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Chapter 1 - Guidelines for a Healthy and Successful Life ______________________________________________________________________________

Always be Positive _________________________________________________________

How you think is everything. Always think positive and be positive. Trust us on this one, nothing is hopeless, nothing is impossible and that there are no boundaries for man. The power of the mind is God‟s greatest gift to mankind and the secret to unlocking that power lies in belief. Belief, we contend, is the “deus ex machine” or the magic elixir that can transform a mediocre individual into a first-class human being. Do you remember what our Lord said in the Bible? If we may paraphrase a little, He said, “If you have the belief of a mustard seed and you tell a mountain to move, that mountain will move.” Belief is magic. If you believe in yourself there‟s nothing you can't do. We are not just talking about education here, either. There‟s nothing in any aspect of life, which is beyond the scope of man. You have the power to do anything or be anything that you want to be…nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. Anyone can do amazing things in life no matter who you are or what your circumstance. You can become or do whatever you want if you put your mind to it. If you think you can, or you think you can‟t, you‟re right. There is a magic in believing. You are what you think you are and you become what you think you will become. We don‟t want to belabor this point, but it‟s just that simple…if you believe, you can go beyond what other people think your breaking point is. In fact, you can go beyond even what you may have thought was your breaking point...if you believe. Have you ever read the book, Anatomy of an Illness, by Norman Cousins? It‟s a fantastic book. If you haven‟t read it, you must. It will instill in you the belief that nothing is impossible. Here is the Reader‟s Digest version of what happened. Cousins had been diagnosed as having terminal cancer and was given only a few months to live. His doctors told him to go home and get his affairs in order because as they put it, “You are going to expire.” You know, check out, cash in, buy the farm. Instead of keeling over and dying, Cousins stood up and said, “To hell with you; I‟m not going to die. I refuse to die right now. I still have things to do. I‟m going to live.” And do you know what? He didn‟t die! In fact, twenty years after he was given his death sentence he is still the picture of health, enthusiasm and vigor. He just refused to die. Isn‟t that fantastic? As we said, nothing is impossible. Cousins is not the only person in the world who turned her life around. In fact, history is full of people who have done a 180 degree turn. And the majority of times the number one factor that turned things around was a change in the individual‟s self concept. Consider the following examples that were compiled by Jack Canfield of individuals who faced obstacles in life, but through belief and hard work became successful. Thomas Edison‟s teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. Edison went on to become one of the greatest inventors in the history of the world. Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn‟t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as, “Mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. Einstein went on to be considered one of the greatest minds in the history of the world. Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 in chemistry. He became one of the greatest medical researchers who ever walked the face of the earth. He developed vaccine for small pox, which saved millions of people from becoming physically disabled. Isaac Newton did very poorly in grade school. He went on to become one of the greatest physicists. The sculptor Rodin‟s father said, “I have an idiot for a son.” Described as the worst pupil in the school, Rodin failed three times to secure admittance to the school of art. His uncle called him uneducable. He went on to become one of the greatest artists. In 1952, Edmund Hillary attempted to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain then known…29,000 feet straight up. A few weeks after his failed attempt, he was asked to address a group in England. Hillary walked to the edge of the stage, made a fist and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I‟ll beat you the next time because you‟ve grown all you are going to


Chapter 1 - Guidelines for a Healthy and Successful Life ______________________________________________________________________________

grow…I‟m still growing!” On May 29, only one year later, Edmund Hillary succeeded in becoming the first man to climb Mount Everest. Hillary is now known as one of the greatest climbers in the history of the world. Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. She was born prematurely and her survival was doubtful. When she was four years old, she contracted double pneumonia and scarlet fever, which left her with a paralyzed left leg. At age 9, she removed the metal leg brace she had been dependent on and began to walk without it. By 13, she had developed a rhythmic walk, which doctors said was a miracle. That same year she decided to become a runner. She entered a race and came in last. For the next few years every race she entered, she came in last. Everyone told her to quit, but she kept on running. One day she actually won a race and another. From then on she won every race she entered. Eventually, this little girl, who was told she would never walk again, went on to win three Olympic gold medals. Wilma Rudolph went on to become one of the greatest female runners in the history of sport. An expert said of Vince Lombardi, “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.” Vince Lombardi is considered one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the sport. All of the aforementioned individuals have fought back from adversity and hopelessness to realize their dreams. It‟s exhilarating and inspiring. And that‟s just the tip, the very tip of the iceberg. It shouldn‟t surprise you then when we tell you that the most consistent finding in success related research is the relationship between self-confidence and success. Research has consistently shown that individuals who are confident think and act significantly different from individuals who lack confidence. Confident individuals, individuals who believe in themselves, not only love a challenge, they love a challenge that brings out the best in them…challenges that take them right to the limit. Individuals who are confident believe they can do anything and often do. They never quit; they constantly see themselves as winners…never losers. They focus totally on the positive. They expect miracles and consequently, they make miracles happen. They act positively, talk positively and never minimize their abilities. Individuals who think negatively generally fail, whereas individuals who think positively usually succeed. Really, it‟s that simple. What an individual thinks and/or believes is critical to his performance. Once you believe, really believe that you can be great; achieving your goals is just a short step away. Belief is the magic elixir that can transform mediocrity into excellence. Believing opens the doors for success. It sends power and energy soaring when you need it most. Consequently, there is no telling what heights you can reach. If you talk to people who have achieved success, you will find that they are individuals of vision. Their success was in their mind before it ever materialized in reality. Think about this, O.J. Simpson was only ten years old when he told Jim Brown, the greatest running back ever to play pro football, that one day he was going to break every record he had held. At the time Brown didn‟t know Simpson. He was just a skinny kid with a dream. Brown knows him now. George Herring was only seven years old when he told his parents that he was going to be the strongest man in the world. Cassius Clay was only eight years old when he told his mother he would one day become the heavyweight champion of the world. Neil Armstrong was 10 when he told his dad he was going to be a famous aviator. Robert Kennedy, when he was in grammar school told his classmates that one day he would be the President of the United States. And here‟s something that will really blow your mind. In 1985, while performing in small comedy clubs for minimum wage, Jim Carey wrote himself a check for 10 million dollars for services rendered and dated it 1995. And you know what? The day before Thanksgiving, 1995, Carey signed a movie contract for, you guessed it, 10 million dollars. Isn‟t that great? You know, it‟s interesting, but some of the greatest achievements in sports and life were performed by individuals who were too dumb to realize that what they did was impossible. Men with vision, men who believe, are the men who rule the world.


Chapter 1 - Guidelines for a Healthy and Successful Life ______________________________________________________________________________

Never stop learning ____________________________________________________________

The human mind is a miracle. It is limitless. No one has even guessed its potential. The powers of the brain are literally beyond human comprehension. Brain researchers estimate that even prodigies don‟t use more than a fraction of their brains‟ potential. "If man used the full potential of his brain,” says Dr. Stephan Berhard, a leading neurophysiologist, “he would most likely cross the parameters of mortality; he would become God-like.” Think about that. What a gift God has given us this mind of ours. Yet, we don‟t even use it. You know, we are the greatest country in the world, but we are by far one of the most uneducated countries in the world…which is really crazy because we have the greatest educational opportunities on earth. Our data banks are cram packed with the most advanced scientific information available to man and we have the technology to access that information in a moment‟s notice. We have everything in America, the best schools, the best libraries, the best learning carols, the best scientific equipment . . . the best of everything. In short, our educational opportunities are futuristic compared to most countries. And do you know what? Most Americans don‟t give a damn. They are worried more about who is going to win the Super Bowl than they are about educating their own children. That‟s sad, because intelligence is one of the most important aspects of being human. It gives us the capacity to participate in the ideas and feelings of others. This unique human characteristic permits us to move outside of ourselves and discover and comprehend the wonder and magic of others from within. It gives us the capacity for understanding, passion, drive, compassion, forgiveness, empathy, tenderness and love. When you are intelligent your entire life is enriched, as well as the lives of others who you touch. It‟s shameful, but we have very little regard for education in America. In fact, most Americans look at getting an education more as a hassle than an opportunity to grow and nurture as a human being. We have been teaching for close to three decades and we can honestly say that most students don‟t take their education seriously. We‟ve seen guys spend three hours in the gym or six hours in front of the television, but they won‟t spend fifteen minutes reading a book. When it comes to education, the accent is definitely on the wrong symbol. Heck, if we would spend a fraction of the time that we dedicate to sports to education we would be a country of prodigies. As it is, we are a country of simpletons. The truth is, most Americans just don‟t ∞ WELLNESS FOR LIFE ∞ __________________________________________________________________ read. The strange thing about this fact is that we spend so many years of our youth learning to read, Shocking News! but after we acquire the skill, we don‟t use it; we just don‟t read. Here is something that will probably Here is something that will probably shock you. Over the last shock you. The average college student after 20 years the average SAT scores have dropped almost 200 points. The graduation reads less then one book a year. Now, reading ability of college graduates is about that of a ninth grade level. that‟s the average college graduate. Most Americans The average college graduate learns approximately twenty-four new don‟t read a book from one decade to the next. And words a year, writes less than three pages a year, and reads less than one book a year. Isn‟t that incredible? Now, that‟s the average college here is something that will really blow your mind; graduate. Most American‟s don‟t read a book from one decade to the twenty percent of the American population is next. And here is something that will really blow your mind; twenty functionally illiterate. Worse yet, we are adding one percent of the American population is functionally illiterate. Worse yet, million illiterate teenagers each year to our already we are adding one million illiterate teenagers each year to our already shocking number of illiterates. Now, we know what shocking number of illiterates. you‟re thinking, “America has more college graduates then any country in the world.” Well,


Chapter 1 - Guidelines for a Healthy and Successful Life ______________________________________________________________________________

don‟t let that fool you, because degrees and titles mean absolutely nothing in America. Some of the dumbest people we have ever met have a Ph.D. behind their name and some of the smartest people we ever met don‟t even know what a Ph.D is. Anyone can get a Ph.D. Heck, we each got one. Don‟t be fooled by people with degrees. Look at a person‟s knowledge, not some piece of paper he‟s holding in his hand. Even Aristotle made the distinction between education and intelligence when he wrote, “Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them.” A degree is just a piece of paper. What‟s really important is your wisdom, not your title. In life you have to prove yourself. Do you really think I.B.M. cared if Bill Gates had a degree? Heck no! They were interested in his production. All they wanted was for him to “crank out” that software. The bottom line was, are you competent…can you produce? And that‟s the way it should be…competence based performance. That‟s the way it is in sports. Just because Carl Lewis shows up for a track meet you don‟t think all the other athletes are going to say, “Oh, Carl‟s here; give him the gold medal.” No way! They‟re going to make him prove he‟s the best every time he walks on the track. They could careless that he‟s a world champion. Of course, Lewis can prove his worth when he walks on the track; he‟s worked his whole life in order to develop his skills. He didn‟t stop training once he won the gold either. He forged on, because he knew that he would have to prove himself over and over again. Unfortunately, that‟s not the case with most Americans. It seems that as soon as they get out of school the quest for knowledge is over. This is a mistake of significant consequence. We live in such a fast-paced dynamic society that by just doing nothing we fall way behind. As mentioned, in life you have to prove yourself each and every day. You can‟t rest on your laurels. Once you think you have it made, you will reach a cumulative point, inertia will breed and before you know it you will be on the backslide. It‟s in man‟s best interest to never be totally dissatisfied but to be always unsatisfied. Leo Buscaglia says, “Education is a never ending pursuit and the truest measure of intelligence is a dedication to continue the process throughout life.” Let me read to you more of Buscaglia‟s thoughts: To place proper value on learning, we need to recognize a basic law of nature; That which does not grow dies . . .A life that is lived within fixed limits and travels only the well worn paths of habit and routine is diminished greatly by failing to recognize that we live in a constant state of change. That which does not grow, dies. He‟s right you know! We should always be reaching out, experimenting, learning and growing. The pursuit of wisdom is a life-long activity. Each day we should learn something new about the world and in so doing, we will never again be the same. You have to work long and hard if you want to really grow intellectually. It‟s not easy, but nothing worth having in life is easy to obtain. Like our Lord said, “We reap what we sow.” Every time you learn something new, you become something new, something greater, something grander. We are all we have. Buddha told us that trips outside of the body are worthless. Jesus said, “If you want to find life you have to look inside you.” Therefore, it is incumbent that we become all that we can be…the most wonderful, intelligent, loving human being possible. And then we will always survive. Malcolm X said something extremely poignant. He said, “They can chain my hands and feet, but they can‟t shackle my mind.” Intelligence can set you free. You can be enslaved by ignorance, but with intelligence you are truly limitless. You can direct history, shape your environment, mold your life…heck, you can make the impossible possible. Just sixty years ago the Wright Brothers were told repeatedly that if God had intended man to fly, he would have given him wings. Today we have men walking on the moon. Intelligence is power! AWESOME! The more knowledge you obtain, the more of a person you become, and the more you become, the more you can give to others. The more you have to offer people, the nearer you can get to them. That is the essence of life. Remember this too; the best way to predict your future is to create it.

Commit to Excellence

∞ WELLNESS FOR LIFE ∞ __________________________________________________________________

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Total Commitment. You have to have the self-discipline to do whatever it takes to excel. You have to be willing to push yourself to the very limit. Willing to do whatever it takes and willing to give everything you

We love the story about the famed violinist Fritz Kreisler. After he performed a magnificent concert a fan rushed up to him and gushed, “I‟d give my life to play as beautiful as you do.” Kreisler replied, “I did.”


Chapter 1 - Guidelines for a Healthy and Successful Life ______________________________________________________________________________

got. Willing to pay a price for what you want in life...the greater your commitment to excellence the greater your chance for success. Never bet against anyone who is committed to excellence, because 99 percent of the time you will lose. The worse individuals to compete against are the ones who are committed to excellence, the ones who are functionally autonomous. They are intrinsically driven. They could care less about extrinsic rewards like money or trophies. They compete for the sake of competing. They are driven from within. These type of guys are relentless…they never quit, they never give up. They are total committed to excellence. They will do whatever it takes to obtain greatness. Bobby Fisher, the greatest chess player of all time, is a prime example of the type of guy we are talking about. For all of his greatness, Bobby Fisher studied harder than any player who ever lived. He woke up every morning thinking about chess, he went to bed thinking about it and he dreamed about it. Why? Because it wasn‟t enough to be just great, he had to be the greatest…the best chess player who ever walked the face of the earth. He was intrinsically driven to be the very best of the best. Totally committed to excellence! Michael Jordan is another guy cut from this same fabric. Without question he was the greatest basketball player on earth, or anywhere else for that matter, but no one trained harder than Jordan. No one! Jordan couldn‟t stand mediocrity. He is totally driven to excel and he would do what ever it takes to obtain that goal. He never gives less then his very best. That‟s why he was the best. That„s why he is JORDAN! If you want to be the very best you can be, you have to be willing to push yourself to the very limit. You have to have the self-discipline to do whatever it takes to excel, be willing to pay a price for what you want in life. Do you remember what the great sixteenth-century Spanish conquistador Herman Cortes did when he would invade the shores of another country? He would immediately burn his own ships so that there was no retreat. He was completely committed to victory. They would either conquer there or die there. Going back home was not an option. That‟s commitment. When you can‟t do that, when you lose purpose in what you‟re doing, you‟re lost. Once you are committed to excellence, you can make real magic happen. An attitude that demands excellence brings about excellence. In reality, a positive attitude is the fundamental ingredient for success or failure in life. Without question, an individual‟s spirit can be the difference between being good or great. Attitude sets the stage for either success or failure. An attitude that is committed to excellence directs our minds and our minds direct us. Lou Halts says an interesting thing. He says, “Your talent determines what you can do, your motivation determines how much you are willing to do, your attitude determines how well you will do it.” When you are committed to excellence, when you have an attitude that screams out “NOTHING LESS THEN THE BEST”, then you are on the road to greatness.

Focus on the Moment _________________________________________________________________

Another important thing in achieving success is the ability to live in the moment. It is the capacity to focus all of your energies on the task you are performing. When you are totally focused, you can put yourself mentally and physically into whatever you are trying to accomplish. And once you are capable of doing that, you can make something extraordinary happen. When nothing exists except the task you are engaged in, that is when you can perform at a higher level of existence. Some athletes refer to this as being in “the zone”. In business and medicine it is referred to as “the white moment”. During this time, nothing seems beyond the boundaries of possibility. When that comes to pass, you become one with the activity you are performing. Each event is a single-minded focus. When you think about it, the only reality that there is in life is what is transpiring now. What is happening between us at this very moment in time. That is what is important. What has occurred moments before is irrelevant, as is what will happen in the moments to come. Only the immediate moment has significance, for it is only that moment that you can control. The past is important only because it has brought us to where we are today. We can‟t change the past, we can only learn from it, so why make it a focal point of our existence? The future has even less significance because it is only a figment of our imagination. We can‟t determine what the future will bring. No one can foretell the future. So why be concerned with the future? We need to be concerned with what we do have control of and that‟s the present. It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it and the only way you can do that is to live in the NOW. You have to embrace the present if you want to give birth to the future. John Lennon said an interesting thing. He said, “Life is what is happening while we are reminiscing about the past or contemplating the future.” Now is the only time


Chapter 1 - Guidelines for a Healthy and Successful Life ______________________________________________________________________________

we really have and it is the only time we have control over. Focusing means being totally in the here and now…in the present. When our minds drift to the past or into the future, we are not going to be very efficient in the present. We need to learn to increase our attention to relevant stimuli and divert our attention away from irrelevant stimuli. To sum up, we have to learn to engage in selective awareness. No matter how small the task, understand that it is important…nothing is insignificant. Perform every act as if nothing else in the world matters. This is an old Zen principle…you put your whole soul and being into every act that you perform. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a master at this type concentrated training when he was competing in bodybuilding. He would centralize all of his body‟s energy into the muscle he was training. Let me read to you what Schwarzenegger says about focusing on the moment and/ or the task at hand. He says: When I trained the most important thing was that my mind was always in touch with my body. That not only helped my training it was like meditating. I could get into myself. I locked my mind into the muscle during training, as if I transplanted my mind into the tissue itself I become one with the weights. Nothing else in the world mattered to me… The great athletes have all discovered through experience that the ability to fuse mind and body into each and every task is extremely important in reaching a peak performance. When your mind becomes totally focused on a task, all doubt and uncertainty is pushed aside. In a nutshell, you cease to experience a body that is inhibited by mental or physical distractions. The mind becomes one with the task at hand. The power that can be derived from such intimate cooperation between mind and moment is absolutely extraordinary. Like we said, when you get to this point, you can make magic. Of course this principle can be applied to every endeavor in life. And it should be if you want to be successful in life. No matter what you are doing, whether it is reading, lifting weights, writing, listening to music, watching television, or eating, strive to completely immerse yourself into the activity. No matter how trivial the task you are engaging in, give it your full undivided attention. You will find that all activities, the important as well as the unimportant, will assume a new dimension of reality because they have your full attention. Obviously, staying totally focused on the task at hand is a significant mental edge, a skill if you will, that can help you transcend your performance in every aspect of your life. Such control does not come easy, nor can it be learned through a haphazard effort. It takes time and disciple, but it can be learned. Once it is obtained though, you can become immersed into each event that you encounter. Each moment will be infused with importance and necessity. When you reach that point you can go beyond what even you think is possible.


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