Ga...ry Z McGee
correct-your-mind “Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Unknown
The preceding quote has been attributed to many people: the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, the transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, the Buddha, and even a supermarket magnate named Frank Outlaw, among others. But who actually wrote the quote isn’t nearly as important as it having been writ. In this article we will break down this curious quote by tracing the seed of Thought to the flower of Destiny, and see what we can learn along the way.
Watch your thoughts, they become words
“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” –George Orwell
Every single word originated from the fallibility of the human mind. Our skulls are like little cul-de-sacs of thought just waiting to spring into words. Our brains are tiny galaxies going through the motion of creating a multitude of thoughts through the firing of billions of synapses. The only way we can share these thoughts with each other is through words. But first our thoughts need to be clear enough to become words.
This seems simple, but sometimes it’s the little things, the basics, that prevent us from being clear with each other. Sometimes getting the horse back in front of the cart is as simple as clearing our minds (the art of no-mind) so that our thoughts are clear enough to become words, while also being okay with the fact that we will never be completely clear on anything – quite the existential gamble.
“No philosophy,” William James asserted, “can ever be anything but a summary sketch, a picture of the world in abridgment, a foreshortened bird’s-eye view of the perspective of events.” So it goes also with our thoughts. Our thoughts can only ever be rough drafts of what we’re perceiving, terse outlines of an unfathomably huge cosmos.