“Instead or reading another half-pound feel good book, you should definitely check out this one.” Jeff Chen
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By Harv Masters
Shakespir Edition December 2010
Copyright February 1998 by Buckaroo Press
Benny, Ed, and Sherrie had an idea that they could make money by trading and selling used video games. They only had two problems. They didn’t have a great deal of money, and they didn’t know the first thing about starting a business.
Finally, they were able to scrape together $1000.00 (which is all they could afford), and buy some used equipment. They set up shop on a pushcart in a regional mall. It took them just three months to make their first $30,000.00.
At the end of their first year, their good idea turned into $150,000.00 and two locations. Five years later, they were bringing in over $500,000.00 per year, had five locations, and were bought out by a larger company for cash and stock ownership. Not bad for a student, a fry cook, and a waitress.
Raymond was laid off as a healthcare administrator. He spent a fruitless year of job searching. Finally giving up, he opened a small sandwich shop with a small inheritance he’d received when his mother died. Things went really well so he expanded. In three years he purchased two more restaurants, each a national franchise, and now brings in revenues exceeding $1,000,000.00 a year.
Cary, a school teacher who collected comic books as a hobby, wanted to open up his own comics shop. He was smart but didn’t know the first thing about business basics. He got some help, set things up, and began to sell, and sell, SELL! He found himself in a quandary. Summer was over and he had to decide which he loved more, teaching, or selling comic books. He decided to do both. He hired a manager to run his shop and Cary continued teaching, allowing him to turn both his passions into profit.
Amanda was a seamstress working out of her home, specializing in custom wedding dresses. She was good . . . Really good. She had a dream to open up her very own bridal shop. She took the plunge. It started out slow, but she persisted. Six months later, she expanded to a larger shop. Then four months after that, expanded again. After her third expansion she was in a “big” shop, and doing well.
With so many people seeking success, why do so few achieve it? You’ve heard the old sayings like “it takes money to make money,” or “it’s not what you know, but ‘who’ you know.” And you’ve probably also heard, “the only way to find success is to be in the right place at the right time.” Well, the businesses above didn’t have any of these, and they became successful. What it boiled down to was who they were, what they did, and their knowing they’d succeed; the 3 Basic Principles of Achievement.
Look at some more examples:
Henry used to be quite bitter about life. He grew up in a family that didn’t have much money. His father was always on the verge of making it big on some deal that was almost ready to close, and in the mean time, they had to move several times to keep the bank from foreclosing on their home.
Henry resented people who had money while at the same time envied them. Life was unfair. Why did things worked out for other families and not his?
He continued to grow bitter until he landed a job he really loved, working at a marketing company, in the sales department. It was everything he’d ever wanted, being somewhat of a unique product junkie as a kid, and loving the marketing / selling business. Still, he had a problem. The pay was based on commissions. If he didn’t succeed, he didn’t get paid. This was new, he’d never worked on a commission before. It was the classic sink or swim situation.
Utilizing substantial energy that welled from within -- stemming out of his desperation to pay his bills -- Henry, to his surprise, began to excel in his work. He not only made enough money to eat and pay bills, but began to enjoy some of the extras, a new car, a bigger apartment, a better social life.
The situation had forced Henry to work hard and utilize his inner talents of Being the best he could be, Doing what he loved, and Knowing he would succeed if he continued to work hard. Then he made an astonishing personal discovery. For the first time in his life, Henry realized he was in control. He decided what happened to him, and he determined whether he was going to succeed or fail.
Henry lost all his bitterness about life being unfair, recently saying, “You should never sit back and wonder why life isn’t fair. Instead, you should decide what you want out of life, dig deep then go for it. Make your own breaks. Don’t wait on others to do the work because it’ll never happen.” He finished by saying, “Being successful is really easy. The hardest part is deciding to get started. The rest takes care of itself.” Forced into a situation of Being, Doing, and Knowing, Henry found happiness through the 3 Basic Principles of Achievement.
Sylvester Stallone, once said to be Hollywood’s highest paid actor, had a long and arduous fight until he reached the top. Born into a lower middle class home, he struggled to achieve average grades in school. He was teased because the lower left part of his face was paralyzed, causing a drooping mouth and slurred speech. People thought he was just dumb.
In high school, he enrolled in a drama class, where he fell in love with acting. Even then, because of his paralyzed face, people tried to discourage him from following his dream. With Hollywood’s perfectly handsome leading men, there wouldn’t be any room at all for a droopy mouthed kid with slurred speech.
Ignoring critics, he moved to New York and tried to break into acting. Driven by a strong urge to write, he shut himself away in a bare apartment, and penned a script while sitting one of the meager pieces of furniture he'd collected . . . an orange crate. After more years of struggle and rejection, he finally found someone who would take a chance on his script -- and him. You see, he wouldn't allow anyone to buy the script unless he was guaranteed the starring role.
Finally, in 1976, Sylvester Stallone starred in what was to become the year’s biggest picture. “Rocky” became an instant classic, propelling him to the forefront of the movie business. To follow up, Stallone continued with four more “Rocky” movies, the very successful “Rambo” series, and a host of others. Now his lopsided grin and slightly slurred speech is his trademark. Some estimates place his earnings at over $1 Billion dollars.
From very humble and painful beginnings, Sylvester Stallone overcame insurmountable odds to get what he wanted. He became who he needed to be, he did what he loved, and knew deep within he would eventually succeed.
Abraham Lincoln, one of our greatest Presidents in history, who preserved the union during the Civil War, and brought about the emancipation of the slaves, was born into a very humble station. His mother died when he was nine. Part of a poor family, he had to move quite often, and received less than one year of formal education.
Through it all, he had a burning drive to make something out of his life. He taught himself to become a lawyer then set his sights on politics, suffering political defeat after defeat. On one particular occasion, many felt his budding political career was ruined beyond repair. Yet he never gave up; eventually becoming the thirteenth President of the United States.
Abraham Lincoln accomplished what he set out to do. But nowadays it’s hard to imagine such great things coming from such humble beginnings. Yet he became who he needed to be, he did those things necessary, following his passion, even though painful and controversial, and through it all knew he was doing right.
Anyone can be a high achiever. It really doesn't matter how educated you are, what your social position is, or how much money you have. Anyone can rise to the top -- if you know how -- if you know Being, Doing, and Knowing; the 3 Basic Principles of Achievement.
You don't have to have money, education, or good luck. But you do need the knowledge of exactly what it takes to become successful -- to know what it takes to be a high achiever!
All the previous examples had three things in common: Being, Doing, and Knowing, the 3 Basic Principles of Achievement. It was the learning and applying of a few simple principles that brought them the success they craved.
These principles have been around for centuries, but they are so simple, so easy to use, it’s hard to believe they contain such power to bring you what you most want out of life.
Having been conditioned to think being successful is hard, you believe that following a complicated path, being highly educated, or having money is required for happiness and success. But that's wrong. Dead wrong. Success -- true success -- doesn't depend on any of these. No question. No doubt. Guaranteed!
Real success depends on who you are, what you do, and a belief in your own abilities. Sound easy? It is. But most don’t get it. If you have a hard time believing, keep reading and see for yourself.
Like a diamond, nature’s strongest, most valuable creation, find the precious gems buried in these pages, polish them off, and unearth the happiness you deserve.
Your aptitude for high achievement is already built in. Through your life, however, it’s been covered over with learned attitudes and beliefs that are self defeating. From an early age you learned from parents, teachers, and friends what is and what isn’t possible to achieve over your lifetime. Some are lucky and learn there are no limits. Most aren’t.
Early critics of the space program said man would never walk on the moon. Still more recently, business leaders said the concept of a personal computer would never be economically viable. Not only has man walked on the moon once, but several times. And now in the United States alone, almost 80 percent of all households have a personal computer, some have two. Luckily for you, there were those born who didn’t believe landing on the moon or making an affordable personal computer were impossible feats.
“Men who say that something can’t be done are usually passed up by someone doing it.” Most of the limits you place on yourself are fictitious. They only exist because you believe they do.
Robert grew up thinking that learning math was extremely difficult. Ironically, he also grew up with the knack for managing money. Since managing money depends heavily on math skills, his parents couldn’t figure out why he wasn’t a math whiz. But, since Robert had these beliefs, it affected his abilities in both areas. He struggled with math, but if you put a dollar sign in front of the same problem, he’d easily grasp the concept and often solve the problem in his head.
Robert didn’t realize the irony until attending college. Once discovered, the false barrier dissolved, and math, virtually overnight, became one of his best subjects.
Your capacity for achievement is already within. Just uncover and use it. It’s your right to achieve. A prominent religious leader of the early 1800’s taught, “Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it.” Happiness is gained by reaching for and achieving your full potential. You weren’t placed on this earth to fail or even be mediocre. Success and happiness are within your grasp any time you want. You can overcome any obstacle standing in your way. All you have to do is learn how!
In short, there are three steps, or basic principles: 1) Being who you have the potential to become;” 2) Doing what you love to do;” and 3) Knowing you will succeed. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is. But to find the greater power in these simple principles, read on.
High achievement won’t come overnight, and still requires dedicated effort on your part, but following these simple principles will make the path getting there even more rewarding than the destination. It’s really easier than you’d think. Any ordinary person can achieve extra-ordinary results. Whether you realize it or not, the potential is already there. You simply need to tap into it and start on the path to achieving your dreams.
Success means different things to different people. In fact, there are as many definitions of success as there are people. Success is, and needs to be, a very personal decision.
For one person, success may be defined as financial independence. To another, success is a close, happy and loving family. To still to another, success is traveling to exotic places and having exotic things. Each definition is right. Success is what each person considers it to be. Any person who has achieved the object of his or her desires is just as successful as the next person, regardless of income, size of house, or newness of the car.
After you have learned how to use Being, Doing, and Knowing, you’ll need to develop your own definition of success. Be careful. Make sure your definition is really what you want out of life, because, from now on, whatever you work towards, you’ll achieve.
One of the saddest things in life is seeing someone who worked hard at chasing what he thought was success, only to find out after its achievement, it really didn’t bring him the happiness he sought.
Frank thought he would be happy if he made a lot of money. He looked at what his capabilities were, and decided he would become an attorney. Attorneys always seemed to make a lot of money. Frank went to many years of school, worked hard and became an attorney. The money started coming in . . . but he was miserable. How could that be? He was making good money, but still wasn’t happy, wasn’t fulfilled.
Obviously his definition of success was flawed. Money, to him, equated success, and he’d spent a great deal of time, effort and money to achieve what he thought would bring him success, only to find it was an empty success.
Being young and energetic, Frank decided to start over. He’s gone back to school during the evening trying to discover what he’d really like to do with his life, while holding down his ‘day job’ as an attorney.
Being an attorney isn’t bad. But for Frank it is. Don’t make the mistake of equating money with success.
Society has depicted many definitions of success, but in truth, much of what is shown does not really bring lasting happiness. Only you can determine what success is for you.
Everyone is different, and you shouldn’t compare with others in deciding if you’re being successful or not. You should only measure against yourself, so ease the pressure to keep up with your friends and neighbors. If you seek after someone else’s definition of success rather than your own, any success you find will be nothing.
To prevent you from making this mistake, included here are some thoughts to consider before you define what form your success is going to take for you.
1. Each person has two dimensions to their life, the physical and the spiritual. Both dimensions are essential to your overall success and happiness. Too often the spiritual is neglected for the sake of the physical (or material), only to discover that having the physical without the spiritual leads to emptiness (even though you may have all the comforts money can buy). True happiness comes from being at peace spiritually as well as physically.
William had been extremely successful as an opthamologist, but in the process of his striving for medical and business success had completely neglected anything else. Finally at age 50 he took a hard look at himself and realized his life had no meaning. Even though he was respected in his profession, and yes, he helped a great many people, he still didn’t feel fulfilled. A close friend introduced him to a church where he found he could serve others, and find a spiritual part of his life he realized was sadly lacking. In doing so, his whole family benefitted.
This spiritual side can be strengthened in many different ways, but the easiest and most effective is to use something that’s already built inside each of us. You have a spiritual beacon within to guide you to the spiritual fulfillment you need. This beacon is known by many different names, but the most common is our “conscience”. Pay attention to your conscience and follow what it prompts, and you’ll be lead to the spiritual nourishment you need.
Those who make a practice of ignoring their conscience make a shambles of their lives. It can’t be explained logically, but your conscience (or intuition as others call it) leads you to building the spiritual side of your life. The more you listen to this inner voice, the more it will guide you. And you’ll find amazing spiritual growth and happiness that bring physical benefits as well.
Dianne felt she was missing something significant. She didn’t know what, only there was a blank space she knew needed to be filled. Along with this, she had a feeling that she should move from her home in Colorado to Missoula, Montana. She didn’t know why, only that she needed to move there. At first she felt a little odd, but the feeling persisted. There was really nothing holding her back in Colorado, so she moved.
Shortly after her arrival in Missoula, she met some friends who introduced her to a church. Investigating the Church’s beliefs she found its teachings matched closely to what she’d been feeling, and it in turn, filled the emptiness which had grown inside her. She had been led by her conscience, or that inner spiritual beacon, to the place she could receive the spiritual nourishment she craved.
You’ll receive promptings to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do, but if they seem legal, ethical and right, consider following to see where they lead. Those who have (some reluctantly at first) report finding greater happiness in all areas of their lives.
It’s uncanny, but the saying is extremely valid, “let your conscience be your guide.”
2. As you determine your personal definition of success, you also need to realize that obstacles will inevitably step out to block your way. Don’t complain about these problems, but recognize them for the blessings they are.
Mike is pretty smart. Actually, he is brilliant. But what has he done with that brilliance? Absolutely nothing. You see, Mike has never held a job for more than eight months. His longest job was as a manager of a convenience store. The odd thing is he is never fired. He just up and quits. When asked why he does this, he always blames someone else. “The store owner was just doing everything wrong, and I couldn’t stand it,” he’d say. Or, “I just got tired of doing all the work and not getting paid for it.”
When asked what he wanted out of life, he was quick to point out that he wanted a nice car, a big house, and lots of money. When asked if he’d ever sat down and tried to plan out how he could get those things. He’d look back with a blank stare. “You mean set goals don’t you.”
“That’s exactly what I mean,” I replied.
“I’ve tried that before and it never works.”
“Oh? Why is that?” I pressed.
“Because whenever I set goals, I take all that effort to list them out, and then I’m bored, and never work on them.”
That was his problem. Setting goals will never work for him unless he works his goals. Mike did right, up to a point, but never had what it took to follow through. He had three big obstacles. First, he wasn’t willing to reach for the person he could really become. Second he wasn’t willing to do what was necessary to achieve what he wanted. And third he didn’t know within himself he could ever be anything different than he was -- even though for someone as smart as he, it wouldn't have been hard at all.
If his success didn’t come quickly, and take only a little bit of effort (or better yet, if he couldn’t get someone else to do the work for him), then he quit trying. He gave up.
You grow and stretch your abilities through striving and struggle. If you aren’t moving forward, actively overcoming trials, you stagnate. The struggle brings fulfillment every bit as much as the success. Norman Vincent Peale, the best-selling author of “The Power of Positive Thinking” once said, “If you don’t have any problems, you’re dead. You’re six feet under.” You should be grateful for the problems because that means you’re still alive. You still have a chance.
Jay was born into a big but poor family. He learned from an early age if he wanted anything it was up to him, and him alone, to get it. First he decided what he wanted out of life, listed out all his goals then rolled up his sleeves and went to work. Jay wanted to be involved in business, and realized to do that, he needed an education, to help him be they type of person he needed to be. He applied to attend a university and was accepted.
Working late nights, he supported his young family and paid his way through, but still he studied and achieved good grades. More than that, he learned the principles he’d need to know to be successful in business.
After graduating, he could have gone to work for any number of big corporations, but decided instead to work for a small, but growing company where he could buy out one of the partner’s interests and become part owner. Having ownership in a company was another of his goals. It was a big risk at the time because he had to borrow the money, and he didn’t really know if the company would be successful over the long term. Still, he figured he would be part of the management, and if the company didn’t survive, it would partly be his fault. On the other hand, if he could help make the company successful, he would benefit from that as an owner. Jay was willing to do whatever it took, since he was working towards what he really wanted.
The company went through some rocky times, but instead of complaining and thinking about how easy it would have been to do something else, he remained focused on his goals. He worked long and hard, and continued to strive. Jay knew things would turn around, and turn around they did, and the company expanded. Then expanded again. And then yet again.
Now Jay leads the company to annual multimillion dollar profits. Jay didn’t stop there, along the way he also founded several other investment companies which do any number of things, each of which are very successful.
Jay had made a list of goals when he first entered college. He pulled out the old, worn sheet, carefully unfolded it, and read them again: being financially independent by age thirty five; amassing assets worth $1 million dollars by the time he’d reached age thirty; being an owner of a profitable company; and many others, each either fulfilled or was in the process of being fulfilled, now that he’d reached the ripe old age of forty five.
What guidance! What purpose you can provide to your life through just taking control of who you’re becoming, what you’re doing, and then reaching for it with everything you’ve got, knowing you’ll succeed.
Yet how sad for Mike, because he could have done everything that Jay did, but simply didn’t. There’s no excuse!
Both Mike and Jay are about the same age. Mike is penniless, miserable, and blaming everyone around him for his misfortunes. Jay continues to live his life with purpose. He all but glows with determination and the joy he feels in his accomplishments. His course is charted. He knows where he’s going and what he wants; living prosperously and happy.
The feeling of satisfaction and growth you’ll get from actually striving for and achieving an important goal will be an experience from which you’ll always gather joy and strength. Once again, that is just as important as the actual achievement of success.
3. Another essential component of your definition of success is your family relationships. David O. McKay, past president of a large international Christian Church said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” This is true. You should place a high priority on your family relationships, even at the expense of other things that may seem just as desirable.
Ben recently went through a divorce, separating him from his wife and three small children. When asked why, he responded.
“I forgot what was most important. I was so focused on making money, on getting the big house, nice car, and building my career, I forgot where my real treasure was. Now I’ve lost it, and all the other things seem small in comparison.”
When asked what he planned to do, he said.
“For me, it’s too late. It took me too long to realize what I was missing. For others, tell them not to neglect their family for any reason. It’s too important. Nothing is worth losing your family over!”
Your family relationships can’t be measured in terms of monetary value, but each member is priceless. If you’re successful in your home, then you’re more successful than most. You may not have fame or fortune, but the joy you have with your family will more than compensate.
Now if, in your opinion, you’ve already failed in this area, don’t give up hope. Begin from where you are now and start giving your family the attention they deserve. It doesn’t help to dwell on past mistakes. The past should be left in the past. Your attention should be focused towards the present, and future, in giving your family the love, attention and support they need. If you’ve made mistakes, strive for forgiveness, and start moving forward.
Christ once said, “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). What profound wisdom. Your success should not be at the expense of your soul, but rather, the happiness of your soul should be a great part of your success.
4. Love and service to others is another factor of success which can’t be measured in monetary terms. Service brings a feeling of inner peace not attained any other way. Would you consider that Mother Theresa wasn’t successful because she died poor? Was Ghandi a failure because he wasn’t rich? Heavens no!
Sam serves in his church. He volunteers many hours each week working with teenage boys, providing training, guidance, leadership, and just a listening ear. He’s not paid a dime, but he’s been at it over twenty-five years. When he talks about his service, his eyes glow, his heart warms, and he tells of yet another young man who’s recently called and thanked him for helping him through a rough time when he was younger. Sam says, “There’s not enough money in the world that can buy what I feel at that time. I’m really making a difference. And in my own quiet way, I’m helping to change the word, one young man at a time.”
Really, your success should be measured by something other than in financial terms. Financial reward comes only after you have been successful in your pursuit, and then only if financial reward was part of what you’re seeking. Be very careful in your definition of success. Make sure it will bring true happiness, otherwise, the pursuit isn’t worth the goal.
5. Finally, strive to become as self reliant as possible. Self reliance makes you feel secure, fulfilled, confident -- like we're worth something. You should also help others become self reliant, which, in turn, will continue to build to your own feeling of independence.
An ancient Chinese proverb says, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. But, if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”
Of course, there are those with physical, mental, or emotional handicaps who require dependence on others. But, to the extent possible, you should strive to become self supporting physically, financially, emotionally and spiritually. Don’t lament over any condition you have as an excuse not to succeed.
Charles, confined to a wheelchair, has run a successful furniture manufacturing plant and showroom for over thirty years. All around other stores are closing, even the large chains, but he seems to prosper where others fail; all from a wheelchair.
Jeremy, also confined to a wheelchair, was a highly successful salesman in an area no one else wanted. Now comfortably retired, he’s traveling all over the country with his wife, and indulging in his hobby of writing poetry.
The way to success can be hard, but richly rewarding. Anyone can achieve success and happiness. You were not created to fail, or even be average. The potential is already inside. Draw it out, and achieve the success you crave.
Like a powerful chemical reaction, we often need a catalyst to get us started down the road to success. A catalyst is like a lit fuse on a stick of dynamite. It’s what starts a reaction of explosive power. In a gasoline engine, the catalyst, or critical ingredient, is a tiny spark from a spark plug. It sparks a chain reaction many times greater than itself, and drives immense machinery.
Your success also needs catalysts to get you started towards your goal. These critical ingredients, which spark that energy into your life, are desire, persistence and obedience.
Desire, like the spark plug in a car, in and of itself it is not really that powerful, but it ignites a force within many times more powerful than itself. Desire pulls you down a path all the way to its end. It has little power in and of itself, but it sparks to life something of infinite power . . . You.
If you desire something strongly enough, you find a way to get it. Children wear down parents little by little by their desire to have something until their parents finally give in. When you’ve really wanted something, like a new car or set of golf clubs, you’ve fumed and finagled, worked and wished, planned and professed, until you’ve gotten it. It becomes an obsession.
When Brian was eleven, he developed a desire to win some trophies. He used sit in his father’s study, and stare at the trophies his father had won back when he was in high school. He would dream about the time when he would win his own trophies and be able display them. As he grew, he became involved in many different sports. Brian was good at some, lousy at others, but always ended up just short of winning a trophy. Frustration and hopelessness often came, but his desire gave him that spark that wouldn’t let him quit.
Finally he found, almost by accident, that he had an aptitude for gymnastics. Working hard for two straight years, often spending up to five hours per day in training, it paid off. At his last meet, he was awarded six trophies. Boy did he feel great! At that moment, all the effort, the pain, the patience and suffering was all worth it. His dreams had come true.
Even now, Brian will go down to where he keeps the trophies and just gaze at them. All of the yearning, frustration, and finally achieving his dream remain as vivid now as if it happened yesterday. These memories have helped him bridge many setbacks to achieve even now.
Desire, or strong emotional feelings, are a focal point of the power you have within. You need to be sure you really want what you seek. If you force yourself to strive after something you don’t have a strong desire to achieve, it just won’t work. You’ll drown out the spark before it even starts.
And you need to realize, your desire can be negative or positive. If you desire bad things, such as an illicit affair or revenge or money so badly you cheat, your outcome will be just what you desired . . . bad. But if you want good things, such as love, family, fulfilling career, that’s also what you’ll find . . . good!
If you control your desire, you control your destiny.
From this one simple principle alone, you’ll find more happiness than you can imagine. But don’t stop there. There’s more.
The next part of your catalyst towards success is persistence.
Nicholas, a highly successful business and civic leader said, “All the problems we ever encounter eventually yield to the power of our mind.” This is true. You never fail until you give up.
The members of a well-known country Mega-group Diamond Rio knew this for sure. Each member struggled through years of odd jobs in Nashville making ends meet until they finally found each other and formed a band initially named, The Tennessee River Boys. They were quite popular as a “front” band for headline country stars, but they were never able to get a good recording contract for themselves.
After more years of trying, two of the lead members quit and decided to move on to other things. The remaining members made a pact to stick it out. They took on two new members, altered their act slightly, and changed their name to Diamond Rio. Then they persisted.
It still was extremely hard. One member had an offer to work as a road musician for a big star, but turned it down still hoping the group would get their own break. As time passed, this same member, ended up working for a landscaping company, mowing the lawns of that same country star from whom he’d had the offer to work. He felt like hiding. He wondered if he’d been completely crazy to turn down such a great offer. But still he persisted along with the rest of the group, all in similar circumstances.
Finally, the recording contract came . . . from a major record label. And since releasing their first single, Meet in the Middle, a number one hit, they put out a string of hits, topping the charts and winning numerous awards. They went from working odd jobs, to dream jobs; from barely putting food on the table, to putting out hit after hit . . . except for the two who quit. No one knows their names. No one knows where they are -- except them.
If you really desire success, never give up until you’ve achieved it, no matter the barriers. And when you run into a barrier, do one of three things: Break through it, go around it, or change the conditions under which the barrier exists. The key is to never give up, to never give in. People who give in, never live their dreams.
Change takes time. Don’t be discouraged and give up when things don’t happen as fast as you’d like. Remember Diamond Rio, and the two who gave up.
Sometimes an obstacle will really test your mettle. Say you’re an aspiring author and everyone rejects your material, some even telling you you’re a lousy writer.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, the creator of Tarzan, was constantly rejected before his creation became a cult icon of a generation. Many publishers turned him away before he was finally sold a serialized version of his first novel, A Princess of Mars, to a low-class pulp magazine. It met with great popularity, but still he had a long struggle, trying to break into the “regular” publishing industry. But persistence was in his favor. As long as he didn’t give up, the obstacle could be overcome. And it was. His books began to sell thousands, tens of thousands, and finally into the millions.
You can do the same as he. Find within yourself the ability to persist. If you don’t let it overcome you, it won’t.
Occasionally you’ll run into a barrier for which you can’t find a way to pass. If you don’t have the answers you need, then don’t sit around, go find them. There are qualified experts of every sort available for the asking. If you know your situation, then you also know who might have an answer to your dilemma. Make a list of possible people to ask then start down the list. Don’t hesitate. If you don’t have the money to pay the experts for their advice, then go to a place where you can consult experts on any field you care to name, and do it for free. It’s called a Library.
One caution, however. Be sure the people you call on have real expertise in the area you seek. What would have happened if Diamond Rio had hired a group of highly skilled brick layers to help them manage their act? I know that sounds silly, but people often do something just as silly. When they run into an obstacle blocking their path they turn to someone -- usually a friend or sometimes even a complete stranger -- who has no more knowledge on removing that obstacle than they do.
If you turn to others, go to someone who knows the area in which the solution is to be found.
Now let's be clinical for a second. This is an area where you can learn first hand the awesome power that lies within -- especially in the ability to overcome obstacles.
Research indicates you can learn to draw on part of the unused brain capacity we all have. This is done when you tap into your inherent creativity.
That’s right, inherent creativity. That implies you already are creative, and you are. When you were young, you were very creative. But as you grew older you were taught to conform to social patterns, to color within the lines, that the sky should be blue instead of purple. You were criticized for being different from what was expected, so you suppressed your differences, your creativity, to conform. But it’s still there.
You know your creativity is still there when you find you’ve labored over a problem for a time and then leave it to pursue something else. Then, when you least expect it, the solution to the problem pops back into your mind, seemingly “out of the blue.” And the solution is so simple you kick yourself for not having seen it earlier.
What happened was your conscious mind passed the problem over into your subconscious mind. There, below conscious thought, your mind used your inherent creativity to solve the problem. When the problem was solved ie. the subconscious identified one or more viable solutions, it kicked it back to the conscious mind for identification and action. All of this happened while your conscious mind was working on something else.
Steve, while attending business school at a university, experienced this type of “help” from his subconscious. In his classes, case studies of business problems were used for teaching business principles. Students were expected to analyze the problems in the case study then use the principles learned to arrive at viable solutions.
On many occasions Steve would be studying late, trying to solve a particularly mystifying problem. When he found himself dozing, he would finally give up and set the alarm clock for early in the morning, getting a few hours of sleep then approach the problem with a somewhat fresher mind.
While he slept, however, a funny thing would happen. Steve would dream about the case and actually solve the problems in his sleep. When he awoke, he’d hurry and write out his “dream solution” and run the calculations. Each time he found the solution was viable, yet creative, sometimes differing substantially from what others would pose, nonetheless, effective and workable. He was commended by his professors for his originality.
Steve’s intense concentration over the problem caused it to be passed on to his subconscious to be worked on while sleeping. When solved, the problem was kicked back up to the conscious mind for action.
Going through life, you are conditioned not to think. You’re taught through unpleasant experience that it’s safer to conform and take an easy solution, then prepare with ready excuses if something goes wrong.
Gene worked for a large corporation as it was going through a down time in a tight economy. There were cut-backs going all through the company, and everyone was worried about losing his or her jobs. One day Gene was talking with his supervisor. “You know,” the supervisor said. “Whatever you do, make a paper trail to justify your actions. If you’ve kept track of all your actions, and why you did them, it’ll be harder for them to get rid of you, and question what you’ve done.”
“But why don’t they instead encourage us to try and take a little initiative?” Gene responded. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for us to focus more on doing our jobs better than to try and justify everything we’ve done, and being scared to do anything better?”
“I know what you’re saying,” the supervisor, “but that’s just not the way it works.”
That supervisor was later laid off. Gene wasn’t.
Whenever you’re faced with a problem from now on, don’t ignore it and hope it will go away. Don’t rush through with the solution that first comes to mind as a quick fix. Instead take the time to employ a little of your brain power to the problem and see what results you’ll get. Your solutions will be much better and you’ll find that with practice, you won’t run away from problems. Instead you’ll welcome problems as a chance to turn your mind loose. Often, within a problem and its creative solutions, lay the seeds of opportunity.
An old adage says, “Starve problems and feed opportunities.” You shouldn’t waste effort on worrying about problems. Instead apply yourself to immediately solving the problem then glean the seeds of opportunity they hold. Put your real energy and time towards the opportunities you’ve found within the problems.
Barry, a landscaper, was called in to fix a problem where groundwater had started seeping up under foundations of homes in a subdivision. Other landscapers had turned the job down or bid high because it was too hard, and it was a messy job. Barry looked at the problem and saw the seeds of opportunity. He could specialize in ground water remediation and get all the business he could handle, with virtually no competition. It worked.
Following are two of the many ways you can apply the tremendous power of your mind to overcoming obstacles:
The first method is to simply make long a list of all the possible solutions you can think of. This is not an ordinary list but it’s quite easy to do.
First, find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Set aside about an hour. Take out a clean white sheet of paper and write down your problem in detail at the top of the page. Include within the description of the problem the parameters you need to work within, such as how much money you can afford to spend, how much time it can take, what location it has to be within, etc. But be careful that you don’t include restrictions which don’t legitimately exist. It will restrict the list of possible creative solutions.
Next, begin writing down every possible solution to the problem that comes to your mind. Don’t worry about whether it’s a good solution or not, just write it down for now. Evaluating the list of options comes later.
For the next forty five minutes write down every possible solution that comes to mind. It will require some real intense focus on your part, but don’t give up until you’ve listed at least thirty solutions to the problem (or more if you have time). The first seven or eight solutions will come fairly easily because they are obvious. The rest will take a little more delving into your creative genius. The last few are very creative and often the best solutions.
Now go back through your list and pick which solution, or group of solutions, best apply towards solving your problem.
Hank was faced with the daunting task of leasing space in a large regional mall which had just come out of bankruptcy. The reputation for business failures was very bad and he had to find a way to attract businesses that would boost the reputation and increase the mall’s business.
He sat down and listed out all the possible ways he could attract businesses on a limited budget. Many were very creative, but a little out of sync with industry norms. Hank got on the phone to his boss and got permission to try some of ideas he’d come up with. Now mind you, these ideas weren’t necessarily original, but they hadn’t really been tried in the same format he was proposing.
First, Hank put out a classified ad in the Business Opportunities section of the local newspaper: “Wanted: People to be their own boss. You bring the idea. We help with the rest.” The calls started coming in. He met with quite a few people, and whittled down to those whom he thought had the best ideas for trying in a retail setting. Together they worked up a business plan, merchandise design, advertising, and pricing of their products. They got their business license, financing, and sources of supply. And finally they worked up a creative lease to help them get started.
Instead of charging rent in the normal way, Hank’s company agreed to receive a percentage of sales as rent. If the store did well, the rent was good. If the store didn’t do well, then the rent was low. The risk for the new business owner was substantially reduced, and a tremendous incentive was given to the mall management to do whatever it could to help the store succeed.
That type of partnership spread and grew until a full forty percent of the mall was filled again with merchants in this program.
This idea didn’t originate with Hank, but many of the ways he found to successfully implement the concept came from a single brainstorming session.
Donald Trump, a billionaire by age forty, once said that after he made an offer on a piece of property, he would think of about thirteen to fourteen different ways in which he could make the property pay off.
Making long lists of solutions and focusing intently upon a well defined problem draws out creativity. As you use this technique more and more, you’ll find your creativity becoming increasingly near the surface. Solutions will come easier and faster. Your mind will automatically begin generating solutions for you at even the smallest of things.
From now on, enjoy using your brain for what is was intended -- thinking, solving problems and finding opportunities.
The second problem solving method draws more upon the power of your subconscious. It involves three steps.
The first step is, once again, find a quiet spot where you can be undisturbed for about an hour. (Sometimes you may want to take longer than an hour to really dig into your creativity.) During this period, focus your thoughts intently on the problem and its possible solutions. Weigh and evaluate all possible solutions. Don’t allow any distractions to interfere. Focus only on the problem. After the hour is up, go to the next step in the process.
Leave the problem alone now, and go on to some other pursuit. Your intense concentration has caused the problem to be transferred down into your subconscious mind, where it’s being worked on while you’re occupied with something else.
The third step is to return back to the problem after you have left it for a time (usually about twenty four hours). Begin listing possible solutions on a sheet of paper. Creative ideas will seem to leap from your mind to the paper. While you’ve been doing other things, your subconscious has been working the problem and kicks back solutions.
Sometimes solutions will spring to mind before you even go back to the problem. Ideas will drop out of thin air or come as flashes of inspiration.
Thomas Edison, one of the greatest inventors in history, used this method of problem solving. Reaching a roadblock in his work, he would take a nap. On awakening, he would have fresh ideas on how to overcome the obstacle.
These creative problem solving techniques are but two of the many ways of drawing out your inherent problem solving abilities. Examples of other widely used ways include prayer, meditation, Yoga and deep states of relaxed concentration.
The key to each of these techniques is that you focus on a well defined objective for an extended period of time, and start your creative mechanism churning. Once it’s turned on, and you’ve drawn upon the tremendous power of your subconscious, it will be hard to turn it off.
Now, rather than run away from problems, you’ll look for them. You’ll have the confidence to solve any problem standing in your way then glean the seeds of opportunity that lay within.
Persistence is a key, along with desire, to unlock the great power found within. Just remember, when you run into an obstacle don’t get discouraged. Solve the problem, overcome the obstacle, change the conditions under which the barrier exists, but never give up! Every obstacle you overcome brings you that much closer to success!
The last but certainly not least catalyst that unlocks your hidden potential is the principle of obedience.
When you are obedient to eternal, natural laws you receive a reward which flows from your obedience. The converse holds true as well. When you disobey these laws, you receive the consequences of your disobedience. It is cause and effect, pure and simple.
Take the law of gravity. The law of gravity says that all things fall “down” when dropped. What would happen if you were to jump off a cliff and expect to fall “up” instead? You would be sorely disappointed you hadn’t obeyed the law of gravity. The law of gravity can also be used to your advantage. Since you know that things tend to fall “down” you can place a dam across a river and allow a little bit of that water to fall “down” running through a turbine and generate electricity. By simple obedience to this law man receives incredible rewards.
You don’t have to understand how or why this law works. It was relatively recently as time is measured that man has come to actually identify this law. As long as man was obedient, he benefited.
Yet the more man comes to understand and obey, the more man is blessed. The more you understand the law of gravity, the more you can harness its powers.
The whole point is that as you are obedient to eternal, natural laws, you will always receive the reward. If you don’t obey you receive the consequences.
All activities you engage in are governed by their respective laws of success. Take, for instance, a basketball player. A few of the laws governing the success of a basketball player are the law of practice, the law of conditioning, the law of agility, the law of speed, the law of teamwork, and so on. The more you work on and obey these laws, meaning the more you practice, the more you condition yourself and work on agility, speed, teamwork, etc., the better a player you become, and the more richly you’re rewarded. If you don’t believe it, ask Larry Bird, formerly of the Boston Celtics. Fewer worked harder than he on the basics, but then again, few were paid as much as he was either.
Simply put, if you want to be successful in any particular area, then you need to identify and be obedient to the laws governing success in that area. If you are obedient to those laws, success must come as the natural result. And come it will in direct proportion to your obedience.
One of the New Testament Apostles said it best when he said, “…for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”(Gal. 6:7)
The power of obedience is immense. It will change your life. And instead of feeling confined by obedience, you’ll be set free.
Greg was trying to make a living as a sales person. He moved his family from city to city, always thinking the grass was greener elsewhere. His wife finally gave him an ultimatum, being tired of all the moves and promises. This would be the last move. Greg had one more idea, and it ‘had’ to be successful or he’d lose everything, including his family. A mortgage company had approached him with the idea of being a mortgage broker. It was a sales job, like all his other jobs, but this one, he felt, had such great potential. Greg was reminded that all his other ‘opportunities’ had just as great a potential, but they, for some reason, never worked out. If he was going to have this one be different, it meant that ‘he’ had to be different.
He took some time and analyzed why he hadn’t been successful in his other jobs. It was hard for him to do, but to his credit, he was very open and critical with himself. In turn, he received some important insights into his own personality which had been the cause of his failures in the past. He’d resisted doing the basic things which were vital to bringing success to a salesperson in any field. Greg hated cold calling, he didn’t keep very good records, and he lacked follow through. It wasn’t any wonder he didn’t succeed, because he didn’t do any of the things vital to success in sales.
His next step was to list out all the things he'd need to do on a daily basis that would insure his success in the mortgage lending field. He'd need to make so many cold calls a day, he'd need to do a certain amount of advertising in certain publications, he'd need to contact a certain number of real estate agents -- the lifeblood of his referral network -- And most importantly, he'd need to make sure his files were updated every single day, and the work needing to be done on each of those files completed as fast as possible, with follow up calls being given to his clients to keep them apprized of their loan's progress. Greg learned that often the only difference between one loan program and another was the level of service offered by the loan officer, and he'd make that his competitive advantage because he was very personable.
After a short while, even in a diminishing market, he became one of the top brokers in his company. Soon he was approached by a large national company, and given an attractive offer to switch companies, which he did. His business continued to grow, and now his family is permanently settled in a new house, making them all very happy -- especially his wife. Greg is ecstatic about his new life, and is busily engaged in consistently doing those basic things which bring him his greatest measure of success.
Being, Doing, and Knowing are no more than laws of success common to all areas of endeavor. As you obey these laws, as well as the laws of success pertaining to the specific areas in which you wish to excel, you will be successful. It’s the natural result of your obedience.
The critical ingredients of Desire, Persistence and Obedience are powerful principles within themselves, but when used as a catalyst to tap into the enormous power of Being who you have the potential to be, Doing what you love, and Knowing you will succeed, you will unleashed the greatest power known to mankind. The power of You!
Who knows, but what lays within you a solution to a problem that has plagued mankind for centuries. Who knows, but what you may have buried within you the ability to influence thousands of people for good. Or perhaps the talent buried within you now is a more subtle ability of equal greatness.
Now that the essential groundwork has been laid, you can begin the path to your dreams.
In the country of Pazichstanh, an artist has a special talent sought after by all within the surrounding countryside. His ability is to mold clay into busts of the living. So perfect his craft, so subtle his power, it is said he can glimpse into the inner parts of his subject and sculpt an image of what the person has the ability to become.
People flock to him as if to a fortune teller, giving the best news any can imagine; for who would not want to catch a glimpse of their best possible future.
Gazing into a person’s heart and soul, his fingers fly over the softened clay, as if with a life of their own. The artist’s eyes are closed tight, focusing inward, searching the depths, fingers moving in response to what he sees within. The subject waits breathlessly, watching, catching glimpses, and marveling at what the bust reveals of who they are, and what they can yet become.
And when he’s finished, great potential captured by the image in the hardening clay, the subject falls at the artisan’s feet, tears streaming in thanks for the revelation worth more to them than any other possession. He has given them the gift of Being. He has shown them who they can be, who they might be, and who they will yet be, if they will work towards it. They have captured an image of their potential.
Many after receiving their bust, have gone on to strive, work, toil, and mold themselves into the image they have seen in the clay. And in the Being are happy!
Of course the above story is fictional, but is it really? There really is someone who has a glimpse, an image, an idea of what your real potential is. If you could confer with that person, catch that glimpse, see that image, would it have an impact on who you become?
That person is you. Deep down, you have that image, that picture, that knowledge you can be better than you are, that there is something more to you than what you have allowed to surface. And if it’s there, what would be the result if you set it free, gave it life?
If you did, who would you become? Would you be different than who you are now? Would you be a lot different or just a little? Would you wear the same clothes, go to the same places for lunch, talk the same way? Why? Why not?
Kevin was thrown into prison for drug abuse and grand larceny. After a year behind bars, something clicked, giving him a brief vision of what he truly could become. Disciplining himself, he learned to live in a way which would bring about his full potential, and “went for it.” Now, four years later, he’s left behind a life filled with drugs and crime, and found his “real” life. He’s happily married, has a family, working a great job, and enjoying a life many would envy.
True success is measured not in what you do, but by the type of person you are. If you become the type of person you would most like to be, then you are, for all intensive purposes, successful. If you truly want to be happy, you have to work at Being your ideal self.
The book of Proverbs teaches, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” How you view yourself is the strongest force in you. All your thoughts, feelings, and actions are based upon how you view yourself. You can completely change your life if you realize your inherent worth and glimpse from within what you have the potential to become.
Martha was a divorced mother of three living in poverty. On and off welfare rolls, she’d recently moved hoping for a new start. She had interview after interview hoping to find a job, any job. She was never hired. Why? She had all the skills, her health was good, she had a desire to work, and she was dependable. Then she learned something simple but powerful that changed her life.
Looking in the mirror, she realized she always frowned. Her expression was a constant scowl, as if the weight of the world was on her shoulders (which it certainly felt like). From that point on, she promised herself she would smile, have a pleasant look on her face, and become a pleasant person.
Right away she found a job; one that paid her two dollars an hour more than her last job. Martha ceased being a desperate, sour, and dependent welfare mother and became a valued employee. She’s not rich, but she’s a long ways from where she was.
Too often we worry about whether we “feel” good about ourselves, whether we have good self esteem or not. But that isn’t the real measure. It doesn’t matter how you “feel” about yourself. It’s the type of person you actually “are” that makes all the difference. If you aren’t the person you would like to be, are you willing to do what it takes in Being who you ideally could be?
Steve was born into a good middle class family. He was bright, energetic, and had a great deal going for him. In school, because he liked attention, he became the class clown, drawing him ever deeper into wild and crazy behavior. His behavior got so wild he fell into drinking, and before his graduation, was an alcoholic. Now Steve is divorced from his second wife, has no contact with two children from his first marriage, and is in great danger of losing any visitation with his third. He had so much going for him yet he completely wasted his potential ending up penniless, nearly homeless, and falling into alcoholism to escape his problems. Not any way to live is it? He began life with great potential. What has he done with it?
Instead of viewing himself as the class clown, and doing whatever it took to get the attention he craved, he could have turned his energies into something more valuable, not only to him, but to those around him. It’s still not too late, but at this point, it’ll be extremely hard for him to turn it around.
Consider Richard, who also had fallen into alcoholism. It cost him his high powered career in media, his marriage and his family. Richard was reduced to living in a borrowed trailer working at a fast food restaurant at minimum wage.
He hit rock bottom, and finally determined to change. He enrolled in a free 12 step program and began the long climb to sobriety. After a while, he determined that the best route for his life was to give service, so he accepted the invitation to become a facilitator for the 12 step program.
His service helped him continue to grow. The climb he began brought him other opportunities. His jobs got better and the people he associated with got better. His life got better until he found and married a wonderful, loving lady. Together, they now lead a group of over 50 volunteers coordinating a regional 12-step program helping others addicted to a variety of substances. It’s a complete turn around from where he was at the bottom. Now he feels he’s at the top again.
The process of Being works in a simple but miraculous way. You transform yourself into the person you ideally could become, simply by doing the things that type of person does. Then, when you’ve been doing those things long enough, you realize you have disciplined yourself into Being the type of person you would most like to be. It’s a little of a dichotomy such as the New Testament teaches. “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (see Luke 17:33).
We must lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. Or in other words, we have to lose ourselves in Being something different, until we eventually find true transformation.
There are basically three steps to transform yourself into Being. First, find within you the image of your potential. Second, develop a set of well defined standards which help you become that person. Third, live those standards.
Get the point. You become the type of person you discipline yourself to be.
Take time for some deep pondering. Get alone someplace and think hard over the type of person you would like to focus on Being. Then ask yourself if you want it badly enough. If you do, then proceed. If you don’t, then find the desire, and do it anyway. Ninety nine percent of all success comes as a result of simple persistence, not spurts of brilliance.
As you ponder, draw deep within and pull out the image of what you have the potential to become, of what you would most like to be. Try to catch that glimpse. Picture how you would treat others. What would your priorities be? Do you see yourself being religious? Do you imagine being outgoing or not? Do people respect you? Do you respect them? (Remember, you are picturing your ideal self, not the person you are now, but the person you have the potential to become.)
Keep as clear and vivid a picture of this ideal self a possible. Doing so will probably make you feel good and day dreamy. The image of your potential you carry within will seep out, giving you a knowledge of your worth, that you can be something that matters.
Now, with that image of your ideal self in mind, take out a piece of paper and describe in detail the image you see. Pay particular attention to the type of person you pictured yourself ideally to be, concentrating on your ideal self’s attributes and characteristics.
This may take a little bit of time. Go ahead and take the time. This small investment in time will reap benefits you can’t begin to imagine. Keep holding on to this mental picture while writing out the description. Press on until you’re satisfied that you have clearly and completely described your “ideal” self.
Now take this description of your attributes, and condense it down to 250 words or less, as though you already are the ideal person you pictured yourself to be. Don’t panic if you don’t think you can do this. You can. Here’s how.
Suppose that the attributes you pictured your ideal self as having contained the following:
- Love and obedience to God
- Love and devotion to spouse
- Love and devotion to family
- Love and charity to all people
- Honesty and integrity in all dealings
- Hard working and Successful
- Conscious of health
- Good sense of Humor
- Good money management
Your written description of these attributes might look something like the following:
I love God and obey his commandments. I receive choice blessings from God every day.
I love and serve my (husband or wife) and treat them like a (king or queen). Our relationship grows stronger every day.
I love my children and take time to be with them and teach them things they need to know. We are all close and enjoy family activities.
I cultivate a feeling of love for all people. I try to help those in need.
I am honest in all my dealings. I am well known for my integrity. People seek out my business because of this.
I work hard and am extremely successful. I provide well for my family and I really enjoy my work.
I manage money and other resources well. We invest wisely and have prepared well for retirement and for emergencies.
My health is important to me. I exercise regularly, eat right, and visit the doctor at least once a year.
I enjoy life and its challenges. I have a great sense of humor and can see the lighter side of any situation.
The above example is written out in short, concise statements known as affirmations. You will also notice that the statements were written as if they were already true. Doing this helps you build a stronger picture of the person you desire to become.
Another thing you should do is write out your affirmations in order of importance to you. This gives priority to your list and helps you spend your time and effort accordingly.
You will now know, each day, the type of person you are striving to become. Continually hold this image in your heart. Act accordingly and start Being the type of person you ideally want to be.
When a situation comes up where you hesitate, think of what your ideal self would do then do it! Make yourself do what you should. Discipline your actions and attitudes into Being what you want them to be.
You can do this. It may seem hard, but if you think about it for a moment, you’ve probably already experienced this process without even realizing it.
When you were younger, you probably had someone you really looked up to. In some cases, the desire to be like this person was so strong within that it caused you to want to dress like that person, talk like that person, act like that person. A mental image of being like this person began to seep into your subconscious, and from that point on, you were more like that person in many ways.
This is good. You may want to pick out someone you feel matches closely with your image of an ideal person, and use their example to help you create a mental image for yourself.
Claren was working as a junior executive for a large company, but had developed the reputation for being a little rebellious and hard to get along with. Word got to him that if he didn’t change his attitude, he would soon lose his job. Losing his job was not something he wanted, but he didn’t quite know how to change because, as he put it, he’d “always been that way.”
To solve his problem, and keep his job, he decided to pick out someone in the company who was really dynamic and effective in his work. It turned out to be one of the top vice presidents of the company. Claren learned all about this person, and then slipped into his “disciple” mode.
He'd meant it a little tongue-in-cheek, but it actually worked in his favor. His work began to improve, his ability to communicate with others rose, and he began to be promoted -- and earn more money. It wasn't long until he was completely submerged into his new identity so much, that "it" became who he was "now." To others he referred to himself as the "new and improved version." And it really was. He worked at Being a better person, and that’s what happened.
Now be careful about one thing. This is a process that takes time. You can’t expect to be perfect right away. From time to time you’ll slip and make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is not to get down on yourself.
Instead, use your mistakes to learn from and correct your behavior. The most obvious thing to learn is that doing it again will cause pain and discouragement; not to mention take you further from who you really want to become. If you’ve offended others and need to make amends, do it!
Learn from your mistakes and relapses into your “old self”, then resolve not to do it again. After that, take about a minute and visualize once again the image of your ideal self. Picture yourself as Being better and achieving your ideal self. Don’t dwell on the negative. Instead, take the time to address your mistake (obviously some mistakes require more time to address than others), then move on to positive things.
One thing that will help you to keep on the track to success and becoming your ideal self is to keep a journal. In this journal you will want to record the things you did right! If you record what you did wrong, then also record what you learned from your mistake and your resolve to not repeat it again.
In recording what you did right during the day, you focus on the positive aspects of your life. The more you focus on the positive, the more positive your life actually becomes. You squeeze out the negatives.
Jason’s life was a mess. He’d made some pretty bad mistakes, having an affair, cheating his employer, and immersing himself in pornography. Needing guidance, he turned back to a personal journal he’d kept, going back to a time in his life when everything was going right, when he was working hard, had good relationships, and was doing all the right things.
Reading the feelings he’d recorded so long ago, gave him hope. It gave him a knowledge that he didn’t have to be the bad person he’d become, that he could change, get back on course.
His journal helped him focus again on what his potential really was, and he began the long climb back. His wife, seeing the beginnings of change, stayed to help.
You can rise no higher than the image you have of yourself, and the discipline you exercise in Being. You control how high you rise by controlling who you become.
The more you approach Being who you have the potential to become, the more successful you are.
At the risk of over generalizing, there are basically three classes of people: First class, second class, and third class. Which are you?
First class people are a very elect group. They are people everyone would like to emulate. They love people, and people love them. With high standards, they live by a strict code of personal conduct. Self confident and sincere, they help others where they can without any ulterior motives. And they are extremely successful in what they do. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they don’t cut others down. In fact, rather than taking advantage, they seem to lift those around them. You always feel good when you’re around a first class person.
Ruppert was always happy. He never had a harsh word to say about anyone and was always willing to help. Whenever things were tough, his attitude was tougher, and he concentrated on lifting others around him, helping them so they wouldn’t get discouraged.
Once, on a snowy winter day a neighbor went outside in the storm to find a flat tire on the car. Ruppert noticed it too and quickly came to her rescue. He dug out the snow, removed the tire, found the spare was flat, so took the tire to be patched, brought it back, put in on, and wouldn’t let her pay.
Everyone liked Ruppert, and enjoyed being around him. And best of all, he wasn’t fake. He was sincere in his feelings and people knew it. Ruppert is a great example of a first class person.
Second class people are those who want to be popular and think the way to do it is to cut others down. They are judgmental and critical of others mistakes and completely ignorant of their own. They try to gather a little group around who will notice their accomplishments and who can be manipulated to serve their own need for attention.
It is obvious that second class people don’t like first class people because they steal the praise and limelight without seeming to try or by demeaning others.
Second class people like to think they are elite and popular, but in reality are elite and popular only to themselves. Other people don’t stand up to them because they can be very cruel with criticisms.
They usually hang around in packs waiting to pounce on someone so they can feel “better” by knocking them down a peg or two. Second Classers stick together because of the need for approval of those who do the same things and treat others the same way. Feeling they need to do this in order to feel good about themselves. They are quite pathetic.
Kerry was big and mean. His words could cut you to the quick. It seemed he made a study of how to knock others down to size with the things he’d say, so as to make himself look good.
Others, not wanting to suffer his scorn would play up to him, and he loved it. Gathered around him would be a few of his cronies such that you’d never want to come near any of them. He considered himself to be quite smart, but he was just plain mean. It got so everyone disliked him so much that even those closest to him started drifting away, leaving him alone.
At the beginning, Kerry only wanted to be liked and looked up to by others. He just didn’t understand how to do it, or wasn’t willing to do what it took to become a first class person. In the end, he got exactly opposite of what he really wanted.
Third class people are followers. They would like to become first class people, but are always being beaten down by second class people. Third class people would like to become closer to first class people, but they don’t believe they can, that they’re smart enough, or that they are worth it.
Third class people only see themselves as others see them. Their whole self worth is based upon how others view them. Clearly they are not truly happy. They are controlled by their environment rather than grasping this control for themselves, like a first class person would do.
Joe, was a small, wiry character, extremely intelligent, but equally self conscious. He wouldn’t do anything unless he knew it was going to be approved of by those whom he looked up to. It was kind of a joke, but often some co workers would tease him a little, and then cajole him into walking up the street, get a cash advance, then treat them all to lunch. In this way, he tried to buy acceptance from second class people who didn’t care about him anyway, except as a means of temporary entertainment.
Like many third class, or even some second class people, Joe was quite proficient and confident in some areas, like science, where he continually lost himself without the slightest hesitation, but he lacked the desire or confidence required to launch him into first class status, which he easily could have obtained with his wit and intelligence. Still, he clung to his role, because he didn’t want the pain of trying to change.
Whenever you attempt to make a change for the good, it takes you out of your comfort zone, and takes effort and pain. Everything truly valuable has a price. If you will deny yourself the things that keep you from your ideal, and make a sacrifice in Being what you have the potential to become, the price you pay will be the best investment you’ll ever make.
If it were easy, everyone would be great. Obviously they’re not, but you can be.
Being your best self takes time. You won’t be perfect. However, as you continue to strive and learn, your enjoyments and fulfillments will be greater. Your satisfaction in life will increase, and you will find true happiness.
Make the choice now to strive in Being your best self. The image of your potential is written in your heart. Follow it. That is where true greatness lies.
There is another way you can work towards Being your highest self. It stems from service. Nothing can boost your worth faster than sincerely serving others.
Christ said, “Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant.” (Matt 20:26-27, Mark 10:43-44, Luke 22:26) see also Matt 23:11
Devote some time to meaningful service. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out, without even trying. It’s called the Law of Inverse Blessings.
You may have a hard time believing it works. Give it a chance. Prove it to yourself.
The Law of Inverse Blessings simply states that if you want to get something, you have to first give something. After you have given, automatically you'll receive back -- greater than what you gave.
This law was taught by Christ over 2000 years ago. He taught what many of us know today as “the Golden Rule.” “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
Christ was the perfect example of how this law works in real life. Christ was one of the greatest leaders our world has ever seen. Yet, he literally wore out his life in service of the people he led. He healed the sick, taught principles of good living, and had great love for each who looked to him for guidance.
In return for being a great servant, he was acclaimed a great leader.
You can draw upon this law and use it in Being the type of person you really want to become. For example, if you want people to love and accept you, you must first be willing to love and accept others. After you have done so, you will find that people truly love and accept you as well, only to a greater degree than what you have given.
If you want people to be happy to see you, you first need to be happy to see them. If you want people to respect you, you must first respect them.
If you find yourself a little hesitant in accepting this law, do this experiment so you can discover for yourself it works. For the next two weeks, smile and greet pleasantly all the people you come in contact with. For the most part, they’ll smile and greet you as well. In fact, some will do so with great enthusiasm. They’ll be surprised anyone is happy to see them.
This may seem like an obviously simple exercise, but if it works, move on to something that has a little deeper meaning for you.
Perhaps you may want to be accepted by your peers. The Law of Inverse Blessings states that you first must be wiling to accept them. As you do, you’ll begin to see an acceptance building in them for you.
Don't rush this, or force the issue. Let it occur naturally. Over a short period of time (usually two to three weeks), you will begin to realize that to the extent that are accepting of others, others will be accepting of you -- only more.
Sheila had just moved into a new area and was worried about being accepted. She hadn’t had many friends where she came from, and always had a hard time meeting people. In trying this exercise, she pushed herself to be outgoing and accepting of others. She tried to reach out to others who seemed inward and shy, and discovered a gold mine she hadn’t known existed.
“It’s all up to me!” she said. “It’s always been up to me. If I make the effort to reach out, even in simple ways, then it really does come back! This is the first place I really feel like I belong. And now I know it’s because I helped other people feel accepted first. This is so neat!”
Don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t work with everybody. You will run into some hard cases (usually second class people), that may not be accepting of you, and possibly even be quite rude. Don’t worry about it. Continue to be accepting of them no matter how they treat you. Give them three chances, and if things don’t change, ignore them. It’s their loss, not yours. You may find that after a time, some of these types of people will have a change of heart and seek you out. If not, remember that it’s not your fault these people aren’t happy, so don’t take the blame for it.
Test the Law of Inverse Blessings in another way. Perhaps you want people to have a sincere feeling of love for you. If that is the case, you must first develop a sincere love for all others regardless of what they are like. (Remember, you can hate someone’s actions, but still love the person.)
Inside of three weeks you will find people love you back -- only more. Remember, however, that if your love is phony, you will notice others being the same way with you. If you dislike people, people will dislike you.
Marta had been abused as a child, and had difficulty feeling affection and love for anyone. She desperately wanted to have a good relationship, especially with her husband and family, but found she couldn’t bring herself to open up and love them the way she felt she needed to.
Using this principle in kind of a reverse order, Marta discovered that the only way she could ever love others was to first be able to love herself. That was difficult because she felt she was somehow to blame for the abuse she’d suffered as a child, and she felt guilty and dirty.
After some counseling, and a firm resolve on Marta’s part, she gradually became accepting of herself, realizing it hadn’t been her fault, and that she was a good person. It was a beginning, and from there it began to grow. She started to like herself then grew to an appreciation of her own unique abilities.
Using her talents more, she found joy in helping others, and then actually grew to love herself. It wasn’t in any conceited way, but an appropriate self-love, which in turn helped her open herself fully to her husband and family.
Utilizing the law of inverse blessings was just what Marta needed, but in a different way than most. You can use this law as well for whatever it is that you need. And just like mathematics, you can move the equation around many different ways and it will still work, so long as the proper balance and principle is maintained.
To put this law to work in your own life, simply write down a list of the things you would like to get. Next, write down its inverse. If you concentrate on the inverse, you will find that what you really want will come to you.
Long before Sherman found his wife and got married, he made a long and detailed list of what he wanted in a wife. After making that list, he made another, equally long and detailed, as to the attributes he would need to be worthy of such a wife.
Sherman then concentrated his efforts on the list he made for himself. When he had become the person that he thought would be worthy of such a wife, She found him! And they were married shortly thereafter.
The same holds true for relationships you have now. In most cases, if you aren’t happy in a relationship, instead of looking at the other person, first look at what you can do to utilize the Law of Inverse Blessings to solve the problem.
If you first strive to treat the other person with respect and treat them the way you would like to be treated, then in most cases, the other person will respond in the same way.
Warren and Marie were having difficulties in their marriage. Warren felt that Marie didn’t respect him or his wishes. Marie felt that Warren was demanding and chauvinistic. The solution for both was simple. If Warren wanted more respect and concern for his feelings, he first needed to show that same concern for Marie’s feelings.
If Marie wanted Warren to be less demanding, she must first evaluate how much she expected of Warren, and expect no less of herself. With a firm commitment to try this process for a month, both parties reported back that they were happier than they’d ever been. Their problems had greatly diminished, and they’d developed a much closer relationship.
Ruthie and Charles were also having difficulty in their marriage. Each, in meeting with the counselor said if the other didn’t change, and change soon, they’d leave.
The counselor listened closely then asked them both if they were willing to do any changing themselves.
How appalling! Both, individually, told the counselor it was the other person’s fault. They had no need to change. And the counselor had better help the other see it quick, or they were gone!
No matter how the counselor tried to explain it to this couple, neither one of them would admit that they needed to look at their own actions, as much, if not more so, than the actions of their spouse. They stopped going to that counselor because in their words, “the counselor didn’t know what he was doing, and couldn’t solve their problems.”
Shortly thereafter, this couple went through a messy and bitter divorce. And all through it, they continued to point fingers of blame everywhere but themselves.
Before you look to change others, first look to see what you need to change in yourself. Remember, It is much easier to lift other people into change than it is to push them.
The Law of Inverse Blessings is a powerful principle. It will work in lifting you towards greater happiness and success. Don’t worry about how it works, or why. Just do it, and reap the benefits that come.
Sometimes there are roadblocks to Being who you really want to be. Maybe you have encountered health problems which won’t allow you to get out and be the type of person you really desire. Don’t despair. It’s what’s inside that makes you who you truly are. If you can’t realistically act out who you really want to be, the strong desire will show in your countenance, and you will touch others just by who you are.
Cheryl was very thoughtful and compassionate. Always thinking of others, she would send cards and letters on birthdays, anniversaries, and any other time she noticed someone was feeling a little blue. Then she got sick. And the inflow of compassion to her was amazing. Cards, letters, phone calls, meals, you name it, people responded in kind to the way she had treated them.
But her illness dragged on, and she wasn’t able to continue doing the things she so loved to do, lifting people’s spirits, letting them know she cared. Yet that didn’t matter. When she expressed her concern to some close friends, they told her it showed in her face. Even total strangers just meeting her for the first time, felt her concern, the love and kinship she so desired to give. It didn’t matter that she couldn’t give physical expression to her desire, it was a part of who she was, and it came out anyway.
As a rule, you can’t rise any higher than you believe you can. Your innermost view of who you really are controls what you ultimately become. Seek the inner vision of your true potential. Identify it. Put it into an image you can see in your mind. Then discipline yourself. Strive, toil, work, wish, plan and push yourself towards Being that person. In the search and struggle you’ll find the greatest treasure of all: A greatness truly meant for you alone.
Kyle loved working with sound systems. Growing up he installed dozens in cars, homes, boats, you name it, he installed it. He bought, sold, horse traded, and even custom built systems for his friends. It was all he ever wanted to do, all he could think of doing. His parents were worried. Kyle didn’t have any ambition to do anything else with his life. After all, fixing and installing sound systems was fine and good, but there was no money in it, no stability, and besides, it was just something teenagers loved while they were young but then grew out of it and worried about “normal” things.
Kyle didn’t grow out of it. Instead, he got deeper, got better, and worked with more and more expensive and sophisticated equipment, until he worked into his own business of installing intricate custom sound systems in people’s homes.
His parents don’t worry much any more. Kyle makes over $600,000.00 a year doing what he loves. Just installing sound systems.
What do you dream of Doing with your life? When you were younger, you were probably asked about a thousand times: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Maybe you wanted to be a fireman, astronaut, doctor, lawyer, dentist, etc. And then as you grew in years and experience your dream altered, faded, or even died with the constant bashing of the harsh realities of living.
Now, if you have a dream, you’ve pushed it so far into the back of your soul that you don’t dare bring it up for fear the exposure may finally kill it all together. Never fear, Doing what you love, Doing what you dream of, following your passion, will change that.
Paul, for as long as he could remember, wanted to be a rancher. Yet whenever he talked about it, all he could say was, “There’s no money in it. You can’t support a family being a rancher.” So Paul settled into a life of working the best jobs he could get, and hoped that sometime, somehow, he would end up being happy.
For the most part, those around Paul agreed, you can’t be a rancher in today’s world. People don’t do that anymore. You were just born too late. But what they were really saying is: You can’t do what you want. A person has no right to do what he really wants to do. No one is allowed to follow their passion. They say this because they’re frustrated too. And if they can’t follow their dreams, then others can’t either.
You’ve never heard anyone who’s actually followed their dream trying to discourage others from doing so. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Those who’ve been able to follow their dreams go out of their way to try and convince others to do the same, no matter how unlikely it seems.
Fortunately for Paul, someone came along who didn’t buy his line. Instead, he was asked, “Why not be a rancher? Others are still doing it, and raising their families too. Have you ever sat down and tried to figure out how to make your dream work?” No, Paul hadn’t. But then he stared thinking about it seriously. All it took was one person giving him encouragement, one person who would believe in his dream, helping him decide to give it a hard look.
This person answered Paul’s silent plea to show him a way to find his dream and pushed him towards doing what he really wanted to do.
Are you in the same place? Do you have a dream of Doing something with your life that you’d really love to do, but are afraid because it doesn’t seem practical?
Being practical shouldn’t have anything to do with following your dream. Few things people dream of doing seem practical at first. Those with a strong enough drive still end up Doing what they really love.
Pete's parents worried about him while he was young. He just wouldn't discipline himself, nor apply himself to his studies like his older brother -- a straight A student. As he grew, all he wanted to do was watch movies. After struggling through high school, threatening to drop out several times, he moved from Utah to California to get into the film industry. His parents tried to dissuade him. Didn't he know the odds of succeeding in the film industry? Pete, wanting to make movies, didn't listen, he just up and left, working in studios, sound stages, sets of commercials, and loved every minute of it.
Working extra long hours, he learned the business from the ground up, directing commercials, drawing story boards, writing scripts, and now makes three times the money of his “more stable” brother. Currently he has a contract to direct two movies, and is living his dream, even though those closest to him didn’t think he’d make it. But he did, because he’s Doing what he loves. That gave him the power to do whatever was necessary to succeed.
The first step is to identify your dream, to highlight what you are really passionate about Doing. You probably already have a good idea of what this is. It’s something which gives you purpose, something you love doing, something you are strongly driven to do. Maybe what you want to do is not even an established career but something you’ll have to invent.
The Three Dog Bakery was founded in 1990 by Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye who loved their dogs, Sarah, Dottie and Gracie so much they wanted to create a healthy, tasty dog biscuit with ingredients they could pronounce. At first they started selling their biscuits to vets and pet shops, then expanded to a small retail store. A short time later, they moved to a better, larger location and invited all their customers, “both two legged and four legged” to come into the shop. Still expanding, they started into mail order, opened bakeries in several PetsMart stores in San Diego, and had displays in nearly all their stores nationwide. This may all sound quite far fetched, but it certainly works for them. They’re doing what they love, and it has worked very well.
Who knows but what you may have it in you to create your own job, or even industry. You have nothing to lose but a life of dissatisfaction.
Don't worry about whether you think it's possible or not. For now, just dream. Then write your dreams down -- in as detailed a fashion as you can. After all, you'll never achieve your dreams if you aren't clear what they are.
While in his senior year of college, Shawn took an afternoon and wrote down all that he’d like to do with his life. He tried to be as specific as possible, yet general enough to allow for the inevitable changes life would bring. And besides, he knew he was young and really didn’t know all that he’d like to be doing with the rest of his life, but he did know the things he’d definitely like to be doing.
As the years passed by, he was amazed at what he was able to do, and how good it felt to follow the plan he'd made. Each year he checked the things off his list he'd accomplished until one day, just two things remained -- and in only a little over ten years since he'd graduated.
Looking back, Shawn realized he wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what he’ done if he hadn’t taken the time to write it down. It kept him focused. But it surprised him how easy it had been.
In order to follow your dream, you may have to let go of what you’re already doing. It may feel like jumping off a cliff hoping you’ll land safely. That’s pretty scary. This isn’t really what you’re going to do. You may have heard the phrase, “You need to risk big in order to win big.” But you needn’t risk at all. You should go about reaching for your dreams in a responsible way. Taking risks may still be part of your dream, but you needn’t take unnecessary risk.
Scott was a self taught artist who loved to paint wildlife scenes. Making a living as an artist seemed a long way off. He had a wife and two children to support, so he worked during the day as a telephone line man, and every night, he’d take at least an hour to work on his painting.
Slowly but surely, he’s continued to master his craft, become more known, and sold some major works. It won’t be much longer until he’ll be recognized enough to sell his work on a regular basis.
Working this way hasn’t been a risk, but a diversion from the harsh realities of paying bills and working for a living. Yet at the same time, he’s fulfilled his responsibilities and moved ever closer to the achievement of his dreams.
First, you need to take care of your responsibilities, providing and caring for your family, being honest with your employer, etc. Then you can invest a little time each day to making your dream a reality. Just investing a little bit of time each day will eventually yield a big return. If you maintain your desire, persistence and obedience to those things which bring success for the area in which you’re laboring, then you’ll soon end up Doing what you really love. And that’s what success is all about. Doing what you really love.
Sometimes your daily investment in your dreams won’t yield much money. If it’s really what you love, do it anyway.
Kirk was a college English professor, but his love was writing science fiction. He taught during the day, and in his off hours wrote short stories. He’s sold a few, but hasn’t really hit the big time, yet. He hasn’t stopped, because no matter the amount of money, he’s doing what he loves.
Not making large amounts of money shouldn’t stop you from Doing what you love. If you are taking care of your responsibilities, the fulfillment of your life’s dream will be compensation enough. And who’s to say that it won’t eventually yield stellar results.
John Grisham, a rather small time lawyer dreamed of writing legal thrillers. Awakening early each morning, he’d take time to scratch out his writing on a legal pad, then take it to work with him. During the course of the day, whenever he had a snip of time, he’d pull out his pad and write. His first couple of books took quite a while to write, and he didn’t make much money, but when his success finally came, it came big.
Now as a best-selling author of legal thrillers, he’s retired from the legal profession to write full time. He didn’t quit his day job until he could afford to. He was simply Doing what he loved when everything seemed to “click.”
Never work for money. If your dream is simply to have a lot of money, then you’ll never be happy.
Bob would have loved nothing more than to spin artful pottery pieces all day long. His dream was to turn out work after work of his wonderful pottery, and do it for a living. Being impatient, he decided the best route for him to achieve his dream was to first make a lot of money, retire, then go to work in his own pottery studio.
The problem with Bob’s plan was that he put making money as his top priority. His desire to make money fast and easy led him down a path he didn’t see the end of until it was too late. Becoming involved in a business venture he thought would return him a great deal of money, he went out on a limb and purchased a big house and a new car. When the deal never came through. Bob was left hanging, lost his house, his car, and his self respect. He went back to doing what he’d done before, working in a factory, but the stuffing had been knocked out of him, and he hasn’t been able to bring himself back to doing any of the pottery work he loves.
Earning a living is part of your responsibility, not part of your dream. Money is a tool, nothing more. Earn, save and invest enough to fulfill your responsibilities, and each day, invest in Doing what you love to do. If that ends up bringing additional money, that’s okay too, but you won’t get the joy you crave out of the money itself.
Ironically, another person, Dave loved to produce pottery too. Rather than follow Bob’s plan, he decided he’d keep his day job, and work on his pottery in a very modest studio he built, and turn his pottery out when he had the time.
For several years he’s given pottery as gifts, placed a few pieces in stores that have sold, until finally, a designer saw his work and commissioned him to provided pieces of his pottery for several large projects. Slowly but surely, his work is becoming more in demand, and he’s able to earn more and more from Doing what he loves. Between Bob and Dave, who’s further along in reaching their dream?
First take care of your responsibilities, then make a plan to start Doing what you really love. Having a plan is a concrete way to get you moving down the road to your dream.
The Old Testament teaches: “Where there is no vision, the people perish:” (Proverbs 29:18)
Paul, who would love to be a rancher, needed a vision of where he’s headed; a plan to accomplish his dream. Here’s what he’s decided so far. First, he’s updating his skills so he can earn a good responsible income for his young family. Then little by little, he’s investing in Doing what he loves. He’s purchased horses and found a place to board them. Then as he can, he plans to add to his “ranch” until he ends up Doing what he loves. The motivation is there, he’s being responsible, and before he knows it, he’ll have a little piece of land, horses, cows, the works. It may be small, but that’s really what he wanted after all. It will be a hobby ranch, but one where he can enjoy the lifestyle with his family he’s always dreamed of having. The money isn’t there, but he doesn’t care as long as he has sufficient for his needs. Even in that, he’ll be as rich as anyone.
With a clear vision of where he wants to go, little by little he’s Doing what he loves. The power of his vision will carry him there until he finally arrives.
Is that the only way he could reach his dream? No. He could seek employment on one of the big ranches still in operation, then work his way up from there. His rise would probably be pretty rapid because his heart would really be in it. Are there other ways still? Yes. He could find a backer and purchase one of the hundreds of ranches for sale.
Ray loved to ranch too, but he also didn’t have the money to get into the business on his own. He became acquainted with a big city lawyer who’s dream was to own a ranch, and they formed a partnership. The attorney provided the funds. Ray provided the labor. Together they established a 1500 acre ranch in Nevada. Not only does Ray get to fulfill his dream, but two of his sons work with him. Neither Ray, nor his sons are rich in monetary terms, but they are fulfilling their dream. Isn’t that being wealthy? Truly wealthy.
There are as many ways to realize your dreams as your imagination can create. Obviously, some routes are better than others. But like building a house, or taking a long vacation, to get the most out of it, you need a detailed plan, or a vision, of where it is you’d eventually like to end up. The best way to do this is through the process of setting goals.
Before you groan because you’ve heard all your life about the importance of setting goals, and maybe tried it with little or no success, you need to learn to set goals the right way. Setting goals the right way captures your vision and channels your efforts towards Being and Doing what you really love.
Henry Ford had a vision that he could change the way the American people lived. He loved building cars, and thought it was a shame that the people who built the cars couldn’t afford to buy them.
People thought he was rather eccentric when he announced his goal of developing a way to cut the price of his new automobiles so his factory workers could buy them too.
Ignoring criticism, Henry went to work, designing the first ever assembly line, bringing the amount of production up, and the cost down, and achieved his goal. The simple act of accomplishing a goal really did change the way average Americans lived, opening up a whole new avenue of life -- being able to travel farther, faster.
Successful people begin with well established goals, a clear vision of where they want to end up. Goals act as a guideline or blueprint which direct and focus your efforts towards success. They can be an extremely powerful tool in your life if used properly. But like any tool goals can be misused. The result is discouragement, frustration, and a belief that having goals is not worth the effort. Now you can learn the right way to set goals.
Sarah was the director of training for a group of over 120 volunteers. During that time she would routinely work with regional directors to set production goals with each individual volunteer they were responsible for. She soon saw that about twelve percent of the volunteers really took goal setting seriously. Those who set realistic goals, and diligently strived to achieve them were four times more successful than the average volunteer. In fact, that twelve percent consistently produced over sixty percent of the organization’s entire success.
Goals have an amazing power to focus your life towards reaching your dreams. Below are some ways in which you can optimize the power of setting goals. These proven steps enhance your inner vision, and focus your efforts toward the success you’ve always wanted. Keep these in mind:
1. Be realistic, but stretch. You need to have goals that excite you, but are believable. For example, if one of your goals was to increase your income, you should only set a goal to increase your income in a way you could realistically achieve, but still would be a good stretch, and something you’d get really excited about.
Say if you had and annual income of $24,000, then a reasonable goal would be to increase it to $30,000 in the following year. The next year you could increase your goal to $40,000 per year. And after that, the next year you could set your goal to achieve another increase in income to $54,000 per year.
Angela was tired of working in a bakery. She would slave away behind a hot oven early in the morning, then exhausted she would return home too tired for anything else but drop off to bed, and start again at 3:00 the next morning. Angela loved people and wanted to work with them more. Also, she loved houses, housing design, construction, and every aspect of home ownership. Naturally, she gravitated towards being a real estate agent. It took a while, but she got up the courage go to school and got her license to sell real estate. Her pay was based solely on commission so if she didn’t sell anything, she didn’t get paid. She had bills and needed to buy food. Nevertheless. She worked hard at the bakery for a little while longer, saved up a month’s income, then found the courage to quit. To her it felt like jumping off a cliff, but she set some goals to help her stay focused doing those things which would bring her success; help people get the homes they wanted, at the price they could afford; and earn enough to support herself comfortably.
Her vision of where she was headed, combined with her love for her new career spurred her on with an enthusiasm not often matched even in top professionals. From her first month she began to be a top producer. Each year, through a lot of hard work, she fulfilled each of her goals, and continued to move up. Now she makes over $100,000.00 per year, a level that’s quite comfortable for her. She could make more, but that isn’t what she wants. Helping people is one of her most important objectives, and if she gets much busier, she wouldn’t be able to interact with the people the way she enjoys. She’s right where she wants to be, but it’s not bad for a former donut baker.
You can do the same thing, if that’s one of your goals. But remember you’ll have to work hard for it, just like Angela. The key is that your goals should be exciting, and something you would love to be Doing.
2. Use the power of Vision. Just as in the examples above, you need to have a clear picture of where you want to end up, a vision of what you’d like to be Doing. Buried within is a precise vision of what your true potential is. As you ponder over what it is you really want to accomplish, this image will slowly emerge.
You’ll start to recognize a passion for certain things. You’ll start to realize, if you look and pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, the type of work you’d like to do, and what would bring you a great amount of fulfillment. Listen to these inner urges, and follow them for a while. Dabble a little in the areas you may have an interest in, and see if it suits you. If it does, pursue it further.
3. Write out your goals in short statements as if they’d already been achieved, to develop a clear vision of the path ahead.
Jim constantly envisioned himself driving a certain type of pickup truck. His only problem was he didn’t have enough money to get what he really wanted. Nevertheless, he set a goal something like the following: “It’s September of next year and I’ve just purchased my dream truck. It’s a charcoal colored pickup with 4 wheel drive. I enjoy the feeling of packing supplies in the back and heading for the hills. The mountain sun warms my face as I lay in the hammock, the cool breeze whispers through the trees, and my beautiful truck is parked right beside the tent. There’s nothing like it!”
Within the allotted time, and with seemingly less effort, he was able to purchase the truck, and in a way he hadn’t expected. Jim worked hard in his job, staying longer hours, trying to earn and save the money for the truck, and his extra effort paid off. But it wasn’t that he’d saved enough money, because he was still short. His boss wanted to reward his efforts, and gave him a chance at a special project that when completed, paid him a substantial bonus. It was enough to make a large down payment on the truck and finance the rest at a level he could easily afford.
4. Set goals in specific areas and prioritize each area as to the importance that it plays in your life. Don’t worry about what some of these goals might be yet, you’ll see specific examples later on. For now, just focus on the types of goals you should be setting. Focus on the following areas:
a) Personal. In this area you set goals as to personal habits and attributes you want to cultivate in your life; like a personal exercise program for your health; different attributes you want to establish into your personality, such as honesty and being more prompt; or you can set goals for personal growth towards more spirituality.
b) Companionship. This area of goal setting is used for developing, enhancing, and strengthening your relationship with your spouse.
c) Family. This area is geared towards developing, enhancing, and strengthening relationships with your family. Remember that a close and loving family is worth more than all the monetary success in the world.
d) Spiritual/Church. If you are involved in a church or any form of religious worship, this area of goal setting can be used to strengthen the spiritual side of your life. It is important for each of us to be continually seeking after spiritual growth and fulfillment, an area which is often neglected, but really shouldn’t be. After you’ve spent some time developing this side of your life, you’ll realize why.
e) Education. Continue to expand your knowledge in all different areas. It doesn’t need to be formal classroom learning. Become an avid reader. It’s amazing the amount of education a person can get for free, just checking out books from your local library. There are thousands of books on almost any topic. If you want to start your own business, for example, pick up one of the many books on the subject at the library and see what you can learn. Continuing education is a must.
f) Work and Finance. In this area, you set your career and financial goals. Remember to be realistic, but set your goals high enough that you’re excited about achieving them. Remember it’s your right to be successful if you’re willing to do what it takes.
g) Community and Other. In this area, you set goals related to community service and other areas important to you. Always seek to contribute to the overall benefit of the community where you live. Your unique talents and abilities can be of help to others. If everyone were to support their communities and strive to make them better places, the whole world would benefit. As you do your part, others will follow your example and you will make a difference.
Mother Theresa devoted her life to helping the world’s poor. Now that she has died, has her work ceased? No, but her example has been an inspiration for many who continue the work she began.
The previous categories are only suggestions of how to break down your goals. If you have a different way of organizing that works better for you, by all means, use it. The main thing is to set goals in all areas of your life to insure the growth of the whole person.
Don’t forget, leisure and recreation are important aspects of life too. If you neglect these areas in setting your goals, you’ll burn out and never really enjoy life the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Sharon had saved up for a long time to go on a special vacation to Hawaii. She’d figured out her whole itinerary. Everything she wanted to see and do was planned out to the minute. When she got there, she rushed from site to site, activity to activity, trying to get everything done she’d planned. Before she knew it, the trip was over, and she was exhausted and unhappy. She hadn’t enjoyed it a bit. Being so intense on doing everything she’d planned kept her from achieving the real purpose for which she went . . . to have a good time.
You need to be careful or you’ll live your life that way. You’ll be so busy accomplishing your goals, that you won’t enjoy the journey. And that’s the whole purpose: enjoying the journey.
You should also set priorities in your goals as to which areas are most important to your happiness, down to the least important. You’ll notice that in the above suggestions, work and finance are next to last in priority. Money doesn’t buy happiness. Though your monetary goals will be important, don’t have finances and work your top priorities. True happiness comes from Being your best self, and Doing what you really love. Financial rewards only come after you’ve been successful. They’re not the cause of success.
Wayne understood the principle and power of setting goals, but didn’t understand the importance of having the proper priorities. First, he wanted to become financially well off, then he’d settle down, get married and have a family.
He did well, but always wanted to reach just the next financial level before he got married. First it was sufficient savings, then it was buying a home, then a pool, then a vacation home. Before he knew it, he’d grown older, acquired all the trappings of success, but he had no one to share it with. By the time he got around to looking for a wife, he’d become so selfish, he couldn’t find a woman who’d marry him, and he was old enough that the available candidates were far and few between.
Your goals should be set in a way that they guide you into Being the type of person you really want to be. The description you made earlier of your ideal self should literally be a blueprint of what your goals should lead towards.
Start with a clear vision of the type of person you eventually see yourself as Being, then add in your plan to start Doing what you love. This gives you a complete picture of who you want to be, and what you want to do, then adding in how and when you’ll arrive.
Write it down and categorize it into each area of goals you’ve established. Use brief statements as if it had already happened. Your goals may look something like the following:
Twenty Year Goals:
I am now well enough off financially to slow down and enjoy my family and friends more.
I’m continuing to expand my efforts in providing opportunities for others to succeed.
I’ve lived my personal code of honor completely and have been greatly blessed.
People trust me.
I’m the result of my regular exercise program. I’m in excellent physical condition.
Most important in my life are family and service and worship of God.
My wife and I are closer now than ever before, and growing closer all the time.
I provide nice gifts for her and often surprise her with thoughtful items and trips.
I’ve continued the practice of doing something special for her every day.
She has continued to grow more beautiful each year, and I tell her often.
The time I spend with my family is quality as well as quantity.
We now have the means to go on better and longer vacations as a family.
My wife and I take every opportunity to instill good values to our children.
I am helping our oldest children chart a strong and successful course for their lives.
I teach by example more than any other way, how God blesses those who serve him.
I now have a net worth of $3,000,000.00
I have an annual income of over $200,000.00 a year before taxes.
I am considered an expert in my chosen field.
I have now chosen to go into semi-retirement.
I can now stop taking any unnecessary risks with my capital.
The plan I set up to pay for my childrens’ education and other items has worked well.
This plan has also helped the children have confidence in their ability to work and succeed.
After setting these twenty year goals, cut them in half and create ten year goals. Write them out as if they’d already happened as with your twenty year goals.
Next, cut them in half again and create five year goals. Write them out as before.
Divide your five year goals into one year bench marks and write them out.
Take your first one year segment of goals and divide it into four quarters. These four quarters become your short term goals. Write them out as if they’d already happened as was discussed before.
Now that you have accomplished this, you have literally mapped out your future. You should feel great satisfaction. Maybe for the first time in your life you have complete control over who you’re becoming and what you’re doing.
Daniel set some new goals just after he retired, then went around telling people he was programmed until the year 2020. He was only partly kidding. Setting goals had given him a whole new perspective and energy to last him out the remaining years of his life. Energized and enthusiastic, he greeted each new day, when before, he’d been discouraged and depressed from retiring and having nothing to do, nothing to work for. Purposeful living, and meaningful goals has added light to his life.
Sometimes as you proceed toward the achievement of your goals, you may realize that you want to make some adjustments, that some of the goals you’re working towards may not really be what you’d like to be Doing with your life. That’s okay. Sometimes you don’t know this until after you’ve gotten involved and can see for yourself. Don’t worry about making changes to your goals. Goals are tools to help you move towards Doing what you want. If you want to make adjustments, go ahead. Very seldom can you know all you really want out of life without first getting some experience. The important thing is that you continually strive towards the achievement of your definition of success -- Being the best you can be, and Doing what you love.
Lisa thought she would enjoy being in business, so as she attended a university, declared business as her major. She graduated with her bachelor’s degree and wasn’t quite settled with what she finally wanted to end up doing, so she started going for a master’s degree in business. One semester away from graduating she realized she really didn’t enjoy business at all. In fact, as she thought about it, the real reason she went into business was because she felt she would make better money when she graduated. That was probably true, but she finally realized making money wouldn’t bring her the happiness she desired. And if she wasn’t happy with what she was doing, she probably wouldn’t be very successful anyway.
She re-evaluated her goals, and her definition of success, and found that what she was really passionate about was teaching English Literature.
So, with only one semester to go, she changed her graduate work to English literature. Her goal was to eventually teach at a university. Finally settled with her decision -- the right decision for her -- she started teaching some business classes at the university to give her some teaching experience -- which she greatly enjoyed, while she started again with her education. After she finally found her niche of teaching, the money was secondary. Because she was Doing what she loves.
When you come to the end of an appointed time for the achievement of a series of goals, its time to do an evaluation. If you haven’t completely achieved one of your goals, don’t get mad or discouraged. Instead, look at the progress you’ve made from where you started, and pat yourself on the back. You’ve improved yourself. You’re better than you were.
Next, make a list of all the successes you’ve achieved, no matter how small. Put these in the journal that you’ve been keeping, and when you get discouraged, review your list of successes. Then as you begin achieving your goals (even partially), add them to your list. You’ll be amazed at what you’re accomplishing.
Bernie felt like he wasn’t getting anywhere with his life. He felt he was working on some pretty good goals, but didn’t feel he was making any progress. After being encouraged to keep a journal for just one week, which he kept simple, just keeping track of his activities in his day timer notebook, his eyes were really opened. Going back over the work he’d done during the past week, he was amazed at what he’d actually accomplished. “I didn’t realize I got that much work done in a week,” he exclaimed. “And most of those days I thought I was just spinning my wheels, even then I was making progress. I’m getting closer all the time.”
Bernie kept creeping up on his goals even when he didn’t realize it, and so will you. Keep a record, just so you’ll see how far you’ve come from where you started. It helps to keep discouragement at bay when looking at how far you’ve yet to go.
Call upon your greatest personal discipline to achieve your goals. Keep the vision of what you’re Being ever in your mind. It’s reassurance that the sacrifices are worth the effort.
A weight lifter has to gradually build up his strength over time. He can’t just start out by trying to lift 300 pounds. But, if he works up to it, a little at a time, pretty soon he’s built up his muscles and be lifting that 300 pounds.
The same applies to you. You need to start small in your goals. Get some successes under your belt, so to speak, then gradually increase the size of goals. You’ll soon be able to build up an enormous capacity for achievement if you do it properly.
As each time frame come up for the achievement of a group of goals, evaluate yourself on your progress. Add the goals you’ve achieved (even partially) to your list of successes. If there are goals you haven’t yet achieved, don’t give up. Rededicate yourself, add them to the next list, then press forward, Doing what you love.
Success won’t come instantly. It rarely does. As you accomplish your short term goals, you are moving farther and farther along the path to your true potential. The Chinese proverb states that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. You’ll find the journey even more rewarding than the destination, each step of the way.
Don’t discount being able to follow your dreams. Don’t get discouraged. You will encounter setbacks and obstacles, but don’t ever give up. If you want to find complete fulfillment, don’t ever give your dreams away. You have a mission. If you turn away, it will be left to others to perform, or it may not get done. Maybe it won’t be grandiose, but however simple, you’ll still touch others and leave your mark. Don’t deny mankind your unique gift, even something as simple as growing a spectacular garden adds beauty to everyone’s lives, and fills yours.
Sometimes, as you’re working towards the fulfillment of your dreams, you’ll encounter a roadblock which may seem to alter the course you’d like to travel.
A horrible accident, a debilitating illness, the loss of a job, divorce, etc. all throw up roadblocks to the best laid plans. This is when your desire, persistence, and obedience will be put to the test. Often the only thing you can do is go with the flow, learn as much as you can from each experience, and adjust your plans to fit within your new framework of life.
Think of someone you know who has had a serious setback. What did they do with the trial? Did they let it bring them down and stop their forward progress, or did they move on as best they could with the new realities they had to face?
It may cause the adjustment of your plans, but it also may open up new avenues you hadn’t previously considered.
Walt Disney suffered a near nervous breakdown just as he was reaching a pivotal point in his career. At that point, on the advice of his doctors, he took time off and got completely away from his work, leaving it in other’s hands (a thing he had struggled doing before). He had to relinquish a great amount of control over his empire in order for him to retain his health. But in the end, it proved to be a great blessing. He was able to let go of many things and instead leverage the creative abilities of his team members and develop his (and their) ideas into the entertainment empire it is today; something he never could have done on his own.
Terry was a football star on his high school team. Scouts from major universities were coming to see him play. It seemed his prospects were limitless, until a car accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. His dreams appeared dashed.
Did he let that stop him? No. Instead, he altered course and focused his efforts in other areas. His character hadn’t been damaged. It had actually been enhanced by the inner strength he’d had to develop to simply function. He married his high school sweetheart and they started a family. After his education, he found a position with a financial planning company and started building his business.
He was asked to speak to a group of youth about overcoming adversity. He did and discovered a hidden passion for teaching and motivating. He was asked to speak to other groups, and has since had a dvd produced about his life and has spoken to hundreds of groups, while still working as a financial planner. Success and a measure of fame has found him though his course has drastically been altered.
His dream career as a NFL star didn’t materialize, but he is no less a star in what he’s doing now. He’s an example to thousands as to how setbacks in your life don’t have to be life ending. He has a wonderful life, every bit as fulfilling as what he thought he’d have before the accident. In fact, he tells others, he wouldn’t change a thing. The life he has now is better than the life he would have had.
Out of small and simple things, great things are brought to pass. And the great things may be the very simple things you’ve had to settle for. Don’t overlook them. Relish the joy in Doing.
Columbus set out to discover a new route to the Indies. He had it all worked out, but his plan didn’t take him where he thought. Instead he discovered a whole new land, and found a completely different kind of fame than what he was seeking. Your journey may be much the same. You may get sidetracked or find you’ve not arrived quite where you expected, but the destination will always be worth the effort if you’ve followed your dream.
The power of following your vision is like piloting a tall-masted sailing ship by the stars. You can’t see the end, and the journey is filled with suspense and storms, but eventually you’ll wake and see your destination on the far horizon. Tears will fill your eyes as it comes in reach, the destination close at hand. Then you’ll realize the growth, joy and satisfaction you’ve received along the journey is just as important to you as the destination.
All from Doing what you love.
Beth, Roy and their two children decided they didn’t like city life in New York so they pulled up stakes and moved to a small town in Illinois. No job, no prospects, and no idea of how they would support themselves once they got there, they decided not to wait Knowing their abilities would pull them through.
Looking more for a lifestyle than just a place to live, they decided they would turn their passion for gardening into a livelihood. They purchased on old farm, fixed it up and started growing some rather unique crops.
Not food, but special plants, flowers, weeds, and vines Beth used and sold as craft decorating supplies. It wasn’t long until they had to expand, purchase a separate building for a store, and continue to build their operations.
Knowing played the biggest part of their success. They just knew things would work out if they worked hard and continued to pursue their dream.
Beth says, “don’t ever not do something just because you’re not sure you can. We’ve learned more from our mistakes than from our successes. Our mistakes have proven to be invaluable lessons worth more than anything else.”
If you think you can or you can’t, you’re right! Successful people exercise great faith. Some even to the point of arrogance. Remember the boxer, Mohammed Ali, and his famous saying, “I’m the greatest!” His description of being able to “float like a butterfly, and sting like a bee,” is a good example. But you don’t need arrogance, you need faith. Faith in yourself, and faith in your abilities.
Faith is Knowing that something positive will happen when you work hard. Faith is Knowing you are capable of achieving your goals.
A great opportunity magnet, faith attracts the means to accomplish your goals if you are willing to do your part in bringing it about.
Mitchell was just starting out in his profession, but wanted to move ahead quickly. Utilizing the power Knowing, he wrote out certain statements on a 3×5 card and put them in his shirt pocket to ponder over during the day. They said, “success is coming my way.” “New business is just around the corner.” “Today I’ll find a new opportunity to excel.”
No one really knew what Mitchell was up to with his cards, but no one argued with the results. Good projects seemed to just fall in his lap. He was promoted rapidly, and always was in the thick of the exciting things happening within to the company.
Mitchell worked hard, but he also exercised great faith. Others wondered how he did it, he just seemed to always be in the right place at the right time, but he knew all along it would happen.
The opportunities came, true, but what he did with those opportunities was completely up to him. The same is true for you. Opportunities will flow to you constantly, but then you have to act on those opportunities to make Knowing of true value.
This is not a new principle. It was taught over 2000 years ago by Christ. He taught, “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). “Verily I say unto you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and be thou cast into the seas; it shall be done” (Matthew 21:21).
Our society has become one which now relies on money, explosives, and heavy machinery to move mountains rather than faith. Those things aren’t bad, but you still need to have “mountain moving” faith. There are mountains money and heavy machinery can’t budge, no matter how much force is applied, mountains within your own heart, blocking the way to your dreams.
The way to beat your own doubt is to just take it one shovelful at a time. Figure out what it is you think you’d love to do. Then research how to accomplish it. Find other people who have done similar things. Think it through, make a detailed plan, and then break it down into the daily activities you need to do in order to accomplish what you want. After a while, you’ll find that you’re making steady progress and your disbelief in yourself will begin to disappear. All you have to do is ignore that doubt until it goes away. The only way you’ll make progress is to follow the daily steps you’ve established towards the achievement of your work. Only then will the doubt go away.
A well known author was filled with self doubt. It threatened to stymie his work. He constantly had to fight through the fear of failure and force himself to write. But he knew the way to become a successful author was simple. He had to write every day as well as he could, and when that work was completed, try to sell it to a publisher. He knew that this path would take him where he wanted to go as long as he persisted. He had to work at this every day, no matter how much doubt and fear assailed him.
A shovelful at a time, he moved his own mountain of doubt. He never gave up. And Stephen King became a successful author.
Christ also taught the value of faith as practiced through honest and sincere prayer. He said, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22)
Yet Knowing must be combined with our efforts in order to prove successful. Christ’s disciple taught that “faith, if it hath not works, is dead” (James 2:17). Faith can attract opportunities to you, but clearly, you have to act upon them, be aware of them, to be seeking. Knowing alone won’t work unless you work.
Faith is an invaluable tool as you travel down the path towards success. It ties in closely with the other principles you’ve learned and works in harmony with existing natural laws.
In other words, you can’t exercise faith in something that is not consistent with these laws. You can have a strong belief that you are going to be extremely successful in a given area, but unless you are being obedient to the principles of success which govern that area, your faith won’t work.
Jim sat across from me, waiting patiently as we reviewed his business plan for the third time. Something didn’t sit right with me, like we’d missed something. “Let’s go through it one more time,” I said. Jim rolled his eyes and said, “Okay, but I know we’ve covered everything.”
“Fine,” I answered, but let’s just make sure. That’s why you came to me, to make sure you were setting up your restaurant so it wouldn’t fail.” We’d already covered that restaurants have a higher failure rate than any other type of business.
“Okay,” I continued, “we’ve reviewed the location, the equipment, the financing, the lease, the management, the building, the licensing, the food deliveries, everything we think is critical to your success right?”
“Yep,” Jim nodded.
"Fine. Just to be sure though, tell me how you're going to cover yourself during your initial start up. Just because you open your doors, doesn't mean you're going to be full every day -- at least until it catches on."
We’d already covered this before, but Jim humored me. “I’ll stay at my day job to keep the money coming in until the business picks up enough for me to work there full time. My wife will manage the restaurant during the day, do the cooking, and we’ll only have to hire a couple of part time people. My mother’s old country recipes will be the draw, they’re unique but very tasty, and no one else will have the same type of food. After I’m done working, I’ll come in, take over from my wife, and close.”
I nodded, listening closely, checking over the list again. Then it hit me. “You said your wife was going to do the cooking.”
“Yes,” Jim answered.
“I have just one more question then. Can your wife cook?”
Jim was silent for a long time. Then finally he answered, “She can’t cook worth a darn.”
Again there was a lengthy silence.
I closed the folder. “Just because opening a restaurant seems to be a good idea, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for you. If your wife can’t cook, I suggest you find some other type of business that plays directly to your strengths rather than falls right into a big weakness.”
Jim agreed, we had a good laugh, then began exploring other opportunities. A month later, I helped Jim and his wife open up a successful little ice cream parlor. No cooking required!
The power of faith will literally draw positive and successful opportunities your way. It can cause events that extend your efforts and make the achievement of your goals a reality. Even though you may not understand how it works, it will be of great importance to you in your quest for success.
Marlow had worked as a manager of a small independent bookstore and loved it. With little college education, and newly married, he found a location for his own shop and decided to take the plunge. Having worked out all the principles of success for a small bookstore such as his, and putting all those principles into practice, he opened his small business and had faith everything would work out. There were some rocky times, but he held on, working hard, and doing everything he knew would bring him success.
After his first year he breathed a sigh of relief. He had made it so far. The work and long hours continued. The next year saw him doubling the size of his store and making record sales.
Knowing becomes strongest and most effective in your lives when you develop it gradually. It’s like a muscle that needs to be gradually conditioned. You can’t go from having little faith to moving mountains the next day. Gradually develop your faith with small events then work up to greater as your faith strengthens.
What follows are a few exercises you can work on before starting anything big. They’ll help you build your Knowing to the point it will be a powerful force.
The first exercise is very simple, but can do much to improve your outlook on life. Each morning when you get up, picture yourself being happy all day. Then, know that you will be happy all day long. This Knowing will only take about thirty seconds of your time, but at the end of the day, you’ll find that you actually were happier during the day. The key is to exercise faith and know, with nothing doubting, that you will be happy all through the day. Try it.
As you find you have positive results, record it in your journal. As you have success even in this small task, your faith is being strengthened. Even recognizing small accomplishments are faith building.
The second exercise takes a little more faith, but it builds your faith a little more strongly as well.
All of us hate to have a bad day. You know the type I mean; the day where nothing seems to work; you can’t contact the people you need to, and everything you’re working on falls apart.
When you’re in the midst of one of those days you often think to yourself, if just one good thing would happen that day, I could deal with everything else. Well, the second exercise will help to insure this happens. It will also help you move more surely, bit by bit, down the path to your dreams.
Although none of us can be guaranteed a perfectly productive day -- ever -- we can work towards having more happen for our good than bad, even on a rotten day. The second exercise is this: Every day, when you wake up, start out by Knowing something good will happen. Just know and believe that something good is going to happen that day. The next step is to carry that feeling with you throughout the day, even when things start to unravel on you, and you’re heading towards having one of those days, keep watch for that good thing which will bring you closer to your dream. You’ll spot it sooner or later, and it will change the whole completion of the day.
Even if things happen that are terrible, that one good item will help you wade through and see that you’re still making progress towards the achievement of your goals.
Vince, as he started his day, decided he wasn’t going to come home from work until at least one good thing happened. But all he got was flack. One of his clients called and cancelled a critical appointment, his boss was in a lousy mood and taking it out on everyone, and his wife was really sick. Yet there he was, still at work, and finally it was just about quitting time.
Then the phone rang, he answered, and it was someone wanting to have a meeting with a representative with the company out in the valley, half an hour’s drive in the opposite direction of home. The customer sounded a little strange, like he really didn’t know what he was doing. Vince was tempted to ignore the request and try to set the meeting for the next day. After all, his wife was sick, and he really wanted to get home after such a lousy day.
Then he remembered his commitment. Vince grit his teeth and agreed to the meeting. After phoning his wife to tell her he’d be late getting home, he left the office and drove through rush hour traffic to meet with this potential customer he had strong reservations about.
At the meeting, Vince was ecstatic to find out that the new customer was pleased he’d come out to meet him after hours. Within the week he’d signed a long term contract with Vince’s company for over a million dollars, providing a bonus to Vince well worth the Knowing, patience, and commitment he’d invested.
As you recognize using your faith will bring good things your way, you’ll boost your ability to accomplish all that you’ve set for yourself. All the good things which will happen each day, because of your faith, will continue to add up, and help you in Knowing you really do control who you become and what you do.
Now that you’ve come up through two levels of building faith, you’re ready for a third. You can use your faith to draw opportunity to you by Knowing that big things are headed your way; that doors will soon be opening to you; that opportunities will appear which, if taken, will lead you down the path to the destination you’ve set for yourself.
The more intense your faith, the more it will happen. Be sure to keep track of the positive events and opportunities that occur in your journal as before, to help remind you during the periods of discouragement you will inevitably face.
The third exercise will be illustrated by Bill’s example in applying this principle. He learned this technique early in his career, and has been using it to bring him success ever since.
Bill started out in a door-to-door sales job. His product was quite expensive. Consequently, it was definitely not an “easy sale.” He used to go for days without anyone being interested in what he had to offer.
After learning the power faith could have in bringing success, He thought he’d give it a try. Bill decided he would bring faith to bear and just know that he would be able to find at least one contact per day who was sincerely interested in what he had to offer. He even made a little pact with himself to insure that he was doing all he could to gain the opportunities faith could bring him.
Bill promised himself he would do all that was reasonably within his power through creativity and hard work, to find at least one contact per day, and by so doing he would be justified in using the power of Knowing to make him more successful (after all, “…faith without works is dead…”).
During the first day, he didn’t find anyone. He was a little discouraged, but kept working at it. The second day, he didn’t find anyone either. Bill was starting to get worried, but still persisted and had knew that at the end of the week, he would have at least 6 new contacts (an average of one per day). Working hard, he maintained his faith it would work.
At the end of the third day, he found his first contact. Bill felt things were starting to happen. On the fourth and fifth days, he found a new contact each day. Now he was really starting to roll.
On the sixth day, he needed to find three new contacts in order to achieve his goal. It was something he’d never done before, finding three new contacts in one day! but his goal was for three more, and he just knew he’d be successful.
By noon on the sixth day, he’d made one new contact. He was on his way. Around 4:45 he found another contact. Still exercising faith, he persisted, just Knowing he’d make it.
When it got too late to stop by anyone’s home, he realized he was still one short of his goal. Late and tired, he was discouraged as he walked back to his car, but he still had just a hint, a feeling, something would happen and he would still make it, although he couldn’t figure out how that could be.
No sooner had Bill got back to his apartment than the phone rang. The voice on the other end of the line said they had read some of Bill’s literature and were interested in seeing what he had to offer.
Bill was dumbfounded! This had never happened before. Not only had the power of Knowing helped him achieve his goal, but it had actually caused a contact to come in search of him!
Ever since, Bill used the power of Knowing, combined with hard work, and always averaged at least one new contact per day, and some times more. His career took off, setting company records.
You can do the same for yourself, no matter what line of work you’re in.
After catching hold of your inner vision, take a minute each day to ponder, just Knowing you can, and will, fulfill it. Faith will bring opportunities for you to reach your dream, step by step. Some events may seem to come in the normal course of your day, others will spring “out of the blue.” Expect it to happen, and it will. You then, will only have to pursue the paths which have opened. It’ll be completely up to you.
One caution regarding Knowing, however. Don’t use it to try and control people. Faith can influence, but only to the extent a person desires to be influenced. Knowing works best for you and for things pertaining to your life and your success.
Mandi was discouraged when Bryant, someone she’d had her eyes on for quite some time, didn’t respond to her liking him. She complained that her faith wasn’t working. She’d been trying to exercising her faith, Knowing that Bryant would fall for her, but for some reason, he just wouldn’t. Finally she realized faith can’t be used to compel another’s actions. It can only be used to influence her, and those things which happen to her.
Accepting this, she decided to use the power of Knowing to help her become the person she’d always dreamed of Being. She focused in on Knowing she was coming closer and closer to her best self. And in so doing, helped her find ways to improve her life, her looks, and her attitude.
It wasn’t long before she ran into Jack, who was much better for her than Bryant would ever be. Marriage came shortly after, and then beautiful children. Once she used Knowing appropriately, it produced fantastic results!
Knowing brings you thinks you can’t even imagine. It works! Find out for yourself. Give it a try. In the Knowing, you’ll change your life.
That’ll be all the proof you need.
Now that you have learned Being, Doing, and Knowing you have an important decision to make. You can implement them into your life and begin working towards your dreams, or you can be skeptical and stay right where you are. Please don’t stay where you are. You need something to strive for or you won’t be happy.
Being, Doing, and Knowing propels you within reach of your dreams. Your investment of time and effort will be wasted, unless you put them to use.
You’d be surprised how many people choose not to be successful; even when opportunities abound.
Lisa had everything going for her, talent, looks, the beginnings of a great education, and a family who loved and supported her. Then she chose some bad friends, got introduced to drugs, and gave everything away for a low, downward spiral ending up in jail.
Don’t let this to happen. It’d be the biggest mistake of your life.
You deserve to be successful. You were created to succeed, not anything less. Everything you need is already within. Look within and draw out that inner potential.
Each good example in this book believed he or she could accomplish the goals they set for themselves. They overcame disadvantages and made good where their ultimate desire guided. You're no worse off than they were, and can do the same -- or better.
Remember Abraham Lincoln suffered poverty, discouragement, and sickness, but that didn’t hold him back. You’ve probably got more going for you than he did, what’s to stop you?
Henry Ford ignored ridicule and huge obstacles to bring his vision to life. Nothing stood in the way of what he knew he could accomplish. Even to this day, the empire he built is one of the largest in the world. You're no worse off than he was. You have everything he had when he started. That means you can do the same, or more -- if that's what you really want.
Sylvester Stallone overcame poverty, a speech impediment, and a fickle industry to achieve great fame. He didn't have anything you don't have right now. You can do anything he ever did -- if that's what you really want.
Being, Doing, and Knowing arm you with the knowledge to be as successful as anyone. Put this knowledge to work. Memorize the formula: Knowledge + Action = Power! You have the knowledge. Supply the Action, and Power will result; a power to cast you ever higher, until you’ve achieved the success that before, you’ve only dreamed of.
May your journey be a prosperous and happy one.
Please remember to give this book a review at the E-retailer where it was purchased.
About the Author
Harv Masters received a Master’s Degree in business from a major university; has been a director in three different investment companies and a Vice President in one of the country’s largest regional banks. He owns several businesses.
He was involved in a trend in the retail industry, which today is used by every major development company in the nation, called “Business Incubation.” In this position he worked with over 250 fledgling and start-up companies helping them grow into successful enterprises.
He was born and raised in southwestern Utah, keeping horses, cows and other assorted pets. He is the third of 6 children and survived childhood only by utilizing an active imagination. His hobbies include reading and travel.
During one international trip he and his wife were detained as suspected terrorists. They live in a small mountain town in southwestern Utah, population 140.
Be sure to check out other books by Harv Masters.
Below, see a preview of “The Ultimate Investment; Achieving Life’s Highest Returns, An Allegory. By Harv Masters.
“How was your day?” Mandie called from the kitchen.
"Same as always I guess.” Dan Benjamin stepped through the front door of their small two-story home and hung his coat in the closet. It was dark out and he was dead tired -- as usual. He looked wistfully around the front room as if seeing it for the first time. The carpet was old, the furniture older. All of it hand-me-downs. A mismatched collection of discards from family and friends, all in good shape, but discards just the same.
The only thing new was the family portrait. They’d saved for months and finally had it taken. Dan, Mandie, their three kids, Dan Jr. Mellissa, and little Ronnie all in best clothes and brightest smiles. Of course, the kids had insisted Moochie, the family dog be included too. That picture, in the most expensive frame they could afford (which wasn’t much), hung a little askew above the old TV.
Dan stared at his image in the picture. He looked young in the portrait. Much younger than he felt tonight. He gazed over at a mirror hung near the picture and compared his image with the one in the portrait. Still brown hair, though now touched with gray at the temples, and brown eyes, but his complexion was more sallow. His cheeks were heavier. He and Mandy had talked about his weight gain from the stress he’d been feeling. It was readily apparent with the comparison with the photo at 44 it seemed he’d aged much more than the 2 years since the portrait had been taken. Maybe with a bit of rest the lines will slough off a bit. The gray, Mandi was convinced was also from the stress. Still the contrast made him worry.
He gazed back at the portrait, this time looking at Mandi. She appeared full of life in the portrait. Dan compared it with how she looked now. Her auburn hair was still long and glossy, eyes cool blue and a figure that still make his heart skip a beat. Now, though, he knew she was tired too. Her eyes weren’t as bright, her smile not as vibrant, though still there. She was a trooper. He was lucky she’d agreed to marry him. At the beginning, he’d be full of passion and promise. Full of energy and enthusiasm for the future. Nothing looked out of reach then. Now it was a different story. The promise was still there, but seemed to be ever further and further off, no matter how hard he worked. How long would Mandi hang around? There’d been no hints of her being dissatisfied with their life. Still, how was she really feeling?
The kids in the photo were bright and happy. All of them. At least they hadn’t changed. Kids were always optimistic. Mandi and he had, by unspoken agreement, never said anything around them which would make them worry. As far as they were concerned, all was right with the world. Dan only wished that were true.
Dan loved his family. Tonight as he came home he felt sorry for them. Sorry they had him as a father. He straightened the portrait.
“Something wrong?” Mandie came in from the kitchen, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. She was wearing a tee shirt and jeans under her flowered apron scuffing along the hardwood floor in her houseslippers.
“Just the usual,” Dan replied. “Did I miss dinner again?”
“There’s a plate in the fridge. I’ll heat it up.”
Dan raised his eyebrows.
“Don’t look surprised!” Mandie said. “I wouldn’t dream of letting you starve, especially since you bring home the bacon.”
“Thanks,” Dan sighed. “Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it.”
“Must have really been a bad day,” Mandie gave him a hug. “Come, sit. I’ll get your food. You’re lucky the kids are in bed. You may even have a few moment’s peace before you doze off.”
“Do I look that tired?”
“Like the walking dead.”
“Thanks for the compliment.” Dan sank down on the threadbare couch, kicked off his wingtips and pulled off his tie, laying it carefully across the back so it wouldn’t wrinkle. Dry cleaning was expensive.
“You’ve been a pretty good sport,” Dan called out as Mandie walked into the kitchen and pulled open the fridge.
“Do I have a choice?” she called back.
"Good question. I wish I had a better answer.” Dan heaved himself off the couch and dogged into the kitchen. He sat at the worn and scratched table -- another hand-me-down.
The kitchen, in spite of his mood, was bright and happy; a good reflection of its primary occupant, Mandie.
Several delicate dried flower arrangements clung to the walls. Mandie had taught herself, looping and draping with ribbon, hot glue holding it all together.
The cabinets had nicks and scratches from children in runaway walkers. They needed a new whitewash. The ancient monolith they called a fridge was plastered with a large collection of magnets from “all over”. “All over,” meant that whenever friends or family went someplace fun, they brought Mandie back a magnet.
“Do you ever wonder how we ended up here?”
“What do you mean?” Mandie placed the plate she’d pulled out of the fridge into the microwave. She pushed buttons, listening to the little beeps as each touch registered, then pushed the start button. The old machine roared to life.
“You mean we could’ve been rich but just forgot to choose?” She was teasing, trying to make Dan feel better. She knew how hard it was on him, how badly he wanted to succeed, to provide well for the family.
She looked at him. He was seated at the table, his back to her. Head down, shoulders slumped. He was tired, she knew, from working so hard, but this time was different. It looked as if all the spirit had been beaten out of him, like he was just a heap of flesh with no life, no spark. She started to worry.
“You’ve been having a lot of bad days lately,” she said, pulling the plate out of the microwave. She placed it with a hot pad in front of him. “Do you want to talk?”
“No . . . Well, yes!” He watched Mandie pour the milk. “Isn’t life supposed to be fun? Aren’t we supposed to enjoy it even a little?”
“Of course,” Mandie answered, placing his glass on the table and pulling out a chair to sit. “I’ve always thought life was pretty fun. It hasn’t always been easy, but at least we’ve had some good times haven’t we?” Mandie stopped. She thought over his questions, saw how it reflected on her. “I take it you haven’t.”
Mandie started to dread. Was this the way it happened? Is this how it had started with her Uncle Will? He’d given up everything, abandoned his family to go ‘find himself’?
Dan laughed, patting Mandie on the hand. He’d seen her expression. “I didn’t mean it like that.
“I’ve just been thinking a lot about our life.”
“And what’ve you been thinking?” Mandie was still nervous. “Is something wrong at work?”
“No. Nothing like that. Everything’s fine. The extra hours should start paying off, and the bonuses should start showing up in the checks. After taxes, it probably won’t mean much, though.
“What’s got me lately is just that, well, with all the work I’m doing, and the money my boss keeps telling me I’m supposed to be making, shouldn’t I enjoy it more? Shouldn’t I feel successful? No let me rephrase that,”
Dan stood and walked over to the sink, squinting out into the darkness.
“I feel successful. And I enjoy working. I even enjoy what I do for the most part. But it’s not what I love to do. I can’t see myself doing it the rest of my life. You know what I mean?” Dan turned back to Mandie.
Mandie shrugged. “Not many people make a living with something they love. You’re farther than most. At least you like your job. You haven’t made a killing yet, but you will. It won’t be long. Then we’ll start traveling like we’ve always wanted.”
“I wish I had your faith.” He came and sat again. “I think I’m missing something.
“Take your brother, Glen. He thrives on his work and makes a ton of money without putting in near the hours I do. That bugs me. Why do I put in so much time and earn less than someone who works half as hard?
“You know,” Dan picked up his fork. “I wouldn’t even have to make a lot of money. It’d be enough to do something I love. That and have time to enjoy life a little. I hardly see you – and I never see the kids. They’re asleep when I leave, and in bed when I come home. How do I win? If I didn’t work longer, we’d make less money, and I’d be stressed about that. But if I do work the longer hours, then I don’t have much of a life.”
Dan ran his hand through his hair. “Don’t listen to me. I’m just tired. If I keep it up a bit longer, things’ll get better.” He gave Mandie a tight smile. “Sorry if I worried you.”
“At least it’s Friday,” Mandie brightened. Dan could tell it was forced. “You don’t have to work tomorrow do you?”
“Don’t think I could even if they dragged me in, I’m so burned out. If I don’t take a break I’ll wig out.” He cringed then, seeing Mandie’s face. She covered it well.
“Just take tomorrow off completely then” Mandie said. “There’s nothing you need to do that can’t wait a while longer. Just rest.”
“I may take you up on that. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve curled up with a good book? I was thinking about that on the way home. I used to love reading.”
“It’s settled then. Go over to the library tomorrow and pick out a book. The kids wanted to visit the cousins tomorrow and you can have that time all to yourself.”
Dan could see Mandie was still worried. She didn’t say anything, and he was so tired he couldn’t give more reassurance.
Mandie stood. “I’ll go check on the kids. You finish eating and unwind. If you want to talk more we can.”
Dan nodded as she left.
“Way to go,” he mumbled. “Mandie’s stressed enough.” He felt like a heel.
Dan tried to brighten up, to push it out of his mind for her sake. She worked as hard as he did.
Mandie came back just as he finished and they went into the front room on the couch. They talked quietly. Dan didn’t bring work up again. Mandie decided not to press. They talked about the kids and things he’d missed. Things he always missed.
When they went to bed, Dan couldn’t blank the sour thoughts, couldn’t shake the feeling he wasn’t going anywhere, that he was wasting his life.
If only he could start over, take a different path.
What would it be? After a deep breath he realized it didn’t matter. It was too late. He drifted off into a fretful sleep.
Dan squinted against the sun glaring through the bedroom blinds. It had been a long time since he’d seen the sun through that window. He’d also forgotten how nice it was to sleep in.
“Honey,” Dan called. No answer. The house was still.
He rubbed his eyes, swung his feet to the side of the bed and sat. There was a note on the nightstand. He held it up.
We thought we’d let you sleep in. I’ve gone with the kids to Susan’s. We won’t be back until dinner.
Enjoy your rest!
Hugs and Kisses!!!
Dan put note down and noticed the time on the digital clock. 9:13. He really had slept in. Pushing to his feet, he wavered into the bathroom and turned on the shower and undressed. Time to rest!
Dan felt the previous day’s disappointment lingering, tried to brush it aside. He tested the water and climbed in, letting it run over his head, warming his body. It feels great not having to hurry. I wish it could last a week!
Half numb from the hot shower, Dan toweled dry, then went to the closet,
“Oh yea,” he smiled. “No tie today.” A quirky smile crossed his face. “If I don’t have to dress up, then I may as well be comfortable.”
He crossed the room to the battered dresser. From the bottom drawer he pulled out a pair of faded denims. He tossed them on the bed, then pulled open the next drawer, picking out a tee shirt Mandie had tried to throw out a dozen times.
Dan dressed, then felt guilty. Why? Why should he feel guilty about not having anything specific to do? How long had it been? He tried to push the feeling back and reached into the closet for his beat-up tennis shoes. Mandie would die if she saw me. Again he smiled.
What should he do next? He’d been on automatic pilot for so long he didn’t know what to do when his time wasn’t filled with something he was supposed to do. A decision! Moving downstairs, he grabbed his briefcase from where he’d left it the night before. He walked into the kitchen and set it on the table, snapped it open and pushed aside the stack of files. Underneath, he pulled out the pen he’d been awarded on his 5th anniversary with the company. At the time he’d thought it a big deal. Today, all he did was chuckle under his breath. The pen went underneath the neck of his tee shirt with the clip facing out, then snapped the case shut and set it aside.
He glanced at the stenciled wall clock. Almost ten. Dan got up and poked his head into the fridge.
Yep! there it was. A brown bag with a red heart drawn on it. Mandie’s trademark. She always made him a lunch. Then to tell him she loved him, she always drew a heart on the outside with a smiley face inside. Dan was embarrassed at first but what the heck! He loved his wife, and didn’t care who knew it.
It was early, but he wouldn’t be back for lunch. Besides, he was hungry and didn’t want to fix breakfast. He pulled the bag out of the fridge and sat at the table. Dan pulled out the sandwich then stood and went back to the fridge, pulled out the milk carton, and crossed to the cupboard for a glass. He filled the glass, then put the carton back in the fridge and settled back at the table.
“Time to plan my day. Let’s see…” Dan bit into his sandwich and chewed. “This should be real easy.”
The library wasn’t too far. Mandie often took the kids there. Dan was surprised at how long it had been since he’d gone. He walked into the foyer, found he didn’t know where to find what he was looking for. He also realized it had been so long, he didn’t have a valid library card.
His eyes brushed over the wide expanse of shelving. He was afraid to admit he was nervous. Kids walked around like they owned the place, scuffling across the thin rust colored carpet. Parents followed behind, carrying books for the younger children. He noticed senior citizens reading the newspapers and magazines, keeping up on world events without having to step back into the rat race.
“How would it be?” Dan mumbled. “Wait till I retire. I know what I’d do with all that time…”
There! His eyes latched onto the sign he’d been looking for. “Information” was written in bold letters.
Dan stepped up to the desk and cleared his throat.
“Yes?” the attendant whirled on a swivel chair. He looked at Dan over the top of his spectacles. The man was dressed in a blue shirt, a blue striped tie, and blue polyester pants. He was bald on top, with hair at the sides combed over the top.
This guy has found his niche, Dan thought as he pulled out his wallet.
“I need a new library card. My old one probably isn’t good any more.” He held it out to the man.
“You’re right, sir.” The librarian scrutinized it. “I need two forms of I.D. And fill out this form.” The little man placed a paper and pen in front of him with casual effort.
Dan nodded, picked up the pen and set his wallet out so the librarian could record the information off his driver’s license and credit card through the plastic holder.
The man pinched his face down, peering at the proffered information as Dan struggled not to laugh. He concentrated on filling out the form, and keeping track of his wallet.
“Is your address still correct?” He was making notations on another form he’d pulled out.
“You’re pretty good at that.” Dan said.
“Thank you sir,” the attendant answered. “Your information?”
“Oh… Yes!” Dan remembered. “That’s the right address.”
“Thank you.” The librarian made some final notations, collected the form from Dan, making sure to collect the cheap pen, then stapled the forms together.
Swiveling again, he eased in front of a keyboard and clicked at the keys with a speed any secretary would envy. Oblivious to anything until completed, the attendant swirled back, reached down to the whirring printer, pulled a label from the form feed. He peeled the back off, then darted his hand into the suddenly open drawer to his right, pulling out a new library card.
The label went on the back of the card, and was handed across the desk.
“There you are, sir. Anything else?”
“Uh, yes,” Dan said. “I’m looking for books on a certain topic…”
“Right behind you sir, along the wall,” the librarian pointed. “Those monitors contain the library index files. If you need help, just ask the attendant. She’ll be glad to assist you. Next?”
Dan noticed a small line had formed behind him. Grasping the card, he moved aside, dodging a Cub Scout group, and made his way to the computer monitors along the wall. He waited until one came free, then walked forward uncertainly. He noted the instructions with relief, and found he could probably use it okay.
“I certainly don’t remember these being here,” he mumbled.
“Shhh!” came from an older lady next to him.
“Sorry.” Dan ducked his head.
Let’s see . . . he thought, placing his knuckle in his mouth the keep from talking to himself. What do I want to look up? He scrunched his eyes for a moment.
“I know.” Dan typed in “Dreams,” then punched “Search” on the keyboard. Dan had always been curious about dreams and what they meant. It’d been years since he’d read that article which had piqued his interest. It was pathetic it had taken so long to look into something that held his interest.
The monitor blanked, then the screen filled with a topical guide. Scanning down the list, he hit #3 on the keyboard, taking him to “Dreams and Dreaming: Analysis.”
Again the screen blanked while the search continued.
This beats the card catalog I remember, Dan thought, careful to keep his lips pressed tight. He glanced at the older lady at the next station. She looked as if she’d shush him again -- sternly!
The screen blinked and a list of books scrolled down the monitor. Dan put his finger against the screen, tracing the listings down. He picked up a pencil and slip of paper from a small tray next to the monitor and noted the reference numbers for three books.
He punched “return” to reset the computer for the next search, picked up the paper and placed the pencil back in the tray. Turning, he looked along the tall book stacks, seeing the series of numbers he was looking for posted along one end.
Dan moved into the aisle, squeezing past a couple browsing in the child care section, moved past another man stooping to pick through the bottom shelf, then got some clear space in front of the series of numbers he was looking for.
Again, using his finger to trace the call number of each book, he narrowed it down to the third shelf from the top. Then he began scanning the titles… “Here, here, here,” he mumbled quietly. He couldn’t remember when he’d started talking to himself like that, but the moment he caught himself, he stopped.
Pursing his lips to remind him to keep quiet, he continued scanning the shelf.
He looked again.
He started at the top shelf and traced the numbers again. It took him to the same shelf, scanning very slowly, looking at the title of each book to make sure he didn’t miss anything . . . Nothing.
Just my luck. The books aren’t even here. Dan shook his head, looked down the aisle. The couple and the man were still in his way. He turned and walked toward the opposite end to go around rather than try to squeeze through.
As he passed through the stacks, a book caught his eye. “Big Money, Little Work.”
Dan stopped. He looked closer. The dust jacket carried the likeness of thousand dollar bills. The title was superimposed with bold, red lettering.
He pulled the book from the shelf. I don’t believe this! Dan looked at the shelf. There were other titles: “Being Rich is Your Right!” “Wealth: It’s Yours to Grab.” “Big Bucks!”
Are these for real? Dan wondered.
He started to put the book back, then stopped.
“Wait. This might be what I’m looking for.”
He pulled several other books from the shelf, stacking them on one arm as he continued to grab any title that struck his fancy.
Nine books were stacked precariously in his arms. He left the stacks and eased across to a room labeled, “Quiet Study.”
Inside, he found an empty cubicle in the far corner. Dan placed the books on the desk titles face down so no one would see what he was reading, then pulled the most intriguing title out first, “High Time for High Finance.”
He thumbed through the front pages, stopped at the table of contents, looked at each chapter title, then turned to the first and started reading . . .
Four hours later, Dan had skimmed through 5 books. At first, he’d been excited. The further he got, the more he came down to earth. This isn’t me, he thought. I could never be like this. I could never do this stuff. Dan slapped the book shut. “People actually make money doing these things? I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night I’d be so stressed.”
Dan thumbed through the stack and picked one he figured was partly, at least, legitimate. There’s got to be something I can do to make my life better.
The money-making techniques in this book involved getting 75 credit cards, taking out the maximum cash advance from each one to buy real estate -- for cash! Of course you get a bargain buying with cash, Dan thought, [_ but there's no guarantee you can sell it again before the high credit card interest strangles whatever profit you might have made. Then you start going into the hole -- with no way to pay your debt! _]
I don’t have the stomach for this stuff. How does Mandie’s brother do it? Commodities dealing is risky, but he seems to clean up. People think he’s dignified and sophisticated. But if I tried any of these schemes, I’d feel like a crook. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m just not cut out to make money. Some can, some can’t . . . And I’m always the can’t.
Dan stacked the books and slid them forward to scoop them off the desk. Might as well get a fun book to read. He curled his hand under the books. A spark of static electricity shot from the metal edge of the desk.
The books dropped to the floor. Occupants of other cubicles popped their heads above the dividers to see what had happened.
“Sorry,” Dan said.
He kneeled down. There was an old piece of paper hanging out one of the books. He slipped it out.
How’d I miss this? Dan put the books back on the desk and opened the paper carefully. It had been folded into fourths and was so old it might tear. He was curious.
The writing was in a fancy script he was sure was a woman’s.
“Dear Friend,” The note began.
“If you’re reading this book, then you need my help . . .”
“Strange,” Dan mumbled. He kept reading.
[_ "You're probably struggling, trying to make some sense of your life, right? Well, let me say, you won't find anything in this book that'll help. In fact, if you listen to this book, you'll only end up more frustrated than you are now. I know. I've been there, and can tell you from experience. You don't need what's in this book -- or in any other book of this type. The only person getting rich off this stuff is the person writing it. If the things it teaches are so easy, why doesn’t he spend more time doing rather than writing about it? If this information is the sure winner he says, why is he so anxious to tell the world? _]
The authors all say it’s out of altruism, that there’s plenty out there for everyone. But if that were the case, why do we have so many patent attorneys? Why do we have so many industrial spies? The truth is they know most of you will never do anything with the information. Or when you try, you’ll quickly become discouraged and give up.
“Come on, friend, you already know these books aren’t for you. You’re grasping at anything now. Looking for something to take you away from the rat race you’re in. Am I right?”
Dan looked up from reading. “So far she’s hit it right on the head.” He started reading again.
“Look. If you really need to jump start your life, and if you’re really serious about finding happiness, then read on. If you’re just messing around, then put this back in the book and put it back on the shelf so I can really help someone who’s ready to be helped. Are you willing to do what it takes to make a better life?”
Dan thought a moment. This lady is good. She’s got it so no one would dare stop now. It’s probably some wild goose chase. He was tempted to shred the paper and put all the books back, then he shook his head. This is stupid. I can’t believe I’m doing this. Dan held the old paper up and continued reading.
“Still with me? Good!
[_ "We've established that you don't need this book. Or any like it. All they sell is false dreams to the gullible. What you really need is to learn about the ultimate source of wealth -- the ultimate resource. I call it the Ultimate Investment." _]
“Give me a break!” Dan slapped the paper down on the desk. People again looked over cubicles, giving him funny looks, worried if he were dangerous or not.
“Sorry.” Dan breathed deep, calming down. Here this lady is telling me that I shouldn’t waste my time on ‘hype’ and that’s the first thing she does after sucking me in. Next she’ll be asking for money to buy ‘her’ book of secrets.
He opened the paper again.
[_ "Now don't get excited! It's not what you think. I'm not going to ask for any money, and I won't get anything out of this. Really! Well, not quite. This may sound like all the others, but I will get some satisfaction, knowing I'm helping -- if you make it all the way through -- to make a better life for yourself. _]
You see the Ultimate Investment isn’t something you get from me or anyone else.
“So prepare to be frustrated…
“I’m not going to tell you what it is. You’ll have to figure it out for yourself.
“Why? Because I found a long time ago, whenever someone gets something so valuable without having to work and sacrifice, they don’t appreciate it. And it rarely does them any good.
I want you to treasure this investment. I want you to know how really priceless it is. I want you to receive the full extent it has to offer. I want it to make you as rich as it has made me.”
Right! Dan thought. [_ How do I know this lady is rich? How do I know she isn't playing me for a fool -- like everyone else seems to? _] He looked at the stack of books he’d been skimming.
What the heck. May as well finish. He glanced at the time. It was near four in the afternoon. He started reading again.
“Let me tell you about myself. I’m rich. But not in normal sense you think of as rich. I’ve got plenty of money, yes. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m rich because I like myself. I like what I’ve done with my life. I’m fulfilled. I can’t wait to get up every morning and go to work. I love what I do. I love it so much I’d do it 24 hours a day if I could. I love it so much I don’t even wear a watch, or set my alarm clock. I don’t care what time it is… Ever!
I’m doing what I want with my life, and I couldn’t be happier. Because I’m doing what I love, I do it well and I make money . . . Plenty of money, in fact.
“What I do, specifically, isn’t what is important. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you’re wisely investing the Ultimate Investment.
Again, I won’t tell you what it is. You’ll have to discover it for yourself.
“What I will do, though, is give you clues to help you look. If you look carefully, you’ll find what I’ve found . . . The Ultimate Investment.
“If you’ve paid enough of a price in looking to realize the treasure when you’ve found it, you’ll become as happy as I, no matter how much money you make.
“Here’s the first clue:
“The amount you have isn’t important, it’s how it’s that counts.
“That’s it. The first clue. Got the answer yet? Not even a guess? Don’t worry. If you keep looking, you’ll get it. I’m sure you will!
[_ "By the way, the other clues -- there's three more -- are found here in the library in other books. You'll just have to figure out which ones. _]
“Hmmm,” Dan rubbed his chin. “What about this?” That part about loving what you do, that’s what I’ve been looking for. A coincidence?
Sounds like a bunch of hooey. Still . . .
What if there’s something to it? What if this is what I’ve been looking for?”
Dan glanced at his watch. It was time to go.
He carefully folded the paper, holding it in one hand as he pushed the stack of books onto another. He walked out of the quiet study area and placed the books on a re-shelving cart.
On the way home, the words kept echoing in his mind, “The amount you have isn’t important, it’s how it’s that counts.”
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