By Jack Canfield and Mark V. Hansen, “Chicken Soup for the Soul”
The greatest saleswoman in the world today doesn't mind if you call her a girl. That's because Markita Andrews has generated more than eighty thousand dollars selling Girl Scout cookies since she was seven years old.
Going door-to-door after school, the painfully shy Markita transformed herself into a cookie-selling dynamo when she discovered, at age 13, the secret of selling.
It starts with desire. Burning, white-hot desire.
For Markita and her mother, who worked as a waitress in New York after her husband left them when Markita was eight years old, their dream was to travel the globe. "I'll work hard to make enough money to send you to college," her mother said one day. "You'll go to college and when you graduate, you'll make enough money to take you and me around the world. Okay?"
So at age 13 when Markita read in her Girl Scout magazine that the Scout who sold the most cookies would win an all- expenses-paid trip for two around the world, she decided to sell all the Girl Scout cookies she could - more Girl Scout cookies than anyone in the world, ever.
But desire alone is not enough. To make her dream come true, Markita knew she needed a plan.
"Always wear your right outfit, your professional garb," her aunt advised. "When you are doing business, dress like you are doing business. Wear your Girl Scout uniform. When you go up to people in their tenement buildings at 4:30 or 6:30 and especially on Friday night, ask for a big order. Always smile, whether they buy or not, always be nice. And don't ask them to buy your cookies; ask them to invest."
Lots of other Scouts may have wanted that trip around the world. Lots of other Scouts may have had a plan. But only Markita went off in her uniform each day after school, ready to ask - and keep asking - folks to invest in her dream. "Hi, I have a dream. I'm earning a trip around the world for me and my mom by merchandising Girl Scout cookies," she'd say at the door. "Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen boxes of cookies?"
Markita sold 3,526 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that year and won her trip around the world. Since then, she has sold more than 42,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, spoken at sales conventions across the country, starred in a Disney movie about her adventure and has co-authored the best seller, How to Sell More Cookies, Condos, Cadillacs, Computers ... And Everything Else.
Markita is no smarter and no more extroverted than thousands of other people, young and old, with dreams of their own. The difference is Markita had discovered the secret of selling: Ask, Ask, Ask! Many people fail before they even begin because they fail to ask for what they want. The fear of rejection leads many of us to reject ourselves and our dreams long before anyone else ever has the chance - no matter what we're selling.
And everyone is selling something. "You're selling yourself everyday - in school, to your boss, to new people you meet," said Markita at 14. "My mother is a waitress: she sells the daily special. Mayors and presidents trying to get votes are selling ... I see selling everywhere I look. Selling is part of the whole world."
It takes courage to ask for what you want. Courage is not the absence of fear. It's doing what it takes despite one's fear. And, as Markita has discovered, the more you ask, the easier (and more fun) it gets.
Once, on live TV, the producer decided to give Markita her toughest selling challenge. Markita was asked to sell Girl Scout cookies to another guest on the show. "Would you like to invest in one dozen or two dozen boxes of Girl Scout cookies?" she asked.
"Girl Scout cookies? I don't buy any Girl Scout cookies!" he replied. "I'm a Federal Penitentiary warden. I put 2,000 rapists, robbers, criminals, muggers and child abusers to bed every night."
Unruffled, Markita quickly countered, "Mister, if you take some of these cookies. maybe you won't be so mean and angry and evil. And, Mister, I think it would be a good idea for you to take some of these cookies back for every one of your 2,000 prisoners, too."
What is the deal with lightning bugs? I mean, here is this rather ordinary looking flying insect, but wait...it has a glow-in-the-dark rear end! What was God thinking?
I’m sure science has all kinds of explanations about how this fluorescent fanny is useful for mating and other stuff, but why did God choose to make the lightning bug glow? I wonder if when God was creating all the animals and everything around us, He came up with the idea of the lightning bug and said, “the kids are gonna love this.”
We know that God loves us enough to create all the things we need to survive, but does God love us so much He created some things just to make us smile?
Just seeing lightning bugs takes me back to those warm summer nights of my youth. I’d be running around the back yard with my empty mason jar, racing toward the flashing lights all around me. I can still feel the joy and hear the laughter echoing through my memories. Lightning bugs were as much a part of summer as fireworks, fresh tomatoes, and big ice-cold slabs of juicy watermelon. (I also have a theory of why God created watermelon seeds the perfect size to spit, but that’s another story.)
God created so much diversity in this world, much more than is needed for mere survival. He made all of this for us and He wants us to enjoy it.
We can get so busy surrounding ourselves with man-made goods that we don’t notice the tapestry God has laid out all around us.
I guess lightning bugs do have a purpose after all. They are a reminder of a creative God who loves us so much, He’d even paint the rear end of a bug...just to see us smile.
By Barry Spilchuk, “A Cup of Chicken Soup for the Soul”
"How did you do it, Dad? How have you managed to not take a drink for almost 20 years?" It took me almost 20 years to have the courage to even ask my father this very personal question. When Dad first quit drinking, the whole family was on pins and needles every time he got into a situation that, in the past, would have started him drinking again. For a few years we were afraid to bring it up for fear the drinking would begin again.
"I had this little poem that I would recite to myself at least four to five times a day," was Dad's reply to my 18-year-old unasked question. "The words were an instant relief and constant reminder to me that things were never so tough that I could not handle them," Dad said. And then he shared the poem with me. The poem's simple, yet profound words immediately became part of my daily routine as well.
About a month after this talk with my father, I received a gift in the mail from a friend of mine. It was a book of daily affirmations with one affirmation listed for each day of the year.
It has been my experience that when you get something with days of the year on it, you automatically turn to the page that lists your own birthday.
I hurriedly opened the book to November 10 to see what words of wisdom this book had in store for me. I did a double-take and tears of disbelief and appreciation rolled down my face. There, on my birthday, was the exact same poem that had helped my father for all these years! It is called the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.
In a recent airing of "Unsolved Mysteries" there was a story of a young boy who was the victim of the holocaust. He'd been placed in a work camp for several years and somehow had managed to survive the horror of his imprisonment.
The story was of a boy-now in his sixties-and his quest to find an American GI who had imparted a kindness to him. The soldier had given the boy some food.
It might seem insignificant, but to this child, who had seen nothing but cruelty and inhumanity for as long as he could remember, it was a gesture that marked a turning point in his life.
When he was liberated by the American forces, he was dying. He needed food. As he was hobbling along the road, a young GI jumped down from his tank and offered him some of his rations.
Unbeknownst to the soldier, the boy had lost hope. He was afraid. He didn't beg for food because he couldn't even conceive the idea that someone would give him some.
With this one act of generosity, a kind and magnanimous American had rekindled a belief that there really was some good in the world.
And the boy never forgot it.
The boy later went to America, raised a family, became successful and worked hard to repay the kindness he had received with kindnesses of his own.
Now, he wanted to find the man who had, in his words, "Saved my life."
I hope he found him. But I'd like to believe that there were so many similar acts of generosity that it would be almost impossible to know for sure who the soldier was.
You see, we never know when something we say or do will have a profound influence on another's life.
It's common to think we can't make a difference. And it's sad that most people don't ever recognize what an important role they play-or COULD play. Unlike George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," most of us never get to see how things would be if we weren't here doing what we do.
When I speak to groups, I'm aware of the challenges my listeners may be facing. You never know what someone is going through. It might be a divorce. They may have just learned a loved one is dying. They may be afraid of losing their job. Perhaps they don't even HAVE a job.
I must be mindful that a thoughtless comment or playful tease could in fact be hurtful. We all have a choice: to create more light or to generate more heat in the world. As Confucius put it over 2500 years ago, "It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness."
As the story above so nicely illustrates, small gestures can often generate huge blessings. If we're constantly looking for and doing kind and thoughtful acts, we will no doubt bring more joy into the world around us as well as into our own world.
I call it the Law of Reciprocity: The more you do to enhance the lives of others, the more you enhance your own being. It's one of life's better deals.
Robert Brault may have said it best when he wrote, "Enjoy the little things for one day you may look back and realize that they were the big things."
What kindness can you show today? What generous act can you perform? What kind words will you offer someone? What good deed are you willing to invest in the world?
Do some small things today, but do them in great ways and you will assuredly create great blessings.
I used to have a comfort zone where I knew I wouldn't fail.
The same four walls and busywork were really more like jail.
I longed so much to do the things I'd never done before,
But stayed inside my comfort zone and paced the same old floor.
I said it didn't matter that I wasn't doing much.
I said I didn't care for things like commission cheques and such.
I claimed to be so busy with things inside my zone,
But deep inside I longed for something special of my own.
I couldn't let my life go by just watching others win.
I held my breath; I stepped outside and let the change begin.
I took a step and with new strength I'd never felt before,
I kissed my comfort zone goodbye and closed and locked the door.
If you're in a comfort zone, afraid to venture out,
Remember that all winners were at one time filled with doubt.
A step or two and words of praise can make your dreams come true.
Reach for your future with a smile;
Success is there for you!
I Can't! by Leanne Petty,posted Feb 20 2012 9:04AM
By Eva Marie Everson
I was the quintessential "I can't" child -- the poster child for the Advancement of the word "can't."
Whatever my mother told or asked me to do was immediately followed by my whining, "I caaaaan't." Consequently, very few tasks or goals that I set out to accomplish were ever completed.
One evening, my mother called me into the family room where she was reading an article in the TV Guide. On the cover was a photo of Marlo Thomas, currently starring in the popular TV sitcom “That Girl.” Mother knew that the show was one of my favorites and Marlo one of my show biz idols.
"I want you to read this article," Mother began. "It's about Marlo Thomas. She tells how a simple poem that she was forced to learn by her father changed her life. She went from saying, "I can't" to "I can!" According to this article, she was able to restructure her life, and eventually her career, by learning the principles in the poem."
Sensing a conspiracy between Marlo Thomas and my mother, I took the small magazine from Mother and looked down at the glossy pages. There was Marlo, looking perky and adorable. Her smile was radiant and her trademark shoulder-flip hair was styled to perfection. I thought it must be grand to be Marlo! Beside her photo was the poem my mother had spoken of; a simple poem entitled, "I Can."
"I want you to memorize that poem," Mother said firmly.
"Mamaaaaa," I belly-ached, "I can't learn that poem. It's too loooong."
"It's not too long and yes, you can learn it. I want you to know it perfectly by this time tomorrow."
One does not say "no" to my mother. She coined the phrase: "When I tell you to jump you ask how high." She was the Queen of Dogwood Drive. I adored her, but this was going too far!
I slumped my shoulders, turned and trudged my way back to my bedroom with the magazine loosely held in my small right hand. With a heavy heart, I plopped on my bed, fell back against the cotton spread and began my task.
"Can't is a word that is foe to ambition," I began. I repeated the line. I repeated it again and again until it held firm in my heart. "An enemy ambush to shatter your will..." I continued the process until the following evening, when I proudly recited the poem that has continued to be my motto.
Ms. Thomas did not know me, but her story forever changed my life.
Saying, "I can," helped me to survive the worst moments of my life. Saying "I can" encouraged me to accomplish things I would have otherwise seen as out of my reach. A simple poem learned at seven is a poem that will sustain me to seventy-seven. Maybe even longer.
Can't is a word that is foe to ambition;
An enemy ambush to shatter your will.
It's prey forever to a man with a mission;
And bows only to courage, and patience, and skill.
So hate it with hatred that's deep and undying,
For once it is welcomed ‘twill break any man.
And whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying!
And answer this demon by saying, "I Can!"
How many times have you heard, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” How many of us have that message subliminally and deeply ingrained inside of us? And if we do believe that saying, how does this message keep us from living richer, fuller lives?
During recent employee evaluations conducted with my new manager Thomas and each staff member, we collectively looked for each person’s strengths and interests with a desire to create individually rewarding work while building a cohesive team. This, despite the fact that we were experiencing challenging daily mishaps at the café – a result of many new hires who had not yet created their own ebb and flow with either the café or each other. Thomas and I worked on the premise that if we could tap into everyone’s individual strengths and desire, we would create a strong work environment that benefited all. A tall order if we looked at what was actually happening. Thomas commented that some of the things we were discussing reminded him of a Disney movie titled “The Balloon Farm.” Intrigued, I had to rent it.
“The Balloon Farm” takes place in a small farming town that is experiencing a drought, and it clearly paints a picture of the scenarios and issues that present themselves during this seemingly uncontrollable act of God. Townspeople support each other’s misery and fail – dare I say refuse – to SEE the message of hope when it arrives. The messenger of hope, sent in the disguise of the new farmer, maintains a sense of love, humor and goodwill despite that all everyone else sees is adversity. As the townspeople complain of a drought and SEE no available water for crops – hot baths, car washes and plenty of coffee prevail.
Meanwhile, our new farmer makes the sweetest lemonade with one lemon, the best pecan pie with one pecan, and grows crops of balloons (yes, balloons) overnight with just one special seed. He believes you’ve got to use what you have. Everything starts with a seed, he says. A tree, grass, flowers, cows, me, you. We all started out as a seed. So use what you’ve got, and BELIEVE.
A new model is suggested: It’s not what you see, it’s what you believe. Think about that for a minute. If what you see is drought and you believe in prosperity, which is more real? Like creates like. Plant negativity and this is what you will reap.
If you see, or visualize your intention, despite what is outwardly apparent, then you have the ability to co-create your existence. What seeds of possibility would you sow if you believed before you saw evidence? Plant your thoughts wisely and plant seeds of positive intention. Then BELIEVE…no matter what you SEE today. As “The Land of I Can” teaches, first see it, then believe it and know that it can be. The power is in the knowing.
It was fifty years ago, on a hot summer day, in the Deep South.
We lived on a dirt road, on a sand lot. We were what was known as "dirt poor".
I had been playing outside all morning in the sand. Suddenly, I heard a sharp clanking sound behind me and looking over my shoulder, my eyes were drawn to a strange sight!
Across the dirt road were two rows of men, dressed in black and white, striped, baggy uniforms. Their faces were covered with dust and sweat. They looked so weary, and they were chained together with huge, black, iron chains. Hanging from the end of each chained row was a big, black, iron ball. They were, as polite people said in those days, a "Chain Gang," guarded by two, heavily armed guards.
I stared at the prisoners as they settled uncomfortably down in the dirt, under the shade of some straggly trees.
One of the guards walked towards me.
Nodding as he passed, he went up to our front door and knocked. My mother appeared at the door, and I heard the guard ask if he could have permission to get water from the pump, in the backyard, so that "his men" could "have a drink". My mother agreed, but I saw a look of concern on her face, as she called me inside.
I stared through the window as each prisoner was unchained from the line, to hobble over to the pump and drink his fill from a small tin cup, while a guard watched vigilantly. It wasn't long before they were all chained back up again, with prisoners and guards retreating into the shade, away from an unrelenting sun.
I heard my mother call me into the kitchen, and I entered, to see her bustling around with tins of tuna fish, mayonnaise, our last loaf of bread, and two, big, pitchers of lemonade. In what seemed "a blink of an eye", she had made a tray of sandwiches using all the tuna we were to have had for that night's supper.
My mother was smiling as she handed me one of the pitchers of lemonade, cautioning me to carry it "carefully" and to "not spill a drop." Then, lifting the tray in one hand and holding a pitcher in her other hand, she marched me to the door, deftly opening it with her foot, and trotted me across the street.
She approached the guards, flashing them with a brilliant smile.
"We had some leftovers from lunch," she said, "and I was wondering if we could share with you and your men." She smiled at each of the men, searching their dark eyes with her own eyes of "robin's egg blue." Everyone started to their feet. "Oh no!" she said. "Stay where you are! I'll just serve you!"
Calling me to her side, she went from guard to guard, then from prisoner to prisoner -- filling each tin cup with lemonade, and giving each man a sandwich. It was very quiet, except for a "thank you, ma'am," and the clanking of the chains. Very soon we were at the end of the line, my mother's eyes softly scanning each face.
The last prisoner was a big man, his dark skin pouring with sweat, and streaked with dust. Suddenly, his face broke into a wonderful smile, as he looked up into my mother's eyes, and he said,
"Ma'am, I've wondered all my life if I'd ever see an angel, and now I have! Thank you!"
Again, my mother's smile took in the whole group. "You're all welcome!" she said. "God bless you." Then we walked across to the house, with empty tray and pitchers, and back inside. Soon, the men moved on, and I never saw them again.
The only explanation my mother ever gave me, for that strange and wonderful day, was that I "remember, always, to entertain strangers, for by doing so, you may entertain angels, without knowing." Then, with a mysterious smile, she went about the rest of the day.
I don't remember what we ate for supper, that night. I just know it was served by an angel.
The man was Herbert J. Taylor who surveyed the way the company did its business, which was the sale of aluminum pots and pans. The nature of the industry was fraught with unethical business practices. To bring the business out of bankruptcy Taylor knew that he had to change the way business was conducted. Ultimately he developed a very simple business philosophy that all employees were to follow in all of their business dealings with customers, suppliers and associates. The philosophy changed the business, turned the business around and ultimately brought it out of bankruptcy.
The business philosophy is a simple four step decision making tool. It didn't tell people what to do or how to think, but it did give them a tool to use in all of their business dealings. The tool is now well known to anyone that has ever associated themselves with Rotary International. It is simple The Four Way Test. The tip is to use this simple decision making tool in your life and see if it doesn't make a difference. As people, we must all stand by our personal honesty and integrity. This is a handy and simple test of what you say, do or think. Give it a try in your life.
The Four Way Test
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
3. Will it build GOODWILL and better friendships?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
By the way, this tool made Herbert Taylor a multimillionaire in the 1930s. So it's also a very profitable way of doing business.
Love Notes by Leanne Petty,posted Feb 14 2012 7:47AM
By Christina Abt
There's a moment in the Disney classic “Cinderella” when the ragamuffin heroine lays claim to her wayward glass slipper and Prince Charming adoringly sweeps her into his arms and waltzes her away. It's a scene that draws longing sighs from every woman who watches it.
Why? Romance. That's what it's all about.
I've often wondered how that intangible sense of true love and devotion makes the leap from celluloid to reality. I know it happens. I've been around couples who have been married for decades and still glow when they sit side by side, hands lovingly intertwined.
However as the child of divorce, and a divorcee myself, I also know that the course of true love never runs smooth. In fact, Rocky Road might better entitle the majority of marriages I know.
But, last week a friend of mine told me a little secret. A tale of love that brought tears to my eyes and I must admit, a little envy to my heart.
Her story wasn't about the latest piece of jewelry that her husband gave her, or the flowers that he sent. For my friend's husband passed away two years ago, just short of their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
So now at the age of seventy, she is alone. But, thanks to her loving spouse, not always lonely.
For tucked away in drawers and cabinets throughout my friend's home are love notes scripted by her husband. Terms of endearments that he planted as romantic surprises for her during the course of their marriage.
Over the years, she saved his sweet inscriptions, often leaving them in their original hiding places. His loving sentiments tenderly playing anew with each rediscovery.
Now that he is gone, her life is a daily challenge of loving memories and sad yearning for this romantic man with whom she shared almost a half a century of life.
But in her indomitable way, my friend is continuing on with determination and enthusiasm. She is healthy and strong and lives each day with an interest in the world around her. She is surrounded by family and friends who support her and a community where she is acknowledged and respected. But most of all, she continues on with the inner knowledge that she is loved. Truly and totally.
And any time she thinks otherwise, all she has to do is open a kitchen drawer or look in her bedroom nightstand for a little reminder.
But somehow I think she knows, even before she opens that drawer.
In an American history discussion group, the professor was trying to explain how, throughout history, the concept of "beauty" changes with time. "For example," he said, "take the 1921 Miss America. She stood five feet, one inch tall, weighed 108 pounds and sported a 30-inch bust, a 25-inch waist and 32-inch hips. How do you think she'd do in today's version of the contest?"
The class fell silent for a moment. Then one student piped up, "Not very well."
"Why is that?" asked the professor.
"For one thing," the student pointed out, "she'd be way too old."
Good point -- she would be way too old. But really, beauty is a peculiar thing; it changes with perspectives and means something different to everyone. The beauty that should be most notable is authentic beauty.
Authentic beauty is something deep within -- the real you. It is the YOU that is being rediscovered with each new experience; the YOU that is so vividly reflected in those precious few who love us with all their heart.
For inside, you are more beautiful than you may ever know. It would be a waste to never realize that.
An elderly woman noticed that her granddaughter felt embarrassed by her freckles. "I love your freckles," she said, kneeling beside the girl and admiring her face.
"Not me," the child replied.
"Well, when I was a little girl I always wanted freckles," the grandmother said, tracing her finger across the child's cheek. "Freckles are beautiful."
The girl looked up. "Really?"
"Of course," said her grandmother. "Why just name me one thing that's prettier than freckles."
The little girl peered into the old woman's smiling face. "Wrinkles," she answered softly.
She knew about beauty. Do not close your eyes to the beauty that exists within you.
Excerpt from “The Journey: A Home Study Course That Changes Lives!”
I have two friends who are avid backpackers. There is a portion of New York’s Adirondack Mountains that is called the High Peaks region. It consists of 46 mountains with an elevation of over 4,000 feet.
The Adirondack Mountain Club gives special recognition, and a patch, to anyone who climbs all 46 mountains. My two friends decided to go for this award. It took them several years to accomplish it.
Now what you have to understand is that many of the 46 mountains have well-marked and well-used trails to their summits.
Others, however, are not marked at all. These mountains are really hard to climb because you have to “bushwhack” them using a compass and a typography map.
My friends had climbed 45 of the mountains. The one left was the most remote, requiring bushwhacking. A hiking trail led past the base of the mountain, but from that point they were on their own.
Early one morning they left their camp site and walked five miles on the hiking trail to the base of a chain of mountains. One of the mountains in this chain was the last one they needed for their “46er” patch.
When they reached the base of the mountain chain they discovered that they had left their compass and map back in camp. Rather than returning to camp (a round-trip of 10 miles), they decided to bushwhack without the compass and map.
For hours they walked uphill, enduring heat, thick brush and black flies. Finally, late in the afternoon they found themselves on the top of a mountain. They were exhausted but elated.
The elation was short-lived however. When they looked across the valley, they saw another higher mountain. They had climbed the wrong hill! It was too late that weekend to rectify their error. They had to wait another four months to climb the right mountain.
I think this story illustrates an important lesson. Often in life we exert tremendous effort toward some goal. But without the right map and personal compass, it is easy to get lost.
Knowing your life purpose gives you a powerful personal “map” and “compass” that ensures you are always climbing the right mountain.
A group of neighborhood children would gather frequently and share what was happening in their lives. The friendship among the children was beautiful to behold and surprising knowledge flowed from these young minds.
The mother of one of the children would occasionally join the gathering and tell stories to the group. When she spoke of her “jewel box,” which was her most prized possession, she could send the children’s imaginations soaring.
She emphasized that the jewel box was so secure its contents could never be stolen! Of course, the children’s minds filled with dazzling pictures of diamonds, emeralds, rubies, pearls, and other priceless items of adornment. They daydreamed that she must be an heiress of a rich family, although her simple, everyday life did not indicate vast material wealth.
One day the children asked the woman what was in the jewel box. As the children’s eager, upturned faces waited expectantly for her reply, she smiled at each child individually. Then she beckoned them to gather around her and sit on the grass. “Let me tell you a wonderful secret,” she whispered. “The jewel box is not a material box!”
The children’s eyes were big with expectation. The mother continued, “In reality, it is the treasure chamber of your heart. And everyone has one! Its contents are the feelings of love, joy, peace, gratitude, and the faith that we are heirs to the Creator’s kingdom … truly a divine inheritance. God’s presence in your heart is an inner experience, a treasure of knowing, that abides forever.”
The children asked many questions that day. Most of them never forgot the story of the jewel box and appreciated it more as they grew into adulthood.
On this day, Morrie says that he has an exercise for us to try. We are to stand, facing away from our classmates, and fall backward, relying on another student to catch us. Most of us are uncomfortable with this, and we cannot let go for more than a few inches before stopping ourselves. We laugh in embarrassment.
Finally, one student, a thin, quiet, dark-haired girl whom I notice almost always wears bulky, white fisherman sweaters, crosses her arms over her chest, closes her eyes, leans back, and does not flinch, like one of those Lipton tea commercials where the model splashes into the pool..
For a moment, I am sure she is going to thump on the floor. At the last instant, her assigned partner grabs her head and shoulders and yanks her up harshly.
“Whoa!” several students yell. Some clap. Morrie finally smiles. “You see”, he says to the girl, “you closed your eyes. That was the difference. Sometimes you cannot believe what you see, you have to believe what you feel. And if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them too – even when you’re in the dark. Even when you’re falling”.
You have it. I have it. Everyone you know has it. What is it? It’s this infinite, universal, subconscious and powerful gift we’re blessed with.
Most experts call it the "super-subconscious mind," (higher level of thinking) although whatever you choose to call it, it is as available to you at this very instant as it has been to anyone, anywhere!
The origin of all creativity comes from the superconscious mind. The superconscious mind was used by all of the great inventors, writers, artists, business people, scientists and composers on a regular basis.
Bach and Beethoven tapped into the superconscious mind regularly to write some of the finest music ever heard. In fact, Mozart was so finely tuned into his superconscious mind that he could both hear and see the music in his head and then write it down perfectly note for note. Michaelangelo was known to have said that he would see his completed sculpture in the block of marble before he began chiseling away at it. He simply needed to chip around his vision.
The beauty of your superconscious mind lies in the application toward your goals. When you are striving and working toward a goal of your own choosing, your superconscious mind will provide you the continuous flow of ideas and positive energy to help you move closer to your goal. KEY POINT: Your superconscious mind functions best when you have a confident and calm mindset. Your subconscious mind automatically and continually solves every problem on the way to your goal as long as your goal is clear, concise and you believe in it fully.
REMEMBER THIS: When you get a hunch or an inspiration about the direction of your goal you must act on it immediately. This is when your superconscious mind is speaking to you, based on the time-dated material you entered at an earlier time. You see, when you adopt an attitude of calmness and confidence about your goals everything that happens to you can only bring you closer to your goal, your dream!
The truth is, "You become what you think about." Emerson wrote, "A person becomes what he thinks about most of the time." KEY POINT: Successful people think and talk about what they want. Unsuccessful people talk about what they don’t want. The superconscious mind is so powerful that it is working all the time and you will get what you think about most of the time!!
"Whether you think you can do something or think you can’t, you’re right!"
Imagine walking into someone's home, and finding the living room dominated by a beautiful grand piano. You ask your hosts for a recital, to which they reply that they don't play. As you run your hand over the sleek exterior of this magnificent instrument, you think to yourself, "What a shame..."
I think human beings are like grand pianos - incredible creations capable of producing wonderful music. But too often that potential goes untapped. We think that greatness is meant for someone else, that we don't have the talent (the looks, the money, the time, the breaks...) And so we live lives "of quiet desperation," occasionally entertaining thoughts of "what if...?"
What if Mozart had hidden his talent? (Or Bowie, or, moving from music, Edison or Gandhi or anyone else who has made a positive difference.) I'm not saying that everyone should feel compelled to live that big, but if one has that inkling... It seems a shame that, as Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "The average person goes to their grave with their music still in them."
Imagine a world where people felt free to share their grandest music and make a huge positive difference. Or, at the least, were free from the negativity that causes them to hurt themselves and others. Consider what would be possible.
They were a couple who knew all about the brutality of life. One would never know the harshness of life they had endured unless you were very close to them.
Bill was a quiet unassuming man, who was devoted to his beloved Pearl. Pearl radiated happiness and was a delight to all that knew her. She loved life and constantly counted her blessings and practiced faithfully what she often reminded us, her family and friends -- "Laughter is the Best Medicine." Her infectious laugh was so contagious she had me convinced.
Anytime I was in charge of an entertainment event, program, or play, I would suggest she be guided to a seat near the front not far from the stage. Whatever the entertainment might be, and if laughter would be a plus, Pearl would make sure it was a hit. Her cheerfulness would infiltrate the audience and not only would laughter prevail, but also everyone, including the performers felt a jovial feeling.
A few years after we met Bill and Pearl, they experienced a tremendous financial setback which caused them to lose their farm.
There was never a complaint from either of them about their circumstances. Neither of them was in very good health and we were concerned as to what this latest blow could do to them. When my husband and I went to visit them to see what we could do to help, Bill said, "Here is where we are, here is where we have to go, and I guess packing our things is what must be done now."
Lorin asked, "What about your machinery?" He was determined to be of help, while refusing to show his sadness about the tragedy that had befallen this couple.
Bill's answer to this question was, "Well, since the farm is no longer ours, we have no use for the machinery, so we can leave it here for the young man who is going to take over. He will need it." Bill never thought of selling it. His first thought was someone needed it.
One day, while I was helping Pearl pack, there were boxes everywhere and there were piles of throw-a-way, piles to pack, piles to keep and piles for charity. As we worked, I kept thinking of their state of affairs and was on the verge of tears. It hurt so badly to think of my friend having to give up so much -- things that they had worked for all their lives. And now, at their age, moving into a small rented home...
I turned to ask her a question and saw this sweet, humble woman sitting in the midst of chaos with a smile on her face. She started to laugh. Her infectious laugh reached out to me and I soon found myself sitting on the floor beside her. Oh, how I was going to miss my friend -- this woman had been my confidante, my counselor, my good neighbor and especially my friend.
"Pearl, this is crazy. What are we laughing about? There is nothing funny about packing."
"Well you know what they say about life don't you?" The quizzical look on my face was evidence that I had no idea what she was referring to.
She continued, "You know, it is often said that life is a test."
"Well, yes, I have heard that," I answered. "But I still don't understand, what's so funny?"
She finally stopped laughing and with a sly smile said, "Honey, I just realized I have never been good at tests!"
She taught me that life was good under any circumstances, if I would allow myself to just count my blessings and find joy in laughter.
Pearl and her husband moved nearer to their children and life seemed to be going quite well for them, until a year later when Bill died. As she shared the news with me, my mind raced back to that afternoon sitting on her floor with debris all around us as she reminded me that, "Life was a test." Her voice told the whole story.
Regardless of how difficult the test was, she had enough faith that would see her through, despite what she had said that day -- "Honey, I have never been good at tests."
If you're not living your dream, the following story about turnips, turnip greens and pigs might help you understand why. I suppose you could say this story begins when my wife was just a little girl and I was a little boy. We were raised in totally different cultures. However, we did have one thing in common, she spent part of her summer holidays on the farm and so did I.
An American, Linda grew up in the Deep South – in Alabama – and I was raised in northern Ontario, Canada. You could say that fate brought us together. Shortly after we were married, we were wandering through a supermarket when Linda asked me what I would like to have for dinner. I told her I would like to have some turnip. As I picked one up and put it in our basket, she said, "What are you going to do with that?"
I replied, "I'm going to eat it."
She said, "Well, I'm not going to eat that."
I asked "Why not? I thought you liked turnip?"
"I do, but I wouldn't eat that. It's the root of the turnip...we feed that to the pigs." You know, as strange as this may seem, I had never heard it referred to as the root of the turnip! It was always just a turnip to me.
I must have looked at her rather strange when I said, "Well, what do you eat?"
"We eat the green of the turnip."
I said, "Isn't that strange, we feed the greens to the pigs."
To my knowledge, I have never eaten turnip greens. I reluctantly put the turnip back where I got it and we went on our way. But I began wondering how far back I would have to go in our family tree to find out who made the decision that we would eat the root of a turnip and feed the green to the pigs or how far back I would have to go in Linda's family to discover
who made the decision to eat the greens.
Neither Linda nor I have changed our eating habits with respect to turnip; as a result, we just don't eat them anymore! But every time I hear the word ‘turnip’ or see one in the grocery store, I smile and it causes me to think of all the ideas that are controlling our lives that we inherited at birth.
You see, I never woke up one morning and decided which part of the turnip I would eat - I just ate what I was served. And I'm darned sure that my mother didn't wake up one morning and decide which part she would eat either. She just ate what she was served.
How much of your life is being controlled by a decision you inherited that was made by some ancient ancestor? The turnip story is true. Laugh at it if you choose, but the idea it represents is huge.