A Stack of Sticks (What You See is What You Get)

​I was once asked by a millionaire businessman, “Randy, what do you think about when you’re not thinking about anything?” At first, I thought his question was humorous, but the more I considered it, I realized he was on to something.

We are what we think, and we are becoming what we intentionally or unintentionally think about. When my wife Patty sees me sitting quietly, she will sometimes ask “What are you thinking about?” When I retrace my thoughts, I realize how random and seemingly disconnected they are. Sometimes just for fun, I will recount the thoughts randomly streaming through my mind. It’s then that I will realize that I was heading toward some goal, project, task, or maybe our relationship, our children or grandchildren.

The key to this process is recognizing that we all have this “down time” when we are thinking, without thinking what we are thinking about. It seems convoluted, and in a way it is, but usually the initial thought is brought about by something we see or hear. It may be someone in a crowd, a billboard, TV show, a song, or something on a talk radio program. Each of these are unintentional prompts, but yet, we control them because it was our choice to tune in, view or focus on something.

What if you intentionally choose to watch, listen, read or, even more profound, choose to be around people who are more like what you want to be?

I have heard it said that our income in the future will be the average of the five people we are around most often. Think about that. Who do you hang around?

The influence of what you hear and see from the people you choose to be with are either influencing you to grow, or not. Wow! That can be encouraging. Or troubling.

Now, to the stack of sticks. While our pastor recently told the Biblical account from Genesis chapter 30, I was reminded about being intentional, and the impact of what we see daily.

The account is basically a love story with a lot of pursuit, deception, and tenacious persistence. Jacob, the guy who finally wins the beauty, makes a deal with her dad to tend his flocks. He also agrees to keep the spotted animals, and give her father the solid colored ones which are of greater value.

Jacob used a breeding strategy that would not be understood until thousands of years later.

We now know that his strategy of putting dark colored sticks with some of the bark removed, exposing the lighter colored stem, may have affected the animals’ visual attraction.

Jacob sets up the multi-colored sticks where the animals gathered to eat and drink. The solid and spotted animals are attracted to the other animals that already have the stick-like, multi-colored appearance, and happily mate with them. This increased the multi-colored animals available to mate in Jacobs flock. Hence, his flocks greatly increased and he became wealthy.

Solutions to prompt new thinking:

  1. Place three items, notes, or other prompts in obvious places that will influence positive change, creativity, and productivity.
  2. Listen to a music selection today that would not be typical.
  3. Contact three people this week who will have a positive influence on your perspective, insight, vocabulary, skill, or attitude
  4. Select a time and place to intentionally think, listen and see differently.
  5. Read Genesis 30:25-43

Based on a few choices, your life can begin to change TODAY.

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