Find your real talents real you goals self esteem self image conditioning abuse depressed positive attitude visualization change life teen help teenager confused why am I here


 By Donnie McKinney  c 2005

Visualization is a practical tool you can use to start changing from whoever you are right now into the person you want to be in the future. It is vitally important that you fully understand the principles that comprise the underlying concept, however, to get the most benefit from this life-changing tool.


You've learned that, up until now, you are whoever you are because of the conditioning you have received from other people, complicated by the spin you put on it from your own database of feelings, etc.. It's time for you to decide for yourself who it is you want to become, what it is you want to do in your life and what it is you want to have in your life. It really is your choice. You may not fully grasp that concept, yet. Most people simply don't know how. You're going to learn if you haven't already. Visualization is the most powerful tool that you can use to get where you want to go. The reason this powerful, relatively-unknown tool works is because of the following little-known fact.


       Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined.


Did it scare you, when you learned that your own self-image sets the limits in your life, and that your self-image was created primarily through conditioning from other people? Yuck! It shocked me when I realized that simple fact! At the same time, however, it also gave me a sense of power over my own life when I learned could use the same principles to change my life. Yes, the same principles work whether for good or bad in your life. Basic principles are basic principles. It's the application of them that determines the outcome. All you have to do to make them work for the good is change your self-image.

You're not stuck with the limits other people fed into your subconscious mind. Visualization is the key. In this article, you're going to learn how use visualization to create new subconscious "memory" tapes that will release your potential. You can actually "create" the subconscious self-image that you want for yourself. That's powerful stuff! It will change your life, just as it has many others. Read how one teenager used visualization to overcome a disabling fear. You can do the same thing.


Standing Ovation

By Donnie McKinney  c 2001, 2005


A few years ago, our youth group organized a Valentine Sweetheart Banquet for the couples in our church.  I invited several of the talented teens to perform in a musical program.  It was going to be a classy affair with candlelight and red-checkered table cloths.  The night before the performance, one of the boys came by my house.  He was a wreck.  He had just learned that his choir teacher from school was coming to the banquet, and he just couldn't sing in front of her. 


Keith had done a solo in the school production a couple of years earlier, had done poorly and wasn't selected to do one the following year.  He had built up his fear so solidly that he couldn't even function.  I asked him if he had a song picked out.  He said he'd been trying to decide between a song he had done several times, and an extremely hard one that he had never sung before.  The hard one was "One In a Million You" by Larry Graham – the original, not at all like the rendition at the end of Nutty Professor II.   Now, he couldn't do either one.


I told him to choose the hard one.  Then, I told him to close his eyes and visualize himself in front of that crowd singing it perfectly, and to visualize that image as often as he could between then (ten o'clock Saturday night) and program time the next night.  I also told him to visualize his choir teacher rising up and leading a standing ovation when he finished.  I told him to get all of his five senses into the image he was visualizing; i.e., smell the candles, see the people, hear the music and noise in the background, feel the microphone in his hand and taste the food he had just eaten.


When he got up to sing during the program, I was probably more nervous than he was.  When he began to sing, cold chills ran all over my body.  He sang that song, for the first time ever, absolutely perfectly.  I have never heard him sing better, either before or since that night.  Larry Graham couldn't have sung it better. I was hoping no one noticed the tears in my eyes when I saw his choir teacher stand up and start clapping - leading everyone in the audience in a standing ovation.

    Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined.


Keith discovered an important principle that night that he could use in every area of his life.  You, too, can use visualization as a tool to create "real moments" like Keith’s in your own life.  You can use visualization to set new limits in your life by changing your all-important self-image.


What you achieve in your life is within your own control, as long as you are using your natural, unique God-given talents and have a crystal-clear image of who you are becoming.  That's pretty neat, isn't it?  Make your life what you want it to be.  When you do, you'll discover one of the principles that lead to being happy, successful and fulfilled in your own life.  Don't miss this opportunity to change your life.  It's your choice.

The following discussion will teach you how to create an image of the perfect "you" that you can start visualizing every day. Next, you'll want to go to the goal-setting article to use that tool to become that perfect "you" that you want to become. It will teach you how to focus your images to get what you want in life. You'll learn how your goal image can encompass attributes from all five areas of your life - physical, mental, spiritual, family and financial. First, though, you need to understand this new tool that you can use to build your life.


Unexplained Forces

by Donnie McKinney c 2002, 2005

As a teenager, I dreamed of owning my own business and having the freedom to do the things I wanted in life.  My dream included me owning real estate that I would check on as part of my day.  In spite of coming from a working family, the image I had in my mind was of me driving down the street in my convertible in the middle of the day and not being tied to a "job" or punching a clock.    My mental picture included the "feelings" associated with this picture; i.e., smelling the fresh air, hearing the sounds of the city as I drove down Broadway, seeing my investment property as I drove and feeling the convertible smoothly moving down the street.  The picture was summed up with a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction.  Obviously, this was just a daydream.  Wasn't it?


But, a funny thing happened to me one day.  I was driving down Broadway on a sunny spring day in my convertible and thinking about my company and enjoying the freedom of being my own boss, and thinking how nice it was to be able to enjoy the sunshine during "work" time.  Suddenly, I thought, "Holy cow!  This is my dream!"  It took me a minute to realize that my life was exactly like I had imagined it those many years ago.  I had designed my own life and set goals, and those goals had become a reality.  There I was, right in the middle of the picture I had held for so long. 


 You become what you think about most of the time.


That was such a profound realization that I almost had to pull over and stop the car.  I'd had overcome a lot of conditioning through the years to get to that point in my life.  No one from either side of my family had ever owned their own business.  I thought people who owned businesses were different somehow. Only one had ever gone to college before me.  But, in spite of having little chance of doing things any differently from everyone I knew, I was living my dream.  Awesome!


That's one of the secrets to being happy, successful and fulfilled in life.  When you decide what you want in your life and create a mental image and visualize it repeatedly, you not only "program" your subconscious mind, but with God’s help, you also bring other forces into play that can't be explained.  What picture do you have of your life?  Have you developed a positive self-expectancy?  You really do tend to get what you expect.  It's your choice. 

As you begin to use the principles you're learning in this study, you will start to see your own life differently. You will start to see the potential for your life that God intended for you, instead of all the negativity that other people have saddled you with. You will begin to understand the vast power of the human mind. You will constantly be amazed by seeing what you have visualized in your mind becoming reality in your life.

What You "see" is What You Get

By Donnie McKinney  c 2005

I read a news story about a homeless man in Russia who climbed into a railroad refrigerator car looking for a place to sleep, and got locked in when the door latched behind him. Workmen found him lying in the car dead the next morning. During the night, after he realized that he was in a refrigerator car, he had written his thoughts on the wall, starting with, "I can't get out. I'm getting cold. I hope somebody hears me."

Throughout his ordeal he wrote more desperate thoughts on the wall; such as, "It's getting so cold in here." Then, apparently just before he died, he wrote, "I'm freezing" down near the floor where the workmen found him.

The workmen who found him the next morning had come to repair the refrigeration unit, which wasn't working. The temperature in the car had never gone below 52 degrees at any time during the night. This man had "frozen" to death because of the power of his own thoughts! What a sad, but vivid, illustration of the untapped power you have at your disposal. Napoleon Hill made this classic statement in his book, Think and Grow Rich . . .

       What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.


This basic principle of life is so simple that most people don't recognize its power in their lives. The 5% of people who are happy, successful and fulfilled in life do! You can, too!

Visualization literally means the formation of mental visual images. By creating a picture of who you want to be and what you want to accomplish in life, you can begin to design your own life. Once you've decided who you want to be, and what you want to do (set goals), visualization is a tool you can use to set forces into motion to take you where you want to go. It's your choice.


 Napoleon Hill made this classic statement in his book, Think and Grow Rich . . .

       What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.


The reason this works in your life with such enormous power is that basic principle which bears repeating here. Through active visualization of the things you want in your life, instead of the things you don't want, you can begin to replace the old fictitious and erroneous "memories" you have stored away on your hard drive - subconscious mind - with new "memories" that you create. That's powerful. Remember . . .


       Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined.


This is the secret you can use to making your life what you want it to be. Neither you nor I had any control over what was absorbed into our subconscious minds as we began life. We have all sorts of bad "programming" stored away on our hard drives, or subconscious minds, that limits us. We can't go back and change what happened in the past. But, we can learn to substitute the things we want for the things we don't want. What we'll be using to do this is really a form of self-hypnosis. The secret is to get totally relaxed and visualize the "goal image" that we desire, in order to make it a part of our subconscious "memory" banks. This is the way you set new limits for yourself.

I hope you're beginning to understand how these various principles of life relate to one another. Each one, by itself, will enhance your life. Used together, however, they build on each other and combine to allow you to live life abundantly. That's the way God intended us humans to live. Then, once you understand how the "me" you are now is determined by the data you have absorbed into your subconscious mind.  You will start to see why you think and act the way you do. You will also understand how to change who you are, and remove the limits that have been placed on your abilities by prior conditioning. The sum total of your conditioning "is" your current self-image, which determines who you are and what you can do. The new self-image or "goal image" you will learn to create will determine who you are becoming. Conditioning is the key to learning how to become that person you want to become, and how to be what you want to be whoever you want to be in life.

$10 Million in Advance

By Donnie McKinney  c 2000, 2005

Write yourself a check for ten million dollars, post date it fifteen years and then be able to cash it. Preposterous? The old saying, "It ain't braggin' if you done it," might apply here. Someone you know did it. He was just like you.


Jim's story began when he was a teenager - just like you. He had a natural, God-given talent - just like you. He developed a passion to do what he loved to do - wait, have you? Then, Jim set a humongous goal to use his natural, God-given talent - will you?


But, wait, you say. I don't have the advantages he did. My home life sucks. I hate school. I don't have any talents. Are you sure? Does your family live in a VW bus? Did you have to get a job as a janitor in a factory at sixteen to help support your family? Did you face rejection every place you turned to use your talent? Jim did. But, Jim did one thing that outweighed all those other "disadvantages." He set a goal, and he didn’t give up until it became reality. You can, too.


Jim started doing stand-up comedy when he was fifteen years old. He wasn't great at it, yet, but it was what he loved to do. When he failed, he tried again. He wouldn't give up. Then, at 19, Jim took off to Hollywood. When he got there, he sat in his old Toyota under the big "Hollywood" sign, and put his goal into words, "I am one of the top five actors. Every director who's worth their salt wants to work with me. I have the best scripts in town offered to me." Then, he then wrote himself a $10-million check, post-dated November, 1995. He wrote these words in the memo line, "For acting services rendered."


      A goal is just a wish until it is written in present-tense terms, is concrete, is measurable and has a time limit.


The rest is history. Fifteen years later, when he made $20 Million doing "The Cable Guy," Jim Carrey could cash his own $10 Million check. Jim was lucky. He didn't know the principles of goal-setting. He didn't know why he needed a crystal clear image of his goal already achieved. He just did what came naturally because he had developed such a passion for using his God-given talents - doing what he loved to do.


Here's where you have an advantage over Jim Carrey. You can learn to do scientifically what Jim Carrey did accidentally. You can find your own natural, God-given talents. You can learn to set goals and achieve them in your life. You can write your own check in life. It's your choice.

Think about the statement "you become what you think about most of the time." That's powerful! It not only summarizes the whole basis of what you've learned (your whole life to date, actually), but it also puts into perspective the importance of having a positive mental attitude and setting goals. The fact is, you are already thinking every second you are alive - even while you're sleeping. Now, think about this logically for a moment - is it better for you to let your subconscious mind think the random thoughts that pop into your mind, or is it better to direct your thoughts toward those things you want? Easy answer, huh? The reason attitude is called the "magic word" is because the attitude you have toward a fact, or a state you're in, determines how you think about it. How you think about it determines your happiness and fulfillment in life.

Why would anyone want to "create" bad things in their lives? Why would anyone want to make himself sad and discouraged and depressed? Why would anyone want to build a future full of despair and devoid of hope? That's what you're doing in your own life until you learn how to direct your thoughts toward the things you want. Your "goal image" provides the target. It really is simply a choice you can make.


       You become what you think about most of the time.


That's the secret to being happy, successful and fulfilled in life. When you decide what you want in your life, and create a mental image and visualize it repeatedly, you not only "program" your subconscious mind, but you also bring other forces into play that can't be explained. Although this is not a religious discussion, I believe that a big part of the reason that what we visualize in our minds comes to fruition in our lives is because of the basic principle of effective prayer. Consider these well-known Bible verses:

“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” 
Mark 11:24


And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to Him, "Yes, Lord."   Matthew 9:28


"Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"  Mark 9:24

 The reason a lot of people don't get answers to their prayers is that they don't "believe." More accurately, they "can't" believe. You already know that the faulty programming (conditioning) in your subconscious mind determines who you are right now, and sets your limits for your life - unless you learn how to change it. Your subconscious mind will not let you "believe" something contrary to that all-important self-image. That means, simply, that all the prayer in the world will not be effective unless you can "believe" what you are asking God for. Hmmm. That's pretty deep. But, here's the good part. God said . . .


       "Whatever you ask, believing, it is yours."


The key word, here, is "believe." I'm convinced that the subconscious mind is our direct link to God. God said that, once you become a part of His Kingdom, He is "in" you in the form of the Holy Spirit. Where else can He be, except in your subconscious mind? There are no adequate words with which you can communicate with God as clearly as you can with a mental image. I know from experience that having a loving, personal relationship with God is more important than anything else in life. If you haven't had an encounter with God, I know from experience that your life will be changed once you do. But, that's a different discussion.

I mention this today only because it is vitally important for you to understand that there are forces at work, beyond your comprehension or control, when you visualize something in your subconscious mind and it becomes a burning desire. Once those unexplained forces come into play, they will bring the picture you hold in your mind into reality in your life. You will meet the people you need to help you reach your goal. You will learn new things that you need to know. "Circumstances" will occur that you can't explain. Visualization is the principle that initiates bringing "goal images" into reality. Wouldn't you rather have all those unexplainable forces working to bring the things you desire into your life, instead of things you don't desire? Does it really matter whether you understand how they work?

Now that you understand some of the principles that take you toward your all-important "self-concept," you're ready to move on to the specific techniques below to put them to use in your life.

Visualization Guidelines


This is the "hardcore" method for changing your life. Don't be discouraged if you find that you don't have the motivation to do this right now. You can still make changes in your life by getting in the habit of simply "seeing" yourself be the way you want to be, and doing the things you want to do, whenever you think. That will work, too, but just not as effectively or as quickly. Remember what Norman Vincent Peale told me:


        "Tell your young people to use the 'as if' principle.  Tell them to decide who they want to become and what they want to be and then act 'as if' they are already that person.  Slowly and imperceptibly, they will become that person." 


The relaxation exercises that follow this introductory explanation are specific tools you can use to reprogram your brain.  That sounds sophisticated, but it's just the same natural thing you've already been doing every day of your life without even knowing it.  The problem is that when you do it without consciously knowing what you are doing, you don't have any control over what you're programming into your mind, yet those things you record rule your life, anyway.  If you will do the relaxation and visualization exercise every day for at least 21 days, you'll start seeing some amazing changes in the way you feel and the things you "allow" yourself to do.


Remember . . .


       You become what you think about most of the time.


Here are some basic guidelines:


In order to record the good stuff into your mind, you have to get past the conscious thoughts that you are always having. When you are thinking consciously, you "judge" all your thoughts with the preconceived ideas that you already have. You may consciously want to do something, but your subconscious mind is telling you that you can't do it. Your subconscious mind, your self-image, always wins. You have to get the conscious mind out of your way to release your potential.


The way to do that is to get so relaxed that your mind gets into the "alpha wave" state. This happens when you get totally relaxed. Another tool that researchers have discovered is that Baroque music creates this same brain wave pattern. Adding the Baroque music to your relaxation routine enhances it, but it's not required. It's just another tool you can use.


Be on the lookout for a CD with Baroque music on it. It might be simpler to ask the music teacher at school for some ideas. Some of the more familiar composers are Handel, Bach and Vivaldi. Here's a good web site that explains Baroque music and has a lot of references -


In order to get the maximum benefit, record the exercise you like best onto a cassette tape. Just speak clearly and softly. If you have a CD with the Baroque music when you do this, play it in the background as you record the words and then record a half hour or so of music alone so you can let it continue to play softly in the background as you do the exercises.


I recommend lying flat on your back on the bed, but sitting in a comfortable chair will work, also. Close your eyes and start visualizing the actions in the relaxation technique that you have chosen. You'll find that you will start relaxing immediately, and you will eventually get so relaxed that you feel like your mind is separated from your body. Sometimes, you'll start to feel like you are floating above your body and kind of observe it lying there. It's a neat state to be in.


As you visualize the relaxation technique, and also as you begin to visualize your goal image, look up slightly so that you can "see" the images on the back side of your forehead. This is a scientific principle that relates to the "third eye" that researchers talk about. There is a direct link with your brain when you tilt your eyes upward this way. If you'll stop and think about it, you'll realize that when you're trying to remember something, you tend to look up. That connects your conscious thoughts with your subconscious mind to pull out pieces of data that you have stored away as memories. Putting things in your subconscious mind works the same way as pulling something out as a memory when it's already in there.


If you have done the above steps correctly, you will find that you can imagine a small "movie screen" right behind your forehead. That little movie screen will change your life. This is where you can visualize the things you want in your life, in a vivid, crystal-clear mental image, and record them as "fact" onto your subconscious memory tapes. You are accessing your "hard drive" in a way that most people will never know is even possible. You are bypassing all the limits you have had imposed on you by other people. You are creating the person you want to become.


Right before you go to sleep is the most effective time for your mind to absorb the image.  Ask God to give you the strength to do it and then when the time comes, just relax and do what you imagined. 


Keep in mind that the more "real" the imagined image is, the more easily and quickly it will become real in your life. Put all five of your senses into the picture image. This mental image will be much more effective if you get all them involved.  Smell the odors that relate to where you see yourself. See the people and other things around you. Hear whatever sounds are involved. Taste whatever you ate or the gum you're chewing. Feel the floor under your shoes, whatever you're touching and the temperature in the room. 

Make the mental image as real as something you are actually experiencing. The key is to visualize this over and over and over again so that it becomes part of your subconscious memory banks.  Then, when you do your thing, you will go on auto-pilot and do it perfectly just like you imagined doing it. Each of your senses will come into play and help bring out the autonomic response when the proper occasion arises in real life.


Now, what kinds of images do you want to record? Simply make up a crystal clear mental image of yourself feeling confident, and doing whatever it is you want to do.


This principle will work for any area of your life. If you want to excel at a particular sport, then study someone who is already proficient in it. Learn exactly what they do. Ask what they're thinking when they do it. Then, create a mental image of yourself doing exactly the same thing. Visualize every movement - perfectly. After you visualize this image for at least 21 days, you'll notice that you "automatically" do what you imagined. By the way, this is exactly what Olympic champions do right before every event.

Well, you get the idea.  I don't need to make up YOUR picture - YOU do.  Whatever you want in your life, put it in that picture.  Be sure to include all your five senses in the picture.  Don't try to believe whatever it is. Remember, you can't "believe" it right now. If you could, it would already be a reality in your life. Just get a picture of it in your mind.  Then, do one of the following exercises every day for at least 21 days.  Just do it!  Don't analyze it or try to believe it, just imagine it vividly.  Remember the basic priciple at work here:


        Your subconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a real experience and one that is vividly imagined.


It will get really hard to keep doing the visualization exercises after a few days, but force yourself to do it.  It will change your life. What's happening is that you're replacing those old undesirable habits and autonomic responses in your subconscious mind with new positive and self-confident "memories" which become habits for the future.

Create a vivid image of yourself being the ideal person you desire to be.  This technique will be useful to change anything you want about yourself and to bring the things you want in the future into your life.

It will be immensely more effective if you will do this visualization exercise in a prayerful state and ask God to help you do whatever it is you want to do.  There are powers out there that God can bring to your aid that you don't even know about.  I believe your subconscious mind is your direct link with God.  You can visualize something many, many times more clearly than you can put it into words.  This is the most effective method of prayer that you can use.


The following pages detail several relaxation techniques that I have found very effective.  You can use any of them that you feel comfortable with. You can even make up your own relaxation exercise once you understand what's involved. Whatever you use, start right now and make your life what you want it. It's your choice!  Remember, this may work better for you if you record the exercise (allow plenty of time to visualize what you're saying), along with Baroque music in the background, and then play the tape as you do the exercise.

Relaxation Exercise #1


Get really comfortable and then imagine yourself at the top of a mountain.  You step onto an escalator that is going downward very slowly.  Count backwards from 10 to 0 as you go downward slowly.  Then, step off that escalator, and turn and step onto another one and go downward on it counting from 10 to 0 again as you go down.  Tell yourself that your body is becoming more and more relaxed as you go deeper and deeper.

Then, step off of the second escalator and see yourself standing on the edge of a cliff on the side of the mountain.  You can see the blue sky all around you and you can look out and down at white clouds floating by.  A white cloud floats close to the mountain and you turn around and do a Nestea plunge backwards onto the cloud. The pure white cloud has the consistency of shaving cream and holds you up and you lie on top of it totally supported all under your body. You are just floating along lying on your back on the white cloud, and looking at the clear blue sky all around and above you.

The cloud floats across the sky and you are so comfortable floating on the soft white surface.  You can float a while if you want to.  Enjoy the clear blue sky all around you.  At some point, you start sinking through the white cloud and go through the white substance and see it closing in above you and cutting off the blue of the sky.  You keep going down through it and after a while you find that you are floating in the air under the cloud and it starts drifting off.  You can see the blue sky all around you and then the white cloud starts to get out from over you. All you see is blue sky all around you. You drift slowly downward, very slowly. You're floating in the air just like you're a helium balloon that's lost some of it's helium. You float down and down and down. You get more and more relaxed as you float downward.

Float as long as you want.  You're so relaxed that you can't feel anything.  Then, you start seeing the green grass blowing in the breeze out of your peripheral vision.  You can see the blue sky all above and around you, and the green grass gently blowing in the breeze around the edges.  Then, you start touching the grass and it is soft and green.  You keep drifting downward and put more and more weight on the grass and are finally lying on a bed of soft green grass and seeing the blue sky above you.


You are now totally relaxed and ready to visualize your mental image on that movie screen up between your eyes doing the thing you want to do.


When you have finished visualizing the whole mental image that you want to have happen in real life, tell yourself that you are going to count to three slowly, and then wake up and feel totally refreshed and confident.  Then, do it - one . . . two . . . . three.



Relaxation Exercise #2


Take three deep breaths, and then picture a relaxing scene of light blues and greens.


Visualize a memory from your past in which you were totally relaxed, - feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting it.


Count very slowly backwards from fifty to zero. Concentrate on the numbers as you count. You may want to see yourself stepping downward as you count into a cave, with each step you get farther from the light and deeper into darkness. When you reach zero, pause and picture the relaxing blue/green scene once more.


Count slowly back up to three.


Try to open your eyes (if you are sufficiently relaxed, it will be difficult and you should let them close again). You’re very relaxed. You are ready to visualize your goals.



Relaxation Exercise #3


Use the first three steps from #2.


Mentally, raise your right leg as high as you can and hold it until you feel it getting tired and heavy. Let it drop (mentally). Repeat with left leg, then hips, then abdomen, then right arm, then left arm, and finally with your head and shoulders (all mentally only).


Your body is very relaxed, now. Feel you mind “floating” above your body and realize that you cannot even feel your body at all.


You are ready to visualize your goal image.



Relaxation Exercise #4


Lie flat on your back with your arms at you side. Tense your toes as much as possible. Hold them, hold them, hold them, hold them, then let go. Very slowly, breathe in. As you breathe in, pay particular attention to the air moving though the insides of your nostrils. Exhale slowly, also paying attention to the air passing through your nostrils.


Repeat this process with your calve muscles, thighs and hip, stomach, arms, chest, shoulders and neck.  Feel more relaxed each time. Breathe very slowly.


You should feel that your mind is separated from your body, and not even be aware that your body is attached. You are ready to visualize your goal.

Tell Donnie what you think? This is the last part of "The Real Me" study. Will it change your life? Why? Why not? How would you change it? Can you recommend it to a friend?  Your input is vauable.

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