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Gratitude – A lesson From the Wizard of Oz

October 5th, 2010 1 comment

In 1939, Hollywood filmed a picture called the “Wizard of Oz”. It became a legend and has been shown thousands of times around the globe. One of the most unique things, which set it apart from the other films in that year, was the use of black and white in the beginning of the movie. The black and white landscape of Dorothy’s Kansas symbolizes the lack of “something” in her life.  I believe that “something” is gratitude.

Without gratitude, it feel like all the color has been sucked out of our lives.  Everything is shades of gray.  Depression seeps in and we are plodding through our lives with little joy.  Our lives can feel as though it is a painful task that must be completed.  Living in a world without gratitude is as drab as the scenery in Dorothy’s Kansas.

Gratitude is the paint brush in our lives.  When I am truly grateful for something it makes my world feel brighter. I notice the green of the trees. The color of the flowers. It is the emotion of feeling fully awake and alive.

Every day we are given opportunities to be grateful. They may come cloaked as events we couldn’t possible feel gratitude. we could have career difficulties, or finances aren’t good. There are many things in our every day happenings we could choose sadness, depression and fear.  Or, we can choose to feel grateful. It is all a matter of perception and choices.  It is possible to find something good in even the most horrendous situations.  Napoleon Hill said,   “Every adversity, every failure, and every unpleasant experience carries with it the seed of an equivalent benefit which may prove to be a blessing in disguise.”

Even when our lives feel filled with heavy thunderstorms. Full of lightning, loud thunder, heavy rain and damaging winds. We can chose our perception of these events.  We can realize our lives are like nature.   The sun will come out and the earth has been nourished with life giving rain.  The clouds will move on, leaving us a beautiful, colorful rainbow.  It takes a storm to make a rainbow.

The business man, J. C. Penney said it best, “I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties.”

Gratitude is an emotion which needs to be practiced. We can practice it as we write in our journal.  We practice when we tell our families what we enjoy about them.  We can look for the best in situations even as the storm is raging.  That is when it isn’t easy to remember the rainbow yet to come. But, if we are diligent, and practice gratitude every day, our perceptions will change and we will be rewarded with even more things to be grateful for. I like to think of gratitude as our direct link with the Divine.

Dorothy had to work so hard to get home.  She had many lessons to learn in Oz.  She finally clicked her ruby slippers together while repeating over and over, “there is no place like home”.  what was her attitude when she finally made it back to Auntie Em and her family? It was gratitude. Let gratitude bring the change from black and white to color in your life.

Gratitude works best when it it expressed.  What are you grateful for? Leave me a comment and share with all of us.

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What is the Secret to Becoming Successful?

September 24th, 2010 No comments

On my quest for self improvement, I have studied a lot of information on the Law of Attraction.  When the movie “The Secret” burst on the scene it became an overnight success.  I must admit, I liked the movie.  But, even the makers of the movie will tell you, it’s not complete.  There’s so much more to being successful than visualization.

We could curl up on a pillow in our lotus position and visualize all day long.  I have nothing against visualization.  In fact, I love it!  When I visualize my success, it makes me smile!  It pumps me up!  It helps me develop my clear, concise mental picture of what I really want.  It is the daydream of inspirations which adds the fuel to my desires.  But, as Thomas Edison said, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident.  They came by hard work.”

I’ve also heard motivational speakers say, “it’s not how hard you work, but how smart you work that makes the difference”. There’s an element of truth to that statement.  We do need to work smart.  If we don’t, we can spend hours and hours chasing our tails and not getting the job done.  No matter how smart we work, it is still leaves the 99% of hard work we have to put in to succeed.

Napoleon Hill talks about “paying the price”.  Many people would LOVE to have a successful business and be financial independent.  If they could find that on their pillow of visualization everyone would be in on it.  There’s no way to escape it.  What separates the people who obtain success from those that don’t is still the ugly four letter word, W-O-R-K.

Most people aren’t willing to put in the sacrifice of hard work.  They aren’t willing to put themselves on the line for their idea and follow it through with an incredible amount of effort.   Not everyone is an Olympic athlete.  Why?  Because, not only does it take an amazing amount of talent, it takes an astronomical amount of work, sore muscles, getting up early, and working late nights.  Time and effort squared!  If it was easy, everyone would be an Olympian.

The next time you are presented the idea that we can visualize and get into the “flow” and all our desires will come to us.  Realize, this may be true for the vital 1% part of the equation of success.  We’ll still need the other 99% to succeed.  I say, let’s leap off those pillows and get the job done!

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What Role Does Imagination Play in Our Life?

December 3rd, 2009 3 comments

Did you realize that everything you see in your physical world first started out as something in some one’s imagination?  The computer you are reading this on.  The car you drive.  The clothes you wear.  Even in the world of nature, would it make sense that all of it, including us, was first in the imagination of the divine?

One of my favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein.  He said,Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions. That is a powerful statement from a brilliant man with a immense imagination.  I watched a biography on the History Channel about Albert Einstein.  Early in his life, he was considered a “failure”.  He had trouble in school.  His grades were not good.  When he graduated from the University, by the skin of his teeth, his desire in life was to teach at a University.  He was considered unacceptable for a University job because he had trouble with authority figures.  In today’s world, he might have had a label pasted on him such as ADD.

Opportunity often comes dressed as failure or adversity.  In his case, he had to take a job at the Patent Office that his relative owned.  The opportunity for him was that he had time to sit on his stool and use his imagination.  He dreamed of what it would be like to race along side of a beam of light.  When he rode the street car he imagined it racing at the speed of light.  He questioned what traveling at the speed of light would do to the concept of time.  Albert Einstein is now considered one of the most well known and respected geniuses that ever roamed the planet!

What role does imagination play in our life?  Napoleon Hill says, “If you can see it, and believe it, you can achieve it.”  Our imagination resides “outside the box”.  Many of us grow up being taught that we need to stay in the “box”, which stifles the imagination.  Most of our educational systems are not structured for the child who is “outside the box”.

Our imagination will not be denied.  If we don’t take control of this precious asset, it will find a way to emerge in our lives.  It can appear as negative thoughts and scenarios in our minds.  Left to its own devices without proper management, our imagination can fall into the clutches of habitual hypnotic rhythm (see Napoleon Hill – Part 13).  It can paint a rather dismal picture for us.  Our imagination, strengthened by emotions has direct access to our subconscious mind which will set into motion the events to accomplish what our imaginations has pictured.  No questions asked. The subconscious doesn’t have a sense of right or wrong or whether you really want what you have imagined to happen in your life.

What is the harm of imagining what it would be like to race beside a beam of light?  Let’s use visualization to create the life we design.  A good visualization tool can get us on the right track until it becomes our nature to control our thoughts.  Two of the best I have found are, Mind Movies where you actually create your own mind movie to watch on your computer every day.  They give you 6 generic mind movies which you can download to try out for free.  When you purchase the Mind Movie package, the workbook that comes with your Mind Movie package walks you through the process every step of the way and digs deep into what you really want in your life.  If you prefer audio, the Relaxations for Wealth could be a good fit.

For your viewing pleasure and food for thought, I have included this 6 minute clip “The Death of the Imagination”  from the movie “Six Degrees of Separation”. Feel free to pass this blog post on to others.

Napoleon Hill – Success Principal #13 – Cosmic Habit Force

December 2nd, 2009 10 comments

I have been writing, lately, about the difference in how successful people think.  I have stated over and over again that they are wired differently.  They think differently.  Spending time with Napoleon Hill’s Success Principals has, probably, been more beneficial to me than to you.  I can’t express to you how much I have enjoyed listening to Napoleon Hill’s video series.  Because of this time I have spent listening to him, his writings have come alive for me.  I know his speech patterns, his voice, and the way he looks.  Now, as I am reading his book it is as if he is reading it to me.  It makes it more real for me.  I can see how Bob Proctor has spent his life studying “Think and Grow Rich”.  It never grows old.  I have always been a reader, but I read something and then go on to the next.  I know, now, that the goal of reading and studying “Think and Grow Rich” daily will keep me focused on the proper “Cosmic Habit Force”.

I believe, we all absorb information in our own way and time frame.  We have to fertilize the soil in our minds for it to be ready to accept the seeds of knowledge so it can mature and bear fruit.  What is fertilizer?  Yep, it is crap. Often times, it is the crap in our life that gives us the contrast to know what we want.  It is the crap that gives us the fuel to desire change and to escape the negative things that we attracted into our lives.  I have had many “aha” moments lately.  That is why, I believe, a habit of self improvement is so important to our growth in life.  It can, truly, enrich our life’s journey!

Today’s 10 minute video is the last in this series.  This one brings it all together as Napoleon Hill talks about Cosmic Habit Force. I have had my times of being locked into hypnotic rhythm.  Have you?  It was a prison cell of my own making. But, unlike other prison cells, I have been the one, standing there with the key to mine in my hand the entire time.

We are the only ones that can open those prison cells we create in our lives and fly to the destinations of our choice by using the natural law of Cosmic Habit Force.  It takes self discipline to watch and manage our thoughts.  Only self discipline can keep us out of the clutches of hypnotic rhythm.

I hope you have enjoyed this video series as much as I have.  If you feel so inclined, leave me a comment.  It would be wonderful to hear your feedback.  If you think that your network of “peeps” would enjoy it feel free to pass this blog around!  🙂

Napoleon Hill – Success Principal #12 – Accurate Thinking

December 1st, 2009 No comments

There is a deep unrest in our world.  I am sure it has always been a part of our lives, but with 24 hour news coverage, we are subjected to non stop opinions disguised as news.  It is in our faces 24/7/365.  It seems that everyone has an opinion.  Many opinions are not accurate.  They are formed from, what Napoleon Hill calls, inductive reasoning.  In Napoleon Hill’s Success Principals #12, he talks with us about the importance of using accurate thinking on our road to our major purpose in life.

I have listened to many talks from Bob Proctor.  In one, he was talking about how his wife and he are from different areas of North America.  He is from Canada and she is from the southern part of the U.S.A.  He expressed to her, one day, that he would like to get a turnip to eat.  She was amazed by that.  In her part of the country, you don’t eat the turnip root.  That is throw away.  The only edible part of the turnip, in her regionally based viewpoint (opinion), was the green part.  That particular analogy really pointed out to me that we are a product of our upbringing and our culture.  When I contemplated that story, it became easy to see why there is so much unrest in our world.  If we vehemently and emotionally cling to our opinions as facts, anyone else’s opposing opinions can only be rejected.  The more emotionally attached we get to our opinion the harder it is to see  other points of view.  I can understand how someone would be willing to strap bombs to their chest and blow up innocent men, women and children.  Because others don’t embrace their view point, and in their eyes it is the only viewpoint of worth, they are willing to die to punish those that don’t agree.

How can we, as a species, overcome this kind of thinking and get along?  I believe the answer lies in this 9 minute video.  If we could practice the 7 steps in this video there would be more rational thinking.  For many, this would be a complete change in thought processes.  It is easy to form an opinion, using inductive reasoning, and then hold on to it because it is familiar.  If we do that, we don’t have to question that particular opinion again.  We, also, accept so many opinions, almost by osmosis, that are dictated to us by family, cultural, or religion.  No questions asked.

It like the well used story of the little girl who wanted to find out why her Momma cut the ends off of the Christmas ham.  Her mother didn’t know why.  She did it because her mother always did.  The little girl asked her grandmother and she didn’t know why.  She did it because her mother had always done it that way.  Finally, when she asked her great grandmother, her great grandmother said, “I did it because my pan was too short for the ham to fit.  I don’t know why your mother and grandmother still do it.”

As you listen to Napoleon Hill’s video, think of how your life might be different if you practiced what he said?  How would it change the world if we all used more deductive reasoning?  Let’s all set ourselves a goal to ask, more often, that powerful question, “how do you know?”  We could picture Joe Friday from Dragnet in our heads reminding us, “Just the facts, miss/sir, just the facts”.

Life is meant to be shared.  Have you shared with others today?  Feel free to share this blog. 🙂

Napoleon Hill – Success Principal #11 – Creative Vision

November 30th, 2009 2 comments

The human species is an amazing being.  We possess the ability to think and create.  When I was in school and dinosaurs roamed the earth, I was taught that the reason the human was so adapt, and had moved to the top of the heap in the evolutionary pile, was because of our opposable thumbs.  H-m-m, I know monkeys have opposable thumbs, but unless you are a Planet of the Apes fan, monkeys may have been put in space capsules to orbit the earth, but they didn’t create the technology to build the capsule.  Could it be there is more to this creative thing?  Napoleon Hill’s Success Principal #11 is going to discuss our imagination and our creative vision.

Some people, including Napoleon Hill, believe that our subconscious mind is attached to the Universal mind.  Some even call our subconscious the Universal mind.  No matter what you believe about that particular subject, you can’t deny that somehow we have the ability to create.  Napoleon Hill, in this video, discusses the 2 different kinds of creative vision.  If you believe that humans have the ability to create, how do we, personally, tap into that creative mind?  Here’s a few tips that might prove helpful to you in your quest for success.

1.  Spend some time each day in mediation.  If you don’t know how to meditate, learn something about it.  Closing your eyes and counting your breaths can be very calming.  By becoming quiet and taking our minds off our daily routines allows our creative juices to flow.

2.  Take a leisurely walk in nature.  Exercise, fresh air, and nature stimulates our ability to get outside box in our thinking.  The bonus to this method is that it is also very good for our overall health and nourishes the brain cells.  Making them ever ready when you want to call upon the creative you.

3.  One way that works for me is to put on some soothing music such as classical, get comfortable in my favorite chair, close my eyes, breath deeply and concentrate on the music.  I allow my mind to flow with the melody.  After about 10 minutes, I feel refreshed and most often I have accomplished getting in touch with the creative me.

4.  Mastermind with others is a great way to take the lid of the creative bottle.  Be careful in your choice of mastermind participants.  Someone with another agenda can put a dam in the creative flow.

5.  Set a goal to spend some time writing.  A habit of writing in a journal is good, but sometimes just writing random thoughts can lead to some interesting and creative things.  It lets your mind run free.  A word of warning, don’t restrict your thoughts.  Write them all down no matter how stupid and meaningless you feel they are.  When you write them all down you are telling your mind that you accept whatever it wants to give you and it will release all its creative thoughts without fear of judgment.

Napoleon Hill is going to give you 6 minutes of wisdom about your imagination in this video. If you like it, pass it on.

Napoleon HIll – Success Principal #10 – Overcoming Adversity and Defeat

November 29th, 2009 3 comments

Have you ever heard the expression, “in every cloud there is a silver lining”?  I have heard it many times from my Grandmother who was in control of her positive mental attitude.  In today’s world, the saying may seem a little hokey, or perhaps, clique.  When wisdom is tried and true and has held up for many generations, it gets repeated so many times that it loses it’s punch.  We look at it as “just another old saying”.  The idea that every adversity has a seed of opportunity is what Napoleon Hill is talking about in his Success Principals #10, Overcoming Adversity and Defeat.

I know this to be true from my own life.  No matter how bad something is that has happened to me, there is always good in it, if I choose to look for it.  Let me tell you a story that happened to me.  I woke up on a cold but sunny day in mid April in 1978.  The morning started out like any other morning.  It didn’t stay that way for long.  I received a phone call relaying to me that someone very close to me had been killed by the hand of an unknown robber.  I was completely devastated!  Thankfully, I was with the guy I had been dating.  Knowing that I was in shock, he took control of the situation.  He became my rock.  Not only was he my rock, but his family helped take care of the things my family, because of our deep loss, was unable to cope with.  They were an inspiration!  It was at that time I began to realize how much I loved him, and what an extraordinary family he had.  I have often wondered, if that terrible situation hadn’t happened, would I have realized how wonderful he is?  Would I have seen that deep loving soul that is his essence?  Perhaps, I would have found out with time, but out of that adversity our love has grown for over 30 years and we have built a life filled with blessings.

Napoleon Hill says, in this 10 minute video, that we should get into the habit of looking for the seeds of opportunity.  We can choose to have a positive mental attitude when it comes to the adversities in our lives.  Successful people have learned this lesson.  People who enjoy success haven’t been dealt a different hand then those who aren’t successful.  Sometimes, they have experienced worse things than the average person.  They have learned to pick themselves up from any adversities and  go on to triumph later.   Mr. Hill makes another even stronger statement saying that if you don’t use your positive mental attitude often enough, you will lose it.  His quote, that we should commit to memory is, “nothing can be called failure until you accept it as such.”

If you like the message in this article and you feel that your network of associates would enjoy it, feel free to pass it on!