A Life Changing Day

I remember that day in September, 2006.  That day changed my life.  And from that day my life has never been the same…

What happened?

I realized that I controlled my destiny.  Me, myself, and I.  Nobody else.  Moreover, it was the day I realized that what went through my head in thoughts will affect everything.

The Story

I was flying back from Europe on a business trip, tired and irritable.  I was sitting in the front bulkhead row in the aisle.  As was customary, I was looking at the passengers coming on board.  I like to do that because there aren’t many places you see so many people people from all walks of life in one place.  And you can tell a lot about someone when they are boarding a plane.  It’s not a terrificly fun experience, you have to be patient, and sometimes tensions are a little high.  You can certainly tell if someone’s having a bad day.  And so I did.

It was a man and woman, a couple it seemed, that looked like they were not at all happy to be there.  It was written all over their faces.  They might have been arguing, perhaps, and I remember thinking to myself, “I really hope they aren’t sitting next to me.”  And…of course they did.

Nice, Chris.  Nice.

I had been reading on the power of thought for a couple of months.  If there is anything you take away from that general learning is that what you think about, you get.  A better thought would’ve been, “That person there looks super happy to be alive.  I hope they sit next to me!”

So back to the couple…They were definitely not happy.  They started with the hushed-tone snappy back and forth snippets between them.  It didn’t matter what they were saying.  You could feel the negative energy between them.  It escalated as the flight progressed.  It got so bad that when the lady attempted to reach for the man’s right hand, he jerked it back, shoving his right elbow into my seat and catching my arm a little bit.  He was completely oblivious that he had done so – that’s how upset he was.

That’s when I tried to do something I’d never tried to do before.  I closed my eyes and began visualizing.  I visualized how I wanted the flight to go between me and the couple.  I imagined the man and woman happy and laughing.  I imagined all of us talking about nothing in particular but just having a good time.  I tried to feel the actual feeling of it, too, not just images in my head.  I was in a much better mood after just a few minutes of it and suddenly I opened my eyes and said something that wasn’t predetermined at all.  I turned slightly to the man and said, “Hey, I know how uncomfortable those middle seats are, would you like to sit in my seat?”  He looked a little embarassed and said, basically, “No thanks.”  Then I said something which could’ve been the weirdest thing I’d ever said to a stranger on the plane, “Hey, those are really cool shoes!  Where’d you get them?”

They were really cool shoes, a pair of Nike athletic shoes that had the newly-fashionable bright neon colors with flames coming out of the back and various geometric shapes all over them.  He couldn’t stop talking about them for 5 minutes.

That topic led to another topic, then another one, and then another.  In 20 minutes, there we were, all enjoying conversation about where we were going, how travel can be difficult (but worthy), and what else, I have no idea.  It was precisely then that I realized a monumental understanding:  All of us have the power to change our future by simply managing our thoughts.

It sounds pretty hoky, huh?  Yes, it does.  There’ve been SNL (Saturday Night Live) skits on just thinking things and getting what you want and all sorts of jokes about it.  They are pretty funny, I admit!  But of course it doesn’t work like that, otherwise, we’d be a character in the next Marvel Comics movie.

What You Think Is More Than Important

Still, realizing this allowed me to take control of my ship!  Most of us probably already know there’s a connection here.  It only takes some self-observation to link up the thoughts going through your head with how you generally feel and most importantly how they tend to snowball.  It basically comes down to this:  If you ever want to be the captain of your life, then you have to be the captain of your thoughts.  If your thoughts generally bring you down, your life will become increasingly out of control as you perceive it, with the rest of the world at the helm.  If your thoughts bring you up, you will be amazed at the positive direction your life is taking, and you’ll feel more and more like the captain of your life.  There is no right or wrong about what you let go through your head.  There is no question, though, that over the long run what you think about, you get.  So, whether what you get is mostly what you want, or what you don’t want, is completely up to you.

 The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, And let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings. – Buddha