There is a short dialogue from the movie, A Hologram For The King, with Tom Hanks, where Tom Tykwer was the screenwriter. It is a short conversation between Tom Hanks as Alan Clay, a U.S. businessman, and Alexander Black, as Yousef, his guide, interpreter, and mentor in Saudi Arabia:
Alan: Are you thinking of joining the army?
Alan: Nah–No don’t–don’t.
Yousef: Why not?
Alan: You should go to college and finish and give yourself some options.
Yousef: There are no options here, Alan. You know that.
Alan: Well. . . then leave.
Yousef: I prefer to stay here and have things be different.
This is a perfect demonstration in very few words of what goes on all the time all around us and probably also within us. We want things to change, but we are unwilling to change, or we expect the world to change, or the other to change, or circumstances to change.
James Allen said, “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they, therefore, remain bound.” He said this a different way also by saying, “As he thinks, so he is; as he continues to think, so he remains.”
But, the most telling quote by James Allen I think is this: “A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.”
Of course, things are always changing every single minute, hour, day; albeit, they may certainly be changing to the same thing that was, as our thinking may also be. I think it is fair to say that absolutely nothing changes for us without a change in thought. It need not be a major thought leading to a life-changing movement, but it must change. As well, and again, we certainly have the option of rethinking the same thoughts, doing the same things, reliving the same patterns.
It is all choice. For Yousef to stay or leave is his choice, and to change his thinking is his choice also, but the only way things will be different is if he would change his thoughts, which will lead to a change in activity. Then things will be different.
How many times do we think the same way as Yousef? I want things to be different, but I don’t know what to do. Not knowing what to do is okay. There is nothing wrong with not knowing, but it pretty much guarantees that things will not be different any time soon.
The first step for things to be different is to think different thoughts. Sorry, it’s the only way. I have to change my thinking first in order to change my circumstances. I like how James Allen says, “Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.” And, if circumstances are not to our liking, the place to look first is our thinking.