We are what we think. In our very practical modern world, we tend to think that what a man or woman does or does not believe is really not all that important. We like to think that we can separate private from public concerns, character from performance, worldview from responsibility. But such a notion carries a fearful implication. It really means that it does not matter what anyone of us believes so long as we do not take our beliefs seriously. But throughout history, wise men and women have understood that far from being an irrelevant, superfluous, and private affair, our inmost faith is the utmost aspect of our outmost lives.
What we do is not just affected by what we think, it is determined by it. What we think—even when we are not fully aware of what it is that we’ve been thinking—shapes our perceptions, our preferences, our prejudices, and our priorities. As Anton Chekhov quipped, “Man is what he believes.” What we think will determine not only how we interpret what we see, hear, and feel, but how we react to those sensations. Even if we never actually think about what we think, it is at work in us in a dramatic way. We are what we think.