The Wisdom of a Sheikh

20 Nov 2023

Watch your thoughts, they become words.

Watch your words, they become actions.

Watch your actions, they become habits.

Watch your habits, they become character.

Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.

These words are from my latest ‘find’ in the second-hand book section of one of our charity superstores. The book is, ‘Word Play,’ by Gyles Brandreth – and it is a delight.

The quote is from his chapter on the letter ‘S’ – entitled, “Seven Words of Wisdom.”  The words shared come from an interview Gyles had with Sheikh Mohammed bin Raschid al Maktoum – Prime Minister of the UAE.

The wisdom is very much in alignment with my leadership training I’m receiving using Stephen R Covey’s, “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  It’s a mature work that has stood the test of time. Covey was a huge advocate of ‘character’. It is the character of a person that helps them to make wise choices in the moment of decision.

I like the clarity of the Sheikh’s thinking. Guard your mind – watch your thought-life – and all else flows from that seed.

This makes me wonder if depression begins with a thought. I think that is too simple, don’t you? After all, we know that some depression is provoked by biochemistry. However, we may have before us a useful call to action for the day ahead: watch our thoughts!

I know that I know that none of the words I speak in English are uttered without a thought or a feeling. If we were to choose to think the best of others – and, indeed, ourselves – today, I’m sure kind words would be chosen over harsh ones. And if we choose kind words, they are likely to be followed by conscious acts of kindness. Keep this up for the week, and we may find kindness becomes our daily habit. A month of habitual kindness could even become character… and who knows what will happen then.

I know the people I love to be around, and without exception they are kind – the kind the characters I’d like to be more like.


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