Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Success is about controlling your thoughts


Impossible. Incapable. Anxious. Failure. All of these words and more seem to oftentimes infect and manipulate the minds of many students throughout their college experience. Freshman year especially poses a variety of new environments and experiences that, ultimately, leave many aspiring, young students overwhelmed and fearful of future challenges. 

Nearly all of us are guilty of overthinking, including myself. Too many times as I grew through freshman year I began to let my own mind overwhelm itself with second-guessings and anxieties as I entered an extremely unfamiliar realm of college courses and shifting relationships. 

Frequently, we blame a handful of outside individuals or circumstances for our stress, and don’t get me wrong, there are a handful of individuals who can and will inflict stress on our lives. What many young students don’t realize, however, until they’ve driven themselves mad with questions and confusion, is that much of our stress and tension is self-inflicted.

How many times have we questioned our potential? How many times have we gone so far as to question our purpose, for that matter? Every day, we frequently double-check and reflect on decisions we have made or things we hope to do. We question and doubt the reliability of our friendships, the number of hours we’ve spent studying for exams, the number of organizations we’re a part of and more. I’ve seen close friends tear themselves apart because they should’ve ordered their latte non-fat instead of whole. 

We get down on ourselves, we start stressing over one problem, and suddenly, we have a full plate of second thoughts that somehow, slowly but surely, begin to flood out our dreams and potential.

So here’s what it comes down to: mind control.

I’m not talking the whole kind of swaying pocket watch, incense burning kind of mind control. No, this mind control is much simpler, and probably significantly more effective. Though simple, this mind control takes a much larger amount of active practice and dedication. 

So here’s what you do: you control your thoughts.

I know, it sounds basic and it sounds easy. We figure we can make good decisions for ourselves and act on those decisions, but all too often we still let little pebbles of doubts slip into our streams of consciousness, and before we know it, our entire current is blocked and we can’t get anywhere.

Until we as humans decide to fully acknowledge our weakness when it comes to the human mind and truly begin to make an effort in managing our thoughts, we’ll be lost in ourselves for years on end—forever delaying what a frequently studied psychologist, Abraham Maslow, called self-actualization. 

Self-actualization, or “the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities,” can be achieved in a variety of ways, but to me, really just comes down to what you do and don’t let inside your head. 

Believe your circumstances are exactly right, even if they aren’t. Acknowledge that a dream may be too big or too difficult to achieve, and refocus yourself to take on this dream head on. Trust that everything you do, say and think plays a significant role in this world and profoundly matters when it comes down to who you are and who you will become. Tell yourself time and time again that you can impact an outcome. Allow yourself to feel, and then move. Move forward and move with strength—all supported by the power of your mind. 

It takes work. It takes an endless effort to keep hold of your mind, but it is absolutely and entirely worth it. Assuming more and more students, more bright minds both young and old, begin to hold confidence in their thoughts and potential, worldly limitations will shatter and self-actualization will not just be in reach, it will be easily achievable. 

Christina Ausley is a junior majoring in journalism and psychology. Her column runs biweekly. 

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