Your Greatest Power
By Donnie McKinney C 2005, 2006, 2007
There is one power we humans have that no other creature on earth can have. God gave animals instincts. He gave humans the greatest power of all - the power to choose. Adam and Eve were given the power to choose in the Garden of Eden. God said, "Obey me if you will." They chose not to obey Him. It's been downhill ever since!
This purpose of this first section is simply to help you understand that you really are in charge of your life. It's a paradigm shift in thinking. It's a whole new way of seeing things. Up until now, you have learned from other people and how they see life. Other people don't know crap. We all learn, subconsciously, from those around us. Sometimes that's good. Sometimes it's bad. When you consider the fact that only 5% of people are happy, successful and fulfilled in life, it's easy to see where most of our subconscious "training" comes from.
The only event in your life over which you have no choice is where you are born. Some people are lucky enough to be born into loving, encouraging, and enabling homes. Some are born into homes with parents who don't know how to express love, or are addicts and sometimes parents aren't even there. I think you'll agree that's a huge "non-choice" even in your life.
Then, during the first five years of your life, a time when you are totally dependent on those other people around you, is the time you develop your own feelings about yourself. You subconsciously "learn" whether you are O.K. or not. You subconscously "decide" whether you are pretty or ugly, smart or dumb, lovable or unlovable, creative or not creative, talented or not talented, athletic or not athletic. And, all those subconscious "decisions" are made without your knowledge. Scary, isn't it?
Family isn't the only group of "other people" around you when you're first brought into this world. Some of you, even though born into great loving families, still ecounter other humans who have a dramatic impact on your lives. Sometimes their impact is good. Sometimes it's not. The important concept to grasp right now is that whatever influences you had in your life, they were all totally by accident. You had no input and no control over the most important factors in your own life.
Do you want to be like other people? Do you want to live your whole life by accident? Or, do you want to decide how you want to live your life and then have a great time living? It's up to you. The hardest concept to comprehend is this simple principle:
Almost everything you think about yourself, your thought patterns, your reactions, your emotions, even your own self-concept, is fictitious and erroneous.
Let that soak in. What you think is real isn't always real. It feels real. It's not. Your whole life is a conglomeration of absorbed thought patterns and reactions that you picked up from those other people around you. You may even be depressed because you've learned to think your life is pointless. You may have a low opinion of yourself because you have reacted to and filed away comments from other people that were incorrect. Not understanding who the real you is can prevent you from really living.
In this course you will learn that, just because something is stored in your subconscious memory banks, it doesn't mean that it's true. As a matter of fact, almost all of it is false.
The purpose of this first section is simply to introduce you to the new and foreign thought that you can change everything in your life and make it the way you want it. That's a paradigm shift in thinking. A whole new set of parameters. So, try to keep an open mind and accept the possibility that what you're reading might be true. It is. I know that from experience. I also know that your greatest power is your power to choose. Use it to CHOOSE to rethink some things you think you know.
How can you use your greatest power? It's simple. You can choose how you will live life. Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. Yes, you choose to be in a good mood or a bad mood. The bottom line:
It's your choice how you live life.
Here are some simple ways to start choosing how you live.
Each morning wake up and say to yourself, "Self, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood, or you can choose to be in a bad mood." Choose to be in a good mood.
Each time something bad happens, you can choose to be a victim or choose to learn from it. Choose to learn from it.
Every time someone comes to you complaining, you can choose to accept his complaining or point out the positive side of life. Choose the positive side of life.
You can even choose to control your own emotions. Most people never understand that simple fact. Think about this example: Suppose somone tells your friend that you're stupid, but you don't know he said it. Did it make you angry that he said it? No. You don't even know he said it.
Now, suppose your friend tells you, "John said you are stupid." Would you feel angry now? Most people would. But, stop and think about this for a minute. The person saying you're stupid didn't make you angry. You didn't even know he said it. You made yourself angry when your friend told you about it.
Once you understand that you are in charge of your own emotions and reactions, you can consciously decide whether you want to be controlled by an autonomic response like anger. Instead of reacting with anger in this example, you can consciously stop and think about why the guy would say something like that in the first place. Was he having a bad day? Was he jealous of you or some reason? Is he the one who is really stupid? Was he trying to get even for something he thought you did to him? Was he trying to get between you and your friend and make your friend not like you?
There could be any number of reasons why the guy said you're stupid. It's likely that none of them relate to your intelligence. Once you learn to understand other people and what drives them, instead of reacting automatically, you can react to them in ways that don't create autonomic emotional reactions that cloud your judgment. You may, instead of automatically becoming angery, actually feel sorry for the guy. You may decide that he's lonely and needs a friend. You may realize that something you did provoked the seemingly pointless attack. Is so, you can choose to change your actions, take responsibility for your own life, instead of wasting time, energy and brain cells being angry at someone who is clueless.
You'll learn later where automatic responses like anger come from. For now, just realize that you can control your own emotions. You are in charge of your own life. It's that simple!
The biggest choice you will ever make is to take responsibility for your own life. You can choose to design your life the way you want it, instead of letting other people design it for you. You're going to learn how to find out what your natural talents are, how to set huge goals for your life and how to achieve them. You're going to learn what makes people truly happy in life. You’re going to learn how that all-important self-concept, your self-image, sets your limits in life. Then, you're going to learn how to change your own self-image to allow you to live life to the fullest.
Wisdom of Willie Wonka
So much time, so little to do. Wait. Reverse that . . . said Willie Wonka in the classic movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I probably watched it a half-dozen times with my daughters when they were young. I like Wonka's attitude.
He also said, And Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man that suddenly got everything he ever wanted. He lived happily ever after. We could all learn something about life from Willie, couldn't we?
Gene Wilder, who played Willie Wonka in the movie, became a philosopher in real life when his wife, Gilda Radnor, died of cancer. Life is very short, he said. You hear it, you know to say it. Everyone says, 'I know, I know,' but . . . if they knew they'd stop doing what's unimportant and do what is important. There's no time for anything else. And, it's sad to learn it when it's too late.
The only time you can really live is in the present moment.
When we're young, we say, "I can't wait until I get to high school." In high school, we think, "As soon as I get my driver's license, I can really start to do things." Then, "As soon as I get out of high school, I can go to college and really start learning." In college, we're thinking, "As soon as I get out of college, I can get a real job and start getting ahead in the world." When we're working we think, "When I retire I can really enjoy life."
One day we wake up, and we realize that we've missed life. We spent all of our time thinking about the future and missed the only time we can possibly live - in the present moment. During all the hours we spent thinking about the past or worrying about the future, we missed life. Art Linkletter understood this basic principle of life when he said, "Life is not a rehearsal. This is it!"
So, let's learn from Gene Wilder, "stop doing what's unimportant and start doing what is important." There really is no time for anything else. Do things with the people you love. Don't waste time playing games in relationships - be open and honest. Tell that girl or guy that you really like her or him and want to go out. Do things that help other people. Get rid of that attitude you've developed, and hug your mom. Tell her how much you love her. Do it while you can.
"but . . . if they knew they'd stop doing what's unimportant, and do what is important. There's no time for anything else. And, it's sad to learn it when it's too late."
It's your choice.
When you choose to live in the present moment you will allow yourself to create real moments in your life. If you stop for a minute and think back in your life, you will find that all your memories are based on real moments in your life. It is impossible to have real moments when you're daydreaming about the future or worrying about things that happened in the past. You can choose, right now, to live your life in the present moment and fill your life with real moments.
By Donnie McKinney c 2003, 2005
The Grinch wasn't anywhere around as my wife and I rationally decided NOT to put up a Christmas tree one year. Marcia had just decorated the whole house, and it was very "Christmasie." We thought back to the times we had spent so much time getting a tree, putting it up and decorating it. Then, we just had to take it all down and store the decorations until the next year. We laughed as we thought about how we always picked the coldest day of the year to be standing outside choosing a tree. We decided that we just didn't want to do a tree that year.
After a few days, we realized it just didn't feel right. The Christmas decorations didn't do the job by themselves. There seemed to be a hole in the picture. We said, almost simultaneously, "I want to get a Christmas tree." I said that I would get the tree, and call our daughters to invite them to a tree-decorating party.
The next evening, I was traipsing through the snow, on the coldest day of the year, dragging the big spruce into the house. My daughter and I circled the tree with lights. As we picked out ornaments to put on the tree, we reminisced about Christmases past. We put the familiar little green church over a light bulb just as I had done nearly fifty years earlier when I was a child. We took photos and we laughed, and we got the job done.
As I held my young granddaughter, Ashley, up to hang ornaments high on the tree, it suddenly dawned on me. "We're creating 'real moments'." I had held both our daughters up the same way as they hung ornaments twenty-five years before. Christmas trees aren't just about decorating for the season. They're all about creating "real moments" in our lives. The tree is a symbol that reminds us of those good times from the past, while we are creating new real moments with the ones we love.
When we're six feet under and pushing up daisies, we'll finally understand that the only thing that matters in this life is our relationships with other people and God.
Real moments are those times when we are living totally in the present moment, and are in commune with other people, nature or God. People who are happy have a lot of "real moments" in their lives. When you remember the past, all you remember are real moments. That's all life is.
You know, it wasn't nearly as much of a chore to put the Christmas decorations back in the attic this year. As I walked up and down the stairs with the seemingly endless number of boxes, I was thinking about the new batch of "real moments" we created this year. Creating "real moments" is just another way of saying we were really living, instead of missing out on life while doing stuff that doesn't really matter.
Do you find yourself getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of daily routine? Make it a point to do something with someone you love. Take a walk in the woods. Start your day with a prayer of thanksgiving. Create "real moments" in your life, while there's still time. That's all life is.
It's your choice.
Throughout the ages great men have said the same thing – you are what you think. Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 180-121) said, A man is what he thinks about all day long. Earl Nightingale summed up fifty years of studying success by saying, You become what you think about most of the time. The Bible says, As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. James Allen, writer, said, You will become as small as your controlling desire, as great as your dominant aspiration. What does this mean in real life?
It simply means that regardless of environment, family, physical characteristics, financial status, or any of the other things people think are important , you become who you think you are. It’s your choice whether your life is going to be determined by other people (you'll learn about conditioning), or designed by you. Right here is where you can make that choice. A paradigm shift in thinking. Choose to make your life what you want it to be. It's your greatest power - USE IT!
One more deep thought to ponder. Choosing is just a decision. Changing your life is just a decision, and now is the time to make a simple decision. Do you want to continue with the status quo, the path of least resistance, or do you want to choose how you live your life? It's that simple. Choose the life you want. Make a decision to design your life the way you want it. That's the first step. Here's a bit of inspiration to help you with your decision - http://www.212movie.com/
No one states the case for using your power of choice better than one of my favorite authors, Og Mandino. The following is an excerpt from "The God Memorandum" in his book, The Greatest Miracle in the World:
. . . for I gave you one more power, a power so great that not even my angels possess it. I gave you . . . the power to choose.
With this gift, I placed you even above my angels . . . for angels are not free to choose sin. I gave you complete control over your destiny. I told you to determine, for yourself, your own nature in accordance with your own free will. Neither heavenly nor earthly in nature, you were free to fashion yourself in whatever form you preferred. You had the power to choose to degenerate into the lowest forms of life, but you also had the power, out of your soul’s judgment, to be reborn into the higher forms, which are Divine.
I have never withdrawn your great power, the power to choose.
What have you done with this tremendous force? Look at yourself. Think of the choices you have made in your life and recall, now, those bitter moments when you would fall to your knees if only you had the opportunity to choose again.
What is past is past . . . and now that you know [this] great law of success and happiness . . . Use wisely, your power of choice.
Choose to love . . . rather than hate.
Choose to laugh . . . rather than cry.
Choose to create . . . rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere . . . rather than quit.
Choose to praise . . . rather than gossip.
Choose to heal . . . rather than wound.
Choose to give . . . rather than steal.
Choose to act . . . rather than procrastinate.
Choose to grow . . . rather than rot.
Choose to pray . . . rather than curse.
Choose to live . . . rather than die.
Choices I make
(Copy and paste these questions in a Word document and REALLY answer them)
Can you think of some choices you have made in the past that haven’t been in your own best interest?
Can you think of a time you were in a bad mood? What caused it?
Do you think you can choose to be in a good mood now that you’ve learned that you are in control of your emotions?
What choices do you need to make now to take you toward becoming the person you want to be?
Can you think of some times you have let other people jerk your emotions around instead of choosing your own emotions?
How do you think you can react to those kinds of situations now that you know you are in control of your emotions?
Now that you know it's within your own power to choose who you are, you can't blame your current circumstances on anyone else. Take charge and make your life what you want. Stop living your life on autopilot! What simple decision are you going to make RIGHT NOW?