Thursday, May 10, 2012


“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

- Buddha

Regardless of whether Buddha said it or not, it's quite true. Our thoughts translate into our actions, words, and beliefs and these are the things which make us up. 

But here's a different thought. What you think of other people defines who they are. 

At first this might seem ridiculous. If 'what you think you become' then obviously other people's thoughts define them. But the way in which we view the world is an extension of our thoughts. The way we view another human being is by how we think of them, which means people are who we believe them to be. 

For example, a stranger on the train. They are dressed in jeans which have glitter on them. They have on sneakers that are black and have a design painted on one side. They are wearing a t-shirt with a print of a tiger's face on it. They have long hair with green and red streaks in it. 

I may look at them and think: "What a quirky, artistic individual." 
Or I may think: "What a funny, unique person." 
Or I may think: "What a freaky weirdo." 

Is that person any of those things? My description was purely factual so any 'feeling' I have about who they are and what their personality is is based purely on my thoughts which are based on my own experiences and perceptions. 

So what about someone you "know"? I put it in quotes because the argument is, can you really know someone when what you think colours how you see the world? 

Try describing a member of your family without using a storyline. By a storyline I mean any embellishing words or descriptions which are not indisputable fact. If you're not sure or are having difficulty then go ahead and write down your description as you would but then cross out all the things which cannot be 100% verified as fact. 

An interesting result, isn't it? We cannot truly "know" someone because how we see a person, no matter how close to us they may be, will always be through the lense of our own thoughts, ideas and experiences. 

That being said, how might this change the way you think about other people? Please share your thoughts below. 


  1. ACK! This is such a good practice, but really hard to do. It definitely sheds some light on how quickly we judge others based on their appearance. It is frightening to think that the split-second assessments we make inform our actions. If we could be more mindful of what we're thinking about a perfect stranger, we could probably have much more positive interactions with others. Thanks for this.

    1. Thanks for the comment. And of course, being reflective on how we may box up people we do know as well.

  2. Oh yes this is so true!! And how we often judge people based on previous experiences with others. Even their name might rub us the wrong way if we once had a bad experience with someone of the same name. Projection creeps in everywhere. And then I wonder how this affects a jury too. We all try not to be biased but the reality is we are even when we think we are not. Such awesome insights I get from you!!


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