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Preface

"The mind is its own place and in itself can make a hell of heaven or a heaven of hell"

—Milton, Paradise Lost

You are what you think. Whatever you are doing, whatever you feel, whatever you want—all are determined by the quality of your thinking. If your thinking is unrealistic, your thinking will lead to many disappointments. If your thinking is overly pessimistic, it will deny you due recognition of the many things in which you should properly rejoice.

Test this idea for yourself. Identify some examples of your strongest feelings or emotions. Then identify the thinking that is correlated with those examples. For example, if you feel excited about going to work, it is because you think that positive things will happen to you while you are at work, or that you will be able to accomplish important tasks. If you dread going to work, it is because you think it will be a negative experience.

In a similar way, if the quality of your life is not what you wish it to be, it is probably because it is tied to the way you think about your life. If you think about it positively, you will feel positive about it. If you think about it negatively, you will feel negative about it.

For example, suppose you recently accepted a job in a new city. You accepted said job because you had the view that you were ready for a change, that you wanted to experience living in a different place, that you wanted to find a new set of friends—in short, in many ways you wanted to start a new life. And let's suppose that your expectations of what would happen when you took the new job did not come to fruition. If this were the thrust of your thinking, you would now feel disappointed and maybe even frustrated (depending on how negative your experience has been interpreted by your thinking).

For most people, most of their thinking is subconscious, that is, never explicitly put into words. For example, most people who think negatively would not say of themselves, "I have chosen to think about myself and my experience in largely negative terms. I prefer to be as unhappy as I can be. "

The problem is that when you are not aware of your thinking you have no chance of "correcting" it. When thinking is subconscious, you are in no position to see any problems in it. And, if you don't see any problems in it, you won't be motivated to change it.

The truth is that since few people realize the powerful role that thinking plays in their lives, few gain significant command of their thinking. And therefore, most people are in many ways "victims" of their own thinking, harmed rather than helped by it. Most people are their own worst enemy. Their thinking is a continual source of problems, preventing them from recognizing opportunities, keeping them from exerting energy where it will do the most good, poisoning relationships, and leading them down blind alleys.

This resource will—if you let it—improve the quality of your thinking, and therefore, help you achieve your goals and ambitions, make better decisions, and understand where others are trying to influence your thinking. It will help you take charge of what you do in your professional and personal life, how you relate to others, and even what emotions you feel. It's time for you to discover the power and role of thinking in your life. You are capable of achieving more significant professional goals. You can become a better problem solver. You can use power more wisely. You can become less subject to manipulation. You can live a fuller, a more happy and secure life. The choice is yours. We invite you to read on, and progressively take the steps that create that personal control and power as a day-to-day reality.[1]

[1] How to read this resource: There are two ways to read this resource: sequentially and as the spirit moves you. Both are valid. You may be motivated to begin with some of the later sections. That's fine, since all of the sections have been written to be (roughly) intelligible on their own. Of course, the sections also build on one another, so if you proceed sequentially you will be least puzzled by the logic of what is being said. In any case, if you are motivated to begin with a later section, it is recommended that you familiarize yourself with the content in the first six sections. We suggest that you skim those sections so that you have a frame of reference for any of the later sections with which you might want to begin. And make sure you come back to the early sections for a deeper reading before you conclude that you fully understand what is contained herein. Each of the sections helps illuminate the others. And they all converge on, and add depth to, a set of central themes. It is recommended that you take the time to do the "Test the Idea" activities throughout this resource. They provide an important vehicle for internalizing key ideas.

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