Two women turn 70 years old, yet each takes a different meaning from the event. One “knows” that her life is coming to an end. To her, seven decades of living means that her body must be breaking down and she had better start winding up her affairs. The other woman decides that what a person is capable of at any age depends upon her belief, and sets a higher standard for herself. She decides that mountain climbing might be a good sport to begin at the age of 70. For the next 25 years, she devotes herself to this new adventure in mastery, scaling some of the highest peaks in the world until, in her 90s, Hulda Crooks became the oldest woman to ascend Mount Fuji.
Crooks understood that it is never the environment or the events of our lives, but the meaning we attach to these events that shapes who we are today and who we will become in the future. Beliefs are what make the difference between a lifetime of joyous contribution and one of misery and devastation. Beliefs are what cause some individuals to become heroes, while others lead lives of quiet desperation. If we want to direct our lives, then we must take conscious control over our beliefs. Remember, once accepted, our beliefs become unquestioned commands to our nervous systems, and they have power to expand or destroy the possibilities of our present and future.
Consider the power of your own beliefs. Do you see yourself as the 70-year-old lady who is coming to the end of her life and, as a result, needs to get her life in order? Perhaps, instead, you are like the woman who, at 70, decided taking up mountain climbing would be a good idea. Too often, people develop limiting beliefs about who they are and what they are capable of accomplishing. They concentrate on “being realistic.” The problem with being realistic is that you are really just living in fear, afraid of being disappointed or hurt. Out of that fear develop beliefs that cause you to hesitate, to not give your all, consequently getting limited results. I will leave you with this quote from The Buddha: “We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world!” What kind of thoughts do you have? What kind of world are you making?