by Wambui Bahati

In the summer of 1968, I remember dancing and singing along with Aretha Franklin as she wailed, "You better think! Yeah, Think! Let your mind go. Let yourself be free!"

Whether I was washing the dishes, doing homework, or just hanging out with my friends, whenever I heard that song, I'd stop whatever I was doing and belt out at least one "Think!" myself. Of course, I also owned the 45 records. I loved that song. For three weeks, Think was the number one R&B single in the United States.

During that same summer, I was preparing to go away to college. I had taken the right test and got good scores, so I sure knew how to think. Yes, I knew how to think. I have come to realize, over the years, that while I knew how to think, I didn't understand the power of thinking or the power of thoughts.

While I celebrated Think being the number one R&B single, I failed to realize that thinking was then, is now, and forever and always will be the number one factor in what determines the quality of our lives. "Yeah, you better think."

I didn't realize I was creating what I was thinking about. Because of this, I created some real messes. Oh, don't get me wrong; I created some wonderful adventures too. For the most part, however, I was busy thinking as a reaction to what was going on around me. I was thinking about automatic.

I was not totally in charge of my thinking. Therefore, I was not totally in charge of my life. I was imaginative and creative in all areas pertaining to the arts – theater, crafts, and writing. However, applying that same imagination and creativity to every aspect of my life never occurred to me.

Psychological studies show that each of us has about 60,000 thoughts each day. That's a lot of thoughts. Yes, that's the good news. Here's the sad news. We are not having 60,000 new thoughts each day. Most of us think the same few little thoughts over and over 60,000 times. ("My boss is getting on my nerves." My boss gets on my nerves." "I got to find me a new job." "I'm going to quit this job." "I'm going to quit this job because my boss gets on my nerves." "Did I tell you what my boss did?" "He acts like I'm stupid." "He made me angry." "My boss . . .)

I now realize that just like I didn't understand the power of my thoughts, most other people do not realize how powerful their thoughts are either. Most of us do not realize that the universe, or God, or whatever we call the greatest power, is busy creating what we think and create in our minds for us. Our thoughts are powerful things. They are energy. Our thoughts carry vibration messages throughout the universe. They bring to us more of whatever we are thinking about.

Therefore, if we concentrate and think about how bad things are, we create more bad things. If we constantly think about things that don't matter, we create more stuff in our lives that doesn't matter. Knowing who was voted out of the house on a reality TV show will not affect our lives unless we are that person who was voted off or we are somehow personally connected to that person.

We spend time thinking about and discussing movie characters, how to beat electronic games, discuss other people's business and what's wrong or right about our political system. True, we are not hurting anybody, and yes, there are worse things we could be doing. However, we are not helping ourselves either. We can use the time we spend thinking about things that don’t matter to us to create new lives for ourselves.

Imagine if we spent this time thinking and planning our own lives – thinking about ways to make our own lives better and thinking about things we want to have, be, and do. Think about what is right in our lives. We're not taking advantage of the simple yet, remarkable gift that each of us has been given – the power to think. It doesn't cost us one cent to think. Learn to appreciate the magic of thinking and being able to choose what we think about.

Aretha sang to her man, "Think about what you are trying to do to me.” I challenge you to think about what you're trying to do to yourself. You have the power to think yourself into a place of joy, a place of peace, and yes, even a place of health and wealth. Think about it.


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