This is a continuation from my previous post, and, hopefully, I will be able to break some things down a little bit deeper.
You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV
In my humble opinion, there are some things in life that simply won’t shift until your mindset has changed. Some of our tough situations result from us subconsciously coaching our minds into them, such as actions and behaviours (since the mind sends commands to your body through the nerves and your body responds by reacting, i.e. taking action.) When our mind is renewed, we see things from a different perspective and even the way we tackle situations is reflective of that. There’s this theory known as the “self-fulfilling prophecy”, and the man behind the term, Robert K Merton (based on the work of W.I. Thomas) states this in his 1948 publication:
“The self-fulfilling prophecy is, in the beginning, a false definition of the situation evoking a new behavior which makes the original false conception come true. This specious validity of the self-fulfilling prophecy perpetuates a reign of error. For the prophet will cite the actual course of events as proof that he was right from the very beginning.”
To elaborate, a self-fulfilling prophecy is when a false belief about a situation (which is unfortunately registered in the mind) elicits a change in behaviour towards that situation, ultimately yielding a different result which makes the prophecy seem “true” when initially, it wasn’t. This also ties in with the idea that you empower what you acknowledge (as it essentially becomes true in your mind). It is also linked with “behavioural confirmation”, whereby people’s social expectations lead them to behave in ways that cause others to confirm those expectations. To illustrate this, let’s take a young student, Chipo, who’s just moved to the UK from a different country where English is not the first language, possibly 16 years old and about to take their GCSE exams. In class, her English teacher predicts that she will get a C grade in her exams, based on the social expectation that students moving from a country where they do not primarily communicate in English would struggle in their English studies, or whatever else goes into predicting grades. If Chipo’s mind is easily influenced, she might accept that as her standard and subconsciously work towards attaining a C grade when she was probably capable of achieving an A grade. When results come out, indeed she receives a C grade, perhaps because the prophecy influenced her behaviour and reactions, leading to the fulfilling of the prophecy. Side note: This is why it is encouraged, especially for parents and people who have influence over other people’s behaviour, to focus mainly on the positives. When it comes to criticism (which can be misinterpreted as negativity), it is helpful to make it constructive by giving suggestions on how to improve and do better, rather than just reiterating what the exam results would have obviously stated already, that they did something wrong and failed.
Anyway, with a renewed mind, one can have the guts to take risks knowing that anything from which you expect high returns almost always carries a high risk. I’ll use one of my adventures as an example as I believe it’s the perfect one in this instance. When I made the decision to climb Mt Kilimanjaro, a lot of people told me not to do it. My mother feared I’d fall off and die, some friends didn’t think I was “fit enough” to do it. Even on my Facebook page dedicated to all things cancer (as I was fundraising for cancer research), strangers came and posted on the page that it was terrible and not many people could do it. I can’t lie, I was terrified by it all, and my mind was swayed a little bit. However, as soon as I set foot into the Kilimanjaro National Park on the first day of the climb, I remembered why I had decided to do it in the first place and pressed on. I successfully climbed Mt Kilimanjaro to Stella Point, over 5,000m above average sea level, something I never would have dreamt of as I underestimated my physical capabilities. My mind was renewed.
The renewal of the mind is an ongoing process, however, because each day presents a new challenge to us, and if we don’t have enough support, we may chicken out or not remember to seek advice from those who may have done it before.
Remember, the main message here is that you reap what you sow. So, what you allow to penetrate your mind and your subconscience, which is basically what you sow in this context, will have an influence over what you reap at the end of it all. Keep your eye on the prize and base your decisions on what that prize is! And when you know who you are, when you renew your mind, I believe you’ll have better chances of controlling outside influences and training your mind to evoke positive behaviours that build you and lead you towards your goals. See, if we put the same amount of effort that we put into talking ourselves out of pursuing our goals into convincing ourselves, instead, of the reasons why we SHOULD do something, we could be a lot more accomplished than we currently are. Let’s renew our minds, and let’s yield that big fat harvest! Have a blessed and fruitful week 🙏🏾