This is a compilation of thoughts and quotes that I have found or written recently, as well as many that I've collected throughout the years. Most thoughts are posted randomly, as I feel inspired. A listing of quotes can be found alphabetically (check the 2008 and 2009 archives listing), or by source.

Feel free to suggest additions!

“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7

Friday, December 28, 2012

The People Who Make a Difference in Your Life - Charles Schulz' Philosophy

Here is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies ... Awards tarnish ... Achievements are forgotten.  Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special .

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money ... or the most awards.

They simply are the ones who care the most!

by Lee J. Colan

Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 Things Happy People Do Differently

Here are some great words borrowed from writings by Jacob Sokol of Sensophy:

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live - that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.” - Dan Millman

Studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things happy people do differently to increase their levels of happiness. These are things that we can start doing today to feel the effects of more happiness in our lives. (Check out her book The How of Happiness.)

1. Express gratitude. – When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. We’re gonna have a hard time ever being happy if we aren’t thankful for what we already have.

2. Cultivate optimism. – Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism.  People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison. – Comparing yourself to someone else can be poisonous.  If you feel called to compare yourself to something, compare yourself to an earlier version of yourself.

4. Practice acts of kindness. – Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has tremendous health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside. 

5. Nurture social relationships. – The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. 

6. Develop strategies for coping. – How you respond to difficult moments is what shapes your character.  It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.

7. Learn to forgive. – Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being. Your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you ‘hate’ someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are eating away at your immune system.

8. Increase flow experiences. – Flow is a state in which it feels like time stands still. It’s when you’re so focused on what you’re doing that you become one with the task. Nothing is distracting you or competing for your focus.

9. Savor life’s joys. – Deep happiness cannot exist without slowing down to enjoy the joy. When we neglect to appreciate, we rob the moment of its magic. It’s the simple things in life that can be the most rewarding if we remember to fully experience them.

10. Commit to your goals. – Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere. When you’re fully committed to doing something, you have no choice but to do that thing.

11. Practice spirituality. – When we practice spirituality or religion, we recognize that life is bigger than us. We surrender the silly idea that we are the mightiest thing ever. 

12. Take care of your body. – Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected.

See also:
Pharrell William's "Happy"
Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy"
The Science of Happiness

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Words of Wisdom from Doe Zantamata

Here are some recent words of wisdom by Doe Zantamata.  See more at

Sometimes, the challenge isn't to move forward. Ships don't move forward while in the grips of a big storm. To succeed during a storm means just to stay afloat. Don't worry so much about getting ahead. There will be time for that. For now, just get through.

Words are so very powerful, and we never know what state of mind someone is in at any time. You choose your words, but you cannot choose the affect they will have on people. Always speak out of love. True power does not crush others, but helps them to see their own greatness.

Seek good, find good. Seek bad, find bad. Seek truth, find truth.

Every day is Day One. Each day, you choose: what to start, what to end, and what to continue.

Life can either be a thing that happens, or an adventure to be lived. It depends on what you choose to believe.

Starting something new, or making a big change, requires effort, persistence, and motivation... doubt, fear, and worry will only slow you down. Focus on doing your best now, and celebrate every step of the way.

Limitations can only be true as long as we believe in them. Believe in yourself instead. Amazing things will happen.

Somewhere inside you still lives a dreamer who is ready to dream again.

Imagine how different the world would look if help were given more freely than criticizm and judgments were made only after hearing all sides.

Deflated, but not defeated, I awaken. Discouraged, but not destroyed, I rise. Down, but determined, I try again.

There are times in life when we have to deal with awful things; things we just can't ignore. Make sure to give them all the time and attention they need, but not one single second more.

If you can get past the fear of looking a little silly or getting a little dirty, you sure can have a lot of fun here in this thing that we call life.

For self, for others, for decisions, for life...Let love lead the way.

Fear is not an instinct. Fear is learned after pain. Curiosity and awareness are instincts, and will protect much better than fear, while still allowing for trust, and the joyful experiences that fear would only push away.

A person who always worries about the future will only be able to relax once it's all over. That's like not enjoying a movie until the end credits. You'd miss the whole thing.

Not every "hello" is a reason to smile. Not every "goodbye" is a reason to cry.

We don't fight about air because we know there's more than enough for everyone. Imagine how awesome it will be when we finally realize the same is true about everything else, too.

At the right time, a kind word from a stranger, or encouragement from a friend, can make all the difference in the world. Kindness is free, but it's priceless. It's always the right time.

There are some things we just can't do, no matter how much we'd like to. Just make sure "can't" doesn't mean, "Haven't actually really tried yet."

Too often, we carry around those things from our past that hurt us the most. Don't let past pain rob you of your present happiness. You had to live through it in the past, and that cannot be changed, but if the only place it lives today is in your mind, then forgive, let go, and be free.

Sometimes, you did your best, and all you ended up with was a big mess. Don't be sad. You tried. That's really all you can ever do. Rest, regroup, and begin again. You have not failed as long as you keep on trying.

Don't let compliments mess with your mind. Don't let insults mess with your heart.

Pain the the fist that knocks you down. Forgiveness is the hand that helps you back up again.

The realist is one who can see nothing in nothing, because that’s how it is today. The optimist is one who can see opportunity in nothing, because that’s how, through them, it will be one day.

A person will only leave their comfort zone once they decide that magic and adventure outweigh complete certainty and security.

Don't dance like no one is watching. Dance like everyone is watching, and show 'em how it's done.

It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.

It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.

You cannot convince someone to see something that they do not want to see, no matter how much you know it would improve their lives. You have to love and accept them exactly as they are today. If you cannot do that, you have to let them go and find their own way, in their own time, if they ever choose to do so.  Otherwise, you'll be giving them the power over your happiness, too.”

Some doors lead to amazing things. Some doors lead to...well, not much. But the more doors a person tried, the greater the chances are that those amazing things will be discovered. If you try once and succeed, you're amazingly lucky. If you try 1000 times and succeed, you've earned it. The only trick is to keep on trying until it happens.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Power of Positive Perception: Part 2

Continued excerpts from the great little book "Beyond Illusions: The Magic of Positive Perceptions" by Brad Barton:

(for more excerpts, see below)

"It is not how much we do, but how much love put to the doing.  And it is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving." - Mother Teresa

What if we could intentionally alter our perceptions and our reactions and our results - by intenionally deciding what is real - rather than simply accepting the obvious?

"It isn't what happens to us that affects our behavior.  It is our interpretation of what happens to us." - Stephen Covey

"The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem." - Theodore Rubin

"Pearls lie not on the seashore.  If you want one, you must dive for it." - Chinese Proverb

It is one of the great gifts of being human.  We are not only aware, but we are aware that we are aware.  We can, therefore, challenge our own perceptions.

All the magician has to do is limit the audience's perspective and divert them from challenging that perception.  Magic is the power to change reality by creaing new facts.

Much of what we perceive as negative is illusion.  The circumstances, the events themselves, may be real, but our interpretation of them as negative, could that be an illusion?

You can hardly find an opportunity for greatness that does not at first appear to be a disaster!

It is our perception of circumstances that governs end results.

We must have adversity and challenge if we are to realize our potential.  Who would Nelson Mandela be without apatheid?  Who would Abraham Lincoln or Clara Barton be without the Civil War?  Who would Winston Churchill be without the threat of the Third Reich?

Beleive in magic; not rabbits that come out of hats magic, but real magic - magic that comes out of looking beyond the obvious facts and challenging our interpretations of reality.

What if we... kept our minds open to the idea that our interpretations of difficult situations - even apparent disasters - are probably inaccurate and therfore limiting?  We would realize the wonderful truth that any difficult situation, even an apparent disaster, could be our finest hour. It all depends on our prespective.

"Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

We can orchestrate good results directly from difficult, even painful circumstances when we recognize that bad situations don't provide opportunities; bad situations are opportunities.

What discoveries have you already experienced as a result of a painful loss?  What growth and gain, though wrought through sorrow and pain, is yet to be uncovered?

"Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents, which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant." - Horace, 12 B.C.

We are generally closed to better options when we are satisfied with our current situation.  Typically, we will not search for a higher path as long as the path we are on is comfortable and easy to negotiate. 

Where is that higher path?  It's not out there, it is in here.  It is inside out hearts and minds.  Viktor Frankl said, "When we are no longer able to change a situation we are challenged to change ourselves."  And how can we change ourselves?  By changing our interpretations - our perceptions.  This is not just about being positive this is about being causative.  A causative agent is someone who creates or causes positive change through the deliberate use of the power of positive perception.  This process is more - much more - than being positive.

Stuff happens that causes trouble, discomfort, even great agony; kicks us square in the solar plexus and knocks the wind out of us.  But is this bad?  It feels bad, it looks bad, it might even smell bad, but is it by definition bad?

In the final analysis nothing is "bad" unless we give up and let it be "bad" - and let it stay "bad".

"...everything can be taken fom [us] but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way... to decide how you want to perceive circumstances, rather than just adopt the interpretations that others promote or even what your own experience proposes, but instead make a conscious decision to make a better choice regardless of how unreasonable that choice might seem." - Viktor Frankl

When we are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves.

When life deals us a blow and we accept responsibilty for finding good in it, we shift from being a victm of circumstance, to being a causative agent.  This place of free will is a difficult but richly rewarding place to live.  We advance from being simply positive to being causative.

"Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom." - Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning

Tough stuff is going to happen regardless of how we decide to regard it.  We can curl up in a corner and try to avoid it.  We can resist it. We can endure it.  We can bury it. We can regret it and hate life because of it.  We can even choose to go about life as if it hadn't happened.  Or we can change our perspective, search for the good in whatever happens and accept the truth told by Paul the Apostle, "...these things shall all work to your good."

"...I perceived, at last, that all my problems, discouragements, and heartaches, are, in truth, great opportunities in disguise.  I will no longer be fooled by the garments they wear for mine eyes are open.  I will look beyond the cloth and I will not be deceived." - The Scroll Marked IV, The Greatest Salesman In The World, by Og Mandino

To get some real magic going, look at your situation honestly and acknowledge how tough, disappointing, miserable, or painful it really is.  That's the obvious part.  Then do what isn't so obvious.  Say 'That's good" - say it out loud - and see how that shifts your energy.  Then watch how that energy shift puts you in a different place - a different level of thought - maybe a different mood.  From that more creative perspective, you will be empowered to discover what is good about it.

To assume without examination that something is bad, assumes that it shouldn't have happened.  This defies the power of the human spirit.  It denies the power of positive perception.

I suggest that bad things don't happen to good people.  Inconvenient things, troubling things, painful things even horrifying things happen, but nothing bad.  How can I say that there is nothing that is bad?  Because bad is not a thing. It is not a thing and it is not an event - and it is not a condition.  It is a perception.  Good is also a perception.  So let us entertain the perspective that "it's all good" as long as we are willing to perceive and proceed accordingly.

"Laughter is a bit like changing a baby's diaper.  It doesn't fix the problem permanently, but it makes everything okay - for a little while." - Michael Pritchard

"Everything is funny, as long as it's happening to somebody else." - Will Rogers

Part 3 to come...

To see more excerpts from Brad Barton's  book, see:

The Power of Positive Perception: Part 1
The Power of Positive Perception: Part 3

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trials and Miracles

"Many times we pray for a miracle for God to take it all away. But maybe that miracle is you, and who he is molding you to become." - Julia Hunter

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Abraham Lincoln's Proclamation on Thanksgiving

Although it was President George Washington that first officially called for a "day of public thanksgiving and prayer", it was President Abraham Lincoln who, through this proclamation, gave the holiday official status throughout the United States, while the nation was in the midst of civil war.

By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. 

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. 

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. 

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State


See also George Washington's proclamation at:

See some quotes on the topic of thanksgiving at:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Take Time For 12 Things

Take time to Work - It is the price of success

Take time to Think - It is the source of power

Take time to Play - It is the secret of youth

Take time to Read - It is the fountain of knowledge

Take time to Worship - It is the highway of reverence and washes the dust of the earth from our eyes

Take time to Help and Enjoy Friends - It is the source of happiness

Take time to Love - It is the one sacrament of life

Take time to Dream - It hitches the soul to the stars

Take time to Laugh - It is the singing that helps with life's loads

Take time for Beauty - It is everywhere in nature

Take time for Health - It is the true wealth and treasure of life

Take time to Plan - It is the secret of being able to have time to take time for the first eleven things

- Unknown Author

Monday, November 19, 2012

Excerpts from C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce"

This great little fiction book by C.S. Lewis is about people trying to divorce themselves from that which holds them back from progressing.  Although it is based in the Christian religious themes of heaven and hell, it can easily be applied to our lives here on earth.  It's a great lesson in letting go of the negative, focusing on the positive.

Excerpts from the Preface:
I do not think that all who choose wrong roads perish; but their rescue consists in being put back on the right road. A wrong sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on. Evil can be undone, but it cannot "develop" into good. Time does not heal it. The spell must be unwound, bit by bit, "with backward mutters of dissevering power"-or else not. It is still "either-or." If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.

I believe, to be sure, that any man who reaches Heaven will find that what he abandoned (even in plucking out his right eye) was precisely nothing: that the kernel of what he was really seeking even in his most depraved wishes will be there, beyond expectation, waiting for him in "the High Countries." In that sense it will be true for those who have completed the journey (and for no others) to say that good is everything and Heaven everywhere. But we, at this end of the road, must not try to anticipate that retrospective vision. If we do, we are likely to embrace the false and disastrous converse and fancy that everything is good and everywhere is Heaven.

But what, you ask, of earth? Earth, I think, will not be found by anyone to be in the end a very distinct place. I think earth, if chosen instead of Heaven, will turn out to have been, all along, only a region in Hell: and earth, if put second to Heaven, to have been from the beginning a part of Heaven itself.

Great Quotes:
There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. To those who knock it is opened.

There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.

Story: Removing The Lizard From His Shoulder
I saw coming towards us a Ghost [the spirit of one who has died] who carried something on his shoulder. Like all the Ghosts, he was unsubstantial, but they differed from one another as smokes differ. Some had been whitish; this one was dark and oily. What sat on his shoulder was a little red lizard, and it was twitching its tail like a whip and whispering things in his ear. As we caught sight of him he turned his head to the reptile with a snarl of impatience. "Shut up, I tell you!" he said. It wagged its tail and continued to whisper to him. He ceased snarling, and presently began to smile. Then he turned and started to limp westward, away from the mountains.

"Off so soon?" said a voice.

The speaker was more or less human in shape but larger than a man, and so bright that I could hardly look at him. His presence smote on my eyes and on my body too (for there was heat coming from him as well as light) like the morning sun at the beginning of a tyrannous summer day.

"Yes. I'm off," said the Ghost. "Thanks for all your hospitality. But it's no good, you see.

I told this little chap," (here he indicated the lizard), "that he'd have to be quiet if he came -which he insisted on doing. Of course his stuff won't do here: I realize that. But he won't stop. I shall just have to go home."

"Would you like me to make him quiet?" said the flaming Spirit-an angel, as I now understood.

"Of course I would," said the Ghost.

"Then I will kill him," said the Angel, taking a step forward.

"Oh-ah-look out! You're burning me. Keep away," said the Ghost, retreating.

"Don't you want him killed?"

"You didn't say anything about killing him at first. I hardly meant to bother you with anything so drastic as that."

"It's the only way," said the Angel, whose burning hands were now very close to the lizard. "Shall I kill it?"

"Well, that's a further question. I'm quite open to consider it, but it's a new point, isn't it? I mean, for the moment I was only thinking about silencing it because up here-well, it's so damned embarrassing."

"May I kill it?"

"Well, there's time to discuss that later."

"There is no time. May I kill it?"

"Please, I never meant to be such a nuisance. Please-really-don't bother. Look! It's gone to sleep of its own accord. I'm sure it'll be all right now. Thanks ever so much."

"May I kill it?"

"Honestly, I don't think there's the slightest necessity for that. I'm sure I shall be able to keep it in order now. I think the gradual process would be far better than killing it."

"The gradual process is of no use at all."

"Don't you think so? Well, I'll think over what you've said very carefully. I honestly will. In fact I'd let you kill it now, but as a matter of fact I'm not feeling frightfully well to-day. It would be silly to do it now. I'd need to be in good health for the operation. Some other day, perhaps."

"There is no other day. All days are present now."

"Get back! You're burning me. How can I tell you to kill it? You'd kill me if you did."

"It is not so."

"Why, you're hurting me now."

"I never said it wouldn't hurt you. I said it wouldn't kill you."

"Oh, I know. You think I'm a coward. But it isn't that. Really it isn't. I say! Let me run back by tonight's bus and get an opinion from my own doctor. I'll come again the first moment I can."

"This moment contains all moments."

"Why are you torturing me? You are jeering at me. How can I let you tear me to pieces? If you wanted to help me, why didn't you kill the damned thing without asking me-before I knew? It would be all over by now if you had."

"I cannot kill it against your will. It is impossible. Have I your permission?"

The Angel's hands were almost closed on the Lizard, but not quite. Then the Lizard began chattering to the Ghost so loud that even I could hear what it was saying.

"Be careful," it said. "He can do what he says. He can kill me. One fatal word from you and he will! Then you'll be without me for ever and ever. It's not natural. How could you live? You'd be only a sort of ghost, not a real man as you are now. He doesn't understand. He's only a cold, bloodless abstract thing. It may be natural for him, but it isn't for us. Yes, yes. I know there are no real pleasures now, only dreams. But aren't they better than nothing? And I'll be so good. I admit I've sometimes gone too far in the past, but I promise I won't do it again. I'll give you nothing but really nice dreams-all sweet and fresh and almost innocent. You might say, quite innocent."

"Have I your permission?" said the Angel to the Ghost.

"I know it will kill me."

"It won't. But supposing it did?"

"You're right. It would be better to be dead than to live with this creature."

"Then I may?"

"Damn and blast you! Go on can't you? Get it over. Do what you like," bellowed the Ghost: but ended, whimpering, "God help me. God help me."

Next moment the Ghost gave a scream of agony such as I never heard on Earth. The Burning One closed his crimson grip on the reptile: twisted it, while it bit and writhed, and then flung it, broken backed, on the turf.

"Ow! That's done for me," gasped the Ghost, reeling backwards.

For a moment I could make out nothing distinctly. Then I saw, between me and the nearest bush, unmistakably solid but growing every moment solider, the upper arm and the shoulder of a man. Then, brighter still and stronger, the legs and hands. The neck and golden head materialized while I watched, and if my attention had not wavered I should have seen the actual completing of a man-an immense man, naked, not much smaller than the Angel.

What distracted me was the fact that at the same moment something seemed to be happening to the Lizard. At first I thought the operation had failed. So far from dying, the creature was still struggling and even growing bigger as it struggled. And as it grew it changed. Its hinder parts grew rounder. The tail, still flickering, became a tail of hair that flickered between huge and glossy buttocks. Suddenly I started back, rubbing my eyes. What stood before me was the greatest stallion I have ever seen, silvery white but with mane and tail of gold. It was smooth and shining, rippled with swells of flesh and muscle, whinneying and stamping with its hoofs. At each stamp the land shook and the trees dindled.

The new-made man turned and clapped the new horse's neck. It nosed his bright body. Horse and master breathed each into the other's nostrils. The man turned from it, flung himself at the feet of the Burning One, and embraced them. When he rose I thought his face shone with tears, but it may have been only the liquid love and brightness (one cannot distinguish them in that country) which flowed from him. I had not long to think about it.

In joyous haste the young man leaped upon the horse's back. Turning in his seat he waved a farewell, then nudged the stallion with his heels. They were off before I well knew what was happening. There was riding if you like! I came out as quickly as I could from among the bushes to follow them with my eyes; but already they were only like a shooting star far off on the green plain, and soon among the foothills of the mountains. Then, still like a star, I saw them winding up, scaling what seemed impossible steeps, and quicker every moment, till near the dim brow of the landscape, so high that I must strain my neck to see them, they vanished, bright themselves, into the rose-brightness of that everlasting morning.

7 Rules of Life

1. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.

2. What others think of you is none of your business.

3. Time heals almost everything, give it time.

4. Don't compare your life to others and don't judge them. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

5. Stop thinking too much, it's alright not toknow the answers. They will come to you when you least expect it.

6.No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.

7. Smile. You don't own all the problems in the world.

- borrowed from the facebook page Whisper of the heart

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Power of Positive Perception: Excerpts from Brad Barton's "Beyond Illusions"

Experiences in my life have helped me to understand how important it is to see myself and life in a positive way.  I believe that we can affect change in ourselves and our life with the right perspective and attitude.

Here are some thoughts I have found that follow this idea - excerpts from the book "Beyond Illusions" by Brad Barton.

        "I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." - Mark Twain

Many of the painful experiences and negative feelings we patiently and nobly endure, turn out to be products of our own making.  Our preceptions and interpretations powerfully influence our responses and actions.  All too often, they create the very thing - the very reality - we fear out of (drum roll please) absolutely nothing.

We have the power to create our own reality - beautiful or ugly, abundant or sparse - out of nothing more than perception.

If you possess the ability to create your own reality, then yes, you can create fortune out of misfortune, opportunity out of failure, possibility out of emptiness, and self-fulfillment out of frustration.  How?  By looking at situations differently.  By developing the tendency to look past the conspicuous facts and seeing instead the inconspicuous possibilities.

You can...change your life by changing how you perceive events and how you see yourself.  This is what I call The Art of Guided Perception.

      "People are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to imprve themselves; therefore they remain bound." - James Allen

The most important change we can make is our preception of who we are, the value we bring to the world and our preception of our own attractiveness.

     "Things may happen around you and things may happen to you but the only things that really count are things that happen in you." - L.C. Robinson

Don Quixote: Positive Perception of Others
Don Quixote (a tall, lean, eccentric, retired landowner) perceived himself as a noble knight riding forth on a mighty steed (a broken-down cart horse) to fight evil enchanters and giants (windmills) in defense of truth and justice.  His grasp of principle was tenacious.  His grip on reality semed, however, tentative.  Quixote saw the world not as it was, but as he perceived it.  For this he was considered insane.

His weakness was his delusion of grandeur.

His greatness was his delusion of others' grandeur.

Don Quixote saw greatness in everyone, no matter who they were.

Because of his unyielding insistence, they ultimately gave in to his perception of their greatness - his delusion of their gandeur...and his perceptions became reality.

When others mocked him and called him mad, he replied, "The greatest madness is to see life as it is, not as it should be."

Quixote's amazing if seemingly insane ability to see others not as they saw themselves, but as he saw them, created a new reality; a reality more promising, more productive and more practical than the old one.  His insistent perception of others' greatness and inherent goodness changed circumstances by transforming people who create circumstances.

True leadership is to inspire greatness in those around you by perceiving them as magnificent and wonderful, despite how they may appear or behave in the moment.

When we enhance living breathing human beings by enhancing our perception of them, and consequently their perception of themselves, we enhance the circumstances they affect.

For more excerpts from Brad Barton's book, see:

The Power of Positive Perception: Part 2
The Power of Positive Perception: Part 3

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Matthew West - Forgiveness song and story

The song with lyrics:

See the story that inspired the song:

See more on forgiveness at:

HealingYourself: Forgiveness

Healing Yourself: Forgiveness and Letting Go

"The prisoner that it really frees is you"

Healing your life, your heart, your mind requires a lot of effort.  Probably one of the most essential and effective components to such healing is applying the principle of forgiveness.  We all have something or someone, even if only ourselves, that we need to forgive.  The following is a compilation of messages on forgiveness.

Here's a great message in a song by Matthew West:


It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…


It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Watch and listen to it here:
or see it on YouTube.


Here are some great quotes on the topic of forgiveness:

1. Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life. - Joan Lunden

2. Forgiveness is freeing up and putting to better use the energy once consumed by holding grudges, harboring resentments, and nursing unhealed wounds. It is rediscovering the strengths we always had and relocating our limitless capacity to understand and accept other people and ourselves. - Elder James E. Faust

3. Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for your enemy to die. - Bill Phillips

4. Forgiveness is not done out of weakness; it is an act of strength and courage.- Bill Phillips

5. Forgiveness is something that happens inside of you. It doesn't mean you're saying what happened to cause a resentment wasn't wrong or that it didn't matter. It means... I choose to let go of this negative feeling towards the person whom I perceive has hurt me. - Bill Phillips

6. As long as any part of our mind or consciousness is engaged with unresolved feelings from the past it will require us to expend valuable energy on it. - Bill Phillips

7. As long as we hold onto a grievance, we are chained to the past situation and the offender. - Bill Phillips

8. Granting someone true forgiveness is not based on any conditions. The forgiven don't have to deserve it or earn it. It's an act of grace and mercy on your part.- Bill Phillips, author of "Transformation"

9. He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven. - Thomas Fuller

10. Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free and realizing the prisoner was actually you! - Max Lucado

11. Forgiving those who hurt us is the key to personal peace. - G. Weatherly

12. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

13. Never ruin an apology with an excuse. - Kimberly Johnson

14. Apology is a lovely perfume; it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift. - Margaret Lee Runbeck


Part of forgiveness is to let go:

Let Go
To “let go” does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

To “let go” is not to cut myself off, it is the realization that I can’t control another.

To “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

To “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hand.

To “let go” is not to change or blame another, it is to make the most of myself.

To “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.

To “let go” is not to be in the middle of arranging all the outcomes but to allow others to affect their own destinies.

To “let go” is not to deny but to accept.

To “let go” is not to nag, scold, or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and to correct them.

To “let go” is not to adjust everything to my own desires but to take each day as it comes, and to cherish myself in it.

To “let go” is not to critize and regulate anybody but to try to become what I dream I can be.

To “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and to live for today.

- Author unknown


and, to "let go" means to not resent somebody:

Resent Somebody
The moment you start to resent a person you become that person's slave.

He or she controls your dreams, absorbs your digestion, robs you of your peace of mind and good will, and takes away the pleasure of your work.

You cannot take a vacation without that person going along! He or she destroys your freedom of mind and hounds you wherever you go.

There is no way to escape the person you resent.

That person is with you when you are awake and invades your privacy when you sleep.

That person is close beside you when you eat, when you drive your car, and when you are on the job.

You can never have efficiency or happiness.

The person you resent influences even the tone of your voice.

He or she requires you to take medicine for indigestion, headaches, and loss of energy.

That person even steals your last moment of consciousness before you go to sleep.

So if you want to be a slave, harbor your resentments.

- Author unknown

Friday, November 2, 2012

Power Lessons for Living Longer: The Blue Zones

These lessons are from the book The Blue Zones: 9 Power Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest, by Dan Buettner.  Blue Zones are places where people live longer and healthier than anywhere else on the planet, passing their centennial years at a rate 10 times greater than most Americans.

As Buettner and his team studied the Blue Zones, they identified nine common traits shared by those communities where people live longer. He was surprised that it wasn't only food and lifestyle, but also creating a most beneficial environment. Here's a look at these longevity-boosting traits, known as the "Power of 9":

1. Move naturally. "Do your own house and yard work, go up and down your stairs with your laundry, knead your own dough," Buettner advises. "Incorporate more movement every hour."

2. Know your purpose. "Take time to recognize your values, strengths, talents, passions and gifts," Buettner says. Reflect, and work on yourself.

3. Down shift. Relieve chronic stress by finding time each day to nap, meditate or pray.

4. The 80% rule. Cut 20 percent of your daily calories with proven healthy practices: eat a big breakfast, dine with your family, and begin each meal by expressing appreciation.

5. Plant slant. Eat mostly plant-based foods, and small portions of meat no more than twice a week.

6. Wine at 5. Drinkers live longer than non-drinkers. This longevity tip had one exception: those in the Loma Linda Blue Zone were Seventh Day Adventists, who abstain from alcohol. (I also take exception with this one.  Other than religious reasons, there is the glaring concern of how many people are unable to control the portions of their alcoholic intake, therefore making any seeming positive healthy benefit to small portions of wine questionable.)

7. Family first. Living in a loving, thriving family can add up to six years to your life. Work on a positive, committed relationship and stay close to your aging parents and grandparents.

8. Belong. "Those with the most social connectedness tend to live longer," Buettner says. Be part of a group of healthy-minded, supportive people.

9. Right tribe. Good friends have a positive effect on your longevity. Support them and adopt healthy behaviors together.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 3

This is part three of excerpts from John H. Groberg's inspirational autobiography, "The Other Side of Heaven", which was originally titled "In the Eye of the Storm".  A wonderful film was made based on this book, starring Christopher Gorham and Anne Hathaway, recounting Groberg's missionary experiences in Tonga.

After watching a rich man in a yacht stop at the island to trade for provisions and to pick up some girls for his pleasure, and then leave, an islander said this to John Groberg:
"I feel sorry for him.  He will never be happy, for he seeks only his own pleasure, not to help others.  Yet we know that happiness comes from helping others.  All he will do is sail around the world seeking happiness, hoping others will bring it to him, but they cannot.  He will never find it, for he has not learned to help others.  He has too much money, too many luxuries, too much power.  Oh, I feel sorry for him."

Reflecting on modern society, John wrote:
Most of what we buy isn't necessary
Most of what we eat is not very good for us
Most of what we do is not very important
Most of what we store should be given or thrown away
Most of what we talk about is trite
Why don't we spend out time and means better?
Why don't we concentrate more on loving and helping others?

One of the problems with all of the safety consciousness we have today is that it tends to cause us to hesitate to do things that we might otherwise do....I sometimes wonder if we don't get so filled with facts and figures and possible dangers that we do less than we should.  I suppose we could all find legitimate reasons to hardly do anything because of the potential dangers involved...

As I see it, all of life is a risk, which is where faith comes in.  We do what is right, and let the chips fall where they may.

Even in troubled waters we make more progress if we are trying than if we wait until the dangers and discomforts are removed.

John spent much time at sea in small boats, traveling between the Tongan islands.  Much time was spent in reflecting upon and being inspired by God:

As I watched the prow slice through the water, felt the wind power us forward, and sensed the undulating motion of the mast, I felt very close to God.  I doubt anyone could deny Him and His power under those circumstances.

Once I asked the Lord to bless us with a good tail wind so we could get to Foa quickly.  As we got under way, one of the older men said, "Elder Groberg, you need to modify your prayers a little."
"How's that?" I replied.
"You asked the Lord for a tail wind to take us rapidly to Foa.  If you pray for a tail wind to Foa, what about the people who are trying to come from Foa to Pangai?  They are good people, and you are praying against them.  Just pray for a good wind, not a tail wind."
Sometimes we pray for things that will benefit us but may hurt others.

Sometimes the sea is fairly calm with a good wind, and it thrills me inside to stand on the bow of the ship, raise the sails, and watch the wind fill the white canvas and see the keel begin to cut the water.  Man moving under the power of nature.  It thrills me as our big sails billow with the power of nature, and we literally glide through the ocean.

Sometimes a good wind and a good sea will take us quickly to our destination.  Then with a disagreeable wind and a contrary sea, it could take hours, even days...It fills you with pride as you feel the power of the elements under your control, but you soon realize it isn't our power when the wind decides to stop.

How often do we not do more because we pray for wind and none comes?  We pray for good things and they don't seem to happen, so we sit and wait and do no more.  We should always pray for help, but we should always listen for inspiration and impressions to proceed in different ways from those we may have thought of.

No matter what our trials, we should never say, "It is enough." Only God is entitled to say that.  Our responsibility, if we are faithful, is to ask, "What more can I do?" then listen for the answer and do it!

His Thoughts on Serving Others:
When life is through, I am sure those who have worn out their lives in the service of others, which is serving God, will have a feeling...of total love.  Those who have not sacrificed for others simply cannot experience it...because they haven't don what is necessary to experience it.  

Being totally exhausted in the Lord's cause isn't all that bad.

The basis of all spirituality and the means of exaltation is to just forget about oneself and help others.

When we come into closer contact with the Lord, the importance of true love and service comes to the front.

Deeds of sacrifice, deeds of selflessness and honesty, deeds of effort in sincerely trying to help others, especially at the expense of one's own comfort, never go unnoticed by the powers of heaven.

Friendship or loyalty can only be measured by what we do for others, or what they do for us, not by what is offered only.

The key to happiness is to serve others.

Love, trust, and sacrifice for others are the greatest forces in the world.  Love is shown by how much we are willing to deny ourselves for the good of others, how much we are willing to go through that others might benefit.

Other thoughts include:
How grateful I am for inspired leaders who listen to the promptings of the Spirit and are willing to make changes when that is the right thing to do, rather than pay attention only to logic or predetermined reason.

When we do things according to the Spirit, the Spirit and power of God take over.  The Spirit justifies what we have done.  The Lord then orchestrates future events so that what was started spiritually is brought to fruition downstream in a marvelous way.

I am convinced that all we have to do is try our hardest by putting forth effort and having great faith in God, and He indeed will cause the increase.

Unless we feel the way others feel, we cannot be too effective in meeting their needs.  To feel how others feel is a great blessing and is accomplished as we hurt with them, laugh with them, mourn with them, rejoice with them, cry with them, suffer with them wonder with them, pray with them, experience miracles with them, and become reconciled to die with them if necessary.

I wonder if some of our so-called trials with wayward children, poor health, or financial reverses may be to help us feel things we otherwise might not be able to feel.  I am confident that we can best understand and help people when we have felt the way they have felt.

If you follow the direction of the Spirit and do what is right, you turn the responsibility over to the Spirit - and it gives life.

Unity is peace and lack of unity is pain.  If you have experienced the peace that comes from unity, it is always a goal you seek to achieve.  You cannot compromise principle and achieve unity.  Peace and unity only come from living God's principles.  There is no other way.

There are those who, through years of experience and training and by virtue of special divine callings, can see further, better, and more clearly than we can.  They can and will save us in those situations where serious injury or death - both spiritual and physical - would be upon us before we ourselves could see clearly.

Substance is much more important than form, and the Spirit always measures substance and justifies action... Substance is still the essence of all true progress.

There is a principle of moral agency that must be kept intact.  Some learn faster or better than others, but all learn.  Eventually the realities of eternity become apparent.  Truth eventually prevails.  Light always overcomes darkness.

You develop love by loving, and you develop patience by being patient.

Only unity, obedience, love, helpfulness, hard work, patience, humility, and willingness to allow agency its full play, and then developing deep faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, make any real difference.

We must obey, endure faithfully in Christ, and always remember that for us the last chapter has not yet been written.

We tend to fuss so much for our lives, maybe because it's natural, or because we haven't fully repented, or because our lives are not yet full of love and compassion and charity, or maybe because we haven't unselfishly helped others sufficiently.  It may be that our faith in God is not as full as it should be, so we don't yet realize that when our lives are filled with these and other Christlike qualities, it doesn't really matter whether life continues here or there.

I have a feeling that everyone must endure testing or "persecution" sometime, someway in their life...and I guess it doesn't matter a lot when that persecution or test comes.  What does matter is that we remain faithful.

Anyone can be happy under any set of conditions, if he only makes up his mind to be.

If we could all keep our spiritual health and our physical health up to top peak by constant exercise, we would indeed be much happier.

The language of love is the most important language of all.  If one learns that language, he can speak to every heart.

It is interesting to me that Jesus was talking about how to love as the prelude to His greatest command or request to be perfect (see Matthew 5:48).

See also my first two postings of excerpts from this book at
John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 1.
John Groberg's "The Other Side of Heaven": Excerpts, Part 2

See also excerpts from John Groberg's sequel to this book, titled "The Fire of Faith":
Excerpts from John Groberg's "The Fire of Faith"

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale

Some years ago, the late Nobel prize-winning Dr. Albert Schweitzer was asked by a reporter, "Doctor, what's wrong with men today?" The great doctor was silent a moment, and then he said, "Men simply don't think!"

It's about this that I want to talk with you. We live today in a golden age. This is an era that humanity has looked forward to, dreamed of, and worked toward for thousands of years. We live in the richest era that ever existed on the face of the earth ... a land of abundant opportunity for everyone.

However, if you take 100 individuals who start even at the age of 25, do you have any idea what will happen to those men and women by the time they're 65? These 100 people believe they're going to be successful. They are eager toward life, there is a certain sparkle in their eye, an erectness to their carriage, and life seems like a pretty interesting adventure to them.

But by the time they're 65, only one will be rich, four will be financially independent, five will still be working, and 54 will be broke — depending on others for life's necessities.

Only five out of 100 make the grade! Why do so many fail? What has happened to the sparkle that was there when they were 25? What has become of the dreams, the hopes, the plans ... and why is there such a large disparity between what these people intended to do and what they actually accomplished?


First, we have to define success and here is the best definition I've ever been able to find: "Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal."

A success is the school teacher who is teaching because that's what he or she wants to do. A success is the entrepreneur who start his own company because that was his dream — that's what he wanted to do. A success is the salesperson who wants to become the best salesperson in his or her company and sets forth on the pursuit of that goal.

A success is anyone who is realizing a worthy predetermined ideal, because that's what he or she decided to do ... deliberately. But only one out of 20 does that! The rest are "failures."

Rollo May, the distinguished psychiatrist, wrote a wonderful book called Man's Search for Himself, and in this book he says: "The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice ... it is conformity." And there you have the reason for so many failures. Conformity — people acting like everyone else, without knowing why or where they are going.

We learn to read by the time we're seven. We learn to make a living by the time we're 30. Often by that time we're not only making a living, we're supporting a family. And yet by the time we're 65, we haven't learned how to become financially independent in the richest land that has ever been known. Why? We conform! Most of us are acting like the wrong percentage group — the 95 who don't succeed.


Have you ever wondered why so many people work so hard and honestly without ever achieving anything in particular, and why others don't seem to work hard, yet seem to get everything? They seem to have the "magic touch." You've heard people say, "Everything he touches turns to gold." Have you ever noticed that a person who becomes successful tends to continue to become more successful? And, on the other hand, have you noticed how someone who's a failure tends to continue to fail?

The difference is goals. People with goals succeed because they know where they're going. It's that simple. Failures, on the other hand, believe that their lives are shaped by circumstances ... by things that happen to them ... by exterior forces.

Think of a ship with the complete voyage mapped out and planned. The captain and crew know exactly where the ship is going and how long it will take — it has a definite goal. And 9,999 times out of 10,000, it will get there.

Now let's take another ship — just like the first — only let's not put a crew on it, or a captain at the helm. Let's give it no aiming point, no goal, and no destination. We just start the engines and let it go. I think you'll agree that if it gets out of the harbor at all, it will either sink or wind up on some deserted beach — a derelict. It can't go anyplace because it has no destination and no guidance.

It's the same with a human being. However, the human race is fixed, not to prevent the strong from winning, but to prevent the weak from losing. Society today can be likened to a convoy in time of war. The entire society is slowed down to protect its weakest link, just as the naval convoy has to go at the speed that will permit its slowest vessel to remain in formation.

That's why it's so easy to make a living today. It takes no particular brains or talent to make a living and support a family today. We have a plateau of so-called "security." So, to succeed, all we must do is decide how high above this plateau we want to aim.

Throughout history, the great wise men and teachers, philosophers, and prophets have disagreed with one another on many different things. It is only on this one point that they are in complete and unanimous agreement — the key to success and the key to failure is this:


This is The Strangest Secret! Now, why do I say it's strange, and why do I call it a secret? Actually, it isn't a secret at all. It was first promulgated by some of the earliest wise men, and it appears again and again throughout the Bible. But very few people have learned it or understand it. That's why it's strange, and why for some equally strange reason it virtually remains a secret.

Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor, said: "A man's life is what his thoughts make of it."

Disraeli said this: "Everything comes if a man will only wait ... a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its fulfillment."

William James said: "We need only in cold blood act as if the thing in question were real, and it will become infallibly real by growing into such a connection with our life that it will become real. It will become so knit with habit and emotion that our interests in it will be those which characterize belief." He continues, " ... only you must, then, really wish these things, and wish them exclusively, and not wish at the same time a hundred other incompatible things just as strongly."

My old friend Dr. Norman Vincent Peale put it this way: "If you think in negative terms, you will get negative results. If you think in positive terms, you will achieve positive results." George Bernard Shaw said: "People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don't believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, make them."

Well, it's pretty apparent, isn't it? We become what we think about. A person who is thinking about a concrete and worthwhile goal is going to reach it, because that's what he's thinking about. Conversely, the person who has no goal, who doesn't know where he's going, and whose thoughts must therefore be thoughts of confusion, anxiety, fear, and worry will thereby create a life of frustration, fear, anxiety and worry. And if he thinks about nothing ... he becomes nothing.


The human mind is much like a farmer's land. The land gives the farmer a choice. He may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn't care what is planted. It's up to the farmer to make the decision. The mind, like the land, will return what you plant, but it doesn't care what you plant. If the farmer plants too seeds — one a seed of corn, the other nightshade, a deadly poison, waters and takes care of the land, what will happen?

Remember, the land doesn't care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants — one corn, one poison as it's written in the Bible, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap."

The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn't care what we plant ... success ... or failure. A concrete, worthwhile goal ... or confusion, misunderstanding, fear, anxiety, and so on. But what we plant it must return to us.

The problem is that our mind comes as standard equipment at birth. It's free. And things that are given to us for nothing, we place little value on. Things that we pay money for, we value.

The paradox is that exactly the reverse is true. Everything that's really worthwhile in life came to us free — our minds, our souls, our bodies, our hopes, our dreams, our ambitions, our intelligence, our love of family and children and friends and country. All these priceless possessions are free.

But the things that cost us money are actually very cheap and can be replaced at any time. A good man can be completely wiped out and make another fortune. He can do that several times. Even if our home burns down, we can rebuild it. But the things we got for nothing, we can never replace.

Our mind can do any kind of job we assign to it, but generally speaking, we use it for little jobs instead of big ones. So decide now. What is it you want? Plant your goal in your mind. It's the most important decision you'll ever make in your entire life.

Do you want to excel at your particular job? Do you want to go places in your company ... in your community? Do you want to get rich? All you have got to do is plant that seed in your mind, care for it, work steadily toward your goal, and it will become a reality.

It not only will, there's no way that it cannot. You see, that's a law — like the laws of Sir Isaac Newton, the laws of gravity. If you get on top of a building and jump off, you'll always go down — you'll never go up.

And it's the same with all the other laws of nature. They always work. They're inflexible. Think about your goal in a relaxed, positive way. Picture yourself in your mind's eye as having already achieved this goal. See yourself doing the things you will be doing when you have reached your goal.

Every one of us is the sum total of our own thoughts. We are where we are because that's exactly where we really want or feel we deserve to be — whether we'll admit that or not. Each of us must live off the fruit of our thoughts in the future, because what you think today and tomorrow — next month and next year — will mold your life and determine your future. You're guided by your mind.

I remember one time I was driving through eastern Arizona and I saw one of those giant earthmoving machines roaring along the road with what looked like 30 tons of dirt in it — a tremendous, incredible machine — and there was a little man perched way up on top with the wheel in his hands, guiding it. As I drove along I was struck by the similarity of that machine to the human mind.

Just suppose you're sitting at the controls of such a vast source of energy. Are you going to sit back and fold your arms and let it run itself into a ditch? Or are you going to keep both hands firmly on the wheel and control and direct this power to a specific, worthwhile purpose? It's up to you. You're in the driver's seat.

You see, the very law that gives us success is a double-edged sword. We must control our thinking. The same rule that can lead people to lives of success, wealth, happiness, and all the things they ever dreamed of — that very same law can lead them into the gutter. It's all in how they use it ... for good or for bad. That is The Strangest Secret!

Do what the experts since the dawn of recorded history have told us to do: pay the price, by becoming the person you want to become. It's not nearly as difficult as living unsuccessfully.

The moment you decide on a goal to work toward, you're immediately a successful person — you are then in that rare group of people who know where they're going. Out of every hundred people, you belong to the top five. Don't concern yourself too much with how you are going to achieve your goal — leave that completely to a power greater than yourself. All you have to do is know where you're going. The answers will come to you of their own accord, and at the right time.

Start today. You have nothing to lose — but you have your whole life to win.

- Earl Nightingale