Your imagination is one of the most powerful tools you will ever possess. It has the power to influence your thoughts, emotions, self-image, actions, etc. I often use the colloquialism “worrying is a waste of creativity”. Creativity and imagination come from the same place.
In Proverbs 23:7, it says “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” We have the ability to cause our thoughts to manifest and become part of our reality. We choose what thoughts we dwell on and that directly effects our actions, as well as those around us.
There have been thousands of studies over the years that have proven the phenomenon of terminally ill patients healing themselves from within through the power of positive thinking and belief that they would heal. We also find this truth in the phenomenon of the placebo effect.
When you spend time worrying and living in fear, you create that reality around you. Our thoughts are like prayers, constantly influencing what manifests around us. We have the ability to think, pray and believe things into existence.
What are you thinking, praying and meditating into fruition? Abundance? Scarcity? Peace? Do you believe Africans are capable of peace and success, or of just receiving charity? As a society, what do you think we could make manifest if we believed Africa was capable, peaceful, wise and extraordinary? We’ve certainly seen what we can do when we believe the opposite.
What do you think happens when you constantly believe your spouse is angry with you and you live your life as if they are? What do you think happens to a larger group of people when the majority of the world believes they are inferior?
So true. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” As an adolescent I had horrible self esteem, actually I’d say I had no esteem. My acne was so bad I was honestly asked by people if I was involved in some sort of accident that caused my skin to do what it did. This started in fourth grade. Combine this with me being one of the least coordinated people I’ve ever met, I would frequently trip over my own feet, and someone who was slightly socially awkward and you have a recipe for a lack of self esteem.
What helped me was a Saturday Night Live skit with some guy looking in the mirror saying “You’re good enough and people like you” (or something along those lines). I started saying the “good enough” bit everyday when I looked in the mirror for the first time and each evening when I looked in the mirror for the last time. It took years, but I don’t think ANYONE would EVER say I have an esteem problem anymore, unless it was too much esteem.
I heard you say in an interview with Dan Miller that the aid given to Africa is / has done some extreme damage (you gave the example of a well), I would think that would be true. As the Bible says, you give a man a fish and feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a life time. I don’t think you quoted this scripture in your interview, but you eluded to by relating African’s desires to learn how to drill and maintain wells in their villages, not just for someone to come in and drill a well, teach nothing, and leave.
My question for you is how do you think we can teach people to fish instead of handing them a fish? I have pretty much always viewed life as fairly a self sufficient journey, I take care of me and my family, you take care of yours, and that’s that. But I’m starting to understand that Christ called us to serve those in need. I may not have a ton of extra resources, but I do have knowledge and a heart, and am starting to understand it should be used to help others whenever possible/
Thanks Ivan! Great response.
I remember the SNL skit well. That was Stuart Smalley, and I actually use that little quote often.
How do you “teach a man to fish”? That’s quite an involved question, but I’ll give an answer (out of lots of possibilities). When people ask me how they can “help in Africa”, or something along those lines, I usually tell them this:
I don’t like armchair philanthropy. You either go to the people, live with them and serve them, or you find someone else that is doing that and support them. You must be able to truly understand (as best you can) their culture, needs, roadblocks, politics, and so on. But there are lots of great people out there that live and work in these places every day that need your support. And that’s just as important.
In other words, if you don’t have the capacity or resources to go and teach, empower someone else that does. Use your skills to teach another philanthropist. Or serve in your own backyard, where it is likely needed as well. But just teach what you know, and show love. Love wins every time.