There is a familiar phrase in the scriptures that says ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he’. (Proverbs 23:7) I am now wondering how literally to take this.
I am in the midst of taking a 12 week Dale Carnegie training course called ‘Effective Communication and Human Relations’. My company is sending me to this course to help develop some leadership skills. This course promises all kinds of things, and they are mainly based in self confidence. In the reading assignment after the first week, I came across an interesting suggestion. Mr. Carnegie suggests that if you need self confidence, and you don’t feel you have enough, act as if you have self confidence. He claims that this can be a very powerful way of gaining self confidence. I suppose that if you can convince yourself to act and behave in a certain way, and good results come from it, that this will reinforce the mindset and behavior.
I think I have seen this in some people. They think they are smart, they act smart, people perceive them as smart. Heck, they may as well be smart. And nobody knows their actual IQ. In many ways this will be every bit at good as being smart. And as long as your actual lack of intelligence is not so severe as to be obvious, you will pull it off. I wonder if this can work for a testimony in the gospel, or some aspect of it. I have heard it said that if you want a testimony of a principle, then live it. So you act as if you have a testimony of something by being willing to change your behavior for a time. And if there are some favorable results, then this behavior and testimony are reinforced. This approach may work for things like the Word of Wisdom, Tithing, Sabbath observance, etc. Act as if you believe in these principles for a while, and you may eventually find that it is not an act.
Might we see this type of ‘act’ in the church at times in terms of perceived righteousness? I mean, someone could think of themselves as righteous, act righteous, speak of righteousness, and people might perceive them as being righteous. Heck, they may as well be righteous. And nobody really knows their actual level of righteousness (except God). And as long as your actual lack of righteousness is not to severe, you might pull it off.
This post might rub some people the wrong way. I am still trying to sort some of this out. Is the scriptural statement literally true? ‘For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he’.