What We Think We Become

Imagine your mind is a sculptor, constantly chipping away at the raw material of your life. Each thought you hold, each belief you harbor, becomes a tool that shapes your experience. This is the essence of the ancient wisdom from the Buddha: “What we think, we become.”

From Thought to Reality

This simple yet profound idea has rippled through countless philosophies and self-help doctrines over the centuries. It suggests that our thoughts aren’t idle clouds drifting across our consciousness—they are powerful forces that directly shape our reality.

Let’s unpack how this could work. If you constantly tell yourself you can’t handle challenges, you may unknowingly undermine your confidence. This might trigger avoidance behaviors, confirming your initial fearful thoughts. Similarly, if you radiate feelings of warmth and kindness, you might inspire similar behavior in others, fostering genuine connections that reaffirm your compassionate view of the world.

Everyday Relevance

This concept becomes a guiding light in many areas of life. Facing a potential career change? Dwelling on anxieties about past failures or self-doubt will likely stifle your ambition. Instead, consciously practicing positivity and envisioning success strengthens your chances of seizing that new opportunity. Similarly, the way we engage in our relationships is colored by our internal beliefs. Deep down, do you harbor mistrust, always expecting betrayal? That attitude breeds insecurity which often becomes self-fulfilling.

Caution & Responsibility

It’s crucial to remember this saying isn’t a magical pass to avoid hardship or pain. Life is unpredictable, and even those brimming with unwavering positivity and self-belief can still face setbacks and tragedies. Blaming victims of tragedies for somehow manifesting events with their thoughts adds insult to injury and negates the complexity of human existence.

The wisdom here lies in mindfulness. Notice your recurring thoughts. Cultivate mental patterns that fuel constructive action rather than defeatism. It’s an ongoing battle between doubt and resilience, fear and determination, played out in our own minds.

A Seed of Possibility

While there’s little concrete information about the Buddha’s direct usage of these exact words, a similar phrase appears in one of the core Buddhist texts, The Dhammapada. Within a larger context, it highlights the Buddha’s focus on the power of the mind within spiritual practice. However, its impact and interpretation stretch far beyond Buddhism.


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<a href="https://englishpluspodcast.com/author/dannyballanowner/" target="_self">Danny Ballan</a>

Danny Ballan


Danny is a podcaster, teacher, and writer. He worked in educational technology for over a decade. He creates daily podcasts, online courses, educational videos, educational games, and he also writes poetry, novels and music.

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