“There are three stages of a man’s life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus”
– author unknown
Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fa la la la la….do you love this time of year, or do you loathe it? Perhaps you put up your decorations and your “Santa Stop Here” sign in October each year, or perhaps you’re doing your best to ignore it all, hoping it’ll all just go away. Well, even if you are The Grinch personified, I bet you can still remember a time back in your childhood when this time of year was simply magical… go on, admit it!
If you’ve got kids, it isn’t hard to remember the excitement of believing in Santa Claus, and even if you don’t have kids, it’s not really that hard to remember being one yourself, is it? Do you remember writing out your letter to Santa? I do. I don’t remember writing anything in particular but I do remember the feeling of hope and of belief. I totally believed that if I had been “good” and made it onto Santa’s “nice” list, my efforts would be rewarded with the special something that I really, really wanted.
So, at what point in your life do you stop believing in Santa, and, at what point in your life do you stop believing that you can have what you want? Yes! If you’re not happy with your lot in life and you believe that you’re stuck with it, you’ve stopped believing that you can have what you want. Okay, before you get all “bah humbug” on me, I’m not suggesting that you should write out what it is you want and then sit back and wait for a jolly man in a red suit to deliver it to the foot of your bed! But, I am suggesting that you should think back to your childhood thought processes.
Take a look around you at the kids you know today. In the build-up to Christmas each year, they begin to think in terms of what they need to do – over and above what they normally do – in order to receive what they want in return. It’s a simple trade… they do good things and they get good things in return. Now you might argue that life is not so simple once you’re all grown up, but I’m here to argue the point that it is. The only thing that changes between childhood and adulthood is belief.
At the heart of every approach to personal development lies the need to understand that positive thoughts lead to positive actions, and positive actions lead to positive outcomes. Well, let’s just think about that for a moment; when a child writes a letter to Santa, they are thinking positive thoughts about what they want, and they are thinking positively about the positive actions they can take to ensure that Santa brings them the things they want in return. And, when they hold up their side of the bargain, Santa delivers – that’s the positive outcome.
But why leave it there? You can do the very same right now, today. If you’re not happy with your lot, switch your focus away from what you don’t want and write down what you do want. Look at your list and think positively about what you could do right now to move towards those things, then add the “magic” ingredient – belief. Believe that you can have what you want.
At this time of year, it’s a popular tradition to make New Year resolutions. Hundreds of us will vow to lose weight; change jobs; give up smoking; get fitter… the list goes on, but how many of us will take the action needed to move towards those things, and, crucially, how many of us actually believe that we can have the positive outcomes we want? What is it that prevents so many of us from believing in ourselves and believing that we can be who we want to be? We’ll delve into these questions next time, but remember…
Positive thoughts are not just for Christmas, they’re for life!