The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: You and your thoughts 


“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try spending the night with a mosquito.” – African proverb

One of the most notable themes that runs across philosophical and spiritual traditions is on how the quality and patterns of our thinking impacts our perception, character and possibilities for self-realisation and/or enlightenment. It is the reason many scholars have and continue to reframe “life as a game of thoughts”. Their advocacy is for us to keep our thoughts oriented toward good and positive things rather than the bad and negative. While easier said than done, cultivating such conscious thinking patterns can profoundly improve our inner worlds and outer lives.

Both the wisdom of our ancient traditions and modern cognitive science agree that out thoughts have an immense influence on how we perceive events, other people and possibilities. While we cannot control what circumstances will arise in life, how we interpret, react and relate to them come from the state of our thoughts. As pioneering psychologist William James noted: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind”. His argument highlights the power of our thoughts in shaping our perceptions of the world around us. Our thoughts serve as the lens through which we interpret events, circumstances and interactions with others. Positive thoughts can lead to feelings of optimism, gratitude and empowerment, while negative thoughts can breed feelings of fear, doubt and despair.

The call for us today, then, is to recognise the power woven into the fabric of our thinking. They are the first point of contact in shaping and reshaping what we deem possible or impossible, both inwardly and outwardly. While thoughts alone cannot control all outcomes, consciously directing our thinking unlocks remarkable potential. This is because our cognitive processes actively filter and shape our experiences, relationships and possibilities. Such premise is the basis for religion entreating us to renew our minds and thinking on uplifting truths and virtues, and we will witness great transformation in our lives and the world around us.

Our thoughts are our most constant companion. They are with us wherever we are and completely at our command. As one poet described it: “they are our greatest helper or heaviest burden. They push us onward or drag us down to failure”. Thus, when we nurture our thoughts that centre on goodness, optimism, compassion, ethics, collaborations, kindness and possibility, we automatically sow seeds for us to actualise a flourishing life. Likewise, if our thoughts are distorted negatively and we focus them on pessimism, bitterness, corruption and the presumption of the worst, we predispose ourselves to attract the corresponding experiences.


We can appreciate why the poet Walter D. Wintle would write: “If you think you are beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you’d like to win, but think you can’t, it’s almost a cinch you won’t. If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost. For out in the world we find, success begins with a fellow’s will. It’s all in the state of mind. If you think you’re outclassed, you are. You’ve got to think high to rise. You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize. Life’s battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man. But soon or late the man who wins is the one who thinks he can!”

His poem invites us to reflect on the interconnectedness of mind and our attitudes. What we think about does not only influence our mental and emotional well-being, but also have a profound impact on our physical health and overall sense of fulfilment. By cultivating a mindset of gratitude, compassion and abundance, we can enhance our quality of life and contribute positively to the world around us. In essence, by harnessing the power of our thoughts, we can navigate life’s ups and downs with resilience, creativity and grace.


Thus, the way forward is for us to choose our thoughts consciously and deliberately, thereby shaping our reality in alignment with our aspirations and values. We need to learn to master our thoughts. And the way to achieve that is to start by focusing on the positives and the possibles and minimise the negative and toxic thoughts. Over time, most of our thinking will be skewed to the possible and they will influence our decisions, actions and ultimately, our destiny. As in any endeavour, the outcome depends not only on the external factors but also on the strategies we employ and the mindset we adopt…


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics, with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies that catapult into their strategic growth and certifies their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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