How You Think Is Everything
"I've learned that there is no limit to human or athletic potential. We are unlimited possibilities."
The power to transform our lives, to make the dreams of today the realities of tomorrow, lies waiting within us all. Each and every one of us has the power to change our lives, mold our perceptions and shape our world. We have the power! In America the greatest country in the world we have unlimited opportunity. We are only limited by ourselves. In fact, the truth is that we are limitless. We have the power to do what ever we want to do. Nothing is beyond the scope of man. Today people are achieving success that only years before would seem unimaginable. Just look at what we have achieved in the last millennium. It is astonishing! We have literally gone from throwing stones to launching laser rockets, from crawling on our hands and knees to walking on the moon, from yelling at our neighbors to worldwide tele-communication...it is awesome what we have accomplished. And we are just in the embryonic stage of our development. In the next millennium we will accomplish things that will be beyond the comprehension of even the greatest minds of today. You just wait and see.
I am totally convinced that nothing is hopeless, nothing is impossible, and that there are no boundaries for man. I don't care what people have told you, or what you think is possible, if you believe in yourself and work hard you can become anything you want to be. Belief, I contend, is the "deus ex machina" or the magic elixir that can transform a mediocre individual into a world class performer.
Do you remember what our Lord said in the Bible? If I may paraphrase a little, He said, "If you have the belief of a mustard seed and you tell a mountain to move, that mountain will move." Belief is magic. If you believe in yourself there's nothing you can't do.
I am not just talking about business or sports here, either. There's nothing in any aspect of life, which is beyond the scope of man. You have the power to do anything or be anything that you want to be. Belief, hard work...such things can take you to new galaxies.
Look at what Bill Gates has done. I love the Bill Gates story because it's a prime example of how vision, belief and hard work can take you beyond yourself into new galaxies. I am sure you know who Bill Gates is, but do you really understand what this man has accomplished? Well, let me tell you. This guy went up against I.B.M., one of the most powerful corporations in the world and literally kicked their butt. Think about what happen here. The I.B.M. Corporation had everything, hundreds of researchers, sophisticated equipment, access to the most current information available, and near limitless financial backing. And what did Gates have? Comparatively speaking he had zilch! It was just Gates and a friend in the basement of his house with a computer. The odds of Gates defeating I.B.M. had to be a million to one. And believe me Gates knew that the odds were near impossible.
Still he risked everything he had, because of a dream and the belief that he would fulfill that dream. Well, as you know he realized that dream and some. Not only did Gates beat "BIG BLUE" to the finish line, but he also totally outmaneuvered them along the way. In the end he showed I.B.M. how to produce the hardware economically, but he kept the software...the brains of the computer ... for himself. Without the software the hardware was relatively useless. The I.B.M. Corporation had to have the software because without it they would have lost a small fortune. Of course, Gates was nice enough to rent I.B.M. the software for the small sum of ... oh ...about 10 billion dollars. David had killed Goliath ...dead even. What Gates did would be analogous to a Volkswagen winning the Indianapolis 500 or "Pee Wee" Herman kicking Lennex Lewis butt. It's that improbable. It's a feat that is almost beyond human comprehension.
Today Bill Gates is worth 56 billion dollars. He is by far the richest man to ever walk the face of the earth. Last year alone he made 18 billion dollars. That's more money than China's gross national product for the same year. All of this was accomplished by a man who wasn't afraid to follow his dream...a man who wasn't afraid of living his life...a man who believed in himself. It's one of the most inspiring stories we have ever heard. It's magical!
And look at Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was a poor kid from Austria who came to America with a few dollars in his pocket and a dream in his heart to be a millionaire. He could barely talk English for God's sakes. He was uneducated, a foreigner, with no friends in America but he ended up on the Fortune 500 list as one of the richest men in America. He started as a bodybuilder, went into real estate, and then to the big screen. Everyone said he would fail...they said he was too stupid, couldn't talk, was a simple muscle head. Schwarzenegger didn't let that bother him though. He believed in himself. When other people said he couldn't, he said he could. Today he not only has a multi-million dollar empire he is the "freaken" governor of California. Is that incredible or what?
Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. You can do amazing things no matter who you are or what your circumstances, you can become or do whatever you want if you put your mind to it. If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. There is magic in believing. You are what you think you are, and you become what you think you will become. I don't want to belabor this point but it's just that simple. If you believe, you can go beyond what other people think is your breaking point. In fact, you can go beyond even what you believe is your breaking point...if you believe. You can do anything if you put your mind to it.
Have you ever heard of Alexander Karelin? Karelin is universally considered the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time. Over a span of 13 years he never lost a single match in international competition. In actual fact, he only lost two matches in his entire life. Over the last nine years he won nine world titles and three Olympic gold medals. God knows how many other titles he has won. In Russia they only count the important stuff. It is estimated that his wrestling record is somewhere in the neighborhood of 887 wins and two loses. The defeats were recorded when he was literally a child. Actually, he never was a real child he was more like a man-child. It has been said that when he crawled out of his mother's womb he picked the doctor up by his feet slapped him on the butt and then took a cab to the nearest gym. Apparently he has been residing there ever since.
If you think his won loss record is extraordinary listen to this. Over the last ten years no one has even scored a point against Karelin. That just freaks me out! Think about that for a second. Here is a guy that competed hundreds of times against the greatest wrestlers in the world and never gave up a single point. It's mindboggling! That would be like Pedro Martinez having a lifetime ERA of zero, or Mohammad Ali never losing a single round in his boxing career. It is almost beyond comprehension.
If you have ever seen Karelin you have a pretty good idea why he is so successful. First of all he is absolutely menacing looking. Even more terrifying is the fact that the guy is mammoth. The Russians say that he is as big as a Siberian Bear. Don't believe that. There is no bear as big as Karelin. Okay, there maybe a bear as big as him but none of them are as physically imposing or as ominous looking. At 6-foot-3, 287 pounds the guy literally looks like he was cast out of concrete. I personally know some of the world's biggest and strongest men including Magnus Ver Magnusson, Bill Kazmire, and Dorian Yates, but none of them compare to Karelin when it comes to shear mature muscle mass. His muscle tissue is so hard and dense that it looks like he was carved from a monolithic. Not only are his muscles hard they are also huge. His shoulders are eminence and his arms and chest are Herculean.
As you can imagine the guy also possesses superhuman strength and endurance. In fact, he is so powerful that once he carried a refrigerator up seven flights of stairs rather than ask someone for help. There is no doubt that with minimal training he would easily win gold as an Olympic weightlifter or powerlifter. He is just that awesome.
There is a move in Greco-Roman wrestling called a reverse body lift. The movement is executed by locking your arms around your opponent's waist in a bear hug fashion. Once you have him good and secure you lean backwards and hoist him up over your head. You then twist your body to the side and drive your opponent into the mat. The maneuver requires so much strength to perform that no super-heavyweight has ever attempted it. No super-heavyweight that is except Karelin. He uses it on a constant basis. In fact, it is his signature move.
Karelin's physical presence along with his sardonic glare that is as icy and frightening as the winters in his native Siberia literally terrorizes his opponents. Trust me on this one, fear is the kind of power that most people understand best. You can destroy an athlete's game just by scaring the hell out of him. And in fact to a limited extent it is possible to control people through fear. Karelin is an absolute master at this game. He incites fear. Do you remember how Mike Tyson would intimidate his opponents before a fight? Well that is how Karelin is on the mat only more so. World-class wrestlers literally terrible at his sight and many of them actually avoid competition with him. He is so feared that two prior Olympic finalists essentially quit on the mat to avoid taking any more punishment from him. They saw death and surrendered. They were that intimidated by him.
Karelin is much more then just a stare and a bear hug though. He is like a machine. His training definitely borders on obsession. His idea of a day off is a two-hour workout instead of his usual five-hour training session. And when he is in intense training he works out like a mad man...pushing his body to the very edge. He has been know to carry huge logs under his arms through waist-deep Siberian snow for hours when the weather prevented him from getting to the gym. He is relentless in his training. Needless to say Karelin is the prototype of the world's greatest athlete...big, powerful, and highly skilled. Basically a killer!
Now let us tell you about America's Rulon Gardner. Actually, there is not too much tell. Rulon has never won a NCAA championship. He has never won a medal at the world championships and he has never won a medal in international competition. In fact, his best finish in world competition was fifth place. Physically speaking he is essentially the anti-thesis of Karelin. He is big, about 300 pounds, but he looks extremely soft. To be quit frank he looks more like a guy who trains at the International House of Pancakes rather then the Olympic Training Center. Like I said big but soft. He is not exactly a wimp but he's not Arnold Swartzenegger either. And he does have talent, but he is certainly no Dan Gable. He definitely doesn't have the skill or brute strength that Karelin possesses. Nor does he have the menacing look. If anything he looks like a choirboy. In truth, he is about as scary looking as a ride on a merry-go-around.
Now what would you think if these two guys were matched up against each other for Olympic gold no less? Well I will tell you what the rest of the world thought. Their unwavering mindset was that there would be no chance in hell for Gardner to survive such a match. To be honest, I thought the same thing. Such a match would be analogous to King Kong taking on Cheetah. Like the rest of the world I was sure that if such a match would materialize Gardner would get killed...like dead even. Actually, they had competed against each other once before. In that match Gardner almost did get killed. Karelin reversed body slammed him three times breaking two ribs in the process and giving him a serious concussion. Of course, that was some time back. Everyone was sure that Karelin had improved considerable since that time and would definitely finish the job if they wrestled again. Well we all got the chance to see if our prediction would come true. Incredibly Karelin and Gardner were paired against each other in the finals of the 2000 Olympics.
When the two men went out and faced each other on the center of the mat a friend of mine who happened to be a former Olympic Greco-Roman referee turned to me and said, "This is going to be a massacre. Gardner is going to get annihilated." In all candor, I felt sorry for Gardner. He looked like a little boy next to a Goliath. When the match started though it became immediately evident that Gardner was there for a purpose. There was no trepidation, no fear in Gardner's eyes. He was there to win. Without question he was the only person in the world who thought he could win. I am not exaggerating about that either. Even his coach didn't think he could win. Of course, Gardner was the only person in the world who had to believe he could win.
During the first two periods Karelin pushed Gardner from one end of the mat to the other, but he couldn't score on him. To be quite candid Gardner was taking a pretty good pounding, but he stood up to it. Half way through the third period I was starting to feel sorry for Gardner again, only more so. Like I said he was taking a pounding. Still, Karelin couldn't score. He would twist and turn Gardner into knots but he just couldn't get him into a position to score points. As the nine-minute mark approached Karelin seemed to tire. He started taking fewer and fewer scoring chances. Then right at the last minute Gardner broke Karelin's hold on him and was award that one point...the only point that had been scored against Karelin in almost a decade and a half. Still, there was time for Karelin to pull out the victory, but fatigue had robbed him of his great power. Finally, with about eight seconds left, the truly impossible happened. The Great Russian quit wrestling, dropping his hands and conceding his first international defeat that he had ever sustained. On this night supposedly Karelin's night he did not have the strength to win. Gardner had pulled off the biggest upset in Olympic history by defeating Karelin 1-0. The miracle of miracles had come to pass.
For Gardner this was his moment in time. He had gone beyond what others thought was his breaking point and he succeeded. For an athlete there is no moment more precious in life. It is the white moment...the moment in time that an athlete trains a life time to experience. There is no amount of money, no amount of power or status, and no position in life that can equal the experience.
How did he do it? Gardner explained, "I kept saying, 'I think I can. I think I can' More importantly though I never quit. I never gave in," Gardner said. "The coaches kept saying, 'He's tired. He's mentally tired,' but I didn't listen to them. I couldn't listen to them; I knew that if I let up for even a split second, I would be doomed."
Everyone thought that it was impossible for Gardner to beat Karelin. Well, I am here to tell you that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. If you think that is extraordinary how about Jim Abbott. Abbott is an absolute poster child for positive thinking. He was born without a right hand. Nonetheless he wanted more then anything to be a baseball player...that was his dream. He worked at it as hard as any human being worked at anything. The kids in his neighborhood would taunt him because he only had one hand. They would call him "crab" for the way his malformed hand looked. He was also ridiculed for trying to play baseball. Still, he never gave up his dream.
He practiced hours upon hours throwing a ball against a wall in an attempt to increase his pitching control and arm strength. He also practiced switching his glove onto his pitching hand after each throw so that he could field balls coming back to him. By the time he went to high school he was literally a pitching machine-the most feared pitcher to ever come out of Flint Michigan. Not surprisingly at the end of his high career he was awarded a scholarship to attend The University of Michigan. While at Michigan he was selected to the All-American team his junior and senior year.
When he graduated from college he was drafted by the California Angels and became only the 15th player in baseball history to go straight to the majors without going to the minors. After four solid seasons with the California Angels, he was traded to the New York Yankees and pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians. He was named to the all-star team two straight years. If all of that doesn't freak you out I don't know what will. It's incredible!
I don't know if you really understand what this young man accomplished. Just to make it to the major leagues is a monumental task. Less then one tenth of a percent of all baseball players ever make it to that level. To make it to the major leagues and then perform as one of the very best players is absolute awesome. To do it with one hand ...well that is simply unfathomable. Without question Jim Abbott proved that disability is not the same as inability and that if you have a dream and are willing to work hard there is no circumstance you can't overcome. Again, nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself.
A number of years ago I had a marvelous learning experience. Actually it was in the seventies but who is counting the years? I was sitting at the swimming pool at the Holiday INN in Statesboro, Georgia when his guy drove up in a beat up old Mustang convertible. He came over to me and asked if I wanted to buy the greatest sun tan lotion in the world. He said it was the only natural tanning oil on the market. That meant absolutely nothing to me and at the time I could have cared less. In all candor, I didn't wanted to buy his lotion, but the guy was so nice and enthusiastic about the product that I decided to purchase a bottle. To be perfectly honest I felt sorry for him. Like I said he was driving around in this beat up old car, and he looked like he need a shower, and a good night's sleep.
After he sold me the lotion he started telling me a little about how he got started in the business. He said that when he was in Hawaii he noticed that the women on the beach were using natural oils to protect their skin. Since there was no tanning oil on the market that contained such oils he decided to create one. He told me that he went back home borrowed $500 from his father and set up a business in his garage. He then concocted a formula by mixing coconut, avocado, kukui, and other natural oils in a garbage can. He was marketing the product by driving from swimming pool to swimming pool.
When he told me that I wanted to get my money back. It reminded me of when I was a little kid selling lemonade in front of my house. The lemonade was basically ice water that I swished a lemon through. I would charge 25 cents for that stuff. I figured this guy's suntan lotion was probably like my lemonade. It contained a lot of heart, little substance, and was extremely over priced. Anyway, he then went on to tell me that he was going to be a multi-millionaire and that his suntan lotion would one day revolutionize the skin care industry. Talk about positive thinking. I looked at him and thought "Right!" And someday I am going to be nuclear physicists.
Do you want to know something; today I still use the same sun tan lotion. You may have heard of it. Its called Hawaiian Tropic! You may have also heard of the guy, who sold me my first bottle of Hawaiian Tropic, his name is Ron Rice. Today Rice is one of the richest men in the world. His Hawaiian Tropic Company grosses over $200 million a year and is the second largest sun Care Company in the world. Think about that for a second. Here was an inexperienced kid who had a vision, the courage to follow that vision, and the resolve to accomplish it. What did he do? He made lemonade out of lemons. It just goes to shows you what you can do if you believe in yourself and are totally committed to something.
As I said, Ron Rice was one of my most important learning experiences. He gave me some major gifts. He taught me that nothing is impossible, you can be anything you want provided you're willing to work at it, because nothing comes naturally. He also showed me that it doesn't matter where you start in life but where you end that really counts. No matter what you are or where you are in life, you can change. You can become all that you can be. Like Rice, you can go to the stars. What Rice taught me most is that the dreams of today truly are the realities of tomorrow. That if you believe in yourself and if you dream and work towards those dreams you can make the impossible possible.
As I said, nothing is impossible...never say never. Everything is possible. Some of the greatest feats in the history of man have been called impossibilities, and someone went out and proved that the impossible was possible.
If you talk to people who have achieved success, you will find that they are individuals of vision. Their success was in their mind way before it ever materialized in reality. Think about this, O.J. Simpson was only ten years old when he told Jim Brown, the greatest running back ever to play pro football, that one day he was going to break every record he had held. At the time Brown didn't know Simpson. He was just a skinny kid with a dream. Brown knows him now. George Herring was only seven years old when he told his parents that he was going to be the strongest man in the world. Cassius Clay was only eight years old when he told his mother he would one day become the heavyweight champion of the world. Neil Armstrong was 10 when he told his dad he was going to be a famous aviator. Robert Kennedy while in grammar school told his classmates that one day he would be the President of the United States. And here's something that will really blow your mind. In 1985 while performing in small comedy clubs for minimum wage, Jim Carey wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars for services rendered and dated it 1995. And do you know what? The day before Thanksgiving, 1995, Carey signed a movie contract for; you guessed it, 10 million dollars. And that is just the very tip of the iceberg of ordinary individuals who have achieved amazing things in their life.
There is an uncomplicated axiom in play here. Simply put, you are what you believe you are. If you've been conditioned to believe you can, there's an excellent chance that you will. Conversely, if you've been conditioned to believe you can't, you most likely won't. In order to win, you must expect to win. That goes for sports, business, politics...everything in life.
A number of years ago, Maxwell Maltz wrote an incredible book called Psycho Cybernetics. Okay! It was a couple of decades ago that Maltz wrote it, but that does not diminish the relevance of what he had to say. Let's be fair the Bible was written a few decades ago too, and you would have to admit it is still doing pretty good.
Anyhow, the major premise of the Maltz's book was that the mind functions like a computer. In fact, the title of the book suggests that very concept. Psycho means mind and Cybernetics means computer...the mind is a computer. Within no time the book became a best seller. Perhaps you've read it; if not, you should. It's one of the most fascinating books you'll ever read. In truth, it may be the most significant book you'll ever read. I would like to tell you a little bit about it.
Besides being an outstanding writer, Maltz was also a nationally renowned plastic surgeon. Actually, he was one of the best plastic surgeons in the world. His work has been written about in all sorts of journals, and there are even a number of training videos that were produced by the medical profession so that other surgeons could study his work. The man is an absolute Michelangelo with a scalpel.
During his years as a surgeon, Maltz observed that individuals who had a congenital defect or who suffered from an actual facial disfigurement as a result of an accident generally had a very low self‑esteem. They were introverted, anti‑social, and extremely insecure. In fact, many of the individuals who Maltz treated refused to leave their home during the day, and when they did go out, they took great pains to hide their disfigurements. You don't have to be Sigmund Freud to figure out why these individuals acted that way. It's the old Cooley's looking glass principle...the principle, which states that we tend to make judgments about ourselves, by looking through the eyes of others. Unfortunately, when most people come in contact with an individual who is disfigured, their initial reaction is to turn away and/or try to avoid the individual. The individual with the deformity is thus taught that he is not acceptable. As Maltz observed, this feeling of non‑acceptance is easily generalized to other psychological feelings such as worthlessness and inferiority.
Maltz reasoned that, since his subjects' deformities caused their poor self‑images, by correcting those deformities, he could improve their self-images. Not surprisingly, Maltz decided to test his theory. He got together a number of disfigured individuals and put them through a battery of psychological testing. As he had expected, the subjects' psychological profiles indicated that they had extremely poor self‑images. He then went about correcting his subjects' disfigurements. Actually, I saw the before and after pictures of his subjects. It was amazing; he literally re‑sculpted their faces. When he got done with them they were absolutely stunning ...perfect "tens" on anyone's scorecard. As I mentioned, Maltz is Michaelangelo with a scalpel. Unfortunately, things didn't work out exactly as Maltz expected. Although Maltz transformed his subjects from "ugly ducklings" into physically attractive individuals, they still perceived themselves as being ugly. Maltz eventually realized that not only did he have to correct his subject's disfigurements with plastic surgery, he also had to correct the way they thought about themselves. In other words, Maltz not only had to change his subjects' physical appearance, he also had to change the data‑constraints that had been programmed into their brains during the years that they were disfigured. Now here's the really good news. Once the subjects were taught to act and think positively, their whole personalities changed. They became more confident, outgoing and assertive. And do you know what? They also started looking at themselves as being attractive and appealing. Isn't that great!
You may find this interesting, a few years ago, I was in Egypt for the International Powerlifting Championships. After the meet, I went with a number of other American lifters to this little cafe to get something to eat. After sitting there for a few minutes, a woman walked past the front door. After the woman passed the door, all of the non‑Americans in the cafe jumped up and ran to the front door to get a better look. Talk about heightened sexual libido! Those guys went into some serious heat. It was as if their hormones had staged a coup d'etat on their brains. I figured the woman had to be a cross between Cory Everson and Vanessa Williams ...a solid ten. Being the young, hot‑blooded American that I am, I decided to get a look for myself. When I got to the front door, I could hardly believe my eyes. This woman had a bootie as big as a Greyhound bus. You know too much junk in the trunk. She was so big that she made Roseanne Barr look like Cheryl Tiegs.
I thought, "This can't be the woman, who is getting these guys all excited," but she was. You see, in Egypt, a stout woman is most desirable. In fact, most of the sex symbols there fluctuate between obesity and plumpness. The country's top sex symbol Laila Alwi tips the scales at about 210 pounds. These guys had been taught their whole lives that fat is where it's at. And that woman, she was just struttin' her stuff, like Madonna at a rock concert. She knew she was "fine." Obviously, "fine" is in the mind. If she sees it, then that's what she is.
As mentioned, the way you think applies not only to physical appearance, but also to every aspect of human behavior. All of our actions, feelings, behavior, even our abilities, are consistent with our beliefs. In short, we tend to "act like" the type of person we conceive ourselves to be. Not only that, but we literally cannot act otherwise, even if we make a conscious effort to do so. Obviously then, the way you think will go a long way in determining how successful you'll be in life.
I don't know if you are aware of it but there is a growing phenomenon in America called "dyseuphoria," where people seem to have lost the capacity for happiness. A recent mental health survey revealed that eighty percent of the Americans surveyed said that they were not happy and that life was a real bust. Eighty percent! A similar investigation of young adults revealed only 14 percent of them were happy. Interestingly, when they conducted comparable studies across various socio-economic groups, the findings were eerily similar...no one seemed to be happy and in fact most of the people interviewed talked about hopelessness, despair and misery. If that is not enough, listen to this: one out of every two marriages in America ends in divorce. Worse yet, most of the marriages that are intact are unhappy marriages. Only 17 percent of married couples said they would do it all over again if they had the chance. The average relationship in America today lasts three months. Only 11 percent of people in the work force like their jobs and less than twenty percent of high school students enjoy school. Not surprising, one out of every five Americans will require psychiatric help before they reach the age of forty. And did you know that every year in America twenty-seven thousand people kill themselves? Is that sad or what!
And all of this is in America...the greatest country in the entire world.
It doesn't have to be like that. It isn't inevitable. It isn't ordained. This doesn't have to be...it shouldn't be. We have all the resources within us, all the magic and wonder to experience true happiness. Happiness is unique to each and everyone one of us. It is simply a state of mind. We make our own happiness. No one can be happy for us and no one can tell us what happiness is. Others can only know us to the degree that we know ourselves. Joy and self-fulfillment come only when we assume full responsibility for who and what we are. Consequently, we can only grow when we take responsibility for our own joy and happiness.
Euphoria can not be generated from outside of us. Lasting happiness and peace come from within. However, when we discover intrinsic happiness, it is ours. People and events come and go, but joy remains with us forever. Wealth, status, power, and security are not essential. These things are nice, but they're not essential; they are not necessary. The only security in life there is...is you. You have to accept who you are, and embrace who you are, if you truly want genuine happiness.
Everything comes from within. How you think is exactly how you will feel. You think positive happy thoughts and you will become positive and happy. The only place where what you want is impossible is in that six inch square that is on top of your shoulders.
Recently, I had an interesting experience. I was with one of our best friends, Kenny Blanchard. Without question Kenny is one of the most magnificent human beings I ever had the pleasure of spending time with. I really mean that. When he was seventeen years old, he had a terrible motor cycle accident that rendered him paralyzed from his neck down with only partial mobility in his arms. Although Kenny is a quadriplegic, he a magnificent teacher of what it takes to truly live life. He is so gentle and so wondrous and so full of beautiful things to share: his entire life is one of giving and sharing, as we would like our entire life to be and we are sure the way you would like your life to be also.
Anyhow, one afternoon Kenny invited me to lunch so that I could meet this woman who had volunteered two weeks of her time to help the disabled. Naturally, I accepted the invitation...heck I will do anything for a free meal. When we got to the restaurant the woman was waiting on us. She was an absolutely beautiful woman. She was a tall well-built exquisite blond with piercing blue eyes and beautiful white teeth...a face that could launch a thousand ships. She was also impeccably and opulently dressed. In all frankness she reeked of wealth. She had diamonds and gold draped all over her body. It was also quite obvious that she was extremely intelligent.
Interestingly, though, just about every word that came out of her charming little mouth was either pessimistic or fatalistic. She seemed "hell bent" on telling us in detail every little tragedy, every little problem, every miserable happening that ever transpired in her life. "My husband doesn't listen to me," she complained. I couldn't blame the poor guy I wouldn't want to listen to that negative crap twenty-four seven either. "My children are always fussing and complaining." That really surprised me. Do you think her kids could have learned that behavior from her? "It's so hot and dry all of my flowers are dying." I thought, 'Sell some of those diamonds and buy yourself a garden hose and water the damn things.' "My Porche isn't driving right." Poor Baby! It went on and on and on.
And she was great at blaming all of her problems on everyone else. It was her parent's fault, her teacher's fault, her friend's fault, societies fault...life's fault. She even blamed God for her misfortune and unhappiness. "I'll never forgive God for doing that to me." What a freaken ego. She was blaming, complaining, whining, moaning, and griping from the time we sat down until the time we left. And there was Kenny sitting in his wheelchair trying to console her on each and every issue that she complained about.
Think about all this...here she was with every physical advantage, with wealth, a great education and a magnificent gift of beauty from God and she was miserable, unsatisfied, and depressed. And here was Kenny who according to most people's standards had no particular cause to rejoice; yet he lived in genuine happiness. And that is the absolute truth. Since the day I met Kenny, he has smiled and laughed his way through life. He is always reaching out to other people sharing himself and giving to others. I seldom hear him complain, and when he does he takes a few moments and gets over it. He spreads happiness and joy...hell, he is happiness. Two people look out through the same person bars. One of them sees mud the other stars. Kenny is always gazing at the stars, this woman was waist deep in mud.
All of this reaffirmed to me that nothing but life itself is necessary for humans to know joy and happiness and that happiness is more a state of mind than a state of being. If you look for hope or happiness outside of yourself, you are going to be looking for trouble. Happiness lies within us and to discover that is one of life's greatest insights. Buddha told us that trips outside of the body are worthless. Jesus said, " If you want to find life and happiness you have to look inside yourself." Therefore, it is incumbent that we become all that we can be, the most wonderful, intelligent, loving human being possible. And then we will always survive. As Abraham Lincoln reminded us, " Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Life has a way of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you always expect the worst, then you will hardly ever be disappointed. Conversely, when you expect the best you will get the best.
With that being said here are a few suggestions that you might want to use in order to develop a more positive attitude. First and foremost think positive. As you think is how you are. Consequently, make a conscious effort to always think and talk positive. Think success; don't think failure. At work, in your home, at the gym, constantly bombard your brain with positive affirmations. Every word, thought and action should be that of a positive nature. If you say something negative, stop yourself, analyze why you said it, and then manipulate it into a positive affirmation. Thinking, talking, and acting successful will program your mind to create strategies for producing success. Thinking negatively does just the opposite.
Remind yourself repeatedly and on a regular basis that you can do great things if you put your mind to it. Never underestimate yourself. We are always better than we think we are.
Successful people are not supermen. Einstein said an interesting thing. He said, "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." Think about this: Einstein figured out that time and space is relative. He also ascertained that nothing could move faster than light. For God's sake, he was a patient examiner when he wrote breakthrough papers on special relativity, the particle nature of light, and the equivalence of mass and energy. Contrary to the way he is often portrayed, Einstein was just a guy with a good mind that did extraordinary things.
Generally successful people are just ordinary folks who develop a belief in themselves and what they do. When opportunity arises, go for it...don't sell yourself short. Never sell yourself short!
Tell yourself every day that your attitude is more important than any other aspect, including your physical make up. The body serves the mind. It is not the other way around. If you have a strong mind, your body will follow. Envision the reasons why you can achieve something not the reasons why you can't. Develop an "I can, I will" attitude.
Don't be a wishful thinker. The only thing wishing can move is you. Think about it...there are a lot of people in mental institutions who think they are God, but they are not exactly setting the world on fire. Thinking positive is great but you have to supplement it with systematic planning, and hard work if you are going to be a success. Dream big, but make the dreams of today the realities of tomorrow. The way you do that is to believe in yourself and work hard. In short conceive, believe, and achieve.
Remember that when you believe in yourself good things will happen. And if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.
Yours in strength,