Monday May 20th 2024

Mirror, mirror on the wall…..


Nowadays I generally shave with my eyes closed because when I look in the mirror I think it’s my father looking back at me!  That’s what happens when you’ve got a few ‘miles on the clock’.

The reason I mention this is that I’d like you to describe to yourself the person who looks back at you when you stand in front a mirror. 

Whatever your answer, you can be sure that you reflect to a significant degree, the environment in which you were raised and the influence your current environment is having upon you today.

When you were born you had no control over your circumstances and the way in which you initially were brought up. It was purely a matter of chance. But as you became older it gradually became a matter of choice.

The problem is that many people allow the choices they make in adulthood to be determined by the input they received as a child.  That’s fine if you were subjected to positive and wholesome attitudes and behaviour.  It’s a well known fact, for example, that many of our doctors had one or even both of their parents who were doctors also.

We also know that many people who run their own successful business came from a business background and had fathers who were successful businessmen. (Nowadays there are many very successful women who are running great businesses, but that would have been an exception a couple of generations ago.)

Sadly, on the other side of the coin we now see families that are on the third generation of living on benefits where nobody has ever held a real job.  We are only too aware that every city and large town in the UK has an area that’s run down and deprived, which is a breeding ground for delinquency and crime.

So don’t underestimate the part that environment has played in where you have been and where you are now. 

There will always be examples of those who seem impervious to where and how they were raised. Multi-millionaire business owners, or famous celebrities, who have risen to great heights regardless of their background; but upon reading the autobiographies of such people it almost always becomes apparent that some event took place when they were still young that altered the course of their lives.

Of course it’s intriguing how two or three children born to the same parents and sharing the same upbringing can so often have such different personalities.  But even though they may be at different ends of the spectrum where their characters are concerned you can be pretty sure they will have developed similar values, standards and beliefs.

If you were fortunate to have enjoyed a happy childhood then I’m sure you are grateful and have benefitted as a result. But if you have painful memories of your early years, for whatever reasons, then although you have my sympathy it’s vitally important that you consign those memories to the past where they belong. Don’t allow the things you can’t change to have a detrimental effect on your future.  It’s time for you to ordain your own destiny.

What’s much more important is the role that your current environment will play in determining how you live your life.  It will influence your attitude, your behaviour your aspirations and all the choices you make.

This is why it’s critical for you to be very selective about all the things that will have an influence upon you.  Make no mistake; we are all being influenced every moment of every day.  What we read, who we associate with, what we watch on TV, what we listen to on the radio, what we do in our leisure time….all these have a huge impact.

Of course we filter much of this in accordance with what our beliefs and perceptions are. However are you sure that you’re not filtering out some of the good stuff and taking on board some of the messages that may be potentially harmful?

Once again this brings us back to how we see ourselves or our ‘self image’.  It’s almost a chicken and egg situation.  Our self image determines how we respond to our environment and how we choose the environment in which we feel comfortable. And our environment affects our self image!

In the same way that we need to be aware of what we eat and put into our body if we want to look and feel healthy, we also have to be very aware of what goes into our head.

Positive thoughts bring about positive results.  We’ll talk more about this in a future article but let’s stay with environment and habits for the moment and how they influence the choices and decisions we make.

Habit is such a key factor in determining how well or otherwise we live our lives. We are all creatures of habit.  The only way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one.

And habit is in reality an expression of choice. The problem is that by definition we do things habitually and never think that we are choosing.  For example, every time a smoker lights a cigarette he or she is exercising choice.  But to the smoker it’s seen as a habit. So the choice is being made without thinking, or in other words, sub-consciously.

It’s the same with procrastination… being late for appointments and meetings….laziness….overeating…. over spending…..drinking too much….the excessive use of bad language….indecision…telling lies….putting people down… putting yourself down… expecting the worst….etc.etc.

But you can change bad habits into good habits through conscious choice!

Choosing carefully all the different things that make up your environment and the various people who influence you, coupled with choosing to adopt good habits and eradicate the bad ones, will have a profound and lasting positive effect on your life.




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