A Better Foreman
by Chuck Swindoll
A person is a product of his or her own thoughts. Thoughts form the thermostat which regulates what we accomplish in life. My body responds and reacts to the input from my mind. If I feed it with doubt, worry, and discouragement, that is precisely the kind of day I will experience. If I adjust my thermostat forward—to thoughts filled with vision, hope, and victory—I can count on that kind of day. You and I become what we think about.
Take a minute to give your imagination a workout. Consider your mind a factory—a busy, bustling workshop of action and production. That’s not far from the truth. Your mind is a thought factory. Every day on that internal assembly line it produces thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of thoughts. Production in your thought factory is under the charge of two foremen. The names on their hard hats are Mr. Gainground and Mr. Slideback. Mr. Gainground, as you’d imagine, oversees the production of positive thoughts. At the pull of a lever, wholesome, encouraging, reassuring plans and positive ideas roll down the belt and into the showroom.
That other foreman, Mr. Slideback, has responsibilities too. Over in a darker, damp wing of the plant, Gainground’s counterpart manufactures negative, depreciating, worrisome thoughts. Both foremen are well qualified for their respective duties. Gainground specializes in producing reasons why you can face life triumphantly, why you can handle whatever comes your way, why you’re more than a conqueror. Old Slideback earned his Master’s at Inadequate U. He’s full of reasons why you cannot succeed, why you’re pitifully unable, why you should cave in, bow down, and surrender to the tangled thicket of inferiority, failure, and discouragement.
Both foremen, however, are instantly obedient. They await your signal to snap to attention. Provide yourself with a positive signal and Mr. Gainground throws himself into action. Pulling all the right switches, Gainground so gears production that one encouraging, edifying thought after another floods your mind and fills your life. As long as production is under his firm control, not even the slightest mist of misgiving may be observed hovering under the factory ceiling.
Foreman Slideback, however, awaits a negative signal (which he would prefer to call “reality” or “common sense”) and he’s off and running. At peak production, Slideback’s assembly line cranks out discouraging, bad-news thoughts faster than the mind can process them. He will soon have you convinced that you can’t or won’t or shouldn’t. Given sufficient time, he will drain your energy, squelch your confidence, and transform you into a frowning tight-lipped fatalist.
Neither Dale Carnegie nor Norman Vincent Peale originated such a message as this—God did. Listen to three biblical counselors:
Solomon, referring to attitudes: “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Proverbs 23:7).
Paul, referring to thoughts: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute . . . dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8).
Peter, referring to the mind: “Therefore, prepare your minds for action” (1 Peter 1:13).
Thoughts, positive or negative, grow stronger when fertilized with constant repetition. That may explain why so many who are gloomy and gray stay in that mood, and why others who are cheery and enthusiastic continue to be so, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Please do not misunderstand. Happiness (like winning) is a matter of right thinking, not intelligence, age, or position. Our performance is directly related to the thoughts we deposit in our memory bank. We can only draw on what we deposit.
What kind of performance would your car deliver if every morning before you left for work you scooped up a handful of dirt and put it in your crankcase? The fine-tuned engine would soon be coughing and sputtering. Ultimately, it would refuse to start. The same is true of your life. Thoughts about yourself and attitudes toward others that are narrow, destructive, and abrasive produce wear and tear on your mental motor. They send you off the road while others drive past.
You need only one foreman in your factory. The name is Mr. Gainground, and he’s anxious to assist you. In fact, he is immediately available to all the members of God’s family. His real name is the Holy Spirit—the Helper. If Mr. Slideback has been too busily engaged as foreman on your mental assembly line, then fire him! You’ll be astounded by how smoothly the plant will run under new leadership.