It’s Your Fruit…


oranges-1117628_1280.jpgWhenever I see someone really living the life riding in the high places of the earth, after I change my mind to stop ‘hatin’ a little, I have tremendous admiration for them. I admire them because I know they have believed to be who they are and where they are and have received the results of their believing. LeBron James believed to be LeBron James. Sure he came from the factory gifted with size and natural ability, but this whole “King James” business was his own idea. You can apply this with breathtaking accuracy to any successful person you see. You can also apply this with the same mathematical exactness to any failure you might observe, even your own. The life that you are living at this very moment in time is the result of those thoughts and beliefs you have held dear. Your frustrations, your sufferings, your pains have all come about as a result of what you have believed and continue in accordance with those beliefs. The results in your life, good or bad, are your fruit and by your fruit you are known!

It’s such a tragedy that so many people limp through life reacting to circumstances for which they have unknowingly believed. They do not want those circumstances but their thoughts and beliefs encourage them instead of thwarting and slaying them! The world, with all of its negativity, works you over day by day, without your consent or even your awareness. It’s feeding you messages of struggle and defeat while at the same lauding celebrities famous for being famous. It looks like the things you so desperately need are too hard or too far away. The goal? Talking you into settling for less than the best and accepting mediocrity and failure. Here’s a simple experiment. Read the following statement: You deserve the very best in life. Say it out loud to yourself! “You deserve the very best in life, Tony!” Now, be honest and observe your reaction to that statement. Where did your mind trim that back a little? “Well, I don’t need the best, but pretty good will work.” Or maybe you don’t feel you deserve the best. Or is it too late now for you to receive the very best? Whatever your mind came up with in opposition to that statement, is a lie; a wrong belief, that limits your success. Why wouldn’t you as the only you, you have, deserve the very best expectations from you for you? Don’t make this about God. This is about you in the realm that you control!

While you may find yourself a bit defeated in this life or maybe you have had some wind taken out of your sails, be encouraged and comforted in this, namely that you can change your thoughts and thus change, remedy or repair your life. You’re going to need God’s help, but trust me, His first expectation from you is for you to change your thoughts. He’s really, really, really good at His job, but He isn’t going to do your job no matter how much you pray! Change your mind. You determine the speed and pace in which your life transforms. Radical life changes require radical thought changes. You see, this thought thing is so much larger than you may have imagined before. I’m not talking about thinking something positive from time to time, I’m talking about monitoring and reshaping your thoughts throughout a day, day after day, one day at a time. Find something true from God’s Word that you can use to counter the darkness. Then seriously and diligently work on it!

Circumstances are not lined up against you, they’re lined up against all of us. The difference lies only in what you will and will not accept as true. Things are not true because they look true or seem true or are factually true, they are true if God says they are true. In similar fashion, you are not who you might see in the mirror, chubby or slim, or the results you have obtained in this life, or your successes or your failures, your mistakes or your good deeds. You are who God says you are, no exceptions! The only way to break the chains of previous results and former losses is to view yourself and your life in an entirely new light. No matter how it may look, you have control over those circumstances, albeit indirectly.

The fruit evident in your life at this very moment, delightful or rotten, is of your own making and owned entirely by you. Your life is like a full feature movie with you as the producer. You are the one deciding upon the beginning, the middle and the ending. You can write a dramatic success story or you can write a sorrowful saga. But, make no mistake, you are the writer, the editor, the producer! You may choose to modify your story or you can choose to ride the waves of circumstance. If you just go with the flow, then the flow may take you places you didn’t want to go. How many times have you heard someone say, “I didn’t think my life would end up this way.” The only way your life ends up in a place you didn’t choose is by turning over the reigns of choice and control to someone or something else. No action, no directed and focused thought is also an action, a passive one leading away from and not towards your dreams.

This incredibly short life with all of its ups and downs is one vast classroom whereby you may decide to learn how it works and modify yourself to fit within the existing framework or you can continue to fight against the circumstances you created and blame God, the culture, the economy, your momma or whatever else neatly takes away responsibility from yourself! The choice is yours my friend. The choice has always been yours…

Just some good thoughts…

The Measure of a Man…


k23725167This is a story about your life. You know, the one you are living right now. It’s about where you’re at today. It’s about your successes and your failures. It’s about how much money you make and where you work. It touches on your relationships, your togetherness and your loneliness. It reaches into every facet of your life and there’s no part of your existence that it doesn’t explain. It’s not about how you measure up, but rather how you measure yourself.

I got into a discussion the other day about the term “realistic.” I’ll spare you the details but suffice it to say that most people who utter those words, use them for limitation and not for endless possibility. My key point centered around the question, what is realistic? You see, the world but half expresses itself. The things you see are not made up of what is really back of them. But, on we go wrestling on the outside with a world defined by our inside. The circumstances you encounter scream for supremacy as the first cause, but in truth are in reality a result. They align themselves perfectly with your expectations. If they are pervasive and miserable it is no-one’s fault but your own. Likewise, if they are glorious, spontaneous and grand, for that you make take credit as well.

The question that concerns you most is not what hand the world has dealt you. The question of utmost importance is, what do you think of yourself? What do you expect for your life? What things do you think you can have in this life? What is the measure of yourself? The answer to those questions is played out amongst a million, precise variations in the life you are living right now. Look around you. The environment you are in, you chose. The proof is in the pudding. Whining about not having enough money is foolish because you make exactly what you think you can make. No more, no less. The only way a man raises himself from mental poverty is in finally convincing himself of his own value. I say finally, because a man is knowingly or unknowingly in a contest day by day; a contest between what apparently “is” versus what may actually be. How he votes determines the election. The more highly he values himself, the more he expects for and from himself. As a man seeks to improve himself and does, he begins to grow out of whatever confining conditions have seemed to hold him back. He cannot help but succeed the more because he is more. In this his life solemnly testifies to the man he has become.

The most ironic, yet heartbreakingly sad “reality” is that man is free to decide upon his own estimation of himself. His self-esteem, his self-value is decided by himself. It’s not for no good reason a man aims so low. He aims low because he lives in a world  constantly whipping himself out of himself. His behavior is bad; his desires are bad; his decisions are bad. But are they? Those in advantage methodically make plans to ensure the so-called lesser man remains lesser. Is he lesser? God has made from one blood all nations of men that dwell upon the earth. A man, in order to be a real man, must raise his estimation of himself. He must consider and take to heart whom God says he is. God’s men cannot settle for second best.

The people of the world exhaust themselves in the endless pursuit of success; success measured by boats and houses and leisure time. The Kardashians are not real people. Yet, you have to commend them in that they have made themselves indispensable. The estimation they make of themselves being clearly evident. So whether your success is measured in boats and houses and leisure time or by love, relationships and legacy, the measure will always be found in yourself. The way to success is found in the value you place on yourself. You must find the way to do what you alone can do and in that which you have no rival. Instead of investing pointless energy in comparison, you must spend your energy in your estimation of yourself. It can never be called selfish to think highly of yourself because those who love themselves love others and for that the world will always be in need.

No matter what you have gone through; the mistakes you have made; the blunders you have done, each day offers the bright and shining hope of a new day. And as the sun ebbs the horizon offering light to all the inhabitants thereof, you awaken offering your light in your way, to the world. Start where you are, as you must, but know the limitations you have imagined are your own and hold no sway in a world created by infinite possibility. You wish to be a man of courage and boldness, be that man. You desire to be a man of magnanimous wealth and supply, be that man. You dream of earning the respect of all around you, respect yourself. No circumstance, no condition, no predetermined fate can stop a man who knows who he is and values it.

God has graciously granted man the chance to be whomever he wants to be and has done it without limit or check. Check yourself and see what measure you have placed on yourself. Throw off the chains of genealogy and circumstance and be exactly who you always knew you could be! The world is waiting for you to be who you were already supposed to be. Your past has no bearing unless you make it so. Your background, your education, your job, your track record is nothing more than an account of the man you used to be. Be whomever you want to be today and see if the great God does not honor your desires at every step. See if He will not back your every effort and toil with a handsome reward; the reward that follows every man who believes.

What is reality? Reality is exactly what you expect it to be!

Just some good thoughts…

 

Your Life… Your Beliefs… Your Results!


factory-1Warning! This blog post may offend you, but my hope, of course, is that it will enlighten you! So here goes… The life that you are presently living is a direct reflection of your beliefs. What you believe will happen in your life is exactly what happens in your life. If you are enjoying success, you have believed for and are experiencing success. If you are struggling and not living the life you want, you have believed for that also and are experiencing the results of your beliefs. Life is not random. There are no accidents and there are no coincidences. A belief on the positive side produces a good result. A belief on the negative side (fear) results in a negative result. So the point is, if you are presently struggling and not enjoying the life you want, it is your own fault! Now, before you go batsh*t crazy on me, hear me out…

All of us believe something. I’m not talking about your religious beliefs, I’m talking about belief in its basic essence; the things you believe to be true. It does not matter at all if what you believe isn’t really true, because what you believe is what comes to pass in your life. All humans, good and bad, manifest into their lives the results or fruit of their beliefs. You can whine, revile, complain, argue, fuss and fume, but that is how God set this whole thing up (see Bible). Getting angry with God over some negative circumstance in your life is as futile as whipping the dog for some food you left out within his reach. Bottom line, he’s a dog, he always seeks food, and, YOU LEFT IT OUT! When things are going poorly in your life, you left something out – belief!

Let’s say you have been struggling financially. You know you need more money than you presently have. Truth Newsflash: The amount of money you presently have is exactly, precisely, mathematically as much as you believed you could have. The problem isn’t the economy, your lack of education or degree, your upbringing, or the company for which you are presently slaving! The problem is you, more specifically your belief concerning money. We all probably want more money, but we don’t all believe we can have more. That belief, which for you is true, is the source of your problem. You want more, but if you are honest, don’t believe you can get more or simply think (or have been conditioned to think) that money is hard to come by, doesn’t grow on trees, etc., etc., etc. Can’t you right now think of someone who has minimal education but makes a fortune? Don’t you know that guy that is by all accounts, dumber than a box of rocks, yet still makes a lot of money? Ever asked yourself why? Wait no, I get it. He is just lucky… Definition of luck? That which happens by chance. Definition of chance? See luck. Haha you are smarter than that…

This isn’t a criticism of anyone. Rather it is a reality that you have to understand. As long as you think that life is random, full of scary twists and curves, is as long as you will be twisting and curving. Belief, positive belief, puts an end to it. If we only knew that, right? As humanoids we have all been carefully conditioned and trained to believe everything that our five senses minds promote. However, belief is not based on what it looks like or what the circumstances are promoting as true, belief is based on a decision that you make. You might not think you made a decision, but you did! All belief is a decision. The trouble is you made a decision based on faulty reasoning. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s a duck right? Not in the spiritual world from where the secret of life resides. This old world is run by the enemy of good times called the Devil. He didn’t start out as its ruler, but he’s ruling the joint now. His only mission, because he is still pissed at God, is to steal and to kill and to destroy. Every time you believe something negative and suffer defeat, he stole something from you. Every time! And that ol’ bird knows how much you rely on your five senses as your only avenue for learning and with that, works you over like a sieve.

You and I (for that matter) have to be completely honest with ourselves about what we really believe. True belief, positive belief is the end of the struggle. Not that you won’t be challenged again and again, but by believing rightly can overcome any hurdle that is thrown in your path. It is time to get serious about learning how and what to believe, then putting it into practice.

Just the other day I found myself struggling with how hard it was to get what I wanted and how the open doors didn’t seem to be opening for me like they were opening for others. Then, thank the good Lord, it dawned on me. “Tony, if you don’t really believe you can get what you want, you aint ever gonna get what you want!” You see the problem was me, oh Lord. Prayer was never supposed to be an exercise in futility. Prayer must be backed with believing or NOTHING is going to happen and then we are just back to getting angry with God! How silly…

I challenge you right now, today, to ask yourself what you are struggling with. Then, ask yourself what you believe about your situation. Be honest because no-one is listening except you and God maybe. Your honest answer and I mean brutally honest answer is your current reality. But the good news is you can always, always, always change your reality. When you believe, nothing is too hard for God and I don’t care what the doctor said! Nothing!

Quit believing (fearing) what you don’t want and start believing for what you do want. Don’t give yesterday another thought… It is your one life, they are your beliefs and they are producing your results. Open a new factory!

Just some good thoughts…

…Yeah, but why?


NewYearsResolutionsIt’s almost that time of the year when you are going to make your New Year’s resolutions. But, before you write that fanciful wish list, give this a little thought… Notice how many “goals” on your list are the exact same things you had on there last year and the year before and the year before. So logically, if you are writing the same things over and over again, something must be wrong!

When it comes to getting your needs met, and I’m assuming your dream-sheet is about getting your needs met, the first thing you have to ask yourself is, “What do I really need?” I’m not talking that minimalist logic that claims all you really need is food and water. If all you needed was food and water you would be a dog, not a human! Instead you, like the rest of us, have many needs; some simple and some complex. And in order to get those needs met, you must discover exactly what they are. It’s so easy to write, “lose weight.” But, before you are going to really lose that weight, something has to happen. No, no, no I don’t mean make up your mind to eat healthy, or to exercise more or to get more disciplined! You think that’s what it is and that’s why you write that fantasy memo every year. If that’s all there was to it, we would have all become slim and sexy by now. But that’s not all there is to it. In order to finally start delving deeper, you have to ask yourself, “Yeah, but why?”

Why do you want to lose weight (make more money, get healthier, exercise more, quit smoking/liquor/wild women and drugs)? Is that even what you really want? Really… Do you really want more money? How much? Is it the money you want or some specific items? Are there hundreds of things or maybe just two things. Right? Yeah, but why? Maybe you have become very clear on what you want and why. Very, very clear. So “why” don’t you manage to achieve it? As my good friend Mark recently taught, often there is something deeper going on that is shaping your behavior. There may be deep-seated habits and unmet needs that are sabotaging your efforts. Maybe you aint eating so much because you’re hungry, ya know? Substitute drinking, spending, etc.

Recently I did a little experiment. For about the past 15 or so years I have been trying to lose about 10-15 pounds. Not 30, 40 or 50 pounds mind you; 15 pounds. And, as you might expect, I was on a diet for about that same time period. Imagine a diet lasting 15 years with 10 or 15 pounds at stake. Imagine… I did Weight Watchers (paid the money), Fit for Life (bought the book), Low Carb, No Carb, and HCG (more money). And, I lost weight. On HCG I got down to 199 once. Yay, but about two days later I was back up 2 pounds. I weighed myself almost every day, for years! I starved, then binged. Saved points for wine (WW). Criticized myself every time I ate something fattening or sweet or a cookie or fast food or for even having breakfast. Again, imagine… After admitting to myself that I was living the definition of insanity, I decided enough was enough. Enter the experiment! I simply stopped. Stopped weighing, stopped obsessing, stopped denying myself anything potentially fattening. Stopped it! Did I lose a bunch of weight? No! But I learned that basically no matter what I ate, (eating normally, not going ham) my weight stayed at exactly 209-210 pounds. And even better, it finally dawned on me, “why” do I need to drop that 10 pounds? Do I really care that much? Or am I trying to fit into a cultural mindset that associates slim with disciplined/sexy/good/youth…ahhh youth-now we are getting somewhere! Would it be better for me if I weighed 10-15 pounds less? Of course. But the “why” of losing the weight, showed me “why” I haven’t been successful so far (unsuccessful in losing the weight, not in being happier!).

In order to really reach your goals, or even get your needs met, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. Maybe you don’t even want those things you write every year. Maybe. Maybe you have some deeper needs you have been pushing to the side. Maybe it’s time to look yourself in the eye and figure out what you really want as opposed to what you are “supposed” to want. Maybe all you need is an uncommitted $10,000 in the bank as opposed to becoming rich! Again, maybe…

The things in life we are serious about getting, we get! The things we aren’t serious about, we don’t get. Instead of just writing that crazy list, swearing off everything you enjoy in life, take yourself a step deeper and ask yourself, why? It is your one life, right? What is very important to you? Get those things and not to sound cheesy, but those things aren’t always money!

The New Year is a great time to reset your course in life. But don’t reset things that are already working well. Strive for more; do more; be more; love more! Just be sure your more is “your” more!

Your life is what you make it. Why? Because it is your life!

Just some good thoughts…