All posts by Vic

It’s never too late

Feel too old…too broke…too tired…to chase your dream? Maybe you just need a role model.

Although he hadn’t made a movie in 36 years and had never really “acted” before, George Burns won wide acclaim and an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in The Sunshine Boys. It was his first Academy Award. He was 80-years-old.

Ocie Tune King had always wanted to complete her college degree after leaving school at the end of her junior year. She finally realized her dream in 1999, graduating from West Virginia University at the age of 94.

Golda Mier was 71 when she was elected Prime Minister of Israel — the first woman so elected. Ronald Reagan was the oldest person ever elected President of the U.S. at age 69.

Tim Frisby waited 20 years to fulfill a lifetime dream. He was a 39-year-old freshman on the 2004 varsity football team at the University of South Carolina.

Maxcy Filer was 61-years-old before he passed the California Bar Exam after failing 47 times over 25 years.

J.C. Penney lost his entire fortune at age 45 but bounced back to endow many charitable causes through his James C. Penney Foundation, which is still active today. He was still coming in to his office at age 95.

Harland Sanders was 62-years-old, with nothing more than his $105 social security check and a recipe for fried chicken, when he founded franchise giant Kentucky Fried Chicken.

At 47, Martina Navratilova became the oldest woman to ever win a match at Wimbledon. Proving that no matter which way the ball bounces…it’s never too late.

Look inside for the solution

“The circumstances which a person encounters with suffering are the result of his own mental inharmony. The circumstances which a person encounters with blessedness are the result of his own mental harmony.” — As A Man Thinketh

It’s amazing that when we are in dire straits the first place we look is always the last place we should look. And the last place we look is always the first place we should try.

Stop and think about it. If you’re like me, don’t you always look for the cause and the solution outside of yourself? When you start making changes to try and cure the problem, don’t you always try to change the things outside of yourself?

Go back and read the first line of James Allen’s wisdom again. The problem is our “own mental inharmony.” The problem is inside, not outside. And that’s the first place we always need to look.

Try this exercise we taught in the As A Man Thinketh Study and Act program: Identify one type of habitual thinking that you have. For instance, do you habitually think you won’t have enough money to go around…or….are you always thinking that you never have enough time to get all the things done you need to do. After you’ve identified the thinking pattern, take a 3×5 card and write out the OPPOSITE of your habitual thinking. For instance, “I am surrounded by abundance. I always have enough money and enough of everything I need.” Put the card in your purse or pocket. For the next week, be alert to every time you fall into the old, habitual thinking. Take out the card and read it — and, if possible, read it aloud with MEANING. Do it for a week and I promise you’ll be happy with the results.

William James, the great psychologist of the early 20th Century knew the solution is always to go inside: “There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man’s lack of faith in his true self.”

And that’s worth thinking about.

Lessons learned at the beach

The weather was gorgeous today at South Ponte Vedra Beach. As I walked along the water line I reflected on the difference between today and the blustery, rainy and cold day earlier this week. Between the two days were some good weather days and some bad weather days. But at South Ponte Vedra Beach this week, as at every other beach in the world, there was at least one constant: every day, good weather or bad weather, the tide rose. And every day, good weather or bad weather, the tide ebbed. Regardless of the weather, the tide moves on.

It occurred to me that I was witnessing several lessons for those days when there seems to be a lot of bad weather in my life. The first lesson is that I could not have judged today to be a gorgeous day unless I had something to compare it to. Hot would be impossible without cold. There could not be an up without a down, an inside without an outside. When you think about it, darkness actually makes daylight possible.

The second lesson is that, like the tide, I need to move on, certain in the knowledge that the bad weather will soon be replaced with a gorgeous, sunny day. The ancient writer of Ecclesiastes told us that there is a season for everything, and we know that the cold, dark days of Winter are always followed by the warm, bright days of Spring.

Count your blessings

“The poor man only descends into wretchedness when he regards his lot as a burden unjustly imposed.” — As A Man Thinketh

My friend, Steve Siebold, says that the fastest way to move from a “middle-class consciousness” to a “world-class consciousness” is through the use of the power of gratitude.

Now most of us have heard our entire lives about how important it is to “count your blessings.” I certainly have. But for most of my life I did just the opposite — I focused on the lack in my life. I know it won’t surprise you if I tell you that the more I focused on what I didn’t have, the more of the same was attracted into my life.

After I began to study the principles of James Allen, Napoleon Hill and the other great classic writers, I adopted a habit of opening and closing each day with a “gratitude period.” That period may last for just a few minutes and it has even lasted for hours. But the effect in my life has been extraordinary.

Back when I never expressed thankfulness for anything I had, I would pray fervently to my Creator, asking for all the things I thought I needed. At one point there was such great (perceived) lack in my life that we were evicted from our home and I lost the only automobile I had left.

Now that I try to focus on all of the things that I am thankful for, I NEVER pray for anything for myself (I still ask for blessings for others). Yet today, I enjoy incredible abundance and harmony in my life, and it seems to be growing at an increasing rate.

Orison Swett Marden, writing in the 100-year-old classic, How to Get What You Want said, “People who take life sadly, who see nothing “to rejoice and be glad” about, not only lose a tremendous amount of pleasure and real enjoyment, but they seriously cripple their ability and impair their success. They are not normal, and, therefore, can not reach their maximum of strength and efficiency.”

And that’s worth thinking about.