Genuine Self-Help…


Sri-Lanka-OrchidThe term “self-help” has fallen out of favor in recent years. I guess the notion that you were reading a book because you needed some assistance, made you into a weak person, ever in need of help. So, they changed the name to “self-development” which is actually the exact same thing, but whatever works to sell books, I suppose. And boy, do they ever sell books! So, I mused… Why would a person read a self-help book? I think, if you are honest, you are reading it because you perceive that something needs to change in your life. Or, you might feel that something is wrong with you and that you are in need of repair. In either case, I’m not sure why that would be considered shameful, as all of us need fixing up at times! But, here’s the crucial question. Does self-help really help? Do the avid self-help readers really change for the better? And, if the people who invest their hearts into the literature don’t change, why is that?

I recall a time in my life when I was an avid reader of self-help literature. I mean, I read everything there was to read. As soon as I finished one, I went and got another. Looking back, it was a time in my life when things had sort of gone south on me. Through wrong teachings, harsh associations and mega doses of fear, I had morphed into someone who I hated. I just couldn’t stand myself. How in the hell did fun-loving, carefree Tony turn into “that guy?” I had become hard and callous and critical and worst of all, religious! I needed help and sought comfort from the self-help literature. And wow, did it ever comfort me! But, after quite some time, I noticed a pattern. While I was reading the literature I felt awesome, but it quickly faded and necessitated purchasing a new book. And you wonder why the self-help business is booming?! In most cases there was nothing wrong with the information. The books were loaded with principles and valid suggestions, but knowledge alone doesn’t get the job done! In order to transform your life, you need wisdom otherwise known as “knowledge applied!”

My wife and I have a dear friend named La Detra, whom we greatly admire. She is very successful and lives a dream life. When she has an idea, she pursues it to the full. Yes she is very intelligent and yes she went to Harvard. She is a critical thinker in the highest sense of the word. She is always in pursuit of the knowledge. But, what separates her from the pack is her determination to “do!” When she wants to make something happen, she analyzes the necessary conditions and then takes action to make it a reality. The reason so many equally intelligent people don’t realize their goals is their failure to actually launch! They think and study and read and think and study and never actually apply! Nothing happens, nothing changes, nothing ever gets better until you turn your knowledge into action. Self-development literature is loaded with time-tested principles that will always work in your life. But somewhere along the line you have to change from an avid reader to an avid “do-er!”

Our life dreams, our goals, our heartfelt desires are only realized when we decide to turn our thought into action. I know, I know, it seems so intimidating, so impossible, so huge! But, I submit that it’s only so arduous because it has not yet left your imagination! Have you ever woke up in the morning afraid of something, only to discover it loses its grip on you once you finally decide to get up? Action cures fear and inaction strengthens fear! As long as you remain in research mode you may feel better but you won’t experience real change! Genuine change comes about only when you begin to act. The path to your desired outcome only reveals itself when you finally get out of your mind and on the path! Take a step. Make a move. Begin!!!

No-one experiences success in life overnight. No flower starts off by blooming. Instead it is first planted, then struggles through the soil, continues growing until it is at last a beautiful orchid. So you too, my friend, must first plant that glorious picture of the “new you” in your mind, endure the struggle of change, and continue growing until you become, at last, what you always knew you could become! And incredibly, once you embark on your journey, you’ll discover that all of life is voting in favor of you. Your answers will reveal themselves like glittering gold in the murky riverbed. What once abruptly halted your progress will fade away like the morning mist. You will rise and fight and overcome and nothing shall, by any means, stop you. That is, if you can persuade that old obstinate mind of yours to take an actual step!

As you are thinking this through today, ask yourself this question… What idea, what dream, what goal have you actually applied yourself to with full effort and still failed? You know and I know, those things you call failure are actually “you not taking action” or “you stopped taking action!” As long as you are still alive, you still have a shot at achieving your dreams no matter how many times the fat lady has already sung!

What change do you so desperately need in your own life? What do you need to do to stop hating that guy or gal in the mirror? Take some time to get a clear picture in your mind of your “new” self, find the knowledge that appeals most to your heart and then take the action the knowledge suggested! You will be greatly challenged in the beginning because someone or something wants you to remain defeated. But, there’s an infinitely bigger Someone or Something that wants you to succeed! The life you’ve always wanted is there for you, my friends, but you have to get out of bed, dress up and show up!

Just some good thoughts…

PS If you need a great book (that you promise to apply), I highly recommend:

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The Great Honesty of Your Soul


Honesty, December 11, 2011There’s a magnificent simplicity to life of which most people are totally unaware. Understanding it completely and thoroughly eliminates all superstition, luck and happenstance. It excludes all circumstances and apparent fortune or misfortune. It is not decided by God or by the devil. It is the law of believing; a law that basically governs your entire life. Your present existence, in all of its variation and complexity, is but the outward working of your inner belief system, or stated more simply, what you choose to believe. And, in order to really tap into its fullness requires a great honesty in your own heart and soul.

As long as you, the individual, attribute any cause other than yourself for the results or lack of results you get in life, you are only deceiving yourself. In truth, you get exactly what you expect to get, nothing more and nothing less. To say that God has already chosen what is going to happen in your life serves only to shift responsibility from yourself to something else. To think that your lack of opportunity and upbringing sets you at an unfair disadvantage implies that circumstance precedes expectation. The only thing that you can control in life is your thoughts, from which grow all of your beliefs. And while every one of us have been inundated and infiltrated with wrong thoughts leading to wrong beliefs, none of us have to remain there unless we persist in blaming and whining and reviling against what is…

If you are honest with yourself; completely and brutally honest, you will see clearly that your life is exactly what you expected it to be. It may suck and you might despise and loathe it, but it is what you thought (most consistently) it would be. If you live in a perpetual struggle always getting less than you thought you should get, you need to take an honest look at the person in the mirror. Somewhere, deep-down your beliefs, contrary to what you truly desire, want something less. Someplace, buried in your heart (from which your believing proceeds) lie hidden beliefs that question your self-worth and your value. Or someone (maybe a lot of someones) succeeded in convincing you that money is hard to come by or a loving relationship is rare or life is hard or the struggle is real or…you name it!

When you peel away all of the disguises and boil down all of the layers, your life is comprised of your beliefs be they good or bad. If they’re bad, you can change them if you will be honest. But, as long as you blame “the man” or “where you live” or “your upbringing and lack of opportunity” “or “lack of education” or that “God doesn’t like you” or “the devil is out to get you,” you will never take the solemn responsibility that belongs to you and to you alone! Instead you’ll spend a lifetime making excuses, pointing fingers and never getting your true needs met! Everyone you have witnessed living their life’s dream has believed to do so. Everyone living with tremendous prosperity believed to be so. The guy, who things seem to always work out for, believes things will always work out. Conversely, the poor guy, who nothing seems to work out for, believes nothing will work out also. Belief is inescapable and perfectly just whether you ever believe in God or not! Believing is the law that governs your life…

Man has been given control of his life, he just remains woefully ignorant of it. He makes decisions based on how things look rather than how he would like them to look. He begs for signs and assurances and in receiving none, chooses poorly. He settles and rationalizes and expects less than he should. When the world tells him what he cannot have, he accepts it without even batting an eye. All the time unaware of his ability to believe and therefore receive. He assigns systems and rules where there are no rules. “If I can just become good enough, surely I will get what I want!” “Maybe if I work hard, really, really, really hard, then can I finally get what I deserve!” Never once considering that what he will get is only what he believes he can get whether he’s good or bad, hardworking or lazy!

All of these great life realities; these fantastic opportunities, can only come about when you finally become honest with yourself. If you are unhappy, then you are unhappy, and you might as well say so. If you are struggling, you are struggling and no amount of fake smiling will make it any easier. If you aren’t getting what you want out of life, you may as well admit it instead of spending another moment pretending or reducing things down to “Well, at least I’m not sick” or “At least I woke up today!” Uggghhhh! How futile? You see, therein comes the great honesty of your soul. For some reason, you and I have been tricked into acting like things aren’t presently the way they are and as such, lying to ourselves. It’s a mental masturbation that satisfies no-one! (LOL forgive me) It’s mental assent that wishes and hopes but never truly believes. It’s a recipe for misery and it doesn’t have to be…

This isn’t criticism and fault-finding for everything I’m telling you, I’m also telling myself! If you can wrap your mind around the unchanging law that what you believe you will receive, then you can finally get honest about what you really want. How can you ever believe for things to get better if you cannot even be honest about how things are? This isn’t anyone’s business but your own. This isn’t a request to start complaining to everyone you meet but rather a request to complain to the management (God)! This is about honesty, great honesty in your own heart and soul.

What can you believe for, for the sky isn’t even the limit! There is no limitation, no lack, no poverty, no sickness where God lives and He lives where you boldly and confidently believe! So, believe my friends, believe!!!

Just some good thoughts…

It’s All About Me?


Organ-Donation1-1024x392If you’ve spent any time on Earth, you’ve probably realized that life seems to have its ups and downs. There are high times when you feel on top of the world and everything is working out well for you. Then, there are the low times when nothing seems to work and you drag your tired butt around all day looking for an answer. Well, recently I learned a valuable lesson and it wasn’t all about me.

Life is chock full of paradoxes! It’s better to give than to receive, is one such example. If you were a betting person, the safe money would seem to center on receiving. I mean, the more you receive, the more you have, right? But, noooooo… The more you give out of the goodness of your heart, without obligation or restraint, the more you receive back in a cycle that never ceases. Conversely, the more you hoard and cling to what you have, the less you actually have. Just the opposite of what you expected! Who would have thought it?

Ever since people came into being with the unique ability to think and choose, they have been on a quest for happiness and fulfillment. However, unlike your pet dog or cat, you actually know if you are happy or unhappy. When you are feeling good, you naturally get out of yourself and the time just flies by. But, when you feel down or depressed, your focus turns inward. And, the greater your perceived need, the more likely you are to dwell on that need because it isn’t met. Then, sadly, the days just drag on and on offering little promise for the future. You seek, you think, you analyze but nothing seems to work. Why? Because again, you have entered into one of life’s little paradoxes!

Although in our day and time focus on one’s self is lauded to the heavens, it’s actually the wrong way to think. I know, I know, you only have one life to live. If you don’t focus on yourself, then who will? Your needs come first. You need lots of “me” time. You first, others second, if you have opportunity! Enter a life paradox and now you are barking up the wrong tree. As long as life is all about you, the life you are seeking will elude you. Hey, don’t get mad at me! Someone smarter than me created this thing called life! I’m just trying to convey the rules of the game.

The reason we humans get so stuck on certain problems in life is because the real solution escapes us. Things have to fall in line with our logic and the older we get, the worse “it” gets. We promote selfishness because it seems entirely logical from a “caring for yourself” standpoint. Obviously you have to take care of yourself, but that, like many things, has an end point! All of us have certain needs at times, but try as we might, there are some needs we simply cannot solve on our own. Some things require something bigger than yourself. Enter the Creator of life that built-in the clever paradoxes! In His unsurpassed wisdom, He ordered life to not always be about you (or me). I suppose that would be something you’d expect from Someone concerned about all life!

So, the solution you weren’t expecting? Cease your fanatical obsession with yourself and reach out to help someone else! Some of the most joyful, happiest times of my life have been the times when everything wasn’t about “my” life. In stark contrast, some of my most distressing and depressing times came as a result of getting tricked into focusing on myself; my lack of abilities and my unsolvable problems! I say tricked because, if you are honest, whenever your focus is solely on yourself it is because of fear. The reason you are so laser focused on what you don’t have (yet) is because you are afraid you won’t ever get it. The true reason you only think about yourself isn’t because you are inherently a bad person, but rather because you are afraid you won’t get something you need! Fear always torments, always hurts you, always ends in defeat.

Love, on the other hand, is just the opposite. Love knows it will always be taken care of and sees no fear. Love doesn’t seek its own. Love extends itself to others; forgives others; bears the burden of others. Love is kind and patient. Love speaks words that build and encourage. Love gives and gives and gives. Love never fails. That’s why the way out of your “unhappy, unfulfilled” dilemma is to stop making it all about you! Stop dwelling on yourself; your unhappiness; your lack and reach out to someone else. Not to get something, but to get out of something!

It’s funny (peculiar) how the world so easily deceives us into not doing what we should do to get the things we want. We need more money, so we cling to what we have. We desperately want to be happy, so we cling to ourselves in order to find the happiness within us. Yet, all the time, the true riches of life exist on the other side of the paradox! The great Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Good ol’ Zig knew who buttered his bread!

Like all paradoxes in life, the outcome doesn’t appear to match the required activity. Well, do it anyway! Get outside of yourself. Be present with people and listen for what they need. Deeply invest in others with your love and encouragement and do it from your heart. Then, watch and see what happens inside you. You’ll be so full of love and joy that you’ll have to tell God to cool it! 🙂 Your needs will be met before you can even bring them up. Your life will just flow and glow and effervesce!

Is your life all about you? No, my friends, it’s all about someone else! Won’t you join the “life party” with me? I know you will…

Just some good thoughts…