Collection of the best books for children and Youth - Ebooks About Children & Youth Free Download [.PDF], [.EPUB]

Collection of the best books for children and Youth - Ebooks About Children & Youth Free Download [.PDF], [.EPUB]

(Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere. Information that one learns will continue to be of help or benefit throughout one's life.....)

Collection Of The Best Books For Children And Youth, You Can Download It For Free To Read Anywhere - Ebooks About Children & Youth Free Download [.PDF], [.EPUB]

Get on your deathbed

A number of years ago when I was working with psychotherapist Devers Branden, she put me through her "deathbed" exercise.
I was asked to clearly imagine myself lying on my own deathbed, and to fully realize the feelings connected with dying and saying good-bye.
Then she asked me to mentally invite the people in my life who were important to me to visit my bedside, one at a time. As I visualized each friend and relative coming in to visit me, I had to speak to them out loud. I had to say to them what I wanted them to know as I was dying. As I spoke to each person, I could feel my voice breaking. Somehow I couldn't help breaking down. My eyes were filled with tears. I experienced such a sense of loss. It was not my own life I was mourning; it was the love I was losing. To be more exact, it was a communication of love that had never been there.
During this difficult exercise, I really got to see how much I'd left out of my life. How many wonderful feelings I had about my children, for example, that I'd never explicitly expressed.
At the end of the exercise, I was an emotional mess. I had rarely cried that hard in my life. But when those emotions cleared, a wonderful thing happened. I was clear. I knew what was really important, and who really mattered to me. I understood for the first time what George Patton meant when he said, "Death can be more exciting than life." From that day on I vowed not to leave anything to chance. I made up my mind never to leave anything unsaid. I wanted to live as if I might die any moment. The entire experience altered the way I've related to people ever since. And the great point of the exercise wasn't lost on me: We don't have to wait until we're actually near death to receive these benefits of being mortal. We can create the experience anytime we want.
A few years later when my mother lay dying in a hospital in Tucson, I rushed to her side to hold her hand and repeat to her all the love and gratitude I felt for who she had been for me. When she finally died, my grieving was very intense, but very short. In a matter of days I felt that everything great about my mother had entered into me and would live there as a loving spirit forever.
A year and a half before my father's death, I began to send him letters and poems about his contribution to my life. He lived his last months and died in the grip of chronic illness, so communicating and getting through to him in person wasn't always easy. But I always felt good that he had those letters and poems to read. Once he called me after I'd sent him a Father's Day poem, and he said, "Hey, I guess I wasn't such a bad father after all."
Poet William Blake warned us about keeping our thoughts locked up until we die. "When thought is closed in caves," he wrote, "then love will show its roots in deepest hell." Pretending you aren't going to die is detrimental to your enjoyment of life. It is detrimental in the same way that it would be detrimental for a basketball player to pretend there was no end to the game he was playing. That player would reduce his intensity, adopt a lazy playing style, and, of course, end up not having any fun at all. Without an end, there is no game. Without being conscious of death, you can't be fully aware of the gift of life.
Yet many of us (including myself) keep pretending that our life's game will have no end. We keep planning to do great things some day when we feel like it. We assign our goals and dreams to that imaginary island in the sea that Denis Waitley calls "Someday Isle." We find ourselves saying, "Someday I'll do this," and "Someday I'll do that."
Confronting our own death doesn't have to wait until we run out of life. In fact, being able to vividly imagine our last hours on our deathbed creates a paradoxical sensation: the feeling of being born all over again—the first step to fearless self-motivation. "People living deeply," wrote poet and diarist Anaïs Nin, "have no fear of death."
And as Bob Dylan has sung, "He who is not busy being born is busy dying."

Stay hungry

Arnold Schwarzenegger was not famous yet in 1976 when he and I had lunch together at the Doubletree Inn in Tucson, Arizona. Not one person in the restaurant recognized him.
He was in town publicizing the movie Stay Hungry, a box-office disappointment he had just made with Jeff Bridges and Sally Field. I was a sports columnist for the Tucson Citizen at the time, and my assignment was to spend a full day, one-on-one, with Arnold and write a feature story about him for our newspaper's Sunday magazine.
I, too, had no idea who he was, or who he was going to become. I agreed to spend the day with him because I had to—it was an assignment. And although I took to it with an uninspired attitude, it was one I'd never forget.
Perhaps the most memorable part of that day with Schwarzenegger occurred when we took an hour for lunch. I had my reporter's notebook out and was asking questions for the story while we ate. At one point I casually asked him, "Now that you have retired from bodybuilding, what are you going to do next?"
And with a voice as calm as if he were telling me about some mundane travel plans, he said, "I'm going to be the number-one box-office star in all of Hollywood."
Mind you, this was not the slim, aerobic Arnold we know today. This man was pumped up and huge. And so for my own physical sense of well-being, I tried to appear to find his goal reasonable.
I tried not to show my shock and amusement at his plan. After all, his first attempt at movies didn't promise much. And his Austrian accent and awkward monstrous build didn't suggest instant acceptance by movie audiences. I finally managed to match his calm demeanor, and I asked him just how he planned to become Hollywood's top star.
"It's the same process I used in bodybuilding," he explained. "What you do is create a vision of who you want to be, and then live into that picture as if it were already true."

It sounded ridiculously simple. Too simple to mean anything. But I wrote it down. And I never forgot it.
I'll never forget the moment when some entertainment TV show was saying that box office receipts from his second Terminator movie had made him the most popular box office draw in the world. Was he psychic? Or was there something to his formula?
Over the years I've used Arnold's idea of creating a vision as a motivational tool. I've also elaborated on it in my corporate training seminars. I invite people to notice that Arnold said that you create a vision. He did not say that you wait until you receive a vision. You create one. In other words, you make it up.
A major part of living a life of self-motivation is having something to wake up for in the morning—something that you are "up to" in life so that you will stay hungry.
The vision can be created right now—better now than later. You can always change it if you want, but don't live a moment longer without one. Watch what being hungry to live that vision does to your ability to motivate yourself.

Tell yourself a true lie

I remember when my then-12-year-old daughter Margery participated in a school poetry reading in which all her classmates had to write a "lie poem" about how great they were.
They were supposed to make up untruths about themselves that made them sound unbelievably wonderful. I realized as I listened to the poems that the children were doing an unintended version of what Arnold did to clarify the picture of his future. By "lying" to themselves they were creating a vision of who they wanted to be.
It's noteworthy, too, that public schools are so out of touch with the motivational sources of individual achievement and personal success that in order to invite children to express big visions for themselves they have to invite the children to "lie." (As it was said in the movie ET, "How do you explain school to a higher intelligence?")
Most of us are unable to see the truth of who we could be. My daughter's school developed an unintended solution to that difficulty: If it's hard for you to imagine the potential in yourself, then you might want to begin by expressing it as a fantasy, as did the children who wrote the poems. Think up some stories about who you would like to be. Your subconscious mind doesn't know you're fantasizing (it either receives pictures or doesn't).
Soon you will begin to create the necessary blueprint for stretching your accomplishments. Without a picture of your highest self, you can't live into that self. Fake it till you make it. The lie will become the truth.

Keep your eyes on the prize

Most of us never really focus. We constantly feel a kind of irritating psychic chaos because we keep trying to think of too many things at once. There's always too much up there on the screen.
There was an interesting motivational talk on this subject given by former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson to his football players before the 1993 Super Bowl:
"I told them that if I laid a two-by-four across the room, everybody there would walk across it and not fall, because our focus would be that we were going to walk that two-by-four, But if I put that same two-by-four 10 stories high between two buildings only a few would make it, because the focus would be on falling. Focus is everything. The team that is more focused today is the team that will win this game."

Johnson told his team not to be distracted by the crowd, the media, or the possibility of losing, but to focus on each play of the game itself just as if it were a good practice session.
The Cowboys won the game 52-17.
There's a point to that story that goes way beyond football. Most of us tend to lose our focus in life because we're perpetually worried about so
many negative possibilities. Rather than focusing on the two-by-four, we worry about all the ramifications of falling. Rather than focusing on our goals, we are distracted by our worries and fears.
But when you focus on what you want, it will come into your life. When you focus on being a happy and motivated person, that is who you will be.

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Learn to sweat in peace

The harder you are on yourself, the easier life is on you. Or, as they say in the Navy Seals, the more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in war.
My childhood friend Rett Nichols was the first to show me this principle in action. When we were playing Little League baseball, we were always troubled by how fast the pitchers threw the ball. We were in an especially good league, and the overgrown opposing pitchers, whose birth certificates we were always demanding to see, fired the ball in to us at alarming speeds during the games.

We began dreading going up to the plate to hit. It wasn't fun. Batting had become something we just tried to get through without embarrassing ourselves too much.
Then Rett got an idea.
"What if the pitches we faced in games were slower than the ones we face every day in practice?" Rett asked.
"That's just the problem," I said. "We don't know anybody who can pitch that fast to us. That's why, in the games, it's so hard. The ball looks like an aspirin pill coming in at 200 miles an hour."
"I know we don't know anyone who can throw a baseball that fast," said Rett. "But what if it wasn't a baseball?"
"I don't know what you mean," I said.
Just then Rett pulled from his pocket a little plastic golf ball with holes in it. The kind our dads used to hit in the backyard for golf practice. "Get a bat," Rett said.
I picked up a baseball bat and we walked out to the park near Rett's house. Rett went to the pitcher's mound but came in about three feet closer than usual. As I stood at the plate, he fired the little golf ball past me as I tried to swing at it.
"Ha ha!" Rett shouted. "That's faster than anybody you'll face in little league! Let's get going!"
We then took turns pitching to each other with this bizarre little ball humming in at incredible speeds. The little plastic ball was not only hilariously fast, but it curved and dropped more sharply than any little leaguer's pitch could do.
By the time Rett and I played our next league game, we were ready. The pitches looked like they were coming in slow motion. Big white balloons.

I hit the first and only home run I ever hit after one of Rett's sessions. It was off a left-hander whose pitch seemed to hang in the air forever before I creamed it.
The lesson Rett taught me was one I've never forgotten. Whenever I'm afraid of something coming up, I will find a way to do something that's even harder or scarier. Once I do the harder thing, the real thing becomes fun.

The great boxer Muhammad Ali used to use this principle in choosing his sparring partners. He'd make sure that the sparring partners he worked with before a fight were better than the boxer he was going up against in the real fight. They might not always be better all-around, but he found sparring partners who were each better in one certain way or another than his upcoming opponent. After facing them, he knew going into each fight that he had already fought those skills and won.
You can always "stage" a bigger battle than the one you have to face. If you have to make a presentation in front of someone who scares you, you can always rehearse it first in front of someone who scares you more. If you've got something hard to do and you're hesitant to do it, pick out something even harder and do that first.
Watch what it does to your motivation going into the "real" challenge.

Simplify your life

The great Green Bay Packer's football coach Vince Lombardi was once asked why his world championship team, which had so many multi- talented players, ran such a simple set of plays. "It's hard to be aggressive when you're confused," he said.

One of the benefits of creatively planning your life is that it allows you to simplify. You can weed out, delegate, and eliminate all activities that don't contribute to your projected goals.
Another effective way to simplify your life is to combine your tasks. Combining allows you to achieve two or more objectives at once.
For example, as I plan my day today, I notice that I need to shop for my family after work. That's a task I can't avoid because we're running out of everything. I also note that one of my goals is to finish reading my daughter Stephanie's book reports. I realize, too, that I've made a decision to spend more time doing things with all my kids, as I've tended lately to just come home and crash at the end of a long day.
An aggressive orientation to the day—making each day simpler and stronger than the day before—allows you to look at all of these tasks and small goals and ask yourself, "What can I combine?" (Creativity is really little more than making unexpected combinations, in music, architecture, anything, including your day.)

After some thought, I realize that I can combine shopping with doing something with my children. (That looks obvious and easy, but I can't count the times I mindlessly go shopping, or do things on my own just to get them done, and then run out of time to play with the kids.)
I also think a little further and remember that the grocery store where we shop has a little deli with tables in it. My kids love to make lists and go up and down the aisles themselves to fill the grocery cart, so I decide to read my daughter's book reports at the deli while they travel the aisles for food. They see where I'm sitting, and keep coming over to update me on what they are choosing. After an hour or so, three things have happened at once: 1) I've done something with the kids; 2) I've read through the book reports; and 3) the shopping has been completed. In her book, Brain Building, Marilyn Vos Savant recommends something similar to simplify life. She advises that we make a list of absolutely every small task that has to be done, say, over the weekend, and then do them all at once, in one exciting focused action. A manic blitz. In other words, fuse all small tasks together and make the doing of them one task so that the rest of the weekend is absolutely free to create as we wish.
Bob Koether, who I will talk about later as the president of Infincom, has the most simplified time management system I've ever seen in my life. His method is this: Do everything right on the spot—don't put anything unnecessarily into your future. Do it now, so that the future is always wide open. Watching him in action is always an experience.
I'll be sitting in his office and I'll mention the name of a person whose company I'd like to take my training to in the future.

"Will you make a note to get in touch with him and let him know I'll be calling?" I ask.
"Make a note?" he asks in horror.
The next thing I know, before I can say anything, Bob's wheeling in his chair and dialing the person on the phone. Within two minutes he's scheduled a meeting between the person and me and after he puts down the phone he says, "Okay, done! What's next?"
I tell him I've prepared the report he wanted on training for his service teams and I hand it to him.
"You can read it later and get back to me," I offer.
"Hold on a second," he says, already deeply absorbed in reading the report's content. After 10 minutes or so, during which time he's read much of what interests him aloud, the report has been digested, discussed, and filed.

It's a time management system like no other. What could you call it? Perhaps, Handle Everything Immediately. It keeps Bob's life simple. He is an aggressive and successful CEO, and, as Vince Lombardi said, "It's hard to be aggressive when you're confused."
Most people are reluctant to see themselves as being creative because they associate creativity with complexity. But creativity is simplicity. Michelangelo said that he could actually see his masterpiece, "The David," in the huge, rough rock he discovered in a marble quarry. His only job, he said, was to carve away what wasn't necessary and he would have his statue. Achieving simplicity in our cluttered and hectic lives is also an ongoing process of carving away what's not necessary. My most dramatic experience of the power of simplicity occurred in 1984 when I was hired to help write the television and radio advertisements for Jim Kolbe, a candidate for United States Congress running in Arizona's Fifth District. In that campaign, I saw firsthand how focus, purpose, and simplicity can work together to create a great result.

Based on prior political history, Kolbe had about a 3 percent chance of winning the election. His opponent was a popular incumbent congressman, during a time when incumbents were almost never defeated by challengers. In addition, Kolbe was a Republican in a largely Democratic district. And the final strike against him was that he had tried once before to defeat this same man, Jim McNulty, and had lost. The voters had already spoken on the issue.
Kolbe himself supplied the campaign with its sense of purpose. A tireless campaigner with unwavering principles, he emanated his sense of mission and we all drew energy from him.
Political consultant Joe Shumate, one of the shrewdest people I've ever worked with, kept us all focused with consistent campaign strategy. It was the job of the advertising and media work to keep it strong and simple.
Although our opponent ran nearly 15 different TV ads, each one about a different issue, we determined from the outset that we would stick to the same message throughout, from the first ad to the last. We basically ran the same ad over and over. We knew that although the district was largely Democratic, our polling showed that philosophically it was more conservative. Kolbe himself was conservative, so his views coincided with the voters' better than our opponent's did, although the voters weren't yet aware of it. By having each of our ads focused on our simple theme—who better represents you—we gained rapidly in the polls as election night neared.
The nightlong celebration of Jim Kolbe's upset victory brought a huge message home to me: The simpler you keep it, the stronger it gets.
Kolbe won a close victory that night, but he remains in Congress today, more than 10 years later, and his victory margins are now huge. He has never complicated his message, and he has kept his politics strong and simple, even when it looked unpopular to do so.
It's hard to stay motivated when you're confused. When you simplify your life, it gathers focus. The more you can focus your life, the more motivated it gets.

Look for the lost gold

When I am happy, I see the happiness in others. When I am compassionate, I see the compassion in other people. When I am full of energy and hope, I see opportunities all around me.
But when I am angry, I see other people as unnecessarily testy. When I am depressed, I notice that people's eyes look sad. When I am weary, I see the world as boring and unattractive.
Who I am is what I see!
If I drive into Phoenix and complain, "What a crowded, smog-ridden mess this place is!" I am really expressing what a crowded, smog-ridden mess I am at that moment. If I had been feeling motivated that day, and full of hope and happiness, I could just as easily have said, while driving into Phoenix, "Wow, what a thriving, energetic metropolis this is!" Again, I would have been describing my inner landscape, not Phoenix's. Our self-motivation suffers most from how we choose to see the circumstances in our lives. That's because we don't see things as they are, we see things as we are.
In every circumstance, we can look for the gold, or look for the filth.
And what we look for, we find. The best starting point for
self-motivation is in what we choose to look for in what we see around us. Do we see the opportunity everywhere?
"When I open my eyes in the morning," said Colin Wilson, "I am not confronted by the world, but by a million possible worlds."
It is always our choice. Which world do we want to see today? Opportunity is life's gold. It's all you need to be happy. It's the fertile field in which you grow as a person. And opportunities are like those subatomic quantum particles that come into existence only when they are seen by an observer. Your opportunities will multiply when you choose to see them.

Push all your own buttons

Have you ever peeked into the cockpit of a large airliner as you boarded a plane? It's an impressive display of buttons, levers, dials, and switches under one big windshield.
What if, as you were boarding, you overheard the pilot say to the co-pilot, "Joe, remind me, what does this set of buttons do?"
If I heard that, it would make it a rough flight for me. But most of us pilot our own lives that way, without much knowledge of the instruments. We don't take the time to learn where our own buttons are, or what they can do.

From now on, make it a personal commitment to notice everything that pushes your buttons. Make a note of everything that inspires you. That's your control panel. Those buttons operate your whole system of personal motivation.
Motivation doesn't have to be accidental. For example, you don't have to wait for hours until a certain song comes on the radio that picks up your spirits. You can control what songs you hear.
If there are certain songs that always lift you up, make a tape or CD of those songs and have it ready to play in your car. Go through all of your music and create a "greatest motivational hits" tape for yourself.

Use the movies, too.
How many times do you leave a movie feeling inspired and ready to take on the world? Whenever that happens, put the name of the movie in a special notebook that you might label "the right buttons." Six months to a year later, you can rent the movie and get the same inspired feeling. Most movies that inspire us are even better the second time around.

You have much more control over your environment than you realize. You can begin programming yourself consciously to be more and more focused and motivated. Get to know your control panel and learn how to push your own buttons. The more you know about how you operate, the easier it will be to motivate yourself.

Build a track record

It's not what we do that makes us tired—it's what we don't do. The tasks we don't complete cause the most fatigue.
I was giving a motivational seminar to a utility company recently, and during one of the breaks a small man who looked to be in his 60s came up to me.
"My problem," he said, "is that I never seem to finish anything. I'm always starting things—this project and that, but I never finish. I'm always off on to something else before anything is completed."
He then asked whether I could give him some affirmations that might alter his belief system. He correctly saw the problem as being one of belief. Because he did not believe he was a good finisher, he did not finish anything. So he wanted a magical word or phrase to repeat to himself that would brainwash him into being different.

"Do you think affirmations are what you need?" I asked him. "If you had to learn how to use a computer, could you do it by sitting on your bed and repeating the affirmations, 'I know how to use a computer. I am great at using computers. I am a wizard on a computer'?"
He admitted that affirmations would probably have no effect on his ability to use a computer.
"The best way to change your belief system is to change the truth about you," I said. "We believe the truth faster than we believe false affirmations. To believe that you are a good finisher, you must begin by building a track record of finished tasks." He followed my suggestions with great enthusiasm. He bought a notebook and at the top of the first page he wrote, "Things I've Finished." Each day, he made a point of setting small goals and finishing them. Whereas in the past he would be sweeping his front walk and leave it unfinished when the phone rang, now he'd let the phone ring so he could finish the job and record it in his notebook. The more things he wrote down, the more confident he became that he was truly becoming a finisher. And he had a notebook to prove it.

Consider how much more permanent his new belief was than if he had tried to do it with affirmations. He could have whispered to himself all night long, "I am a great finisher," but the right side of his brain would have known better. It would have said to him, "No you're not."
Stop worrying about what you think of yourself and start building a track record that proves that you can motivate yourself to do whatever you want to do.

Welcome the unexpected

Most people do not see themselves as being creative, but we all are. Most people say, "My sister's creative, she paints," or "My father's creative, he sings and writes music." We miss the point that we are all creative.
One of the reasons we don't see ourselves that way is that we normally associate being "creative" with being "original." But in reality, creativity has nothing to do with originality—it has everything to do with being unexpected.
You don't have to be original to be creative. In fact, it sometimes helps to realize that no one is original.

Even Mozart said that he never wrote an original melody in his life. His melodies were all recombinations of old folk melodies.
Look at Elvis Presley. People thought he was a true original when he first came upon the scene. But he wasn't. He was just the first white person to ever sing with enthusiasm. His versions of songs, however, were often direct copies from African-American rhythm and blues singers. Elvis acknowledged that his entire style was a combination of Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, and James Brown, as well as a variety of gospel singers.

Although Elvis wasn't original, he was creative. Because he was so unexpected.
If you believe you were created in the image of your Creator, then you must, therefore, be creative. Then, if you're willing to see yourself as creative, you can begin to cultivate it in everything you do. You can start coming up with all kinds of unexpected solutions to the challenges that life throws at you.

Find your master key

I used to have the feeling that everyone else in life had at one time or another been issued instruction books on how to make life work. And I, for some reason, wasn't there when they passed them out.
I felt a little like the Spanish poet Cesar Vallejo, who wrote, "Well, on the day I was born, God was sick."
Still struggling in my mid-30s with a pessimistic outlook and no sense of purpose, I voiced my frustration once to a friend of mine, Dr. Mike Killebrew, who recommended a book to me. Until that time, I didn't really believe that there could be a book that could tell you how to make your life work.

The name of the book was The Master Key to Riches by Napoleon Hill. It sat on my shelf for quite awhile. I didn't believe in motivational books or self-help. They were for weak and gullible fools. I was finally persuaded to read the book by the word riches in the title. Riches would be a welcome addition to my life. Riches were probably what I needed to make me happy and wipe out my troubles.
What the book actually did was a lot more than increase my earning capacity (although by practicing the principles in the book, my earnings doubled in less than a year). Napoleon Hill's advice ultimately sparked a fire in me that changed my entire life.

I soon acquired an ability that I would later realize was self-motivation. After reading that book, I read all of Napoleon Hill's books. I also began buying motivational audiobooks for listening to in my car and for playing by my bed as I went to sleep each night. Everything I had learned in school, in college, and from my family and friends was out the window. Without fully understanding it, I was engaging in the process of completely rebuilding my own thinking. I was, thought by thought, replacing the old cynical and passive orientation to life with a new optimistic and energetic outlook.
So, what is this master key to riches?
"The great master key to riches," said Hill, "is nothing more or less than the self-discipline necessary to help you take full and complete possession of your own mind. Remember, it is profoundly significant that the only thing over which you have complete control is your own mental attitude."
Taking complete possession of my own mind would be a lifelong adventure, but it was one that I was excited about beginning.

Maybe Hill's book will not be your own master key, but I promise you that you'll find an instruction book on how to make your life work if you keep looking. It might be The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Last Word in Power by Tracy Goss, Frankenstein's Castle by Colin Wilson, or The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem by Nathaniel Branden. All those books would have worked the primary transformation for me, and they have all taken me higher up the motivational ladder. Your own key might even come from the spiritual literature of your choice. You'll find it when you're ready to seek. It's out there waiting for you.

Put your library on wheels

One of the greatest opportunities for motivating yourself today lies in the way you use your drive time.
There is no longer any excuse for time in the car to be down time or frustrating or time that isn't motivating. With the huge variety of audiotapes and CDs now available, you can use your time on the road to educate and motivate yourself at the same time.
When we use our time in the car to simply listen to hip-hop or to curse traffic, we are undermining our own frame of mind. Moreover, by listening to tabloid-type "news" programs for too long a period of time, we actually get a distorted view of life. News programs today have one goal: to shock or sadden the listener. The most vulgar and horrific stories around the state and nation are searched for and found.
I experienced this firsthand when I worked for a daily newspaper. I saw how panicked the city desk got if there were no murders or rapes that day. I watched as they tore through the wire stories to see if a news item from another state could be gruesome enough to save the front page. If there's no drowning, they'll reluctantly go with a near-drowning. There is nothing wrong with this. It's not immoral or unethical. It feeds the public's hunger for bad news. It's exactly what people want, so, in a way, it is a service.

But it reaches its most damaging proportions when the average listener to a car radio believes that all this bad news is a true and fair reflection of what's happening in the world. It's not. It is deliberately selected to spice up the broadcast and keep people listening. It is designed to horrify, because horrified people are a riveted audience and advertisers like it that way.
The media have also found ways to extend the stories that are truly horrible, so that we don't hear them just once. If a plane goes down, we can listen all week long as investigators pick through the wreckage and family members weep before the microphones. A week later, playing the last words of the pilots found in the black box, on the air, extends the story further.
In the meantime, while we are glued to our news stations, air safety is better than ever before. Literally millions of planes are taking off and landing without incident. Deaths per passenger mile are decreasing every year as the technology for safe flight improves. But is that news?
No. And because my seminar schedule requires that I travel a lot by air, I can see up close what the so-called "news" has done to our psyches.
Simple turbulence in the air will cause my fellow passengers' eyes to enlarge and their hands to grip their armrests in terror. The negative programming of our minds has had a huge impact on us.
If we would be more selective with how we program our minds while we are driving, we could have some exciting breakthroughs in two important areas: knowledge and motivation. There are now hundreds of audiobook series on self-motivation, on how to use the Internet, on health, on goal setting, and on all the useful subjects that we need to think about if we're going to grow.
As Emerson once said, "We become what we think about all day long." (I first heard that sentence, years ago, while driving in my car listening to an Earl Nightingale audio program!) If we leave what we think about to chance, or to a tabloid radio station, then we lose a large measure of control over our own minds.

Many people today drive a great deal of the time. With motivational and educational audiobooks, it has been estimated that drivers can receive the equivalent of a full semester in college with three months' worth of driving. Most libraries have large sections devoted to audiobooks, and all the best and all the current audiobooks are now available on Internet bookseller's sites.
Are all motivational programs effective? No. Some might not move you at all. That's why it's good to read the customer reviews before buying an audio program over the Internet.
But there have been so many times when a great motivational audio played in my car has had a positive impact on my frame of mind and my ability to live and work with enthusiasm.
One moment stands out in my memory above all others, although there have been hundreds. I was driving in my car one day listening to Wayne Dyer's classic audio series, Choosing Your Own Greatness. At the end of a long, moving argument for not making our happiness dependent on some material object hanging out there in our future, Dyer said, "There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way."

That one thought eased itself into my mind at that moment and never left it. It is not an "original" thought, but Dyer's gentle presentation, so filled with serene joy and so effortlessly spoken, changed me in a way that no ancient volume of wisdom ever could have. That's one of the powers of the audiobook form of learning: It simulates an extremely intimate one-on-one experience.
Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, Barbara Sher, Tom Peters, Nathaniel Branden, Earl Nightingale, Alan Watts, and Anthony Robbins are just a few motivators whose tapes have changed my life.
You'll find your own favorites.
You don't have to find time to go read at the library. Forget the library. You are already driving in one.

Definitely plan your work

Some of us may think we're too depressed right now to start on a new course of personal motivation. Or we're too angry. Or we're too upset about certain problems.
But Napoleon Hill insisted that that's the perfect time to learn one of life's most unusual rules: "There is one unbeatable rule for the mastery of sorrows and disappointments, and that is the transmutation of those emotional frustrations through definitely planned work. It is a rule which has no equal."
Once we get the picture of who we want to be, "definitely planned work" is the next step on the path. Definitely planned work inspires the energy of purpose. Without it, we suffer from a weird kind of intention deficit disorder. We're short on intention. We don't know where we're going or what we're up to.

When I was a training instructor at a time-management company many years ago, we taught people in business how to maximize time spent on the job. The primary idea was this: One hour of planning saves three hours of execution.
However, most of us don't feel we have time for that hour of planning. We're too busy cleaning up yesterday's problems (that were caused by lack of planning). We don't yet see that planning would be the most productive hour we spend. Instead, we wander unconsciously into the workplace and react to crises. (Again, most of which result from a failure to plan.)
A carefully planned meeting can take a third of the time that an unplanned free-for-all takes. A carefully planned day can take a third of the time that an unplanned free-for-all day takes.

My friend Kirk Nelson manages a large sales staff at a major radio station. His success in life was moderate until he discovered the principle of definitely planned work. Now he spends two hours each weekend on his computer planning the week ahead.
"It's made all the difference in the world," he said. "Not only do I get three times the work done, but I feel so in control. The week feels like my week. The work feels like my work. My life feels like my life."
It is impossible to work with a definite sense of purpose and be depressed at the same time. Carefully planned work will motivate you to do more and worry less.

Bounce your thoughts

If you've ever coached or worked with kids who play basketball, you know that most of them have a tendency to dribble with only one hand—the one attached to their dominant arm.
When you notice a child doing this, you might call him aside and say, "Billy, you're dribbling with just the one hand every time, and the defender can easily defend you when you do that. Your options are cut off. You need to dribble with your other hand, too, so that he never knows which way you're going to go."
At this point Billy might say, "I can't." And you smile and say, "What do you mean you can't?"
And Billy then shows you that when he dribbles with his subdominant (weaker) hand and arm, the ball is all over the place. So, to his mind, he can't.
"Billy," you say. "It's not that you can't, it's just that you haven't."
Then you explain to Billy that his other hand can dribble just as well if he is willing to practice. It's just a matter of logging enough bounces. It's the simple formation of a habit. After enough practice dribbling with his other hand, Billy will learn you were right.
The same principle is true for reprogramming our own dominant habits of thinking. If our dominant thought habit is pessimistic, all we have to do is dribble with the other hand: Think optimistic thoughts more and more often until it feels natural.

If someone had asked me (before I started my journey to
self-motivation that began with Napoleon Hill) why I didn't try to be more goal oriented and optimistic, I would have said, "I can't. It's just not me. I wouldn't know how." But it would have been more accurate for me to just say, "I haven't."
Thinking is just like bouncing the basketball. On the one hand, I can think pessimistically and build that side of me up (it's just a matter of repeatedly bouncing those thoughts). On the other hand, I can think optimistically—one thought at a time—and build that habit up.
Self-motivation is all a matter of how much in control you want to be.

I read somewhere that we humans have up to 45,000 thoughts a day. I can't vouch for the accuracy of that figure, especially because I know some people who seem to have no more than nine or 10. However, if it is true that we have 45,000 thoughts, then you can see how patient we have to be about turning a pessimistic thought habit around.
The overall pattern won't change after just a few positive bounces of the brain. If you're a pessimist, your bio-computer has really been programmed heavily in that direction. But it doesn't take long before a new pattern can emerge. As a former pessimist myself, I can tell you it really happens, however slowly but surely. You do change. One thought at a time.
If you can bounce it one way, you can bounce it the other.

Light your lazy dynamite

Henry Ford used to point out to his colleagues that there wasn't any job that couldn't be handled if they were willing to break it down into little pieces.
And when you've broken a job down, remember to allow yourself some slow motion in beginning the first piece. Just take it slow and easy.
Because it isn't important how fast you are doing it. What's important is
that you are doing it.
Most of our hardest jobs never seem to get done. The mere thought of doing the whole job, at a high energy level, is frequently too off-putting to allow motivation to occur.
But a good way to ease yourself into that motivation is to act as if you were the laziest person on the planet. (It wasn't much of an act for me!) By accepting that you're going to do your task in a slow and lazy way, there is no anxiety or dread about getting it started. In fact, you can even have fun by entering into it as if you were in a slow-motion comedy, flowing into the work like a person made of water.

But the paradox is that the slower you start something, the faster you will be finished.
When you first think about doing something hard or overwhelming, you are most aware of how you don't want to do it at all. In other words, the mental picture you have of the activity, of doing it fast and furiously, is not a happy picture. So you think of ways to avoid doing the job altogether.
The thought of starting slowly is an easy thought. And doing it slowly allows you to actually start doing it. Therefore it gets finished.
Another thing that happens when you flow into a project slowly is that speed will often overtake you without your forcing it. Just as the natural rhythm inside you will get you in sync with what you are doing. You'll be surprised how soon your conscious mind stops forcing the action and your subconscious mind supplies you with easy energy.
So take your time. Start out lazy. Soon your tasks will be keeping the slow but persistent rhythm of that hypnotic song on Paul McCartney's Red Rose Speedway album, "Oh Lazy Dynamite."
The dynamite is living inside you. You don't have to be frenzied about setting it off. It lights just as well to a match struck slowly.

Choose the happy few

Politely walk away from friends who don't support the changes in your life.
There will be friends who don't. They will be jealous and afraid every time you make a change. They will see your new motivation as a condemnation of their own lack of it. In subtle ways, they will bring you back down to who you used to be. Beware of friends and family who do this. They know not what they do.
The people you spend time with will change your life in one way or another. If you associate with cynics, they'll pull you down with them. If you associate with people who support you in being happy and successful, you will have a head start on being happy and successful.

Throughout the day we have many choices regarding who we are going to be with and talk to. Don't just gravitate to the coffee machine and participate in the negative gossip because it's the only game in town. It will drain your energy and stifle your own optimism. We all know who lifts us up, and we all know who brings us down. It's okay to start being more careful about to whom we give our time.
In his inspiring book Spontaneous Healing, Andrew Weil recommends: "Make a list of friends and acquaintances in whose company you feel more alive, happier, more optimistic. Pick one whom you will spend some time with this week."

When you're in a conversation with a cynic, possibilities seem to have a way of disappearing. A mildly depressing sense of fatalism seems to take over the conversation. No new ideas and no innovative humor. "Cynics," observed President Calvin Coolidge, "do not create."
On the other hand, enthusiasm for life is contagious. And being in a conversation with an optimist always opens us up to see more and more of life's possibilities.

Kierkegaard once said, "If I were to wish for anything, I should not wish for wealth and power, but for the passionate sense of the potential, for the eye which, ever young and ardent, sees the possible. Pleasure disappoints, possibility never."

Learn to play a role

Your future is not determined by your personality. In fact, your personality is not even determined by your personality. There is no genetic code in you that determines who you will be. You are the thinker who determines who you will be. How you act is who you become.
Another way of seeing that might be contained in these related thoughts from Star Trek's Leonard Nimoy: "Spock had a big, big effect on me. I am so much more Spock-like today than when I first played the part in 1965 that you wouldn't recognize me. I'm not talking about appearance, but thought processes. Doing that character, I learned so much about rational logical thought that it reshaped my life."

You'll gather energy and inspiration by being the character you want to play.
I took an acting class a few years ago because I thought it would help me deal with my overwhelming stage fright. But I learned something much more valuable than how to relax in front of a crowd. I learned that my emotions were tools for me to use, not demonic forces. I learned that my emotions were mine to work with and change at will. Although I had read countless times that our own deliberate thoughts control our emotions, and that the feelings we have are all caused by what we think, I never trusted that concept as real, because it didn't always feel real.

To me, it felt more like emotion was an all-powerful thing that could overcome my thinking and ruin a good day (or a good relationship).
It took a great acting teacher, Judy Rollings, and my own long struggles with performing difficult scenes to show me that my emotions really could be under the complete control of my mind. I found out that I could motivate myself by thinking and acting like a motivated person, just as I could depress myself by thinking and acting like a depressed person. With practice, the fine line between acting and being disappeared.

We love great actors because it seems like they are the characters they play. Poor actors are those who can't "be" their part and therefore don't convince us of their character's reality. We hoot at those people. We call it bad acting.
Yet we don't realize that we ourselves miss the same opportunities in life when we can't "be" the person we want to be. It doesn't take authentic circumstances to be who you want to be. It just takes rehearsal.

Don't just do something...sit there

For a long time, all by yourself, sit quietly, absolutely alone. Completely relax. Don't allow the television or music to be on. Just be with yourself. Watch for what happens. Feel your sense of belonging to the silence.
Observe insights starting to appear. Observe your relationship with yourself starting to get better and softer and more comfortable.

Sitting quietly allows your true dream life to give you hints and flashes of motivation. In this information-rich, interactive, civilized life today, you are either living your dream or living someone else's. And unless you give your own dream the time and space it needs to formulate itself, you'll spend the better part of your life simply helping others make their dreams come true.
"All of man's troubles," said Blaise Pascal, "stem from his inability to sit alone, quietly, in a room for any length of time."

Notice that he did not say some of man's troubles, but all.
Sometimes, in my seminars on motivation, a person will ask me, "Why is it that I get my best ideas when I'm in the shower?"
I usually ask the person, "When else during your day are you alone with yourself, without any distractions?"
If the person is honest, the answer is never.
Great ideas come to us in the shower when it's the only time in the day when we're completely alone. No television, no movies, no traffic, no radio, no family, no talkative pets—nothing to distract our mind from conversing with itself.

"Thinking," said Plato, "is the soul talking to itself."
People worry they will die of boredom or fear if they are alone for any length of time. Other people have become so distraction-addicted that they would consider sitting alone by themselves like being in a sensory- deprivation tank.
The truth is that the only real motivation we ever experience is
self-motivation that comes from within. And being alone with ourselves will always give us motivating ideas if we stay with the process long enough.

The best way to truly understand the world is to remove yourself from it. Psychic entropy—the seesaw mood swing between boredom and anxiety—occurs when you allow yourself to become confused by massive input. By being perpetually busy, glued to your cell phone, out in the world all day with no time to reflect, you will guarantee yourself an eventual overwhelming sense of confusion.
The cure is simple and painless. The process is uncomplicated. "You do not need to leave your room," said Franz Kafka. "Remain
sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen. Simply wait. Do not even wait. Be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked. It has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet." In other words, don't just do something...sit there.

Use your brain chemicals

There are drugs that you can use to motivate yourself with and I'm not talking about amphetamine or crack (a deadly form of child's play).
Instead, you can get into those energizing chemicals in your system that get activated when you laugh...or sing...or dance...or run...or hug someone. When you're having fun, your body chemistry changes and you get new biochemical surges of motivation and energy.

And there isn't anything you do that can't be transformed into something interesting and uplifting. Victor Frankl has written startling accounts of his life in the Nazi concentration camps, and how some prisoners created new universes unto themselves inside their own minds. It might sound absurd, but truly imaginative people can access their inner chemical creativity in the loneliness of a prison cell.
Don't keep trying to go outside yourself searching for something that's fun. It's not out there anywhere. It's inside. The opportunity for fun is in your own energy system—your synergy of heart and mind. That's where you'll find it.

Pro football Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton recommends looking at any task you do as fun.
"If it's not fun," he says, "you're not doing it right."
People who get high on marijuana often find they can laugh at anything. The problem with them is that they think this kind of "fun" is inherent in the marijuana. It's not. The capacity for fun was already there inside of them. The marijuana just artificially opened them up to it. But the physical and psychological price paid for such a drugged opening is not worth the high. (I wish I didn't know this first hand, but I do.) The price drug users pay is this: Their self-esteem suffers because they didn't create the fun they had—they thought the drugs did it for them. So they keep shrinking, the more they use, into greater paranoia and self-disgust. Soon they're using the drug just to feel normal.
William Burroughs, a former drug addict and author of Naked Lunch, discovered something that was very interesting and bitterly amusing to him after finally recovering from his addictions.

"There isn't any feeling you can get on drugs," he said "that you can't get without drugs."
Make a commitment to yourself to find the natural highs you need to stay motivated. Start by finding out what it does to your mood and energy to laugh, to sing, to dance, to walk, to run, to hug someone, or to get something done.
Then support your experiments by telling yourself that you're not interested in doing anything that isn't fun. If you can't immediately see the fun in something, find a way to create it. Once you have made a task fun, you have solved the problem of self-motivation.

Leave high school forever

Most of us feel like we've been left stranded in high school forever. Like something happened there that we've never shaken off.
Before high school, in our earlier and more carefree childhoods, we were creative dreamers filled with a boundless sense of energy and wonder.
But in high school something got turned around. For the first time in our lives, we began fearing what other people were thinking of us. All of a sudden our mission in life became not to be embarrassed. We were afraid to look bad, and so we made it a point not to take risks.

I'll never forget something that happened to my friend, Richard Schwarze, in high school. (He is now a respected photographer, and I won't need to ask his permission to tell this story about him.) Richard and I were walking home from school one day and all of a sudden he stopped in his tracks, his face frozen with horror. I looked at him and asked what was wrong. I thought he was about to suffer some kind of seizure. He then pointed down at his pants and wordlessly showed me where his belt had missed a loop!
"I spent the whole day like this!" he finally said. It was impossible for him to measure what everybody thought of him as they passed him in the halls, perhaps seeing the belt had missed a loop. The damage to his reputation was probably beyond repair.
That was high school.
Today when I give my seminars on motivation, I love the periods when I take questions from the audience. But many times I can see the painfully adolescent looks of self-consciousness on people's faces when they ponder the risk of asking a question in front of the group.

This habit of worrying more about what others think of our thoughts than we do about our own thinking usually begins in high school, but it can last a lifetime.
It is time to be aware of what we're doing and, once again, leave high school. It's time to reach back to those pre-high-school days of innocent creativity and social fearlessness, and draw on that former self.
By the way, I finally came up with a way to deal with the moments of silence that fill a seminar room when I ask for questions. I go to the board and make five circles. Then I tell the audience that I used to say in my classes, "If there are no questions at this point, we'll take a break." People always want to take a break, so there wasn't much incentive for asking questions. But questions are the most fun part of a seminar for me, so I came up with this game: After five questions—we take a break. Now I find people in the audience urging people around them to join in asking questions so we can take our break sooner.

Although it's an amusing artificial way to jump-start the dialogue I'm looking for, what it really does is take the pressure off. It takes the participants out of high school.
Most people don't realize how easily they can create the social fearlessness they want to have. Instead, they live like they are still teenagers, reacting to the imagined judgments of other people. They end up designing their lives based on what other people might be thinking about them. A life designed by a teenager! Would you want one?
But you can leave that mind-set behind. You can motivate yourself by yourself, without depending on the opinions of others. All it takes is a simple question. As Emerson asked, "Why should the way I feel depend on the thoughts in someone else's head?"

Learn to lose your cool

You can create a self that doesn't care that much about what people think. You can motivate yourself by leaving the painful self-consciousness of high school behind.
Because our tendency is to go so far in the timid, non-assertive direction, it might be a profitable over-correction to adopt these internal commands: Look bad. Take a risk. Lose face. Be yourself. Share yourself with someone. Open up. Be vulnerable. Be human. Leave your comfort zone. Get honest. Experience the fear. Do it anyway.
"Show me a guy who's afraid to look bad," said actor Rene Auberjonois, "and I'll show you a guy you can beat every time."

The first time that I ever spoke to author and psychotherapist Devers Branden it was over the telephone, and she agreed to work with me on building my own self-confidence and personal growth. It wasn't long into the phone conversation before she asked me about my voice.
"I am very interested in your voice," she said, with a tone of curiosity. Hoping she might be ready to give me a compliment I asked her to explain.
"Well," she said. "It's so lifeless. A real monotone. I wonder why that is."
Embarrassed, I had no explanation. This conversation took place long before I had become a professional speaker, and it was also long before I ever took any acting lessons. It was long before I learned to sing in my car, too. Yet I was completely unaware and very surprised that it seemed to her that I was coming across with a voice like someone out of Night of the Living Dead.

The truth was that during that period in my life, I was living scared. Things weren't going well for me financially, I had serious health problems in my family, and I had that mildly suicidal feeling that accompanies an increasing sense of powerlessness over one's problems. (I now think one way a lot of men hide their fears is by assuming a macho kind of dull indifference. I know now that's what I had done.

That a psychotherapist could hear it immediately in my voice was unnerving, though.)
Trying to understand why I covered fear with indifference, I remembered that back in my high school the "cool" guys were always the least enthusiastic guys. They spoke in monotones, emulating their heroes James Dean and Marlon Brando. Brando was the coolest of all. He was so indifferent and unenthusiastic you couldn't even understand him when he spoke.

One of the first homework assignments Devers Branden gave me was to rent the video Gone with the Wind and study how fearlessly Clark Gable revealed his female side. This sounded weird to me. Gable a female? I knew Gable was always considered a true "man's man" in all those old movies, so I couldn't understand what Devers was talking about, or how it would help me.
But when I watched the movie, it became strangely clear. Clark Gable allowed himself such a huge emotional range of expression, that I could actually identify scenes where he was revealing a distinctly female side to his character's personality. Did it make him less manly? No.
Curiously, it made him more real, and more compelling.

From that time on, I lost my desire to hide myself behind an indifferent monotonous person. I committed myself to get on the road to creating a self that included a wider range of expression, without a nervous preoccupation with coming off like a man's man.
I also started noticing how much we seem to love vulnerability in others but don't trust it in ourselves.
But we can learn to trust it!
Just a little at first. Then we can build that vulnerability until we're not afraid to open up into an ever-widening spectrum of self-revelation. By losing face, we connect to the real excitement of life. And what if I don't always come off as an indifferent man's man? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn.

Kill your television

My brother used to own a T-shirt store and one of the most popular shirts for sale said, "Kill Your Television." I bought that T-shirt with the picture of a TV being blown up. It still makes people nervous to look at it when I wear it today.
You can actually change your life by turning off your television. Maybe just one evening a week, to start with. What would happen if you stopped trying to find life in other people's shows and let your own life become the show you got hooked on?

Cutting down on television is sometimes terrifying to the electronically addicted, but don't be afraid. You can detox slowly. If you're watching too much television and you know it, you might find it useful to ask this one question: "Which side of the glass do I want to live on?"
When you are watching television you are watching other people do what they love doing for a living. Those people are on the smart side of the glass, because they are having fun, and you are passively watching them have fun. They are getting money, and you are not.

There's nothing wrong with occasionally watching other people do what they love doing. But the average household now does this for seven hours a day! Are they living on the side of the glass that will advance their lives? (Big advertisers hope not.)
Here's a good test for you to determine if television motivates you more than books do: Try to remember what you watched on television a month ago. Think hard. What effect are those shows having on the inspired side of your brain? Now think about the book that you read a month ago. Or even the e-zine you read last week. Which made a more valuable and lasting impression? Which form of entertainment better leads you in the direction of self-motivation?

Today the growing fascination with going online is an improvement over television, especially if you interact. Communicating inside thoughtful chat rooms and sending and receiving e-mail both grow the brain.
Television does the opposite.
Groucho Marx once said he found television very educational. "Every time someone turns it on," he said, "I go in the other room to read a book."

Break out of your soul cage

Our society encourages us to seek comfort. Most products and services advertised day and night are designed to make us more comfortable and less challenged.
And yet, only challenge causes growth. Only challenge will test our skills and make us better. Only challenge and the self-motivation to engage the challenge will transform us. Every challenge we face is an opportunity to create a more skillful self.

So it is up to you to constantly look for challenges to motivate yourself with. And it's up to you to notice when you're buried alive in a comfort zone. It's up to you to notice when you are spending your life, in the image of the poet William Olsen, like a flower "living under the wind."
Use your comfort zones to rest in, not to live in. Use them consciously to relax and restore your energy as you mentally prepare for your next challenge. But if you use comfort zones to live in forever, they become what rock singer Sting calls your "soul cages." Break free. Fly away.
Experience what the philosopher Fichte meant when he said, "Being free is nothing. Becoming free is heavenly."

Run your own plays

Design your own life's game plan. Let the game respond to you rather than the other way around. Be like Bill Walsh, the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. Everybody thought he was a kind of eccentric because of how extensively he planned his plays in advance of each game. Most coaches would wait to see how the game unfolded, then respond with plays that reacted to the other team. Not Bill Walsh.
Walsh would pace the sidelines with a big sheet of plays that his team was going to run, no matter what. He wanted the other team to respond to him.
Walsh won a lot of Super Bowls with his unorthodox proactive approach. But all he did was to act on the crucial difference between creating and reacting.

You can create your own plans in advance so that your life will respond to you. If you can hold the thought that at all times your life is either a creation or a reaction, you can continually remind yourself to be creating and planning. "Creation" and "reaction" have the same letters in them, exactly; they are anagrams. (Perhaps that's why people slip so easily out of one and into the other.)
Many of us can spend whole days reacting without being aware of it. We wake up reacting to news on the clock radio. Then we react to feelings in our body. Then we start reacting to our spouses or our children. Soon we get in the car and react to traffic, honking the horn and using sign language. Then, at work, we see an e-mail on our computer screen and react to that. We react to stupid customers and insensitive bosses who are intruding on our day. During a break, we react to a waitress at lunch.
This habit of reacting can go on all day, every day. We become goalies in the hockey game of life, with pucks flying at us incessantly.
It's time to play another position. It's time to fly across the ice with the puck on our own stick ready to shoot at another goal.

Robert Fritz, who has written some of the most profound and useful books on the differences between creating and reacting, says, "When your life itself becomes the subject matter of the creative process, a very different experience of life opens to you—one in which you are involved with life at its very essence."
Plan your day the way Bill Walsh planned his football games. See the tasks ahead as plays you're going to run. You'll feel involved in your life at its very essence, because you'll be encouraging the world to respond to you. If you don't choose to do that, the life you get won't be an accident. As an old Jewish folk saying puts it, "A person who does not make a choice makes a choice."

Find your inner Einstein
The next time you see a picture of Albert Einstein, realize that that's actually you. See Albert Einstein and say, "there I am."
Every human has the capacity for some form of genius. You don't have to be good with math or physics to experience genius level in your thinking. To experience Einstein's creative level of thinking, all you have to do is habitually use your imagination.
This is a difficult recommendation for adults to follow, though, because adults have become accustomed to using their imaginations for only one thing: worrying. Adults visualize worst-case scenarios all day long. All their energy for visualization is channeled into colorful pictures of what they dread.

What they don't comprehend is that worry is a misuse of the imagination. The human imagination was designed for better things. People who use their imaginations to create with often achieve things that worriers never dream of achieving, even if the worriers possess much higher IQs. People who habitually access their imaginations are often hailed by their colleagues as "geniuses"—as if "genius" was a genetic characteristic. They would be better understood as people who are practiced at accessing their genius.
Recognition of the power of this genius in all of us prompted Napoleon to say, "Imagination rules the world."
As a child, you instinctively used your imagination as it was intended. You daydreamed and made stuff up. You were a daydream believer by day and in your right brain at night you sailed down a river of dreams.

If you go back into that state of self-confidence and dream again, you'll be pleasantly surprised at how many innovative and immediate solutions you come up with to your problems.
Einstein used to say, "Imagination is more important than knowledge." When I first heard he'd said that, I didn't know what he meant. I always thought additional knowledge was the answer to every difficult problem. I thought if I could just learn a few more important things, then I'd be okay. What I didn't realize was that the very thing I needed to learn was not knowledge, but skill. What I needed to learn was the skill of proactively using my imagination.

And once I'd learned that skill, the first task was to begin imagining the vision of who I wanted to be. Songwriter Fred Knipe once wrote a song about this. It was for the soundtrack of a video produced for teenagers about how to visualize themselves succeeding at what they wanted to do:
"That's you / in your wildest dreams / doing the wildest things / no one else can do. If you / just love and keep those dreams / the wildest dreams / you'll make yourself come true."
To make ourselves come true we need to develop the strength to dream. Dreaming, in its proactive sense, is strong work. It's the design stage of creating the future. It takes confidence and it takes courage. But the greatest thing about active dreaming is not in the eventual reaching of the goal—the greatest thing is what it does to the dreamer.
Forget the literal attainment of your dream for now. Focus on just going for it. By simply going for the dream, you make yourself come true.

Run toward your fear

The world's best-kept secret is that on the other side of your fear there is something safe and beneficial waiting for you. If you pass through even a thin curtain of fear you will increase the confidence you have in your ability to create your life.

General George Patton said, "Fear kills more people than death." Death kills us but once, and we usually don't even know it. But fear kills us over and over again, subtly at times and brutally at others. But if we keep trying to avoid our fears, they will chase us down like persistent dogs. The worst thing we can do is close our eyes and pretend they don't exist.
"Fear and pain," says psychologist Nathaniel Branden, "should be treated as signals not to close our eyes but to open them wider." By closing our eyes we end up in the darkest of comfort zones—buried alive.

Janis Joplin's biography, which chronicled her death from alcohol and drug abuse, was aptly titled Buried Alive. To Janis, as to so many similarly troubled people, alcohol provided an artificial and tragically temporary antidote to fear. It is no accident that in the old frontier days the nickname for whiskey was "false courage."
There was a time in my life, not too many years ago, when my greatest fear of all was public speaking. It didn't even help that fear of speaking in front of people was people's number one fear, even greater than the fear of death. This fact once caused comedian Jerry Seinfeld to point out that most people would rather be in the coffin than delivering the eulogy.
For me, it ran even deeper than that. As a child I could not give oral book reports. I'd plead with my teachers to let me off the hook. I would offer to do two, even three written book reports if I didn't have to do the oral one.
Yet as my life went on, I wanted to be a public speaker more than anything. My dream was to teach people everywhere to learn the ideas that lead to self-motivation, the ideas that I had learned. But how could I ever do this if stage fright left me frozen with fear?

Then one day as I was driving in Phoenix flipping through the radio stations looking for good music, I accidentally happened upon a religious station where a histrionic preacher was yelling, "Run toward your fear! Run right at it!" I hastened to change the station, but it was too late. Deep down I knew that I had just heard something I needed to hear. No matter what station I turned to, all I could hear was that madman's words: "Run toward your fear!"
The next day I still couldn't get it out of my mind, so I called a friend of mine who was an actress. I asked her to help me get into an acting class she had once told me about. I told her I thought I was ready to overcome my fear of performing in front of people.

Although I lived in a high state of anxiety the first weeks of that class, there was no other way around my fear. There was no real way to run from it any longer, because the more I ran, the more pervasive it got. I knew I had to turn around and run toward the fear or I would never pass through it.
Emerson once said, "The greater part of courage is having done it before," and that soon became true of my speaking in public. Fear of doing it can only be cured by doing it. And soon my confidence was built by doing it again and again.
The rush we get after running through the waterfall of fear is the most energizing feeling in the world. If you are ever in an undermotivated mood, find something you fear and do it—and watch what happens.

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