Joseph Murphy: Change your Thoughts, Change your Life


Joseph Murphy is not a household name. But what he had to say about the way our mind works has the power to change your life literally overnight.

Murphy, who died in 1981, was an ordained priest, pharmacist and writer, armed with a PhD in psychology who believed that our entire life – including our health, is governed by our thoughts.

As we approach another year – the words of Murphy are worth examining to improve our lives.

“The only path by which another person can upset you is through your own thought.”

This is a powerful quote because it will protect you from having your feelings hurt by curse words spoken by others. Murphy believed it is our own thoughts – indeed our interpretation of what others say, that hurts us. But if we decide to look upon others as ill-advised, their words will lose potency. Remember – it is your thoughts, not the thoughts of others, which govern your well-being.

“All of us have our own inner fears, beliefs, opinions. These inner assumptions rule and govern our lives. A suggestion has no power in and of itself. Its power arises from the fact that you accept it mentally.”

We need to remind ourselves that our mind is a filter. Everything we see, hear and feel is passed through own our belief system. If we feel slighted, we could be mistaken. It’s our memory bank and intuition that tells us we have been wronged when in fact, the other person may not have had that intention at all.

“Remember that your subconscious mind cannot take a joke. It takes you at your word.”

If what Murphy has said here is true, then we need to be careful what we feed our mind. If we fill our thoughts with negativity and fear, the subconscious will go to work and torture us. But if we feed ourselves with a “can do” attitude – the inner mind will take its orders and put us on the right path.

“Do not think ill of another for to do so is to think ill of yourself. You are the only thinker in your universe, and your thoughts are creative.”

When I first read this, I remembered all of the times I’ve been suspicious of people, resentful and even jealous. But who was I hurting? Myself. Those people didn’t even know how I felt. So it is true that if we think ill of others, we’re just downgrading ourselves. Let go of such thoughts to free your mind so it can focus on what is truly important – your own peace, harmony and joy.

Dr. Murphy was a prolific writer, producing over 30 books. His most famous was “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” first published in 1963 and still available today.

Perhaps most surprising about Murphy was his belief that extreme wealth was a good thing. In his words: “Being poor is a disease.” But not surprisingly, he was convinced that wealth comes only to those who are open to it mentally. And, he believed, most people are not.

What you think, you become.

3 thoughts on “Joseph Murphy: Change your Thoughts, Change your Life

  1. Thanks for pointing us to Joseph Murphy! There is one concept I want to embellish, the idea that poverty is a disease. I believe that to be true. However, I would add that in Murphy’s time, we didn’t understand as much about social systems and their unavoidable effects. Although there are some outstanding exceptions, many people cannot pull themselves into a wealthy class by their own boot straps, no matter how much they think they can. If being poor is like a disease, then what are we implying? A person who is suffering from poverty should just heal themselves, just get over it? Is that what we say to people who have cancer or a hot gall bladder?

    We need to offer support to people who are oppressed by poverty and associated limitations, such as bias, discrimination, and institutions that operate according to a privilege system, helpful to some but hurtful to others.

    Since Murphy’s time, much has been added to the world of psychology, especially Positive Psychology but other theoretical approaches too, which is helpful for those of us who are currently poor. Two examples: 1) There are gifts to be discovered in being poor. Identifying them for and with people is life-affirming, encouraging, and builds confidence. 2) We need to understand that systemic oppression cannot be overcome by a single person. We build strength in poor communities when we “name it and claim it” — there are some realities that we cannot eliminate from our lives. What we CAN do is find support in groups, and speak truth to power.

    We owe so much to people like Joseph Murphy, people who lived into their experiences, tried to help people, made careful observations, did research, and published their findings for the sake of future generations. We often stand on their shoulders without acknowledging their contributions. Thanks, Cori, for writing about them and bringing their perspectives to life.

    Yes, our thoughts are powerful. Yes, we live out of our own realities. Yes, wealth can be a useful advantage.

    Liked by 1 person

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