Your Thought Processes Create Your Reality

Ah…October…pretty colors, pumpkins and politics. Although I have to give props to anyone who has the courage to run for an elected office, I really don’t care much for campaign season. So to get through all the television ads, mailers and Facebook posts with my sanity intact, I turn it all into a little game. And what becomes apparent very quickly, is that the politicians (and/or their campaign strategists) are not simply trying to earn my vote – they are attempting to influence how I think.

I’m fairly confident we could all agree that economic stability and growth are good things. I’m pretty sure that we all think education is a good thing. And we probably also all think that safe neighborhoods in a sustainable environment are a good thing. Where we might disagree, however, is how to best achieve these objectives. And it is fascinating to watch how political adversaries offer up partial bits of information – in highly focused sound bites – that are designed to get our attention, push our emotional buttons, and come to conclusions about issues that might not be based on a sound argument.

I bring this up because these assaults on our thought processes are easily discerned in political campaigns. But they are not necessarily so evident in other areas of our life – particularly in the areas of health, and specifically weight-loss. We – as a culture – are so entrenched in the “calories in/calories out” approach to weight loss, we often don’t even realize that this fundamental mindset is frequently responsible for driving our decisions, choices and actions.

For example, I recently saw an ad for an ice cream company. As images of creamy, slow churned goodness filled the television screen, a woman’s voice – in a rich, low alto tone – murmured, “You don’t have to give up. You can give in.”

But what is this ad really saying? We might think that this company is just trying to get us to purchase their particular brand of ice cream. But in that process, this company is also influencing how we think. The advertisers are playing off the premise that we think ice cream is bad for us – and they are trying to make us believe that it is ok to indulge in their particular brand of ice cream. (And in this process they are also deepening and perpetuating our beliefs that ice cream is “bad.”) But what if we don’t think ice cream is “bad” in the first place? If we change the premise at the foundation, the entire argument of their advertising campaign falls apart!

It is often said that “our thoughts create our reality.” But no one ever seems to talk about our thought processes – how we create arguments and arrive at conclusions based on any given thought. And in my humble opinion, our thought processes are every bit as important as any individual thought we might hold. If that’s the case, we are responsible for understanding how our thought processes are being influenced – by a political candidate, or by an advertising executive for an ice cream company – and we are responsible for staying conscious in our decision making processes. Ultimately, we are responsible for making sure our thought processes create the best realities we can imagine.