Saturday, September 24, 2005

For As He Thinketh in His Heart, so is He!

Magic of Thinking Big

David J. Schwatz

Chapter 6 – You Are What You Think You Are

Overview

The basic premise here is that whatever you think you are, that will determine how you act. On page 102, the author states “For thinking regulates actions.” He boils it down to a formula on page 103:

“How you think determines how you act. How you act in turn determines: How others react to you.”

He explains “to gain respect of others, you must first think you deserve respect.” (pg 103) To gain such self respect, the author suggests:

  1. “Look important – it helps you think important” – the author goes to great length to suggest that the better you dress, the more respect you will have for yourself, and in turn, the more respect you will have for other people. On page 105, he makes an analogy to the packaging of an item for sale and then he concludes with “Think about the grape example next time you’re selling yourself. Properly ‘packaged’, you have a better chance to make the sale – and at a higher price. I would like to add that on the bottom of page 105, he explains that people who are well dressed ‘say’ positive things while those dressed poorly ‘say’ negative things. He concludes this whole point with a how to looking better: Buy more expensive clothing, but buy less of it.
  2. “Think your work is important” (pg 106) – He starts this point with a story about three bricklayers, the first two do not have a good attitude on the job, the third does. He then postulates that the third person is going to make it big, but the other two will not. One quote the author makes on page 108 is “But think instead, I am important. I do have what it takes. I am a first-class performer. My work is very important. Think this way and you are headed straight to success.”
  3. “Give yourself a pep talk several times a day” (pg 111) – Before you do anything important, give yourself a pep talk to motivate you and lift your spirits. He also says that often give ourselves “a terrible mental beating”, which he explains as a chief problem we face in life. He concludes this point with steps to make a ‘commercial’ to sell yourself to you as a means to do a pep talk.
  4. “Think like important people think” (pg 115) – The author gives a list of situations and then a list of questions to ask yourself. The questions are all comparison questions comparing yourself to a ‘successful’ person.

Christian Refutation

I don’t know if it is my mood this evening or if something in this chapter triggered it, but I would like to draw a distinction between how a person does act in reality and how a person living in true faith in Jesus Christ will act. This chapter looks into a host of problems and promotes human solutions to them. Such solutions will work for a season, but those fade out as quickly as they come. For example, buying the more expensive clothes to look better; in time, you will see yourself as the same you, the ‘good feeling’ you get with better clothes will only last a few days. A good example of this can be observed by watching any child: What did that child want more than anything else for his last birthday or Christmas? How long did the time of play last? Chances are, he was sick of that toy inside a week. The same happens to us when we are trying to fulfill our needs in these things. In short, all that particular solution will do is to develop covetousness for the latest fad and expensive suit; thanks for reading that rant, I had to get it out.

It would be worth pointing out that this chapter is based Proverbs 23:7:

For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”

In keeping with these genera of material, it is heavily out of context. This chapter is based on the Word-Faith movement misinterpretation of this proverb. To understand the whole of it, you must read the surrounding context (Proverbs 23:6-8):

6Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, "Eat and drink!"
But his heart is not with you.
8You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.

This proverb is speaking about the deceit that a manipulator has. Although this person is feigning generosity, he is truly a wicked person seeking to exploit this person for gain…so fitting for material of this nature!

This chapter of course approaches it from the business end: If you just think you will succeed than you will. The reality is not quite that real.

Look important

I think I hit that one pretty good above with respect to getting better clothes. There does appear to be one point that I would like to address. Look at James 2:1-13:

1My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.
2For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes,
3and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, "You sit here in a good place," and you say to the poor man, "You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,"
4have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives?
5Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
6But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?
7Do they not blaspheme the fair name by which you have been called?
8If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well.
9But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.
11For He who said, "DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY," also said, "DO NOT COMMIT MURDER." Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty.
13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.

This verse is about showing favoritism for personal (or corporate) gain. The book does not tell you to SHOW such favoritism, but it does promote an equal sin, to PLAY such favoritism. Does this mean we dress poorly? No, but it does mean that we do NOT get caught up in our appearance, it is fleeting and useless to dwell on such things.

Think your work is important

Under this heading, I would like to suggest that work is a pre-fall condition (Genesis 2:15). Work is to be viewed as important as part of the social order that God ordained, but if you only view it as important to get success, I suggest again to read 1 John 2:15. Although you can fool men, God knows the condition of your heart. And the previous goes for the rest of us who think we know the motives behind people (sometimes, we truly do know the motives, sometimes we don’t).

Give yourself a pep talk every day

I would suggest that a pep talk is not important for two reasons. 1. We need to know our value in Christ; once that is known, a pep talk is not necessary. 2. We need to embrace the fact that we are not nice little people who do good most of the time and enjoy it. We are fallen and are bent toward evil! We are not a great product that needs a commercial, we are a fallen race that needs a Savior! (If you want to know about that Savior, click here!) The above two statements are not contradictory, though they are paradoxical. We are not deserving of life because we have all sinned, but we are still loved by God.)

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