Last week I ran into my friend Bob (not his real name) who I hadn’t seen in a while. After a few minutes of pleasant formalities I sensed something was not right. Respectful of his privacy, I continued on with our conversation listening intently like a “wise old owl” on what was said, and, what was not. Eventually Bob opened up and asked my opinion and what advice I could offer in an effort to make a difference in his “internal” struggle. It didn’t take me long to respond to his question as I had been writing about it for quite some time, as well as echoing the themes over and over in my business and personal travels. What I told Bob applies to all of us, young and old, male or female, conservative or liberal, and ignores our religious beliefs. It doesn’t make a difference either as to what our profession is, our race, or cultural background. It pays no attention to the make, model, color and year of the car you drive. These words don’t care what your alma mater was, or if you were first in your class, or down at the bottom. Quite simply it holds that, “If you want to change your world, then change your words”. Please know these are not my words; my first exposure to them came from listening to a recording of a sermon by the late Pastor John Osteen, father of Joel Osteen and who is the current Pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston Texas. The elder Osteen didn’t say it once, he must have said it about 20 times and quite frankly I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since then. It literally moved me. Just like the phrase “nothing changes if nothing changes” from my first blog, Volume 1, Number 1, October 18, 2011, many times simple words can have such a profound effect. “Why now”‘ you may ask, “are these words more important than ever?” To answer this question, at this time, it might help to take a step back and look at your present situation.
Let’s start with your work environment. What kind of messages do you hear from the leader(s) of your company not to mention, those around you, regardless of their position in the hierarchy? Now let’s move into your home, what messages are you hearing from your spouse, significant other, children, parents or grandparents and what messages are you sending them? Let’s not forget our friends, are they broadcasting positive thoughts of faith, hope and love or are they a constant drain spilling out doom and gloom, whining, complaining and moaning about anything and everything? And last, but not least, and perhaps the most important, what message are we receiving from the most important voice we hear…..our own. Are you listening to WJOE radio or the other station in town, WSHT? Whether we realize it or not, all of these things have a way of wearing off on us and without realizing it we can easily become an unpaid spokesperson for negativity, regardless of the subject. A few years back in wrapping up my annual Presidents Letter, I wrote:
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
My research tells me this quote was presumably written by a man named Frank Outlaw, although the source has not been confirmed, while others attribute it to Mahatma Gandhi. Nevertheless, the quote is still good and makes one think carefully about our thoughts, words, and actions that contribute to our character and determine our destiny. Actually, a great deal of Christian wisdom is loaded in this quote and remarkably, it intersects with Pastor John Osteen’s theme, “If you want to change your world, then change your words”. When it comes right down to it, we cannot change others, we cannot change the media; the only thing we can control is ourselves and our perspective. When we think and speak negative, we are only hurting ourselves and others around us. We can control our thoughts. We can control our words. We can control our actions. We can control our perspective. When we pause for a moment in reflection we eventually realize these simple ideals are not only within reach, but accept it with open arms (and this is the key), our positive words can and will make a difference, actually a profound difference in our circumstances. Don’t let your circumstances dictate your attitude. Instead, let your attitude bring an infectious positive influence on your thoughts, words and actions. Start by taking it one hour at a time working towards one day at a time, then one week and eventually every day. In due time, the bad habit will be replaced by the good habit. In the final analysis, I’m convinced you’ll notice a change you may have previously thought was impossible.
When Bob and I shook hands to say good-bye, I sensed a sigh of relief in his voice; I was hopeful that I had broken through and while “I had led the horse to water, I couldn’t make him drink”. Inevitably, it was up to him if he was to going to put an end to his negative thinking and change his world through his words. Whatever happens, he has stayed in my thoughts and prayers and I will continue to be supportive. Now it’s your turn. Do you want to change your world? Do you suffer from the bad habit of negativity? Are you hanging around the right people in your life or are you falling down a slippery slope in which being positive is an exception, as opposed to a rule? What station are you listening to? Sometimes all that’s needed is a slight change of the dial to get back on the right track and have the signal come in loud and clear. You have my support; you have my encouragement. You can do it; just make up your mind to change your world keeping in mind that the most important voice you hear is your own. Now don’t tell me, show me and while you are at it, have a great day!!!!
May God Bless You!!!!
Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)