The secret is beginning

“A beginning is a cause, and as such it must be followed by an effect, or a train of effects, and the effect will always be of the same nature as the cause. The nature of an initial impulse will always determine the body of its results. A beginning also presupposes an ending, a consummation, achievement, or goal.” – Byways of Blessedness

Just like me, you’ve probably heard it a million times — the first key to all success is getting started…taking the first step. James Allen gives us even more reason in the verse above when he explains that getting started on a goal or objective unlocks what Brian Tracy calls the “Ultimate Law” — The Law of Cause and Effect.

In my own experience I have always found that even the tiniest of first steps is likely to cause an effect that leads me to take another step. I know intellectually that one of the big “secrets” to achieving just about anything I want is simply to take the first step. It’s been successful too many times in my life.

So what keeps me from taking the first step EVERY time? That’s a question I’ve pondered for a long time.

I think I’ve found the answer from both Allen and Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich. Hill said that desire is the beginning of all achievement. What he described as a “white-hot” desire. Allen wrote that “belief always precedes action.”

So when I can’t seem to get started on something I want to do, I take a look at my desire and my belief. It’s likely that one or both of those two is holding me back. I then go to work on intensifying my desire and strengthening my belief until I can take the first step toward my goal.

And then again, sometimes I’ve found the best thing to do is to use another enduring principle — the “sink or swim” principle. It’s amazing how strong my desire and belief can get when I just throw myself into the water.

The most important advice is also something you’ve already heard a million times — stop thinking about it and just do it! As Georges Bernanos wrote, “A thought which does not result in an action is nothing much, and an action which does not proceed from a thought is nothing at all.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Be not anxious

“No person can be confronted with a difficulty which he has not the strength to meet and subdue…Every difficulty can be overcome if rightly dealt with; anxiety is, therefore, unnecessary. The task which cannot be overcome ceases to be a difficulty and becomes an impossibility…and there is only one way of dealing with an impossibility – namely to submit to it.” – Byways of Blessedness

Most people who read these eMeditations probably think that I write them for others. The truth is, I write them for me 🙂 I need them as much or more than the folks I write for.

Several days ago when I started this I was confronted with a difficulty that I allowed to fill me with a great deal of anxiety. It’s not a new difficulty or even a totally unexpected one. But I was faced with a decision that will have long-term ramifications. One of those kind of decisions that we’d rather not make – one of those decisions that makes you want to pull the covers up over your head in the morning.

James Allen’s words are so incredibly penetrating on this subject because he’s basically saying that there’s no problem that we should be anxious about. We can either solve it or it’s impossible to solve. Kind of reminds you of the Serenity Prayer doesn’t it? “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

I once heard Rita Davenport give some great advice on handling most of the problems in our life: “If money can fix it, it’s not a problem.” Well that’s great, you say, but I don’t have the money to fix it, so I’ve got a problem. Wrong thinking.

Because the truth is you’re only one idea away from obtaining whatever amount of money you might need. So instead of focusing on the money you don’t have (which will almost surely result in you attracting more lack into your life), focus on ideas, ideas, ideas. As Bob Proctor says, “you’re either living in the problem or you’re living in the solution.” So start living in the solution.

There’s also another great reason not to be anxious about the difficulty you’re facing today – it contains a lesson. And once you master it, you will be much more stronger and wiser. My long-time hero, Emmet Fox, wrote, “It is the Law that any difficulties that can come to you at any time, no matter what they are, must be exactly what you need most at the moment, to enable you to take the next step forward by overcoming them. The only real misfortune, the only real tragedy, comes when we suffer without learning the lesson.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

There are always two sides

“Your difficulty is not contained, primarily, in the situation which gave rise to it, but in the mental state with which you regard that situation and which you bring to bear upon it.” – Byways of Blessedness

It is one of the most difficult lessons to accept, understand and learn.

Circumstances are not negative or positive, circumstances are neutral. It is our thinking, our mental state, our perspective, that makes a circumstance positive or negative.

Bob Proctor does some of the best teaching on this subject, using a universal law he refers to as the Law of Polarity.

“Everything in the universe has its opposite. There would be no inside to a room without an outside. You have a right and left side to your body, a front and a back. Every up has a down and every down has an up. The Law of Polarity not only states that everything has an opposite — it is equal and opposite. If it was three feet from the floor up to the table, it would be three feet from the table down to the floor. If it is 150 miles from Manchester to London, by law it must be 150 miles from London to Manchester; it could not be any other way.

“If something you considered bad happens in your life, there has to be something good about it. If it was only a little bad, when you mentally work your way around to the other side, you will find it will only be a little good.” Using Bob’s example, when I find myself in trying circumstances I put the circumstance in the middle of a circle. I then mentally walk around the circumstance until I’m on the other side. Then I let my mind go to work examining things from that perspective. And I’m never disappointed at what I find.

During a tele-seminar I conducted with Randy Gage, he used a very good example of this. While the flat tire you have seems to be a negative circumstance to you, it’s a very positive circumstance for your local tire dealer. Looking even further it’s possible that while changing the tire the dealer discovers a much more serious problem that would have cost you a large sum of money if discovered later.

So it’s even more clear from Bob’s teaching that every circumstance can be viewed two ways. It’s the way we view a circumstance that determines it’s impact on our thinking and mental state. And we know from James Allen’s teaching that that determines the quality of life that we live.

No matter how bad the circumstance appears to be, taking another look, from another perspective, reveals to us the good. Or, as Napoleon Hill, author of the classic Think and Grow Rich, wrote, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or a greater benefit.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

It’s Never Too Late Part 3

Dorothy G. Hensley, age 89, is in the final months of her battle with congestive heart disease.

Dorothy did not complete high school and never believed she had the talent to be a writer but she has had a lifelong dream to be a published writer. Andshe has written all her life. Her daughter remembers her mother getting up very early in the morning so she could write at the kitchen table while the house was quiet.

When Dorothy was in her 40’s, she went to a junior college to learn to be a better writer, despite lack of support from her husband and ridicule from classmates 25 years her junior. Three years ago, at the urging of her daughter, Dorothy began taking a memoir-writing class. It was in those classes that her instructors and classmates acknowledged her as a talented writer, and she began to believe it. Dorothy has said of writing that she felt “almost overpowered with a passion as strong as hunger, as demanding as birth.”

Dorothy has written many stories about her family and experiences while growing up. Itwas her dream to see her passion of writing in print — to be recognized as a writer of promise before she dies.

She is currently in hospice care and recently realized her dream when her story below was published at, the largest website of it’s kind on the entire world wide web. Congratulations Dorothy! You have truly taught us that it’s never too late!

Six Months to Live–and Laugh
On the day a woman learns she has only a short time to live, she meets someone who shows her the humorous side.
By Dorothy G. Hensley

This is the day I learned that my life is coming to an end, and that’s all right. Eighty-eight years is more than most people get.

My daughter and I sat in Dr. Barbara’s office. “I have done everything I can for you,” she said, kindness in her voice. “Would you like me to contact hospice?” Surprised, I didn’t know how to react. The doctor was looking into my eyes, waiting for a sign of understanding. “They can take care of your needs, enabling you to stay home.” She paused, and then said, “Do you know about hospice?”

I said, “Yes. I had hospice when Mia’s dad died.” I was remembering the flurry of activity, almost eight years ago, when a registered nurse and two aides arrived at our home, along with a delivery of a hospital bed, bedside potty, a wheelchair, and a walker. In no time at all the bed was standing and made up in the living room, the potty was hidden behind a screen, the wheelchair was out of the line of traffic, and the walker was folded and leaned against a wall. Yes, I was acquainted with hospice.

Mia spoke, “Are you telling me my mother has six months to live?”

The doctor transferred her attention to Mia. “No. We don’t say that now.” She looked back at me, “You may live months or a year…” I sensed hesitation in her demeanor. I stood, ready to leave; I needed to go home and talk this over with God.

However, before I could go home, I had to keep an appointment made last week with a beautician, a stranger, since retirement had claimed the operator I was in the habit of using. Maybe the hair-do would give me a lift. Yet I felt a strong need to talk about what I thought of as my new status. Until I was better acquainted with it myself, I didn’t want to discuss the obvious change in our relationship with Mia; she needed time, too.

Back in the car an unfamiliar silence lay between us. By the time Mia stopped the car to let me out at the beauty shop, I knew what I was going to do. Suddenly I was glad I didn’t know the hairdresser.

Her name was Melody. After introductions, I was seated in an adjustable chair, leaned back against a sink, and felt water and shampoo fingered onto my scalp. Then, before I could change my mind, I said, “I’ve just been told that I’m going to die.” Her fingers stilled immediately. She said nothing for a moment, so I added, “I’ll have to call in hospice.” Then I sat quietly, waiting. When her fingers started working again, I felt the muscles in my neck become tense. What was she going to say?

“Hospice, huh? You’re telling me you’ve got six months to live?” I opened my mouth to speak but didn’t have time before she continued. “You can’t have six months. That’s mine. You can have three months or five or nine, but you can’t have six.”

For the second time that day, I was too surprised to speak. She finished rinsing my hair and pushed a knob on the chair that allowed me to sit up-and just kept talking. I began to laugh.

“I get lots of free lunches out of that six-month prognosis. My kids treat me great too. The other day my granddaughter said, ‘Don’t say that, Grandma. It might be bad luck.’ I said, ‘Well, someday it’s going to be true. Then won’t you be glad you were nice to me all those years?” I was laughing out loud now, and it felt wonderful

“I tell anybody who needs to know,” she added. “One day I parked in a hard-to-find-space, and a woman in a Mercedes stopped behind my car as I got out. She yelled at me, ‘I’ve been waiting to park there. I had to turn around first.’ The teenage boy sitting in the passenger seat looked embarrassed-as well he should. I told her, ‘You want this parking place? Okay. You can have it. I’ve got six months to live, so a parking place is the least of my worries. I’ll just get in my car and pull out. You can have it.’ The teenager said, ‘M-o-m-m-m?’ and the lady left without further chatter. It comes in handy, you know?” I continued to laugh.

Only God has the wisdom and the knowledge to choreograph that particular afternoon in my life, with all the right people in all the right places at the right time. As I got ready to go home, I faced the back of the shop where Melody was shampooing her next client and talking a mile a minute. Smiling, I said in my heart, “Thank you, God.”

On occasion, when I sense a dark mood hovering around, waiting to pounce, I think of Melody and laugh. Oh, I’m still going to die, but I won’t die in six months. I wouldn’t dare!

Helping Dorothy realize her dream to be published before she died is The Dream Foundation, the first national organization founded to bestow a final wish on adults. Dream spokesperson Eve Lechner wrote, “Our dreams focus on providing resolution, a sense of completion and fulfillment. We cannot provide a cure for our dreamers, but we can dramatically impact the quality of their fragile lives with the joy experienced from a dream come true.”

If you would like to contact Dorothy and let her know how her story touched you, please email .

We received this submission from the Dream Foundation, whose mission is to grant terminally ill adults one final wish.