POSSIBILITY THINKING

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Success, happiness, and good luck is ready for us, whenever we are ready for it. Unfortunately, most of us do not know how to unlock the door. We sit in mental prisons and wait for our life to change, never realizing that the door to the prison is open – there are no guards. The key that unlocks the door is our attitude.

POSITIVE THINKING VS. POSSIBILITY THINKING

Thus far, we have considered how impossibility thinking keeps us from having what we truly want in life. The obvious answer would seem to be to just think positively and believe that what we want is possible. On the surface, this seems reasonable, but in the real world, it is not entirely true. As an example, look at something near you right now. Focus on it. Now think positively to yourself that what you are looking at will move. Now, mentally command it to move. Keep thinking positively. What happened? I think you get the idea.

Although there may have been a few avatars in the world that might have done this, most of us haven’t reached that level of awareness yet. The mind is powerful, but not powerful enough to will things to happen. The problem with positive thinking is that there is a gap between our current reality and what we want to happen. This gap, if not understood and handled properly, can create anxiety, confusion, and even mental illness.

THE POWER OF POSITIVE FOCUS

There is a big difference between focusing on the positive and thinking positively. When we are focusing on the positive, we are not saying that things are different than our reality. We are not in denial. What our focus does is make us aware of the possibilities. It gives us direction. Whatever we focus on, we create more of. In every situation we have a choice. We can focus on the positive or the negative. If you look at what is wrong with your and/or the world, that is exactly what you will see.

Since you cannot look in two directions at the same time, you will miss the possible. On the other hand if you focus on the possible, you not only tend to feel better, but you will see new possibilities that you had not seen before. Think back to the object you were trying to move with positive thinking. If you focus on the positive, instead of thinking positively you will say to yourself, “That object will not move. That is the reality. But I have the ability to move if I choose. I think I will get up and move it”.

The difference between the positive thinker and the possibility thinker is that the positive thinker says, “I am happy,” when he is not, “I am rich,” when he is poor, “I am healthy,” when he is sick. The possibility thinker says, “I am unhappy now, but I can do something that will make me happy.” “I don’t have any money right now, but if I focus on this possible opportunity, I can turn it around,” “I am sick right now, but if I do this, I can help to heal myself.” The difference between positive thinking and possibility thinking is that the possibility thinker does not deny reality.

CAN YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT?

Is anything possible, or are there limitations? Turn on any talk show, read any self-help book, and we are told that the causative factor behind

our psychological and emotional ills is low self-esteem. The cure, of course, is high self-esteem. The continuous message is that if one has high self-esteem, one is healthy and can achieve a healthy outcome in relationships, business, health, and finances. In many respects, this is absolutely true, but there is also a pathological downside, which can be termed, misguided high self-esteem or a feeling of invulnerability.

The illusion of invulnerability is often the cause of impossible situations. This overconfidence comes about from the belief that somehow, through positive thinking and good intentions, we can avoid the negative things that happen to us and to other people. We overestimate our prospect of success or survival by misperceiving our current situation.

Contrary to the claims of positive thinkers who believe you can have anything you want, realistically there are certain limitations. First, there are physical limitations. If you are in London, you can’t be in Paris at the same time. There are financial limitations. If you want to buy a new car and don’t have any money, all the positive thinking in the world will not help you.

For a clearer definition of what is possible, let’s say that if someone else can, or has, achieved something, it is possible for you. However you must be realistic about your limitations and work through them in order to achieve the same outcome.

GOOD INTENTIONS, INEFFECTIVE APPROACH

Many impossible situations are created in the process of goal setting. The reason for this is that we chronically employ ineffective approaches and fail to change or correct our ineffective behavior, especially when we recognize that what we are doing is not working. One of the most commonly ineffective approaches is over persistence while using

ineffective behavior. Many people will persist at something beyond all reason. They need to prove something to themselves, or they don’t want to be wrong or make a mistake. In order to avoid this, they keep pressing on with unworkable behavior patterns that eventually lead them to an impossible situation. Often, we observe this in our relationships with others, where we can see the results of their stubborn persistence.

Many people are guided by well-intentioned motives but experience setbacks, problems, misfortunes, and other difficulties because of ineffective approaches. Most of the time it involves misjudgment. They misjudge themselves and their abilities. These errors in judgment lead to setting themselves up in impossible situations. They may not see what is possible and probable in the present moment. Instead, they overestimate what they are capable of achieving at the present time. An important point here is that when we have brought failure and suffering into our lives, although it was never our goal, many times it is a by- product of our effort to obtain a desirable goal.

Over-persistence in the wrong direction will not get you what you want or take you where you want to go. It only creates more impossible situations. Persistence is important in the attainment of any goal or desire, if we are headed in the right direction, but excessive and pathological persistence in the wrong direction can only lead us to the depths of impossibility. Most self-help literature illustrates the virtue of persistence by pointing out those who have eventually triumphed, despite impossible situations. They point out that those who give up too easily are nothing more than quitters. While persistence may be a virtue, it can also be destructive. Some approaches or strategies simply are ineffective, and through persistence we multiply the number of failures that we experience, which often leads to disaster.

As an example, the investor who buys a certain stock and then sees that it continues to drop but won’t bail out even though he will clearly lose even more money. Instead of having a stop loss, he hangs on. Another instance would be a person who remains in a relationship that is self-destructive, where the partner does not want to get help. The person stays in the relationship because he or she is more concerned with persevering or saving the relationship, rather than having a healthy relationship. Saving the relationship becomes paramount, rather than saving the individuals in the relationship. Take the student who pursues a career path, only to find out that it is not right for him, yet he keeps on the path because he does not want to be a quitter.

The point here is that it is important to know when to quit. Quitting is not always bad. We must learn to make an accurate assessment regarding when persistence is necessary and when it is self-destructive, and then make a healthy adjustment in those negative behaviors that keep us on the wrong track. People find all kinds of ways of behaving in opposition to what they really want. Many of these behavior patterns are deliberate and intentional. However, this doesn’t mean that we are self-destructive. On one hand, some people deliberately take actions that will clearly bring harm to them, while others do not foresee the consequences of their actions. They do not want to fail or sabotage their relationships, health, careers, or finances, yet they act in ways that destroy their own efforts to reach a positive outcome.

Other people fall in the middle somewhere. They can see the possibility of harm but ignore it or downplay it. When they look back, they recognize that the outcome was, in many cases, foreseeable and avoidable. This may include wearing a seat belt, using a condom, not smoking, compulsive gambling, alcohol consumption, or substance abuse. At the time, they ignore the risks and focus on the immediate pleasure.

A significant portion of impossible situations is created in our lives when we take unnecessary risks. We may not be seeking self-harm or self- destruction, in fact we try to avoid it, but the real risk is our own behavior, which seems to turn against us when your problems intensify. Things might have turned out well, but they didn’t. Not everyone who smokes will have lung cancer, or who is in an accident without a seat belt will get hurt, or who has sex without a condom will get AIDS. Nonetheless, the risks are there and the facts were well known in advance.

YOUR DOMINANT THOUGHT CREATES YOUR DESTINY.

We are certain, based on quantum biology (which is the application of quantum physics to biology), that our neurology is driven by our dominant thoughts. Our beliefs, whether they are true of false, structure us in a way that shapes the very anatomy and physiology of our nervous system. Besides the importance of our nervous system on our physical moment, the nervous system, particularly our brain, keeps reinforcing what we believe to be true, whether it is true or not. In essence, we live our life conditioned by a programmed reality that may cause us to get off course and end up where we don’t want to be. This can lead to a feeling of helplessness, victimization, depression, or even despair.

We often experience these feelings and emotions after a series of setbacks or defeats, such as failed romance, losing our business or job, or loss of money. We decide to give up and start to believe that there are forces beyond our control that make directing our own lives impossible. This can be a particularly destructive pattern because even when conditions become favorable for success, we do not see the

opportunity. Instead, we stay stuck in impossible situations or, what’s worse, we continue to set ourselves up for failure.

This behavior pattern is predominant in minority groups that have been oppressed in our society. The cycle of discrimination, failure, helplessness and apathy tend to make many minorities think that financial freedom and success is only available to the non-white majority. Many individuals or groups have concluded that they have not been given a fair chance, so there is no use in making an effort. Even when many opportunities have been open to minorities through affirmative action, rent subsidies and entitlement programs, many are reluctant to take advantage of them, which is perplexing.

On the other hand, there are others from the same social groups who say they would rather not have assistance. They believe they can achieve their goals regardless of the obstacles that confront them. And in most cases, they do. It is interesting that many immigrants who come to this country with far more obstacles to overcome, such as cultural and language barriers, seem to do better than minorities who are born in this country. As an example, one in twelve Asian households have an income of less than $15,000 per year when they first come to this country. Within five years, one in seven of these same households have an income of over $50,000 per year. The success of these people contradicts the theory that only the white Anglo can succeed and achieve their dreams. The difference seems to be not in ability, but in attitude. The Asians, for example, see opportunity or possibility rather than being pessimistic.

Shakespeare said that life is our stage and we are all actors. This is so true. Life is a stage and we tend to act out the scripts we have been told to play. One way or the other, your life is a continuous series of scenes in a play. The play must go on until you die. The only control you have

over your life, the play, is changing the script. You can write a new script at any time. All it takes is a conscious decision to accept a new attitude.

ATTRACTING GOOD LUCK

Have you ever wondered why certain people seem to be lucky? What is this thing called luck? Can you acquire it? How do you acquire it? Most people have no idea what luck really is. They try to attract luck, to draw its force for an instant here and an instant there, hoping that it will bring them what they want. Most people’s attitude about luck is a mixture of rationalization, resignation, and superstition. In truth, you are already a winner, but you must learn to control your destiny. When you do, your personality, instinct, and intuition will attract, recognize, and respond to favorable turns of events.

How do we do this? The good news is that in order to experience good luck you do not have to change who you are. In fact, you are so unique that you cannot change who you are, even if you tried. It is important that you get the idea that there is nothing wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with being that you are. If that is true, you are only left with one option. You must change the way you look at things or your perception of reality.

STOP UNLUCKY PATTERNS

Negative patterns, or bad-luck patterns, must be stopped. They must be stopped consciously. First of all, never complain about your bad luck, because nobody really cares but you. Other people’s exaggerated memories of their own bad luck dwarf whatever you are complaining about. In some cases, if you complain about your bad luck to others, they are actually happy that you are having bad luck. They may even try

to take advantage of you when you are down on your luck because they think you are weak, or you are not a force to be reckoned with.

If you consider yourself a poor, unlucky loser who always get the bad end of everything; you will attract more of the same. If you see yourself as a victim, you will always be a victim. In truth, most victims are really volunteers. We volunteer by being unconscious or unaware. This sets us up for the bad luck cycles we experience in life.

By believing in yourself and your ability to attract good luck, you will set a new momentum that will change and amaze you. The stronger your belief, the greater the success, but you have to desire it and act on it, not just wish for it. The greater your desire and willingness to act, the greater the power you have over your life. It requires an unwavering belief that you are already lucky. Lucky people get lucky breaks. They get the promotions, win, enjoy financial and social success, and have healthy, happy relationships.

LUCK IS NOT RANDOM

If you think luck is random, you are wrong. This can be demonstrated by the consistency of lucky and unlucky persons. Consistently unlucky people suffer from a lack of focus, apathy, and low self-esteem. They set themselves up as victims of circumstance. It appears that luck is pushing them one way and then another. Their view of life is that they are unlucky. They keep attracting more bad luck, so they keep reinforcing their belief. They think unlucky, they act unlucky, they speak unlucky, and therefore they are unlucky.

STATE OF MIND, STATE OF LUCK

The question remains: Can you really attract good luck? Is it possible to develop skills whereby you can fairly well control the particular outcome of events in your life? Can you, with concerted effort, really change your luck? Can you, in truth, control your destiny, or is this just positive thinking nonsense? The answer is, no, this is not nonsense. It is a sound psychological principle.

It is my contention that to acquire and maintain good luck, you do not have to make any drastic change in your life. All efforts to improve your job, marriage, relationship, health, or money are useless. They mean nothing if you persist in believing that the worst will happen or that you are an unlucky person who gets all of life’s bad breaks. Trying to change your outer experiences before changing your inner beliefs is a total waste of time and energy. Without changing your attitude first, the new job, marriage, divorce, a move, health, relationships, and money – all of it – will still leave you with an empty feeling. What is worse, even if you get what you want, you will lose it because your belief is that you are a loser and unlucky.

Once you have mastered the mental adjustments, you will open yourself up to intuition and hunches that you can profit from. Intuition and hunches often guide lucky people. If used effectively, they can be extremely useful and lucrative. Hunches are based on a reservoir of subconscious facts that you have accumulated over a period of time. To develop intuition and hunches, you must access what you know. If you have a background in a certain area and you get a strong hunch, more than likely you will be correct. We are not talking about hunches that are random bits of irrelevant information, but those that are based on some realization from your past experiences. You cannot trust a hunch unless you have some background in that situation. For example, if you do not

have on background in the stock market and you get a hunch, it is untrustworthy.

DON’T MAKE THING WORSE THAN THEY ARE

You must never worry about whether you are lucky or unlucky. You can’t control your luck, but you can control you decisions and therefore dramatically affect your luck. Our attitude, or state of mind, determines the decisions we make. One decision determines the next. In the end, we either win or lose. Sometimes we make bad decisions. The important thing is to accept things as they are. Do your best to change them, but don’t attract more bad luck by making things worse. I never met anyone who didn’t make things worse sometimes. We get angry, we feel we have been cheated, or that we have lost something, and we try to get even. We lose at romance or business and we make things worse by throwing ourselves out of sync.

This happens all the time in life. For example, we allow a broken relationship to distort and destroy other areas of our lives because we are no longer thinking rationally. Decisions that would normally matter don’t seem to matter by comparison. In fact, people who are heartbroken often make the worst business decisions imaginable. Those decisions don’t seem to matter compared to the heartbreak. Those decisions add up, and eventually, even if they didn’t matter so much individually, matter in the end.

What particularly intensifies this unfavorable state of mind is when we feel heavily invested in certain situations. Many people will stay in a bad relationship, job, or project because they don’t want to be wrong and because they have put so much of themselves and their money into whatever it is. This keeps them where they are and even makes things

worse. From now on, promise yourself you will never make things worse.

Why is it so hard for us to let go when the signs that are telling us we should do so are so obvious? Because we will not change any situation until the pain of staying where we are in greater than the temporary pain we will experience making the change. Usually, before we take the leap and make a change, our difficult situation tends to seem bigger than life. In retrospect, after we have taken the risk of starting anew, the change we feared has almost always diminished. What we thought was so bad just wasn’t so bad after all, or at least we realize we have moved on, leaving a bad situation behind us.

A negative situation may bring about an attitude of self-defeat, impossibility, of failure in one individual or group, but another individual or group will see only possibilities and the opportunity to succeed. If we have a self-defeating attitude, we set ourselves up for continued failure. This is worsened if we insist on blaming external forces and see our failure as an isolated misfortune bestowed upon us. For most of us, it is a matter of giving up too easily by blaming others for our impossible situations.

HOMEOSTASIS – RESISTANCE TO CHANGE

No matter how committed you are to changing your life for the better, there will come a time when you will start backsliding. Is it because you are lazy or have no willpower? Not necessarily. Backsliding is a universal experience. Every one of us resists significant change, whether it is necessarily accepting something less, or even something better. Our body, brain, and behavior have a built-in tendency to stay at the same level and to resist change. This resistance to change is called homeostasis. It is characterized in all self-regulating systems, both

psychological and physical. A simple example of homeostasis can be found in your home heating system. The thermostat on the wall senses the room temperature. When the temperature drops below the level you set, it turns on the heater. The heater completes the loop by sending heat to the room. When the room reaches the temperature level you set, the thermostat sends an electrical signal back to the heater to turn off the heat, thus retaining homeostasis.

We all have psychological feedback loops. The problem is that they are limited to whatever level we are used to. They keep things as they are, even if things aren’t very good. Whenever you make a change, your subconscious feels threatened and starts sending warning messages. This is just part of your survival mechanism. Your subconscious thinks that if you make the change, you won’t survive, so it tries to protect you.

Homeostasis doesn’t distinguish between change for the better and change for the worse. It resists all change. Even if you enjoy and profit from the change, you will meet with homeostasis sooner or later. You might experience homeostatic alarm signals in the form of physical or psychological symptoms. You might unconsciously sabotage yourself. Even though you want to win, you will find yourself losing at things where you should have easily won. For this reason, it is important to reset your level of homeostasis. The level is determined by your value and goals, and then by reprogramming them into your subconscious so you subconscious can reset the automatic homeostatic level.

THE POWER OF INSTANT REPLAY – REPLAY IT

Resetting your homeostatic level is quite simple. Most of us are familiar with the term “instant replay”. A video camera records what has happened and is able to play back an event for review. Unfortunately,

when watching a replay, there is nothing we can do to change what has happened.

Several years ago, I began teaching a concept that I call instant pre- play. It is the opposite of instant replay. Using instant pre-play, we record an incident in our mind before it happens. It is a demonstrated fact that we are teleological, which means we move toward what we picture. Physically, emotionally, and psychologically we create what we picture in our mind by visualizing it with activity and movement.

The best way for imagery to work is that it must be in the first person, present tense, and it should have movement. This is accomplished by putting yourself in the picture with repetitive involvement. You must see yourself having already accepted the outcome. It then becomes the job of your subconscious to get the picture to match your reality. (In Gestalt psychology this is called closure.)

As the new picture becomes vivid with repetition, the subconscious is compelled to supply the means to make the image a reality. It does this by alerting you to the necessary people, places, and events that will assist you in achieving your goal. Your subconscious will also supply the creative energy and drive to accomplish the end result. This creates your new level of homeostasis.

The total quality and quantity of your life is determined by what you pre- play in your mind. Instead of using instant replay, which focuses on the past, start using instant pre-play and create your future the way you want it.

ANCHOR YOUR BRAIN TO SUCCESS

The concept of anchoring is used extensively by the advertising media. They anchor your brain to a specific logo (such as McDonald’s arches with their name), certain colors (like Kodak’s yellow packaging). Such stimulus triggers our brains to think about the advertising message and reminds us to purchase the product. We can use these kinds of trigger techniques to our advantage.

As many of you know, I am an avid thoroughbred handicapper. Before I open the Racing Form, I look at the Racing Form logo on the front page and say, “My brain guides me to the winner in each race.” Since our subconscious mind is a cybernetic mechanism, every time I look at the Racing Form logo, it triggers winning pattern recognition. By using this triggering technique the brain will, at the right moment, intuitively seek out the best information from past strategies that produced success. All of our senses create such triggers in our brains: sight, smell, touch, taste, sound, and even our sixth sense (our intuition) responds.

If advertisers are willing to invest millions so that they can anchor our brains to think of their products or services, it only makes sense that we can do the same. However, don’t take my word for it. Do it yourself. It only takes a few seconds, and the results will far outweigh the effort.

IMAGINATION GENERATES NEW POSSIBILITIES

There are numerous techniques for creating positive images that bring winning results. The degree to which we assume something is possible or impossible is largely controlled by our imagination. As one of the most powerful and creative tools at our disposal, the imagination is continuously active and only we can govern whether our selective imaging is positive or negative.

When we use the imagination negatively by reliving the pains of the past (fears, guilt, and feelings of anger or unworthiness), we automatically limit our circle of possibility. Our imagination not only replays the negative images of the past, but it replays them in a larger and more detailed manner than they actually occurred. Even small failures become monumental disasters. The original damage is magnified, since our subconscious plays its natural role by accepting these elaborate rate images as actual experience. The subconscious proceeds to keep us in a prison of negativity by implementing similar experiences to coincide with this understanding of reality. In essence, we create an unhappy, insecure present by picturing past sadness and perceived failure, and then we try to form our future from a present state of mind that is built upon those negative images of the past. As long as we let our imagination focus on an unworkable past, we are unable to move into a self-sustaining future. Using past negative images while trying to visualize a positive future cancels out our efforts.

You can choose how you are going to use your imagination. It belongs to you, and no one has control over it except for you. You can remember whatever pasts of the past you want, but pre-play the future you desire. By selectively applying your imagination, you can focus on the positive experiences from your past and using these images to form a solid base for the future. Perceiving a positive future not only shows us how to get where we want to go, but actually draws us toward the people, circumstances, places, and conditions to fulfill our image of the future. On the other hand, a negative image of the future also draws us toward the people, places, and events to convince us that what we want is impossible.

Using positive and purposeful pre-play imaging offers a radical departure from focusing on the negativity of the past. Expand the

potential in your life by selectively imaging the best for yourself. Allow your mind to be free. Visualize images for the creation of new possibilities based on these observations, and you will be amazed at the desires that will surface and the creative solutions you will discover to enable effective action. As purposeful, creative beings, positive images provide excitement, direction, and a clear vision for which we will make the best effort. For the highly visual person, this conceptual portion of the possibility process is often deeply satisfying. Certainly, visual validation is a key element in expanding our circle of possibility and defining the potential benefits in enacting change. If you are a person who responds powerfully to the sense of hearing or touch, add these kinds of stimulus to your visualization.

In making choices, people often support the impossibility stance by asserting, “I can’t.” This is usually based on what they have experienced in the past – the images that they hold in their minds. Of course, this typical disclaimer is sustained by what we tend to think of as good reasons (really excuses) as to why achieving, having, or being what we desire is quite impossible.

The truth of the matter is that you can be, do, or have just about anything you choose. However, if you think something is impossible, or if you don’t do a certain thing, it is because you choose to accept it as impossible. It is not because you can’t. Whatever you get into the “I can’t syndrome, it helps to say to yourself, “I can, but right now I choose not to.” At least you are acknowledging that no one or nothing outside of you is controlling the outcome. Any delay in creating what you want is not the result of people, circumstances, or conditions outside of you, but rather you limited circle of possibility. Your circle of possibility can only be expanded through possibility thinking.

Taking Responsibility for Impossible Situations

Probably the most difficult concept to grasp is the idea that we are fully responsible for all that we experience in our lives. By taking responsibility for our lives and our happiness, we rid ourselves of emotional dependency, and therefore we are self-reliant. Often, we know what the consequences of our actions will be, other times we may not, but either way around, we are responsible for our actions. By taking the stance of being fully responsible, we enrich our lives by finding better, more responsible solutions.

Psychologist Albert Ellis states: “The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You don’t blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the President. You realize that you control your own destiny.” When we face our problems we tend to see life and all that happens around us differently. We can become bitter as we blame everyone or everything around us, or we can become more aligned with our purpose and our Greater Self as we heighten our approach to life.

NINETY-NINE PERCENT ACCOUNTABILITY DOESN’T WORK

The difficult, but most important step, is taking accountability for where we are right now. As long as we deny being responsible for our life being the way it is, as long as we blame society, parents, our mate, friends, family, the government, our employer, or anyone else, we put our power to change our lives beyond our reach. If we deny even 1%, that 1% adds and multiplies every day. The only way we can move from an impossible to a possible situation is to be totally accountable at all times. Notice that I didn’t say most of the time, or 50% of the time. If you are not accountable 100% of the time, then it sets you up as the

victim for the times you choose to not be accountable. This is selective accountability.

I believe there are no victims, only volunteers. With the exception of children or the mentally incompetent, I believe no one can do it to us unless we give them permission, or we set ourselves up to be victims. The bottom line is if you are being mistreated, you are cooperating with the treatment.

Those who see themselves as victims do not like to hear this. I have received letters from people citing example after example about how their circumstances are different. It really wasn’t their fault. Perhaps they’re right…and perhaps they are wrong. However, there is one major problem with this line of reasoning. If they are not accountable, who is? Once we make something external accountable for our experience, then our life is about getting them to change. What are the odds of that happening? Usually, slim to none. Once again, when we blame others, we get to be right, but we still don’t have what we want.

ACCOUTABILITY IS NOT SELF-BLAME

I am not saying we should blame ourselves for what has happened, but we must realize that in some way we participated in the outcome, either consciously or unconsciously. At this point we come to the, “Why?” or the “How?” question. We can either say, “Why did this happen to me?” Or “How can I change my attitude, behavior, and actions so that it will not happen again. Notice we didn’t say, “How can I get them to change?” but “How can I change and self-correct?”

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we are the victim. When we see people who lose their homes in a flood, hurricane, or earthquake, we sympathize with them. However, the bottom line is that they are still

accountable for what has happened. They are accountable not for the hurricane, flood, or earthquake, but for living in a high-risk area! For example, it is a known fact that hurricanes occur in the Southeast, United States. It is a known fact that it floods in Texas. It is a known fact that California is on an earthquake fault. Yet, people still choose to live in these areas of the country.

There is nothing wrong with that, but they are accountable for their decision to live with the risk factor. They are accountable for their choices, even though they appear to be victims. I recently read a government report that most people who live high-risk areas don’t carry insurance. Earthquake and flood insurance is relatively inexpensive, yet they refuse to accept that a major natural disaster can occur, and when it does, they act surprised. Then, they believe they are victims.

You might argue that there are a few exceptions. Sometimes things happen to people and there just seems to be no reason for it. There was no way they could have avoided it. Even if we acknowledge that there are a few exceptions where people are true victims of their circumstances, let’s say 5%, the problem is that the other 95% of the population thinks they are in that 5%. That means that 95% of the population remains in impossible situations.

How do you feel when you are around people who tell you their story of victimization with no intention of taking responsibility? They have their victim story down to a science. They blame, complain, moan, and groan. The longer they tell it and the more people they tell it to, the better they are at eliciting a response they want. Again, if they think something or someone outside of himself or herself is to blame, then that something or someone must change before their life can improve. They are not victims, they are volunteers. Once these people stop volunteering to be a victim, their lives will change.

Unfortunately, many people like being victims. In fact, some of these people would have nothing to say if they weren’t complaining or telling their victim story. These people are eventually perceived as “pain symbols” to everyone they come in contact with. When we become a pain symbol, our friends, family and coworkers will do their best to avoid us.

We like to be around people who are positive and accountable for their life. However, no one wants to be around a pain symbol. These are the types of people that brighten up a room when they leave! Don’t be one of them. Notice how you feel when you are around people who take charge of their lives and focus on how they can make life better. These are the people we want to associate with because they encourage us to be accountable.

YOU CAN’T CONTROL THE EXTERNAL, BUT YOU CAN CONTROL THE INTERNAL

We must approach life from the standpoint that our life will either be controlled externally or internally. If you approach life externally, you be a blamer and complainer. You will attribute your failures to your childhood, poor education, poverty, or a feeling that you have never been given a chance. On the other hand, if you are the internal type, you recognize that you are in charge of your life, accountable for the results as well as the lack of results, and you know that you have the power to make the changes that will improve any situation.

Collectively, we have become a society of blamers and helpless victims. This is reinforced by the media and TV talk shows. The shows feature guests suffering from every imaginable condition, and what is worse, they portray these individuals as helpless victims of some external

misfortune. The focus of the programs tend to be on how we need to change those external causes of our problems so that others won’t suffer the same fate.

If an external source is not the cause of their problems, then the shows convey that they must be suffering from some type of mental condition that justifies their behavior. If drinking or drugs has ruined their lives, the cause is not a lack of self-control, but the disease of alcoholism and drug addiction. If they are violent, then it is because their parents were either too strict or not strict enough, but whichever it is, it is was never the right amount of control from their parents. There is an excuse for every deviant behavior you can think of. As if these presentations aren’t enough, the shows bring in an expert in the chemical or biological field to tell us that it isn’t their fault; the real problem is too much sugar, caffeine, or poor nutrition.

IT’S NOT MY FAULT

I remember reading about a woman in Florida who won an eleven million-dollar lawsuit against Kmart because her husband purchased a rifle while he was intoxicated. There was a legal claim filed against Kmart maintaining that the clerk was at fault because he did not correctly determine the physical and mental condition of the man at the time of the sale. The man shot his wife. Was this Kmart’s fault? If we take this premise a step further, then the real culprit here would be the distributor who sold the gun to Kmart. If they hadn’t sold the gun to Kmart, this would not have happened. Really, though, the fault should be with the manufacturer of the rifle. If they had not made the gun, none of this would have happened. I think you get the point.

This line of reasoning is about as logical as saying flies cause garbage. The issue here is that the responsibility or blame should not be with the

stores who sell guns or the manufacturers of guns. The issue is the responsibility of the individual who got drunk. He is totally responsible for his conduct, especially when he injures another person. The message we send to society is that what happens to people is not their fault, and if they do something to harm themselves or others, there is always some external factor involved that was beyond their control. Clearly, it is time to stop this nonsense.

REPEAT IT UNTIL YOU GET IT

How many times have we discovered that we keep repeating the same thing over and over again? Even in relationships, the names and faces change, but the relationship problems are the same. The reason for this is that we keep doing things the same way as we have always done them. This repetition sets us up to experience the same outcome.

One method that you can use to prevent having the same kind of relationships over and over again is to consider this: All your relationships have been with different people, so it cannot be their fault that the relationships failed. If you think about all those relationships, what is the common denominator in ALL those failed relationships? The answer is – You! Since each relationship was with a different person, and they all had the same outcome, you must be attracting the outcome. Once you understand this, you can take responsibility and stop the cycle. You can correct or change what you have been doing in the past, so you can stop making the same mistakes.

The only authority figure is within you. When you look internally rather than externally for who or what is responsible for your success or failure, you realize that you – only you – know the truth about what is working and what is not working for you. When you are honest with yourself, you can clearly see what needs to be adjusted in order to get what you want

in life. On the other hand, if you allow others to make decisions for you, they will surely end up doing it to you.

CHANGE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

All permanent and lasting change must come from the inside out. The way you are is not the result of what has happened to you, it’s the result of what you decide to keep inside you. For most people, it is a matter of trying to change things from the outside in, changing the circumstance and conditions first. The belief is that if something outside of us changes, then we will be happy. Rarely will changing anything outside of us change our life on a permanent and lasting basis. Rearranging our outside circumstances just wastes valuable time and energy, because the underlying cause, our thoughts, beliefs, choices and actions, has not changed. It’s like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. The ship is going down, no matter how you rearrange the scenery.

This avoidance behavior is similar to driving down the road and noticing that your gas gauge is on empty. Instead of doing something about it, you choose to ignore it by putting your hand over the gas gauge and pretend it’s full. But pretending it’s full, by not looking at the gauge, will not keep you from running out of gas and ending up on the side of the road. By denying accountability and refusing to take action, you remain in the status quo of impossibility. As you do this, the circumstances of your life journey continue to worsen.

Unfortunately, no instruction manuals were provided when we came to this planet. Most of our instruction about how to handle our life has come from outside sources. This has caused us to disengage our internal learning mechanism. We go through life with a set of unworkable beliefs and values. It’s no wonder why things keep happening to us. Rather than reassessing our beliefs and values, most

people tend to focus on rationalizing, justifying, defending, and trying to look good. The result is that it consumes our energy to change and blocks our ability to find new solutions. When a problem arises, we need to look for possibilities and view them as opportunities for new solutions.

“HOW CAN I” VS. “WHY ME” QUESTIONS

The act of releasing people, circumstances and conditions outside of you is vital in order for you to change your present circumstances. If you spend your time blaming your problems on things outside of yourself and asking “Why me?” rather than looking at “How can I?” to solve your own problems, you will fail to succeed in life.

When a negative experience occurs, ask yourself how you can change your thinking, or your behavior to turn things around for the better. The way we ask ourselves questions either moves away from solutions or toward solutions. Every time we ask ourselves “why me” questions – Why me, God?” Why do they always do that? Why don’t they leave me alone?” – we are wasting valuable energy because there are no answers to these questions. These are endless loop questions that keep us going in circles. Usually one “why” question leads to another.

“How can I” questions, on the other hand, are based on the assumption that we are the cause of our own experience. We are seeking answers that will lead us to results instead of reasons. For example, “How can I make this better?” How can I do this? How can I change that? How can I make a positive difference?” Did you notice the difference the thought process? The “why” questions keeps us unaccountable and set us up as victims. The “How can I” questions do something wonderful for us, as they open us up to possibility thinking. Asking ourselves, “How?” opens our minds to our unlimited creative resources. In essence we are asking, “How can I create a positive result?” Notice the entire how questions

shown above demonstrate a request for information so that we can take creative action.

So we need to get the “why me” stuff out of our heads. The movie character, Forrest Gump, quoted his mother as saying, “Life is like a box of chocolates. Ya’ never know shat yer gonna git.” In an interview with the actor who played Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks said, “This is horrifyingly so.” And, wouldn’t you think Hanks would have it all, including plenty of money to solve all his problems? Yet he termed it “horrifyingly” so. There no answer for all the “why me” questions. On the other hand, we have unlimited answers for the “How can I” questions. Once you seek the “How can I,” you will see life is filled with unlimited opportunity and pleasure.

It’s never too late to change the way we think. Letting go is not easy, but it could be easier to let go if we would just practice by saying, “Yes, I can see this a different way.” “Yes, I can change the way I do this.” I love the children’s story of The Little Engine That Could. This is what the train sounds out as it choo-choos along: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” It’s a choice that we can make regarding being open and positive about how we perceive what we can do.

Our emotions affect how we record occurrences in our brain. In other words, our brain records what it thinks (or feels and believes) is happening. We can affect our emotions by using self-talk to direct our brain in the manner in which we want it to believe. This is facilitated by putting together words and pictures in order to bring about the emotions we prefer.

It has taken all our lives for our brains to get programmed to the point where we are right now, and yet we can change our programming far more quickly than we realize. Just imagine yourself being a tape

recorder. You can record right over the old stuff and make a new tape with all the positive, possibility thinking you select.

SHORT-TERM BENEFITS, LONG-TERM RISK

We all know that alcohol, smoking, and drugs are potentially destructive. The harm that can come from them is foreseeable. In fact, every package of cigarettes contains a warning. Why do people smoke? The primary reason is that it makes the smoker feel good. This is also true of other harmful habits such as alcohol, drugs, gambling, and overexposure to the sun while getting a tan.

The other reason people smoke cigarettes is that it helps them escape awareness of themselves. Nervous people find that smoking gives them something to do with their hands. The benefits are immediate and the costs are apparent, but come much later. Drinking tonight may make you feel good, but the hangover doesn’t come until tomorrow morning, and the liver damage or marital and family breakup doesn’t happen right away. Cigarettes offer immediate pleasure, but the cost and problems don’t come until much later. Having a tan makes you look and feel good, but prematurely wrinkled and dried skin or possible skin cancer doesn’t show up until later in life. Substance abuse fits the pattern of accepting long-term costs to gain immediate satisfaction. Short-term relief always comes at the cost of increased risk of long-term psychological, emotional, and physical damage. By not taking responsibility for what we do, we merely delay an inevitable confrontation with pain and reality.

THE INVESTMENT MENTALITY

Often we refuse to take responsibility for investing our money, time, or effort in something that isn’t working because we won’t give up the investment mentality. Too many people end up losers because they try

to recover what they have lost rather than responding to new opportunities that arise at the same time.

In life, it doesn’t matter how much money, time, or effort you have invested in your relationships; business or investments there are times when you must let go and begin anew. As Kenny Rogers said in “The Gambler,” “You have to know when to hold ‘em and know when to ford ‘em. When we take responsibility for our circumstance, no matter what, we are more likely to get rid of what is not working than stay where we are because we feel invested in it.

Sometimes we are so invested in what happens to us, we can’t let go. Then, we find that holding on, either made no difference, or made things worse.

TAKING RESPONSILILITY FOR RISKS

The rewards in life are always in proportion to the risk. This is true of investments, business, and personal relationships. The potential cost, loss, or discomfort associated with taking a risk keeps us from making the impossible possible. The truth of the matter is that most of the time the cost, loss, or discomfort of not taking risks is a greater price to pay than taking them. If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.

Risks fall into many categories including emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual. We are afraid to take risks because we are afraid of being hurt financially, psychologically, or emotionally, but by not taking risks; the only thing we can be assured of is that we will have more of what we had before.

For most people, the biggest risk of all is in not taking risks. At least by taking risks we have the opportunity to find out if something is possible for us. This is particularly true of relationships. In a relationship we must risk. The only way to fully experience any relationship is to risk everything. This means allowing yourself to be prepared and able to handle it emotionally if it does not work out, or to experience a greater amount of joy than you have ever experienced before. If we are willing to risk and totally commit, the chances are that the relationship will add to the lives of both individuals. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you will know for sure that it wasn’t right for you, but because of a lack of commitment or risk on your part.

It is important to understand that often there is no real way of knowing without experiencing. What this means is that you can’t know something until you do it. If you have never been in a swimming pool and someone told you about the water and how it feels to swim, there is still no way to know how to swim or how it feels until you jump in and find out for yourself. In doing so, there is a certain risk involved. Life works the same way.

Turning the impossible into the possible requires you to move outside your circle of possibility, beyond your wall for resistance, and there is no way of doing this without taking risks and making a few mistakes. Once you understand this, you set yourself free to explore unlimited possibilities.

MISTAKES ARE JUST PART OF OUR EVERYDAY PERFORMANCE

We make mistakes every day. If you don’t make some mistakes every day, then you are not doing enough of the right stuff to succeed. Remember, your mistakes are not who you are; they are a temporary occurrence. Certainly, we all need to take responsibility for what we do,

but then we need to move on. It is easier to say, “Yes, I did that. I see what did not work. Now, what can I do to make things better?”

Risk taking is an acceptable way to try new things. Businesses have become increasingly supportive of risk taking, trying new things and believing that people should not be reprimanded for making mistakes. They believe that failed attempts at trying something new should be accepted as part of the path to achieving excellence. If this is so, why should we be disappointed in ourselves when we make mistakes? The only disappointment should be that the method we tried did not work. How disappointing it is when people try to cover up their mistakes, making matter worse. If you are quick to acknowledge your mistake, you can correct it immediately and try something new.

NOT NOW – MAYBE LATER

Your effectiveness as a person can be measured by your ability to complete things. Incomplete or unresolved situations and projects drain our resources and waste our creative energy. The energy of avoidance is substituted for creative energy. Some of us have multiple sources of incomplete or unresolved situations in relationships, business, unpaid debts, keeping agreements, and withholding love and appreciation. All of this keeps us living in the past, while taking away from the present. The best way to escape from your past or current problems is to resolve them now.

Procrastination comes about because we think completing or changing something will be more difficult than not doing it. In other words, we tend to perceive that the payoff for staying where we are outweighs the benefits we will experience if we do something about it. Unless the perceived pleasure is greater than the pain we think that making a change will bring us, we will not make the change. Add procrastination

to any situation and we double our resistance to success. Look at your life and see how much procrastination has cost you. Are you willing to keep paying the high price, or are you ready to take action NOW? The answer to this question will determine how long you stay in any impossible situation.

DON’T HANG ON TO SINKING SHIPS

A friend of mine who is a stockbroker shared an interesting statistic with me. He said that a study performed by one of the major investment companies showed that over 85 percent of investors persist beyond the point when they first become aware they should get out of an investment that potentially is ready to decline in value. Even more interesting is the fact that over 50 percent persisted beyond the breakeven point of their original investment. This is the point at which getting out of the investment would bring back less than their initial investment.

A perfect example of this self-destructive and fruitless behavior is the

U.S. government. It continues to pour millions of dollars into projects that are doomed to failure. The advantage that the government has over you and me is that it can disregard the consequences because all they have to do is raise taxes to pay for continued and persistent failures. As taxpayers, however, we will eventually run out of money.

As we discussed earlier, people often persist in impossible situations because of an “investment mentality”. They have time, money, emotional, and psychological investment in a person, business situation, stocks or property and they don’t want to lose their investment. This can be seen in situations where people are willing to throw good money after bad. Once we feel we have an investment in something, we are reluctant to abandon our investment or previous efforts. The downside is

that we squander what we have left rather than only losing what we already have invested.

We are programmed to believe that to back out after we have committed time, emotions, energy, or money is to admit failure. Instead of losing what we have invested with little to show for our efforts, we would rather invest more of ourselves in a sinking ship. The hope or illusion is that things will eventually turn around. This leads to further failure and puts us into a greater impossible situation.

CHAOS TRIGGERS UNIQUE POSSIBILITIES

Chaos kicks our minds into possibility thinking. All of the seeming chaos in the world is actually chaotic order. It is a wealth of information and possibilities unfolding in perfect time for us to respond. Why is it so hard for us to remember that chaos has a positive side? Chaos gives us the opportunity to let go of all that we don’t want anymore. It gives us a lot of work with, whether we realize it or not, at just the right time. Because chaos is fast-paced, it helps us let go of the past that we no longer need, since we are forced to take immediate action.

Chaos helps us change the way we think because it happens rapidly. It forces us to reach deep within ourselves, to our Greater Self, and it forces us to expand our circle of possibility as we stretch ourselves to new heights. Whatever we thought was the truth may no longer be the truth for us. The hidden benefit in chaos is that it opens us up to new possibilities.

CLAIMING RESPONSBILITY FOR BOTH THE GOOD AND THE BAD

We can observe the undesirable personality patterns in other people and easily see how those negative patterns block their success. However, we do not see them in ourselves quite so easily.

Taking responsibility for all you do and all you are involved in does not mean that you must blame yourself. It simply means owning up to what has happened to you and taking responsibility for changing it. Keep in mind that nothing you do is “right” or “wrong”, “good” or “bad”.

Everything just has a consequence. There should be no judgment involved. Instead, give yourself the right to make mistakes, because it is through mistakes you learn what does not work. This helps you to focus on what does work.

Replace the negative images of yourself by identifying and appreciating your own unique talents and gifts. Turn off your critical internal voice and turn that voice into a friendly, helpful force. Use your internal wisdom and intuition to correct your mistakes and move towards a more positive outcome

Dr. Robert Anthony
WRITTEN BY

Dr. Robert Anthony

The works of Dr Robert Anthony are some of the best kept secrets on the Law of Attraction. Operating without the massive self-promotion and razzmatazz that so often accompanies other ‘Personal Development’ teachers, Dr Anthony has nevertheless provided a guiding direction to some of the most successful people on the planet.

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