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Thinking is an incredible activity. We do it all the time automatically. Scientists say we never stop having words move through our minds. Even when we are asleep, a flow of words is streaming around inside of us. In fact, while human beings can speak at the rate of 150 to 200 words per minute, we think at the rate of 1300 to 1800 words per minute [and we read from 200 to 400 words per minute on average]. This helps explain why our mind sometimes wanders when we are listening to someone [or their mind wanders when we are speaking!].
Our thoughts are the single most important physical item in determining our destiny. How we think will dictate how we feel and how we react to situations in life. That, in turn, will determine our success or failure. Consider the ancient wisdom of Solomon:
Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Solomon [Pr. 4:23-24, The Message]
[I know in our modern society we think of 'heart' as the emotions, but in Solomon's time, the word 'heart' referred more to what we call the soul, including the mind and the intellect.]
What is thinking? It is basically our mind talking to ourselves. Every human being is constantly talking to themselves - they usually don't do it out loud. Everyone has both negative and positive fleeting thoughts. You know the kind. They seem to come into our minds from nowhere. These are not the thoughts that will affect our destiny. If it is just in and out, there is no lasting impression. If we choose to spend time dwelling or meditating about the thought, then it becomes a part of who we are and will impact our lives for better or worse.
Our mind has the ability to evaluate facts and decide what is true or false. It can make a wrong decision based on incomplete or inaccurate data or ingrained prejudice, but it will evaluate information. We can then decide what to think.
Our emotions are the opposite. They cannot evaluate facts. They simply react to what the mind tells them is true. For example, imagine you are back in school. Unexpectedly you are called to the principal's office. Your mind evaluates the information and tells your emotions - "You are in trouble now." Instantly, the butterflies in your stomach start, your legs move slower, and fear wells up in your heart. When you get to the principal's office, you find out he just wanted to thank you for some volunteer work you had done. What happened? Your mind fed your emotions misinformation, and your emotions simply reacted.
Since our thoughts are programming our lives at the rate of 1300 to 1800 words per minute, 24 hours a day, it is extremely important what kind of thoughts we allow into our minds. It is important what kind of books we read, what kind of TV programs we watch, what kind of music we listen to, and what kind of friends we have. If we are constantly getting negative input, our programming is going to be largely negative, which, in turn, will hinder our ability to live happy, healthy lives.
Also, it is crucial what kind of language we use with children. Their minds are in the process of developing the ability to evaluate facts. While they are in the process, they tend to believe everything they hear. If someone tells them they are stupid, lazy, or will never amount to anything, they will tend to accept it as fact. Even when they mature, they will find it hard to overcome that kind of thinking which was programmed into them in their youth. Yes, children [and adults, too] have to be corrected when they are wrong, but it should never be in a way that devalues them as a person or introduces negative thinking into their minds.
How does this apply to reading? Many times children are labelled as having a learning disability simply because they have struggles in some areas. All of us are different. All of us struggle in some areas. In the case of reading, often the problem is more with ineffective methods of teaching reading than with the child. Because of hearing it so often, the child begins to think of himself or herself as learning disabled. Then they don't believe that they can ever learn. What a crime!
Now, I recognize that some people have genuine physical, mental, or spiritual issues that hinder their learning ability. In extreme cases, it may prevent them from learning. In most cases, amazing progress is possible if a person will simply believe in themselves with the right kind of thinking.
Check out those 1300 to 1800 words that are streaming through your mind every minute. Are they building your life...or tearing it down?
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