Self-Made-Man1There I was writing down my goals again and realizing that I have been writing the same crap for years! Same goals, same never-ending list of steps required to reach my goals. I’m going to stop doing this and start doing that, and ease up on this and cut back on that…Requirements, discipline, blah, blah, blah. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing down your goals and even better writing down steps to achieve those goals, but man, what a drag! What a freaking hard way to live. Never satisfied, never enjoying the moments called now. Perpetual work (mental work) towards some future day when… Add to that the mental consternation that goes with figuring out all of the complexities of life with your own little brain and you have a formula for misery. Can you even fathom how many variables life contains and the insanity of trying to control those variables? How many things need to line up with a multitude of other things for you to get what you want most out of life? And further, do you really, honestly think that your little plan, devised by your little mind could, by will power and determination, get a handle on all of the factors that must come together for you to be successful? Really?

I thought these thoughts and asked myself the same questions and, in all honesty, had to admit that my complicated plans with all of their required tasks, while offering the promise of securing “that life” were in reality complex wish lists that did little more than satisfy my intellect that I had devised “the plan” to get where I wanted to go. The tasks, unpleasant. The disciplines, undesirable. The probability of me carrying them out, zero. So, how do people reach their goals? How do some folks attain the unattainable? The so-called fortunate ones who seem to be living the life, what did they do so differently?

I think it’s safe to say they worked hard. That goes without saying. It’s obvious they were clear about what they desired. But, I’m willing to wager a lot of money that on the way to arriving, they were enjoying the journey. No-one does anything well that they don’t enjoy doing. Yes it’s work, but work you love isn’t really work (and if you have managed to touch on that you know what I mean). But work for work’s sake is drudgery and even more so when it doesn’t get you where you want to go. Oh try as you may, discipline your discipline, but in the end you’ll see (hopefully) that the path “you” chose for the fulfillment of your dreams isn’t the path to get to your dreams.

In the most simple terms, the first step to attaining your dream life is believe you can attain your dream life. I will say that again! The first step to attaining your dream life is to believe that you can. Until you get that step down, you are destined to work harder and get less. Your efforts, your energy to do, must be backed by the passion to do and without the first step, you can never get to the second step. Decision always, always, always precedes desire (passion). That solid, sold out, convicted decision produces the energy to do in exact proportion to the decision. A “hope so” decision; a wishy-washy decision; a maybe-maybe not decision can only produce a meager, so-so, half-hearted passion that neither has the energy or the will to accomplish anything. For real!

Doing first things first by whole-hearted decision gets God involved in your life. God, who happens to be aware of every variable, can work with decision. And, by His very nature, cannot work with indecision. Your lack of decision almost guarantees a lack of result and I don’t care how hard you work or how hard you try! It’s not your sincerity that gets the job done. Many sincere people have taken their dream to their grave. It’s your belief that gets the job done and without your cooperation, God Himself can do nothing! Conversely, making the strong decision to accomplish something leads to the strong passion (energy) required to do something which leads to the necessary details and finally to the required result!

How much time have you spent pursuing hopes and wishes? How much effort have you wasted on idle dreams that you don’t believe will really happen nor truly expect to obtain? My advice? Be like me. Recognize that you are tired of your lists and your requirements and your plans. Accept that what you are doing isn’t working and thinking that something magical will happen later is only a fantasy. Instead, take the time to decide exactly, precisely, clearly and emphatically what it is you want to accomplish; what legacy you wish to give to the world. And once you finally get that clear, act with the passion that accompanies your decision. It will be there. It must! And, along the way, give your poor, tired mind a break and cease trying to figure it all out. How you get there matters none, but rather “that” you get there. Let God do His job by “you” making a decision and then just enjoy the day that is today! Enjoy this day and give it all you’ve got. I mean really, if you truly believe that God is getting you where you want to go, you don’t have to spend another moment agonizing on how it is going to happen! You just live and move and expect and see…

Trying to figure out how to live a “self-made” life is a tyranny that will wear you out! You aren’t big enough for that fight. Trust me. But you certainly are big enough to make a decision and let God figure it out. Then, life becomes what it supposed to be – a joyful journey of discovery that ends in victory!

Just some good, clear, free thoughts…

The Happiness Myth…

August 6, 2014


Summer-happiness-photoHappiness is admittedly something we all desperately want in our lives, right?! There’s the “Happiness Advantage,” “The Happiness Hypothesis,” “The Happiness Project” and countless other books on the topic. Happiness is perhaps one of the most contemplated subjects in the world today. And although there are many wonderful books that offer the elusive promise of enduring happiness, there’s one thing I know for sure. Happiness is a dish best served…

I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but I found myself going through a “bit of a rough patch” as my British ancestors are wont to say. As a self-proclaimed promoter of happiness, I felt embarrassed to find myself a teacher who no longer believed in his own message. So, I analyzed my life piece by piece looking for an answer. I tried blaming others and their apparent lack of support for me. I made the usual excuses, “I’m so busy.” “I need to get organized.” “I need to finish unfinished business” etc. etc. etc. Maybe I needed to start saying ‘no’ to other people’s requests. And, the more I searched for the cause the more lost I became. I thought I needed to be more selfish and devote more time to myself and what I wanted. Maybe it was not enough sleep or a bad diet or maybe it was my thinking and not paying attention to what I was thinking about. I knew better than to blame God, so I thought maybe I wasn’t devoting enough time to God or praying enough or studying. I searched myself from here to breakfast and the more I searched the more unhappy I became. I became critical of myself and judged myself harshly, rehearsing my shortcomings and my faults. Maybe I just needed to get better at… Or work harder to… Or exercise more discipline to… And, in the end, more of that pervasive misery.

Then something interesting happened. I received a call from a gentleman explaining that the Dale Carnegie franchise had returned to Utah and he wondered if I wanted to be a facilitator again. I vividly remembered how much I loved doing Carnegie classes, but I felt a hesitation in my heart. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore. Yet I couldn’t shake the memory of how much joy I felt doing the classes. So against my own feelings, I reluctantly agreed. Fast forward a month or so and I found myself sitting in an immersion class (accelerated), learning or relearning the principles again. At first I was challenged and agitated because I knew I would be forced out of my comfort zone (that place I dwell in day by day where nothing happens!). But, I persisted and then it happened! As I made the long commute home, I recognized something that had been missing for a long time. Joy. Indescribable, all-encompassing joy!

So what happened to me? What took place that moved me so suddenly from misery to happiness in just under 8 hours? Well, while learning and practicing the principles in that unmistakable Dale Carnegie way, I finally took the focus off myself and on to other people. I practiced showing sincere appreciation and listening and seeing things from another’s point of view. I became more interested in helping my fellow-man than I was in helping myself. It was no longer about me…

One of the great paradoxes of life is that the more you seek the fulfillment of your own needs, the less they are fulfilled and the more you seek to take care of others, the more your own needs are met. The Bible states it this way. The more you lose yourself for others, the more you find your real self. And conversely, the more you seek to find yourself, the more lost you become. Crazy I know, but oh so true!

Despite the multitude of claims circling around the globe today, focus on yourself and only yourself can only result in misery. It has to; it must! Focus on yourself as the great starting point for all endeavors almost guarantees a negative outcome because all you’ll end up with is yourself; full of flaws and mistakes and weaknesses. Focus on yourself as an attempt to make yourself happy defies the laws of life. You want, you desire, you seek, but when done exclusively for yourself, subtracts life, instead of adding to it. Conversely, when you seek the good of others (giving) the laws of life cooperate by returning back to you (receiving). It really is more blessed to give than to receive. Read this little poem that I think says it best:

The Man in the Glass

When you get what you want in your struggle for self                                                                                                                   And the world makes you king for a day,

Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.

For it isn’t your father or mother or wife,
Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life Is the one staring back from the glass.

He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest. For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed the most dangerous, difficult test If the man in the glass is your friend.

You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum, And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum If you can’t look him straight in the eye.

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years. And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be the heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.

Dale Wimbrow (c) 1934

And the only way not to cheat the man in the glass is by living your life in service to others.

So, if you my friend, find yourself searching for the elusive happiness and finding misery instead, don’t work any harder to find a way to give happiness to yourself, but instead find a way to give that happiness to others. And in so doing you will find what every truly happy person has found, you have to give in order to receive. Happiness is a dish best served…

Just some good thoughts…


1337256000000_cached(2)Log on to Facebook. Check notifications. Reply to comments. Check Home. Scroll down, down, down looking for content. Click like. Keep scrolling, scrolling. Click on Home again. Repeat. Searching, searching for something to read and add a response. Keep glancing at notifications. (2) Click and read. Accept mystery friend because he knows three other mystery friends. Respond to private message. Back to Home page. Repeat.

Close laptop and stare at the TV. Watch mindlessly for eight minutes, then commercial comes on. Open laptop, check Facebook. Repeat.

Grab cellphone. Respond to text. Write LOL a lot. Check emails. Click on Sturhling watch ad. Check other emails. Repeat.

Electronic media has truly changed our world. We are inundated with brightly lit screens to stare at. But, at what cost?  What is the payment that is being exacted for our obsession with our devices? Most folks would say it’s the lack of human interaction. But I think it’s deeper than that. Facebook for example, is all about human interaction in an electronic format. The greatest toll paid comes in the form of time. Wasted, wasted time. Time for conversations that matter, gone. Time to think about your life and what you want in it, slipped away. Time to work on personal projects, evaporated. Time to pursue your dreams, vanished. Time to get refreshed and rejuvenated, obliterated. Time…

We have become a collection of people distracted and divided. Things are coming at us a hundred miles an hour and we don’t have time to take them on. Have you ever noticed how great you feel when you go camping? Or for that matter, anytime you go somewhere that forces you to disconnect from electricity. Is it the serene surroundings? Is it the dirty campsite? Or is it having the freedom to just sit down and think?

Human beings need time to think. We need a separation from the sounds and images and the clutter so that we can process what is going on and how we need to respond to it. It sounds mystical perhaps, but we need our time for meditation; for prayer; for the quietness that helps our hearts find peace again. We need the space required to recognize what’s been bothering us and time to hear our solution.

Without all of the distractions we have time to talk to one another. Not about the weather and the economy, but about the things that are the most important to us. We need an opportunity to bring up our griefs, our hassles, our challenges. We require a chance to clear the air; to resolve our differences and to find the sweetness we once knew. We need it…

I would submit that many people are defeated for the day, before they even get up. They lay there enduring a cascade of thoughts about what’s wrong with them and how fat they are and all of the worries and cares of life, without offering the slightest resistance. Then, up and out of bed they go; hurrying to shower and get ready, while slurping down some coffee and arriving at work slightly frazzled. They’re pissed off but have now forgotten why… The day passes quickly and it’s time to get home, eat dinner and participate in the electronic media dance ’til bedtime. Tomorrow is a new day to start it all over again.

Our stressed, frenzied world has succeeded in talking us into the illusion that we haven’t got enough time. We are so busy everyday and it never stops. Then one day, we wake up and we’re 5o and haven’t accomplished a fraction of the things of which we used to ardently dream.

Thankfully there is a solution. The answer lies in making the decision to take back your time; your life! Take the time you need to find your peace (It’s there for waiting for you). Plan spaces in your daily routine to give that old processor a chance to turn back on and come back to life. Turn something off. Unplug… Silence that notification sound. Shut it all down. Being overly busy isn’t a sign of success, it’s a sign that something is using your precious time with or without your consent.

Now there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to relax and stare at the TV or to play on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We all need a break to relax and veg out. The key is to set a predetermined limit on any activity that takes more time than it’s worth. And when your life remains exactly the same year after year after year, it’s not worth it!

Your precious life is shorter than you may have imagined. Those dreams, those ideals that remain in your heart and beckon for attention need to be given space for expression or they will go to the grave with you as something you wish you had done. Get off the slippery slide of distraction and awake your vegetable mind to the life, your life, that now is…

Those Facebook comments; those Housewives of Atlanta; those emails will be there tomorrow or whenever you decide to give them space again. The only difference will be that you can now entertain them with your happy, satisfied mind, pleased with the decisions you made to take back your life!

One life my friends, one life…alive!

Just some good thoughts…

 

 


santa-claus-arrested-black-friday-walmartAs a kid, I remember joyfully anticipating Christmas Day! Somehow this dude named Santa Clause traveled the world  in a single night depositing presents under people’s Christmas trees. He must have been all-knowing because almost everything you asked for was right there waiting for you. This Santa fellow was pretty awesome. But, he had a dark side. You had to be “good” in order to get his blessings. If you were naughty you might just get a lump of coal. (I know, pretty random bad gift, right?) Some of his commandments were: 1.) No pouting 2.) No crying 3.) Do not be naughty 4.) And the all encompassing, you better watch out! Why you ask? Because he knows if you are sleeping and he knows if you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Add to that, he keeps a detailed list of what you do and even checks it twice before deciding to give you things! And the final clincher? We teach this to our children.

I’m sure you noticed there are some strikingly obvious comparisons between Santa Clause and God. In fact, many people believe God functions the exact same way. He’s up there somewhere watching every move you make. And, He’s not only watching and judging, He’s also keeping track on a list. If your good doesn’t outweigh your bad, He is not going to bless you and might even curse you with something awful and black! So, my friends, you better watch out!

Have you ever noticed how people pray? They say things like, “Oh Lord let me get this new job.” Or, “God, let me win this lottery.” The not so subtle implication being that God is somehow stopping good things from happening in your life, presumably because you have been very naughty. And because He is all-knowing you figure you better behave properly if anything good is going to happen in your life. The evil behind this pervasive concept is two-fold. First, what exactly is good and second what are the degrees of bad? Some folks say it is a sin to drink alcohol. Others say there are hierarchies of sin including “little white lies” all the way to murder or something. How can you know? Well, you don’t know and if you’re honest you simply conclude that you’re not very good. I mean after all, didn’t you just watch Cinemax (Sex-a-max) last night?

In the words of a famous man, “I can assure you, God doesn’t bless you because of how good or bad you are, but rather because of your believing.” Read that again! In order to receive anything from God you have to believe. You must be fully persuaded that God can do it AND will do it for you! Now back to Santa. If you have bought into the notion that God will only bless you because you are the very nebulous “good,” then chances are you aren’t expecting Him to bless you. Actually, you are so convinced of your “badness” that you now have to pray for God to “NOT” do something or worse, allow something you want to happen. This concept could not be further from the truth!

Everything we have in this life we have because of God’s grace. Grace is unearned divine favor. You cannot earn something that cannot be earned. Read that again! Now, think of it this way. If you have children, I’m sure you do your best to make them happy. You not only supply everything they need, but you actually go out of your way to do things that make them happy. Yet, how do they measure up on YOUR naughty list? Pretty dang naughty, aren’t they? They disobey; break your expensive stuff; injure themselves; get in trouble at school; mess up the house etc., etc. And despite it all, you still want them to be happy… And you are a parent that sometimes pouts, cries and other things on the forbidden Santa list of commandments. Can you see how foolish that idea is?

God is not an ongoing list of moral requirements. You can be plenty moral with or without God. You can be so damn tightly wound that you squeak when you walk. And mid squeak you’re still begging God to “not let” something happen! Nah man, you gotta get that insanity out of your mind. God never wanted you to live that way. Even the Old Testament laws, all 86 million of them, weren’t designed to make people good. They were designed to provide a written standard of “good” someone could fulfill later in order for God to end that crazy logic once and for all. (I would say read that again, again but I’m over my limit!)

The truth is that God won’t withhold anything good from you…ever. Quit measuring your sins and remembering your mistakes and cataloguing your misdeeds. God knows all about you and still loves you! You can receive every blessing God intended for your life if you’ll just get rid of that Santa Clause logic. Don’t ask the preacher… Read it in God’s Word.

You better watch out, you better not cry… Ah shut up Santa! My God reigns supreme!

 


Father and sonYou would think that by being a man it would be inherent that you would know how to raise a son. You would think… But, all you really have to go on is how you were raised, right or wrong. So this is a story; a story about raising that boy you always wanted to have. The Mommy part? Well, that’s another story.

Most men it seems want to raise the next NFL star or the next NBA legend. No matter the sport, us daddies want that little fella to be a “man’s man.” We want to go to his games; grunt, scratch and watch boxing with him;  teach him how us men are supposed to act. But, mostly we want him to be well-adjusted and fulfill the roles that he will be called upon to fulfill; being a provider, a protector, a leader and so forth. But, this is where the misinformation conundrum begins!

Somebody, somewhere imbedded into men’s heads that you make your boy tough by ridiculing him. For example, you see your son playing with a doll and God forbid he play with dolls, right? LOL So instead of recognizing that there is nothing wrong with a boy playing with a doll, you make a grand production and say things like, “What are you a girl? Put that damn doll down you sissy!” Okay, now stop and analyze that for a minute. You, the Poppa, are so afraid your son will grow up feminine that you choose to ridicule him in the “hopes” that he will somehow internalize your twisted message; discard it and choose to be macho instead! Crazy, ya think? Crazy, I know!

You Dads need to recognize that what your son needs most from you is your approval. His developing confidence about himself and his relation to the world comes directly from the things you say to him. Directly! Assuming you want him to be confident in himself, you need to carefully watch over the things you say to him. Ridicule only leads to a lack of self-confidence that will manifest itself in a nervous, afraid son behaving in all the ways you hate. That’s for real folks!

Your real job as the daddy is to mold that boy into the best he can possibly be and you do that by words of encouragement; a multitude of words of encouragement. I once read that we should offer ten positive encouragements and compliments for every one word of criticism.  And, while I’m on a rant, criticism never made anyone better. Often critical and hurtful words come following frustration and anger. Don’t allow that to happen. Take a breath; count to ten, do something before you lodge those awful words into his heart.

Practically, maybe you want your son to be good at sports (because you weren’t and would like to live vicariously through him) – haha… So the first time he gets out there and plays catch with you, you notice he sucks. Well, of course he sucks because everyone sucks the first time they do something. So you have an important decision to make. Will you allow him to suck at first while you load him with encouragement or will you get angry because he throws like (God forbid) a girl? Have you ever thrown a ball with your non-dominant hand? Exactly! If you stick with it you will quickly see that he gets it in direct proportion to your level of encouragement. The better you say he is, the better he becomes! Voila!

Young boys, like all human beings have hearts and feelings and emotions. To say that a boy shouldn’t cry is ludicrous. Again, is it really the crying you are reacting to or your own terrible fear that your son is going to become feminine? Babies cry; young boys cry; adult men cry! Sure you don’t want him bursting into tears every time something goes wrong, but there’s a better way to send your message. My son Josh tells his son, “You’re okay bro, dry your eyes or walk it off!” No ridicule needed!

Those little boys idolize their fathers and whether you notice it or not are constantly watching and analyzing how you react to things. You want them to exhibit calmness? You exhibit calmness. You want them to be fair? You show fairness. You want them to watch boxing? You watch boxing…LOL

When my boys were coming up my golden rule (and by God I stuck to it) was that I would never call them any name that diminished their value or made them feel inferior, weak etc. Oh sure I pointed out dum dum behaviors, but never called them names directly as people! Never! And today, those boys are the boys you wish you had! Trust me on that one!

I think some of the toughest guys on earth play in the NFL. Have you ever noticed how many of them hug and kiss their fathers? A man’s man is made from love – and no other way!

Do you want to see a grown man cry? Ask him to speak about his father! Yes, it’s that serious…

Just some good man thoughts…

 


pohlig_builders_clean_closet_art_career_wardrobeDid you know that your mind (emphasis on YOUR mind) is not supposed to be full of fear, anxiety and stress? Oh sure, most people are living that way, but it’s not supposed to be that way. The problem is that we have become so accustomed to living that way and feel like it must be the norm. If you notice we say things like, “welcome to life” or “life happens” and even, “shit happens!” And, by saying that, we are openly declaring or admitting that we have accepted something, namely –  that’s just the way life is… Well, what if that’s not the way life is? What if you have been seduced into a mindset that, once setup, goes on defeating you for years and years? What if there is something out there operating within a vast network, secretly, to convince you and me of a gargantuan lie?

Believe it or not, that something or other does exist and is presently working within the systems of the world to do just that. Everything around you is negative with subtle fear trappings behind it. And, the more you buy into it, the more fear you experience; the more anxiety; the more stress, which are all more or less alternate names for the same thing.

If you have ever taken the time to monitor those wieldy thoughts of yours, you’ll see just how consistently this is occurring. But hey, who has time to monitor their thoughts? I mean life is sooooo busy, right? Well, I submit to you that it’s so busy because you have bought in. How much of that crap you do day by day do you really have to do? Look at our obsession with health (in America of course). You have to eat this and ingest that and add this and supplement that. After all, you don’t want to get cancer, right? You see, you bought in man. You became convinced that your only shot at living a long, healthy life was to do what the TV and Facebook and the media told you to do. And the clincher? You are doing it all out of fear. Now this doesn’t even account for the requirements to exercise. Gotta get your cardio; your weight training; your Pilates; your yoga or else you will surely die! The Bible says that bodily exercise does profit you of course, but the real source of your good health is God. Absent God, get on the fear train!

You can’t eat this or have too much of that. Sugar is outlawed and everything must be low fat. Butter kills, bacon kills, red meat kills, fried food kills, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and on it goes. Generations of people ate those things before us, but we are so much smarter now. I’ll bet you never considered that all that advertising wasn’t designed to make you healthier but rather  to make you buy something. And bought it, you did! (And I did)

So it is high time to get off the fear train and start cleaning out your closet. You feel the need to clean out your closet because it has become chock full of crap. So what about your mind? Chock full of crap. And like with your pesky closet, you can only start clearing it out one thought at a time. But even before you can start cleaning, you have to decide you want to. How many things in your life are sitting out there unresolved, cluttering up the background? It’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed. So why don’t we resolve things? We haven’t got enough time between the gym and Pilates and healthy food shopping and getting stuff done! No, I mean getting everything done! Today! Bought in…

Healthy thinking involves getting problems resolved. It means taking the time necessary to get on top of whatever is on top of you. If it takes a week, so be it. If it takes 6 months, so be it. Why put up with problems? You put up with them because you think you have to. I often wonder just how many health issues we face come directly from our own frenetic minds being pushed and pulled all over the globe and back.

Next we need some time to get quiet. Just get quiet. Whether it’s prayer or meditation or simply turning off electronics, just get quiet. You will be amazed how many thing come up when you give your mind a chance to get quiet. You may just find that thing you have been doing for the last ten years because you are disciplined really gets done because you are afraid. Here’s a test. Try to stop doing it. Just let it go… Seems to me that God can do His job pretty well without all my incessant meddling! When you stop doing all of that crap it is like you are saying, “Here I am and I have stopped running!” Indeed…

My good friend once remarked, “I find that my mind is at peace when I focus on right now and whenever I start to feel stress it’s because I have either gone back into the past or moved ahead to the future.” So, try to live just for today. Or better, try to live just for right now. Did you know that God designed life to be lived in 24 hour compartments? (God, not Dale Carnegie…)

In order to even have a chance of living that “good life” you have often imagined, you must first get control of your mind. Take the mental time you need to get things straight. If there’s something you need to say, say it! If something is undone and driving you nuts, do it. And, for goodness sakes, stop being afraid of everything! So, what if a disease shortened your life? Well, what if you are shortening your life by living in fear? You can only do what you can do, right? And the way I see it, the only thing you can ever totally control is your mind; or more specifically, your thoughts!

This short little go round the sun doesn’t offer you enough time to live another moment that way. Get God involved and stop trying to be so smart. He’s infinitely better than your best thinking and worth checking into (unless of course you are content right where you are…).

The “normal” way to live, though long hidden, is to be unafraid. The absence of fear introduces you to a world you only thought existed in childhood. But, as a kid, you knew you weren’t that smart. Hmmm…

You are worth the time…


Its_You_vs_You_151-3Who is your real enemy anyway? Some folks might say it’s the devil. The general population thinks it’s the government. The Liberals say it’s the Republicans and the Republicans say it’s everyone else. Racists ignorantly claim it’s every race that isn’t their own. Capitalists, communists, socialists all have some thoughts about what holds people back. But I submit to you that the only thing that can hold you back is you! Sure there is a devil working behind the scenes to screw you up, but even he can’t beat you without some cooperation on your part.

When you peel away everything external; every circumstance; every outside influence, all that is left is you and what you believe about yourself. You tell me what you honestly think about yourself and I’ll tell you whether or not you are going to be successful in life. Oh you can argue! You can talk about luck and favor and chance. You can whine about good breaks and bad breaks. You can blame your upbringing, foolishly concluding that someone, somewhere had a perfect one… But in the end, it’s you and what you think!

Don’t think for a minute that anything I’m saying excludes God or spiritual realties. Of course not. Rather, in the spiritual realm whether it be God’s wonderful goodness or the adversary’s despicable badness, both require your cooperation to either help or harm.

So, back to you… What do you think about yourself? Really! If you didn’t have to censor yourself to be socially acceptable, what is your truth concerning you? Do you think you’re smart? Do you think you deserve goodness in your life? Do you think you will live a long life? Do you see yourself living with abundance or struggling to get by? Those ideas you have in your mind; those beliefs ultimately define your life with minute accuracy and precision. Don’t think for a second that something outside of yourself defined those limits for you! You might have heard those limits; been schooled in those limits; been inundated with those limits, but those limitations only limit you if you cooperate with them and believe them. Write that in stone because it’s always true!

Here’s another way to look at it. What kind of things do you say to yourself? What goes on in that inner dialogue of yours? Are you kind with yourself? Are you patient with yourself? Do you love yourself or better, do you even like yourself? I went through a rather rough patch in my own life, religion induced of course, where I honestly couldn’t say that I liked myself anymore. Egads, right? I was so consumed with doing everything right; everything someone else said was right, that I no longer even liked myself. The problem with that garbage is that the people consumed with pointing out my flaws were just like me. And as long as I gave them a hearing was as long as I lived under their control. I didn’t realize that behind all of that judgment was the enemy, with whom I unknowingly cooperated. Was I a better person? Hell no! I was a defeated, miserable wreck. And there but for the grace of God I might still be.

My good friend Mark Wallace taught that we should never say anything negative about ourselves. Let that simmer for a moment. Imagine never saying anything negative about yourself… Think now, does saying negatives things about yourself to yourself ever help you get better? Really, does it? How could a focus on what’s wrong with you ever lead to what’s right with you? Let’s say you just did something bad.  (Haha let’s say…) Often your defeat doesn’t come from the mistake but rather your decision to linger on your mistake for days or even years. You vs. you and you lose! When you make a mistake you should immediately move on past it and not allow it another second of residence in your mind. The Bible backs this up, even though that religious guy told you otherwise.

So, how can you win? How can you turn this thing around and end in victory? You have to win the battle of you vs. you. You are the only you have got. You have one life, one opportunity, one chance to come out on top. Choose you. If you aren’t on your side, you cannot win. Decide that you are okay just the way you are. Sure you have weak spots. Sure you make mistakes and choose badly at times. But, I think if you are honest, the goodness that is you far outweighs the moments that you behave badly. Farrrrrrr outweighs! So again, choose you! Stop saying those horrible things to yourself. Stop voting for evil! Choose good. Change your mind; thought by thought until your thoughts favor you, the only you, you have! That’s not egotistical for goodness sakes, that’s truth!

We all want to live prosperous, healthy, love filled lives. All of us! Give yourself a break by getting off your own back! You don’t do anyone a service by hating yourself. In fact, it’s a disservice. You end up rejecting the awesome beauty that God gave you by giving you a life. Instead, decide right now that you really are a wonderful person. Decide that you can change the ending of your personal drama by changing what you think about yourself. It’s your one life and you are worth that!

That enemy you have been wrestling with isn’t the government or the communists or your parents. The enemy you are fighting is your own self and the things you have been believing about yourself. Choose love. Choose God. Choose you. If God be for you, who can be against you?

Win in the great competition of life!

Just some good thoughts…

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