Watch Your Thoughts

This morning I was thinking about a quote I vaguely remembered. Something like,

“Watch your thoughts because they become your words. Watch your words because they become your actions. Watch your actions because they become your character.”

I love the idea. It explains perfectly why it’s best to limit your time in toxic online communities and comment sections. Once you start caring about the bullshit du jour, your whole day is going to be a little shittier, and then one day you end up miserable and small, posting slander on for imaginary points ironically called Karma.

The quote sounds like something from JFK, the bible, or maybe Derrial Book. So I was surprised and a little dismayed when I finally googled the thing to find the quote is not Whedon canon and has no known originator. Worse still, it almost definitely originates from the president of a supermarket chain and is now used as a big, dumb pun.

The quote is pretty close to what I’d remembered:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

But in later evolutions, “Destiny” got kicked to the curb and the order was rejiggered. Why? From QI:

One interesting property that is shared between the modern expression and several precursor sayings involves wordplay. Consider five of the key words in the saying: words, actions, thoughts, character, and habits. The initial letters can be arranged to spell the repeated focal term: w, a, t, c, h.

Oh brother.

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