“You are what you repeat” – really?

“One comes, finally, to believe whatever one repeats to one’s self, whether the statement is true or false.” ––Napoleon Hill

Above quote made me wonder…

Do we actually begin to believe what we repeat in our minds?

Do we become the person we fear of becoming, by keep repeating in our mind, during conversations, an in action the very act that defines who we become and what we were originally afraid of becoming – every chance we get?

Does the repeated information that is pushed in our face over and over, really change what and how we think and ultimately the choices we make in our lives?


We do not have to look too far for an answer – Advertising does it to us, day-in and day-out, NON-STOP! Wont’ you agree?

We see the same product/service being promoted over and over and Over and OVer and OVEr and OVER. You get the hint! It goes on until we just can’t get the advertisement out of our head. Next thing we know, at the supermarket – we don’t even realize how smoothly we pick up the very product we have been watching over and over, and place it in our shopping trolley without a second thought. This goes to show the impact of repetition in our day to day life. Now imagine things outside the marketing world and about your own life. Things that are repeated non-stop by our communities, families, friends, teachers and we are trained to think and believe a certain way. We become the by-product of the social repetitions that are drilled into our thought system relentlessly.

Remember when you were a little child and were asked ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ Ask yourself – Have you just become that .. or something similar? Studies show a considerable percentage of individuals end up in the jobs they are repeatedly told they will be good at or will ‘become’ when they grow up. Those who go against the ‘drilled-in’ ambition are often frowned upon, though that phenomenon is decreasing by the day. Not as quickly though, as we’d like to. Stereotyping the jobs and careers on gender-roles, preparing our mindsets according to our gender continues to take the lead to date.

Now, it could be that you wanted to be a pilot and ended up working at the reception of a travel agency but hey … that’s possibly how far you were meant to be in aviation industry, not to forget Success is directly proportional to effort and intelligence involved. Who would you blame anyway – at the end of the day what you become is directly proportional to the efforts you put towards your dreams – isn’t it? But here is the mind-blowing question: Were you meant to be in the industry you ended up in, or were you socially-repeat-trained to become who you have become? If you look at most successful names out there, you will find, the happy, progressing and authoritative figures out there have done something outside the box and beyond the repetitions they were raised with and created a niche and success path of their own. Though, there is no evident research or data to substantiate this theory, that we know of.


But does it mean if you repeat to yourself – even as a joke, (as some people I know do as part of their dark humor) “I may have cancer, who knows” when they are tiniest bit unwell. You reckon they end up getting it … well I guess its brutal question to ask and a morbid way of putting things – but underlying question here is – do they know something  that makes them repeat it over and over as a joke and is it something they are preparing themselves for by constantly joking about it? Or are they getting their network used to the idea, so if it happens, it’s no-brainer? Could it be that they know that the lifestyle they are leading is high-risk for a certain medical condition and increases their chances of being part of the scary-statistics? If so, why not change how they live, improve the choices they make and repeat to themselves the better steps they can take and inspire others as well? I know, I ask too many questions. I suppose I try to not repeat but ask, learn, evolve, as much as I possibly can.

Touchy topic, and at the risk of sounding defensive, I am not making light of Cancer. I have lost 22 people in my immediate network in less than 8 years due to this horrid disease. I have shed far too many tears to ever mock cancer – instead I am asking valid question! And maybe it is a way of reducing the fear, stigma and all the baggage that comes along with it. But I cannot say, as I am not an expert – but yet the thought does stimulate my mind and increases my curiosity as to what could be behind this? Why would we joke about something so scary …. ! ? ? ?


One of my exes (umm yeah I have more than one!) said to me all the time that I should not joke so much. She strongly believed ‘behind every joke is some bitter and real truth’ and I always seemed to disagree with her because I am known to joke for no reason and all the time. It is just who I am. But when I think of it – I agree with her in essence – every joke began with some incident, silly, funny – someone was being laughed at – it could be you or it could be someone else. But there is always someone or something you are laughing at and there is somewhat real situation that became funny for the audience. She’d be thrilled to know finally I agree with her on something. Yeah you wish Trish! (no, not her name!)


My father always joked about death and constantly laughed and said ‘Hey it’s the only truth of our life – we all die, so why make it a taboo and why not talk about it?” – Mom and I always got annoyed (not so much – he always made it funny!) but… he died young and healthy.. At 48… it hit hard but when I think of it – had he not joked about death all the time, we would not have dealt with the loss the way we did. He prepared us every day in our lives that one day one of us will leave the rest of us. What seemed a cruel joke at the time, prepared us mentally to move on in our lives with or without each other – certainly the memories and feelings will always be there.

I can never get over the fact that I lost my father just when my career was beginning, but I also can never underestimate the power of truth, reality and preparation in his intentions. He was a Social Activist, he was fighting against ‘Big Money’ people for the poor, destitute, ignored and abused commoner. He knew one day, some way or the other our family will face a horrible tragedy like this. He was right, and he prepared us. I don’t know if I am more grateful or angry at him for knowing this, preparing us for this and leaving us. But I know, we have survived because his repeated jokes prepared us for the worst and kept us strong in the worst event of our lives.

It is amazing; things we don’t think of and don’t realize actually do rule our lives.


Remember the song “I am beautiful, I am beautiful – damn it!” by Bette Meddler? You may laugh at my expense; but it always seems to works for me if I am feeling down or ugly.

We all do at times! So once again, repeating the information – in this case a song, does change how I feel about myself and does help me lift my spirits and gain my strength back.

So to me it appears, We really are what we repeat!

How about you?

Showing 15 comments
  • Kat

    HMMMM- Interesting ideas! Firstly I agree that if we hear something enough throughout our childhood,it certainly does manifest in us when we are older.My mother constantly told me I was “plump” as a child,so I never had any idea I was anything else! I was always obsessed with my weight and even at my skiniest(56kg)at 172cm tall,I still thought I was FAT! I know differently now thank goodnes; after years of an eating disorder. I now realise I am beautiful no matter what my exterior is.As far as preparing one’s children for the future,I agree that it works too. I had a near fatal incident in my life, after which I came out much stronger…I told myself, when I felt my worst-“Everything Passes.” This has also been invaluable for my young son who was severely traumatised by the incident.I have taught him about not dwelling on things-the old…did you die from it??? Always the answer is NO! I constantly put a positive slant on things for him… I constantly make jokes about being paralysed and how I came out the other side-now fit and strong. It is true that if made light of,things do not seem so frightening. Communication is ALWAYS the key!!

  • phil

    its true i have been very depressed and repeted to my self that i am happy,to my surprise after a couple of hours i was happy thinking positively and im going to keep it up

  • Shilpa Bindlish

    It’s interesting to know your viewpoint. Some legit points in there.

  • Marjie Mare

    I agree with your post. This is why I surround myself with positive energy. As any human being, I have some moments of doubt which I never let come out of my mouth.

  • Nadalie

    This is so true! Doing it once is never enough, it’s about the repetition, the habits and the routines that lead us to success. And the repetitive promotions and pushing of our products. Repeat!

  • fashionandstylepolice

    I agree with everything you have said here. We are what we repeat indeed.

  • Jewish Chick

    I was just chatting with someone about this- constant subliminal messaging, especially amongst children. We are always bombarded by the same themes and it becomes the norm! It’s sort of scary to be honest how are thoughts and likes are controlled by others!

  • Tif

    I do actually act this way too. Mine is more with clothes. If I continuously see something I like I am more apt to buy it. But if i see it once I forget and mever do! I wish self talk was like that! Ha

  • Pebbles

    Wow great post! I’m with you, words are powerful! We have to choose carefully how to use them.

  • Christine

    Hmm…interesting thought, yet I have been hearing and thinking more about this lately. I try to be mindful of my repetitive thoughts and words. Sometimes what I think or feel really does happen, what I call my deep, sometimes psychic, intuition. But I hope it is all not entirely true, because sometimes in the pit of my stomach I think repetitively of something that may happen in the future that I hope and pray doesn’t come true. You go me thinking more now. My anxiety is rising. 😉

  • Adriana Lopez

    Repetition is not a bad thing as well as not fearing death. Same as you I lost my mom before she saw me as a professional but I always keep her memories and try to put in practice all the good she taught me. Your dad was a brave man being an activist requires a special person.

  • Natalia

    I think it’s really true that we become what we repeat over and over again. It depends on us and on people surrounding us whether the input is positive or negative. I loved your examples especially about your dad which made me have goose bumps. In my case I need to start repeating more positive things on and on to become more self-confident. Lucky the ones who have strong and positive characters and who had people around them who kept repeating ‘Yes, you can!’ 🙂


    This post gave me so many feelings! and so sorry to hear about your dad passing 🙁 it took a lot of strength to talk about your struggles and i admire you for that!

  • Nita

    Agree with some of the points you raised. It is true that what we tell ourselves can grow in our minds like a seed whether it’s positive or negative. So we should always surround ourselves with positive thoughts.

  • clairelomax2018

    I honestly do believe this. My mum was convinced she’d die Young as both her parents did.

    She had late stage bone cancer that went undetected for 6 years, she died at 63. I think she accepted it when diagnosed because she’d always know she wasn’t long for this world. Breaks my heart but o think of her mindset was different she may have fought harder x

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