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THE EBB AND FLOW OF CHANCE
It is important to realize that everything in the universe is in balance. Were this not so, planets would collide, and the oceans would devour the earth. There would be no seasons of the year, no vegetation or animal life, or any air to breathe. Quite simply, if things were not in balance, nothing would ever be!
By the same token, the meanings of words would become extremely difficult to comprehend. Consider such words as health, happiness, fame and fortune. The only real way to understand and appreciate such words is through some opposite point of reference.
If there were no opposite of happiness, what would happiness actually mean? The same holds true for wealth. Its opposite is poverty, and it is the poverty side of things that makes it possible for us to truly appreciate a life of wealth.
Do you think it is merely coincidence that there is an opposite for everything that exists? Imagine living in a state of perpetual happiness.
- Do you think it would eventually exhaust you?
- Do you think it might make you somewhat callous toward the misfortunes of others?
- Do you think you would begin to take happiness for granted?
The fact is, unless there is an opposite to balance things out, it is impossible to live realistically, or with any true sense of values.
This is about the Ebb and Flow of Chance, and why it works as it does. Given a choice in the matter, we would undoubtedly prefer to have luck always on our side, just as we would prefer to have happiness, good health, and financial comfort. Still, chance has its own rhythm, and the difference between so-called “lucky” people and “unlucky” people is that those who are lucky have come to understand this incredible flow of activity and action.
While there is no way of knowing when favorable chances are apt to enter our lives, the more we know about chance and how it works, the greater the likelihood of recognizing favorable conditions and converting them into good luck.
Our lives are filled with chance situations that constantly require us to make some personal decisions. Many chances that look promising on the surface can bring misfortune if acted upon in a rash or impulsive manner.
Then too, there are chances that can bring good luck and good fortune to one person, and bad luck and misfortune to another.
Given the many choices in life, we must train ourselves to recognize those that are truly beneficial, and those that are not. Successful recognition is the first step toward a life filled with “lucky” or desirable results.
Staying on the alert
The psychological basis for recognizing opportunity is alertness. It is important to always be attuned to significant “turning points,” the kind that provides the most fortuitous combination of people, circumstances and information. How do you do this?
By recognizing and acting upon the “flow of opportunity” when it comes into your life, and by cautiously holding back when you find yourself in the “ebb” or downside of this same rhythmic pattern. Go with the flow, and luck will be yours! Miss it,
and you miss the chance the fulfilling your desires until the tide again turns in your favor.
In speaking with highly creative people, I have invariably found that they are closely attuned to their creative highs and lows, and have learned to function well in either state.
For instance, as a writer, the worst thing I can possibly do is to try to force the words out of my head and onto the paper. There are days when I find it difficult to write. If I force the words, they just don’t flow. It’s like jamming a computer. On such, days, I find it is best not to write at all.
Still, I have learned that during this creative “ebb” period; I can do other related tasks that keep me on track until the flow returns. Such things include:
- Organizing material
- Reading books on the subject I am writing about
- Jotting down new ideas
- Talking to individuals or brainstorming with them for the purpose of stimulating new creative ideas.
Taking advantage of my creative ebb, I still manage to accomplish a great deal, and all of it has some significant bearing on the end result.
Moral of the Story: When we talk about the ebb and flow of opportunity, we are not necessarily talking in monetary terms. The really important thing is to make the ebb and flow work for you in the best possible way!
RIDING THE TIDE
Coming to terms with the Ebb and Flow of Chance is clearly a matter of understanding. The thing you must understand is this: No matter how low the ebb, a favoring chance at opportunity is just around the corner.
Do you doubt it? Then look back over your life and see if you can honestly say that things have always been bad for you, that nothing good has ever happened since the day that you were born.
I know without even asking, without even meeting you, that you have had your share of peaks and valleys. It may seem to you that the bad has greatly outweighed the good, but that is only because the good is often taken for granted.
Isn’t it true that we tend to take good health for granted – until we no longer have it?
And what of the fact that we have roofs over our heads, and food to eat, and a job to go to everyday?
Do you know of anyone who makes a deliberate effort to give daily thanks for such blessings?
If so, that is a rare individual indeed. Most people accept such things as their due. In truth, they would like to have MORE. This is altogether normal – unless “having more” becomes the primary objective in life. Once it does, it creates a whole new set of problems, which will be discussed a little later on in this chapter.
WAITING FOR THE TIDE TO TURN
Your psychological disposition plays an important role in your recognition of the flow of opportunity. What is your attitude toward the “ebb” while you are out of the flow?
Do you find constructive things to do while you are waiting for the tide to turn, or do you just sit around, feeling sorry for yourself, hoping and wishing things will change?
To be a Winner it is necessary to turn your mind away from self-doubt, disappointment and self-pity, and become mentally, physically, psychologically and spiritually receptive to a new in-flow of opportunity so that you will be ready when it comes
Before you can measurably increase your good luck and good fortune, there is one basic truth your MUST come to terms with: There is no way that you can constantly lose if you think like a Winner.
By maintaining a consistently high level of alertness while things are not going well, you will sense when there is a shift from ebb to flow. Sometimes the shift will occur slowly. At other times, it will hit with the force of a lightning bolt!
It can all begin with an idea! It may well be a professionally oriented idea, or one connected with health, finances or personal relationships.
Behind such ideas you may be sure there is the power to make some incredible changes which, in turn, will draw all the right people, conditions and circumstances into your life. That is one way that a sudden shift from ebb to flow can work.
On the negative side, you may choose instead to weaken your position by allowing past misfortunes to make you feel victimized or doubtful. In that case, you will tend to draw additional misfortune, and so, the negative cycle will continue.
ARE YOU MYTHING OUT ON LIFE?
Perhaps you are, if you have chosen to believe such erroneous assumptions as “opportunity knocks only once.” This, like so many other myths, has its basis in false perception. Opportunity constantly presents
itself, but unless you have a true clarity of purpose, you will fail to recognize it, and so, will not take the appropriate action.
Since one person may want what another casts aside, it is extremely important to understand what it is you are looking for.
Understanding your true desires is the key to recognizing favorable circumstances and extracting the greatest amount of good luck from them. By carefully calculating your chances against your desires, you can accurately determine where luck exists and where it does not.
The Number One Luck Killer
Sometimes our desires are not in keeping with what is best for us. Before we act on any desire, we should always examine that desire in terms of its true benefits.
The number one luck killer is psychological addiction! Addiction is simply the uncontrollable, neurotic desire for something we feel we MUST HAVE in order to feel complete. Once this addictive desire becomes our master, it will quickly pave the way for failure, or even self-destruction.
Before you allow yourself to believe that there is something – anything – you simply MUST HAVE, ask yourself, “Is this going to add to my life in some truly beneficial way, or is it only satisfying a neurotic need that will eventually create additional problems?
Every desire needs to be carefully examined and understood in that light.
Some people have uncontrolled, excessive desires that cause them to live in a state of perpetual anxiety. Regardless of their immediate station in
life, they always feel inferior to something or someone else. No matter how much they already have, or how much they have accomplished, there remains the neurotic desire to have MORE.
WANT VS. ADDICTION
While it is certainly normal to want something, it is NOT normal to need it to a point where we literally become addicted to having it. Addiction is a sign of low self-esteem, which usually manifests in childhood, out of a sense of inadequacy.
Most things addicts are addicted to become replacements for whatever they feel they lack. In later years the addict tries to compensate for his feelings of inadequacy by becoming neurotically obsessed with having something or someone to make him feel “okay” about himself.
There are many forms of socially unacceptable addictions such as drugs, alcohol and sex. There are some addictions that are equally as neurotic and destructive but are more socially acceptable. An example is the “Wealth Addiction.”
The wealth addict is neurotically obsessed with acquiring money, which he hopes will compensate for his emotional insecurity. Once money has become the primary focus, the wealth addict may willingly sacrifice family, friends, loving relationships, even personal health and well being in an effort to satisfy his emotional needs.
The wealth addict, like any other addict, is rarely inclined to ask himself if he can afford his addiction. Whatever the price, the end result seems somehow justified. Since the wealth addict tends to equate money with happiness, he is often attracted to a variety of poorly thought-out schemes in his effort to make a quick buck. Because of this, he will
generally suffer at the hands of his own poor judgement. The wealth addict invariably ends up with quite the reverse of what he had hoped to achieve.
Unfortunately, the wealth addict has a habit of passing on his own false sense of values to others.
His children tend to become young adults whose desires and personal philosophies are dictated by what the advertising media tells them is important and trendy.
Not only do they have to have everything they see, but also they must have it NOW!
Having placed themselves under incredible pressure, wealth addicts and their offspring are determined to achieve the happiness, contentment and personal fulfillment they feel can only come from status and material possessions. More is never enough for any addict.
Addicts are Losers. On the surface they look like Winners, but in actuality, they fit the Loser profile and live a Loser life-script. On the other hand, Winners realize that it is one thing to be motivated to fulfill a desire, and quite another to be obsessed with it! They seek to gratify their wants on a basic, non-addictive level.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN
It should be noted that it is no less addictive or self-destructive to constantly repress normal, natural desires. Some people do not allow their desires to surface because they feel they are incapable of fulfilling them.
By refusing to admit what they want, they believe that it is possible to avoid the disappointment associated with not achieving their goals. Such people, as Thoreau states, tend to lead lives of “quite desperation” which is all that can ever result from not fulfilling their natural desires.
LEARNING TO BECOME EBB-ULLIENT
Those possessed with ebullience are those who have a certain quality of enthusiastic expression. In the course of writing this book, it occurred to me that someone who has mastered the art of living successfully through “ebb” times might well be described as ebb-ullient.
According to my own definition, rather than Webster’s, this would be a person who demonstrates a certain quality of enthusiastic expression during “low” times. Refusing to be discouraged by sudden changes in luck, an ebb- ullient person would be more inclined to utilize such times in the most positive and productive ways.
What should you do when things stop working for you, when you seem to be stuck, or when you are living in limbo? What CAN you do?
You might begin by indulging in a few moments of silent reflection. Better yet, let’s decide on a definite length of time.
Fifteen minutes of silent reflection. During this period, you should simply allow your mind to wander wherever it will. Don’t be surprised if it begins to cultivate a lot of new ideas. You can be sure that they have been there all along. It’s just that you have never taken the time to acknowledge them.
After fifteen minutes of silent reflection, make a list of ten or fifteen positive things you can do to change your situation. For example:
- Develop a natural offshoot to the business I am presently engaged in to carry me through slow times.
- Make new business contacts.
- Brainstorm with those in a similar or related field.
- Practice thinking IBG! Write myself a check for a sizable amount and make a point of looking at it every day. Imagine really HAVING this money in my bank account as a result of something I have accomplished.
- Read books and listen to tapes on the subjects of self-motivation and self-improvement. Do this the first thing every morning and the last thing every night.
(NOTE: Can you think of another ten things to do during slow or “ebb” times that will help you restore your confidence and enthusiasm? Give it a try. The object is to make this a regular habit, so that ebb times will no longer affect you in a negative way.)
If you had trouble with this list, you may already sense that the trouble is not with the list. There is much to do and to think about, as this list will readily prove.
Another list it would be wise to make during “ebb” times is one that itemizes various things that make you feel good and lift your spirits.
Your subconscious mind will automatically react to this positive stimulus, causing you to think and feel as you did when everything was going well. This is a powerful incentive and one that is guaranteed to work! By the way of example:
Some years ago, I spoke with a topflight straight-commissioned salesman who was experiencing a temporary “slump.” He was concerned about this poor volume of sales since he had no draw or guaranteed salary to sustain him throughout this time. For the most part, he preferred it that way, knowing that a guarantee could easily become a comfortable little cushion to fall back on.
“If I know there will be two thousand dollars coming in every month, there is the automatic temptation to live within these bounds,” he explained. “As it is, I can earn as much as I want. In other words, the sky’s the limit!”
While I could certainly understand his rationale on the “up” side, I asked him how well he was able to cope with the “down” side, which is the inevitable opposite of peak production.
“That has been a problem,” he admitted. “For one thing, I tend to chastise myself for not anticipating such times, for not managing my life in a truly professional way. Unfortunately, this hasn’t accomplished much. In fact, it only makes me feel worse.”
“I’m sure it does,” I said. “And that may be the real problem.” At this point, I made the following suggestion. “The next time you find yourself in a slump, instead of asking yourself what you are doing wrong, ask yourself what you were doing when you were doing it right!”
The salesman’s eyes immediately brightened. “Why, I can answer that right NOW! Only last month, I was the top producer for the company. I’ve got to admit that a few of my prospecting techniques were pretty new and innovative. I remember that…”
As I listened, I watched a salesman-in-a-slump turn back onto a topflight producer, and all because he had suddenly learned how to live through “ebb” times in the most positive and productive way.
It helps to realize that the peaks and valleys in your life are equally important to your overall success and well being. Now and again, we need time to regroup. This was really driven home to me one day when I happened to overhear a conversation in a restaurant.
Two women were seated in a booth close to mine. They were both smartly dressed, with an aura of true professionalism about them. Still, there was something a bit harried and harassed about them too, as if the pressures of daily life were beginning to wear them down.
At one point in their conversation, one of the women said: “The real problem is, you never have time to THINK!”
While such a statement may appear to be something of an exaggeration, it is, in fact, a surprisingly accurate definition of daily life. Consider it in the context of what goes on from the time you first wake up in the morning. Perhaps you wake up to an alarm.
You hear it go off and jump out of bed. From that moment on, you undertake a series of ritualistic activities associated with preparing yourself for another day. You shower and dress. You eat breakfast.
You jump into the car and drive to work. Once you arrive, there is yet another schedule to be observed. Everything is pretty systematic and more or less predetermined. At the end of the day, there is rush hour traffic to contend with, dinner to be eaten, and a
few things to be done around the house. There is an hour or two of family time, and then it is time for bed.
In reflecting upon such a daily routine, how much time would you say is actually given over to any form of creative or independent thought? That’s the whole problem, you see! There is so little opportunity to THINK!
But what if you did have time to think?
Do you suppose you would realize that you do not really like the job you are going to each day, and that it is time for a change?
Do you think you might be able to map out some new strategy for living a better life, to achieve some long-forgotten goals, for turning a favorite hobby into a truly profitable endeavor? It all takes thought. If you only had time to think!
Has it ever occurred to you that this might be what “ebb” times are for? Once you begin to see them in that light, you will begin to appreciate them, to actually be grateful for them! The fact is these are not really down times, not unless you allow them to be.
YOUR SILENT PARTNER
The powerful forces of the subconscious mind, like all other great natural forces, can be harnessed and placed into service – by YOU! But before this can be done, it is first necessary to understand just what these forces are, how they work, and the best ways in which to utilize them.
The average person employs less than 25 percent of his or her subconscious power. It is indeed unfortunate that we allocate so little time to “going within,” since there are tremendous resources waiting
there, just waiting to be used! Can you afford to ignore them, to continue along as before, with this incredible giant sleeping inside you?
Think about it the next time you have time to THINK – during ebb times when nothing seems to be going your way.
Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged or defeated. Instead, be EBB-ullient!