Have you heard the expression “his brain is in neutral”? I take that to mean that a person’s brain is running, but going nowhere. There are lots of revving, smoke, vibration, allusions to power, and great expenditures of fuel, but nobody is going anywhere.

It is a shame, but we all have met or known someone with their brain in neutral. A person with great potential and natural ability who could easily succeed at anything they wanted to do. But instead of moving toward success and achieving something, anything, they live a life that produces absolutely nothing. They are always working on the next big thing. They are always talking big plans, big ideas they are going to do this, that and the other thing! These people have great aspirations but their biggest challenge is just getting out of bed in the morning. What’s up with that?

The problem is focus. If there is no sense of purpose then one feels no need to move in any particular direction. An aimless life is the result of aimless thought. Thoughts that are unfettered, free to think about whatever they wish whether good or bad, profitable or unprofitable will lead a person nowhere. There must be a desired destination for one to reach—a purpose. If there is no focus, no purpose, one will live a life devoid of any real significance. “Aimlessness is a vice” declared James Allen that should be avoided because it leads to destruction.

Success at anything is not an accident or a fluke. It is when preparation and timing intersect. One must be constantly moving toward their purpose in life in order to fulfill it. To reach your goal you must not allow yourself to think or meditate on those things that would detract you from reaching it.

Here are some things you can do to get your thinking on track:

1. Get a goal, get a purpose. Without any direction you will get nowhere. There is a story of a farmer who had a big get together at his farm. During the festivities, he invited a friend of his to accompany him to the barn. Once there, the farmer took him to the rear exterior wall of the barn. The wall was decorated with hand painted targets on it. In the center of each target was an arrow. The friend said to his farmer friend, “you are a great archer.’ You hit the bull’s eye every time.” The farmer replied, “No. I just shoot the arrow and then paint a bull’s eye around it.” Unfortunately, this is how some people live their lives. They just take a shot and hope it hits something. Purpose provides your life with a target to aim for. It provides you with direction. Imagine taking a trip to a particular destination, but having no map or instructions on how to get there. That is a sad way to live. Setting a goal, determining a purpose, will provide you with a destination. Purpose gives your life direction.

2. Make your purpose the focus of your life. Everything we experience on the outside was first determined on the inside. Our thinking affects the way we see the world and how we interpret events and circumstances. If we believe that we are destined to live a mediocre life, we will live such a life. It is vitally important that we find our purpose and build our lives with the desired result in mind. This is not as easy as it sounds. Each of us is prone to a particular way of thinking. Our thinking is the result of years of experiences that have created our belief system. Therefore, to fulfill our purpose, we must undo all of our previous ways of thinking and construct a new way belief system. It will take more than wishful thinking to change your life. It will take focus. A marksman must intentionally set his sights on his target. He cannot randomly discharge his weapon and expect to hit the bull’s eye. Marksmanship is all about precision shooting. The marksman must take into consideration such things as; stance, range, accuracy of weapon, accuracy of ammunition, wind velocity and sight adjustment. Any one of these things, if not taken into consideration, can result in missing the target. Does a marksman ever miss his target? Yes. What does he do? The marksman makes adjustments and refocuses. Your purpose is your focus. Zero in on it! You will miss the target from time to time. When you do, just refocus and make the necessary adjustments and you will hit the target!

3. Understand that accomplishing your purpose can be achieved by effort and practice. I had injured my right arm lifting an object. Upon medical examination, it was determined that the bicep tendon was severed and surgery was needed to reattach it. This meant that I was facing a long recovery time. My normal range of motion was severely impaired. Lifting my arm was strenuous and using it for long periods of time, was unthinkable. I had been accustomed to working out with weights three times per week. After the surgery, I could barley lift a fraction of the weight I had previous to the injury. The road to recovery would be a long one. Yet, I was given hope by my health care professionals that the normal use of my arm would indeed return. They informed me that by working the arm little by little I would regain range of motion and strength. And, as it turns out, they were right.

That same principle can be applied when it comes to accomplishing your purpose. Exercise it little by little. Just as physical stretching keeps muscles and joints strong and pliable; stretching yourself to achieve your purpose will do the same for you mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Be patient and practice over and over again. Then one day you will achieve what seemed impossible.

4. Purposefully change your thinking—purposefully incorporate positive influences in your life through associations, reading materials and positive affirmations. You are more likely to succeed if you have a mentor. Mentors are a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a kick in the seat of the pants to get you up and going. If you are to fulfill your purpose, you will need mentors in your life. It is imperative that you have a positive network of individuals in your life who celebrate you and challenge you to grow and be better.

Feed your mind through ingesting materials that challenge your thinking, motivate you to success, and inspire you to reach higher.

Positive affirmations serve by helping to undo dysfunctional belief systems that may be plaguing your life. You cannot change thought by thought. The way to change a thought is by changing your words. By changing your words you can effectively begin to change your life. Man is the only creature given the ability to bring what he thinks into reality. This is part of our divine nature. In Genesis chapter 1, the bible tells us that man was created in the image and likeness of God. God saw the world dark and void and His thoughts were expressed into words—“let there be” and it was so. We, who are God’s image here on earth, have the ability to think and speak and turn those thoughts and words into being. Jesus said, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”(Mark 11:23 NKJV)

Where are your thoughts taking you? If they are moving you closer to failure than success, change them. You are the captain of your ship! Where do you want to be heading toward? Only you have the power to change you. And, the way to change your life and the direction it is taking begins by changing your thoughts!

Author's Bio: 

Daniel Toops is an author, motivational speaker and ordained pastor. He has provided pastoral care, counsel and coaching for over twenty years. He,along with his son Duane, are the creators of Better Thinking Better Living, a faith based self help organization designed to enrich the lives of people through teaching spiritual principles.