Change Your Mind, Change Your World
If you’ve been following my blogs or reading my books, you are getting the picture of how to build your Power Habits of Success by using the mantra-like affirmations of ‘I Am! I Will! I Can!’
Repeating these affirmations—I Am! I Will! I Can!—in the laboratory of your mind embeds them into the DNA of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.
The more you do it, the longer you do it, the bigger and broader your Power Habits become. They become you, and you become them.
You become a success first in your mind and inner world, which are the intangible rewards of success like joy, peace, freedom, harmony. Then follows material and outer world success, the tangible rewards of money, relationships, career, possessions, and so forth.
That’s how the Game of Life works:
First, be a success inside, then success outside will follow.
Only by changing your inner world will your outer world change. It has to be this way. The Law of Cause and Effect means it can’t be any other way.
I remember vividly as a junior doctor in London, UK, when this law played out in my own circumstances to great effect.
I was late for the morning ward round yet again. I had slept in, resenting to have to get up early and commute for over an hour to get to the hospital by 8 am.
Frustrated and annoyed, clutching my stethoscope to my chest as I ran down the long corridor to the paediatric ward, I said to myself, “God, I hate this job. Why does the job have to be like this? Why can’t it change?”
Then a voice inside my head made me stop in my tracks. I literally stopped mid-stride in the middle of the corridor, struck dumb with sudden awareness.
The voice had said, “Scott, the job isn’t going to change. It’s always going to be the same job. Only you can change.”
I had suddenly realised that it was my own attitude that was causing all my frustration and irritation. I had thought it was the job, the external situation, that was the cause of all my problems.
It wasn’t. It was me. My attitude was first cause, and my experience of the world was the direct effect of that cause.
In order for my world and my life to change, I had to change first.
I had to change my attitude to life before life changed for me.
Well, more than 20 years have passed since that early morning wake up call, but the memory and the effects of that insight are still as relevant to me today as back then. The lesson is simply this:
Your inner world is the cause. Your outer world is the effect.
Your inner world sets into motion what the outer world will reflect back to you.
What you put in, you get out. Put garbage in, get garbage out, as the computer geeks of the world like to say.
But the law also works to your benefit. It all depends on how much of yourself you put into this moment.
Put in a little amount of wood on the fire, get out a little bit of heat. Put in a lot of wood on the fire, get out a lot of heat.
Sounds obvious, but you will only get a return on what you invest.
But first you must invest. You must first put money into your savings account before the bank can pay you any interest. The only interest paid on nothing is nothing.
The Hand that Reaps the Harvest
But how many of us want a return on no investment? How many of us want to see the money first before we’ll invest? How many of us want something for nothing?
Yet that’s not how The Law of Cause and Effect works. It requires a cause for there to be, in its proper place and turn, an effect. Which is just that: a return of what you first put in.
Like a boomerang, the law demands a cause in order for the effect to come back to you.
In other words, you can only receive what you first give.
By this law, the hand that sows is the hand that reaps the harvest. The harvest doesn’t come first; it requires seeds to be sowed. The harvest returns to us the seeds that have been planted, for was it not said 2000 years ago, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.”
And the quickest, most instantaneous way you can begin to use the Law of Cause and Effect to your advantage and have it work for you, not against you, is to shift your mindset and embrace the attitude of first investing (giving), then receiving.
Know, believe, and trust that you must first give unto others before the world can give unto you.
You see, the worthiness of a cause is directly related to how much you dedicate yourself to the service of others and create value for them, even if it’s just one person other than yourself.
It isn’t how many people you serve that determines how worthy your goal is, it is the act of using every moment to create and add value for someone other than yourself.
When you add value to somebody else, you give meaning to who they are and you give meaning to what you do.
The Old Warrior and the Starfish
The parable of “The Old Warrior and the Starfish” is a wonderful analogy of how this works, and it goes like this:
After a tremendous storm had torn through their island, the villagers were concerned when their Elder, The Old Warrior, was nowhere to be found.
“Go around the island and try to find the whereabouts of our Elder,” the villagers instructed one of their younger warriors. “We fear for his safety.”
The young warrior set off at once while the rest of the village set about rebuilding their devestated huts. For the whole day he trecked through the jungle, over the sacred mountain, scouring the island for any signs of The Old Warrior without any luck.
But just before sunset, he spied what looked like the Elder of his village in the far distance. From his vantage point high above the coast, he saw the figure of a man busying himself along the beachfront.
The young warrior raced down toward the sea, yelling at the Elder as he ran to get his attention. As he neared, the young warrior noticed that the beach was littered with tens of thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore during the storm.
He yelled again, but the Old Warrior ignored him, instead bending down to pick up a starfish and throw it back into the sea.
“What are you doing?” the young warrior said from just a few paces away. “The villagers are worried about you.”
The Old Warrior picked up another starfish and tossed it into the water. “What does it look like? I’m saving these starfish from drying out.”
The young warrior looked all around at the thousands of starfish slowly dying on the sand.
“What’s the point?” he said, as the Old Warrior picked up another starfish. “There are too many. It doesn’t matter what you do.”
The Old Warrior glanced at the starfish in his hand, then said, “It matters to this one,” and tossed it into the sea.
First Give, Then Get
This parable is similar to the adage that you might not be able to help every single person in the world, but if you help one person you’ve helped their world.
So your worthy cause isn’t based on the number of people you help. Rather, your worthy cause is founded on serving other people’s needs without requiring anything in return for that service.
That’s how you build worth and become worthy. It’s how you become a person of value and live a life of happiness and fulfillment.
When you stop being caught up in your own little world and allow yourself to be caught up in a much bigger, universal world, you grow into a bigger and better version of yourself.
When this happens, your life takes on more meaning, worth, and value with which you can share with everyone else.
It isn’t any more complicated than that. It’s a positive reinforcing cycle, but you must make the first move. You are the catalyst. You are the one that sets things into motion.
As such, you must first give to get:
It is the giving of yourself to others—your service—that determines your value and worthiness, your success.
There are therefore just as many worthy causes as there are people on the planet, because each worthy cause is based on your individual and unique service to other people.
You will do your best and be successful when you realise you’re not an island isolated from others and need to do it all by yourself, when you realise we’re all interdependent on one another and the best way forward is to support each other whether in business and work, or in your relationships and family.
Then make a start on it, because Life rewards action.