!
In the end, my neighbour gave me a lift and I picked up my boys just over fifteen minutes late. However the teachers hadn’t done the best of jobs at explaining to my boys what was going on. In fact, they hadn’t told them anything at all and had just put them in a homework club with older children with a teacher they didn’t know, in a totally different side of the school, and sat them by themselves in the last row.
When I arrived, Luca was crying hysterically and no one was paying him any attention, except his twin brother Josh, who was not quite sure how to help. I hugged Luca for as long as he needed to and ask me all the questions he needed to ask me.
When I was satisfied that he was calm, I asked him a question: “Honey, why were you so sad?” Luca said: “Because I thought you were waiting for me somewhere else, and now we were on this side of the school, you would never find me. I thought you had forgotten about us. Then I thought maybe the teachers didn’t understand that you were waiting for us and we were going to have to sleep in school by ourselves.”
Then I asked Josh: “Honey, how come you weren’t crying at all?”
He replied “Because I wasn’t thinking any of those things, so it was hard for me to get sad”.
In your relationship, I wish you thoughts that make it hard for you to get sad.
Alex Santoro Emmerson