Aligned and Balanced
My dad made his living as a mechanic, and
as a young boy, I loved watching him work.
He had cool tools, and the shop, with its
rumble of large engines and rattle of impact
wrenches, was full of power and masculinity.
Occasionally, my dad had time to teach me
basic procedures, like wheel alignment and
tire balancing. We used special diagnostic
machines for each procedure, and made corrections
when we detected misalignment or misbalance.
Often, we went on a test drive before we started
working and then on another after the corrections
were made. On the first trip, my dad would
let go of the steering wheel on a straight
section of the highway and show me how the
car drifted to one side or another, if it
was misaligned, and how it subtly shook, if
the tires were unbalanced. After we fixed
it, he could drive down that same stretch
of highway with no hands, and the car would
seem to steer itself.
When a car's wheels are misaligned or its
tires are unbalanced, it fights against itself
and is not nearly as effective as it can be.
We're the same way. If one of our wheels is
even slightly misaligned, we'll veer toward
the ditch, sometimes gradually, other times,
dramatically. If a tire is unbalanced, we'll
sense that something is wrong, and if left
uncorrected, it will eventually become too
severe to be ignored.
Of course, we don't have wheels and tires
- we have thoughts, words and actions. If
any of those three are not aligned with the
direction we want to take our lives, our journey
is much more difficult than it needs to be.
Our thoughts are the genesis of all that
we do. If you've ever started your day in
a bad mood, with negative thoughts making
you snarl, even before you've encountered
something to anger you, you know what I mean.
A bad mood usually leads to a bad day, because
we feel compelled to share our negativity,
and our words negatively impact those around
us and taint our actions and the actions of
those around us.
Conversely, positive thinking - true positive
thinking - leads to positive dialogue, which
sets in motion, positive action. I say "true
positive thinking," because you can't
force yourself to think positively consistently.
For positive thinking to come naturally and
consistently, you must feed your mind with
positive affirming messages and control your
environment against negativity.
Our thoughts guide our words, often in very
subtle ways. Contrast the following two statements,
both in response to a question my wife recently
"I have to go to Lincoln today for a
meeting that is probably completely unnecessary."
"I am going to Lincoln today to support
an organization whose mission is important
While it's easy to see which answer came
from positive thinking, it's much more difficult
to filter a response like that before it comes
out of your mouth, especially in a comfortable
setting, like when you are with family and
friends. What we say impulsively, when we're
being honest and not trying to impress anyone,
reveals our true thinking. If we have to force
ourselves to be positive, our thoughts are
not aligned with our words, and we'll feel
an inner struggle.
If I attend the meeting in the above example
with a negative mindset confirmed by negative
words, it's very difficult to be a positive
force on the organization. I'm out of alignment.
To correct that, I must go back to the source
of all of my words and actions, my thoughts.
Are your thoughts, words and actions aligned?
If something doesn't feel right, stop what
you are doing and saying, and examine what
you are thinking. If you can fix that, you
will be much more effective and comfortable.