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Slave to our thoughts


A businessman had nearly finished his meal in a restaurant when a stranger approached.

``Hello, Kittichai,'' the newcomer shouted.

``What happened? You used to be so short, how come you're so tall now? You've got so fair-skinned too _ before you were as black as coal. And your ears are sticking out more than they used to.''

``Sorry, I'm not Kittichai,'' the businessman answered in a firm tone of voice.

``Wow,'' the stranger exclaimed. ``You've even changed your name!''

When we are convinced about something, we tend to hold fast to that conviction. Even when new evidence or information contradicts our beliefs, we still won't give them up. Instead, we will continue to find plenty of reasons to support that conviction.

When we believe deeply in something, sometimes our eyes, ears, or other senses will be shaped by those beliefs. A millionairess who believes that her maid stole her diamond ring will see signs of the crime in whatever the maid does. But when she finds the ring later, stuck in a gap between two desks, she no longer sees those signs.

Our thoughts affect our perceptions. And we can always find countless reasons to support our ideas. That is why we often come across people who have been duped but, despite being presented with proof of the fraud, still continue to have faith in the conman.

Our minds have sophisticated defence mechanisms to protect them from being attacked. We also use these mechanisms to reinforce the conclusions we have come to and make them more unshakable.

Realising this, we should be careful not to trust our own thought processes because they can make fools of us if we don't understand how they work.

Thoughts are good servants but bad masters. Therefore we should be constantly mindful, never letting them become our masters, never letting them dominate us to such an extent that we let ourselves be driven by them, believing them to be true.

The following story reminds us not to be get carried away by our own thoughts:

Pakpoom paid a visit to Phuket for the first time. While he was waiting for his friends at the bus station, he saw an elderly, well-dressed man standing nearby. So he asked him for the time.

``Excuse me, what time is it?,'' he asked.

Looking at him contemptuously, the man snapped: ``Get lost!''

Pakpoom was stunned. Then he said: ``I asked you politely for the time so why did you speak to me like that?''

The old man pretended not to hear. But when Pakpoom pressed him for a response, he let out a long stream of words:

``I know what you're up to. First you ask me for the time. If I'd
answered, then you'd have started talking about the weather, the sea, your travel plans and other things. Once we felt more familiar with each other, I'd feel obliged to invite you to visit my house.

``What would happen after that? You'd meet Methinee, my lovely
daughter. Then you two might develop a liking for each other. Eventually, you might ask her to marry you. Me? Let my daughter marry you? No way! How could my daughter live with a man who doesn't even have a watch of his own!

``So to prevent all these headaches from happening, I'd rather risk
being considered a bad-mannered person than tell you what time it is!''

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