“What is hope? Hope is wishing for a thing to come true;
faith is believing that it will come true.”
---Norman Vincent Peale
A special thank you to Roy Shackelford for providing me with his beautiful photography for my blog. Often nature has much to teach us.
I want to say a few things about myself before sharing a letter I received from a loyal supporter of my blog. This letter could have boosted my ego because I am motivated by success and positive feedback. However, I was truly humbled and inspired. I am a Three on the Enneagram, A Journey to Self-Discovery is the book I read that helped me discover why I generally make decisions based on achieving success. The compulsion of the Three is to avoid failure. Threes grew up thinking their own personal worth consisted simply in the success of their achievements.
This awareness of avoiding failure would not have allowed me to take on something as unfamiliar as writing a blog. Several Spiritual Directors strongly encouraged me to tell my story about my positive approach to life. I finally took the risk four years ago and started the Positive Pops blog. I do realize my success driven personality is fueled by the growing number of followers and the comments from those who are having success implementing recommendations on how to live a life of abundance.
It is so easy to get caught up in the “world view” as we are constantly bombarded with negative news. I share this letter not to focus on what is said about me but how we can all achieve unlimited possibilities. It is truly by seeing in the way the writer said in this letter “Seeing with the eyes of Christ.” The following is the letter I received:
“Positive Pops: You call your attitude positive. I was praying this morning and I called it ‘You’re seeing it with the eyes of Christ.’ Saint Paul calls it putting on the mind of Christ. I know this smacks of religion for a lot of people. So be it.
You have allowed the spark of divinity that dwells in you to take over and live through you into the world. How wonderful if we all could let the God who dwells in us spill out into the world. The great Norman Vincent Peale found a way to get his message out that was accessible to all. So did your Positive Pops.
You ever wonder why this is difficult for most of us? To be positive is to trust, to have faith, to believe. In a way it is giving up control and trusting beyond ourselves. We give our great spark within us power to guide us to the next step. To be positive is to trust that we will be guided. Thank you for helping us to do just that.”
This week you may want to focus on implementing a few practices that will help you and others create a life of unlimited possibilities. It could be something as simple as writing three things that you are currently grateful for each morning or writing a Christmas letter to your spouse or friend letting them know what you appreciate about them. Perhaps you can set one goal that you plan to achieve in 2020. Remember any effort, even the smallest, is a step forward.
“We mostly see what we have learned to expect to see.”
Shawn Achor in his book Before Happiness shares the quote below from the book Positivity, by Barbara Fredrickson. It offers much hope for those of us who are constantly striving to be positive by availing ourselves to many resources that reinforce our positive possibilities. It also offers hope for people who have come to realize their focus on the negative is holding them back from living the life of their dreams. Hopefully they are now ready to board the train that is headed towards finding new ways of seeing things by focusing on a positive outcome.
There are many examples in my life in which I have found new ways of seeing and doing things that have given me support when doubt occurs. A few weeks ago in my article on fourth quarter review I listed the topics that help me stay focused on positive outcomes.
One of my practices is that each morning I write a few things for which I am grateful and then spend time in appreciation. I always include “I am grateful for my wellness and I am grateful for my wife’s healing.” Eric Butterworth with Unity explained, “The practice of gratitude gets us into a full-of-greatness consciousness.”
My wife’s ability to handle pain is an example of deciding to focus on the positive in spite of dealing with 10 years of pain caused by nerve damage from shingles. The first six months the pain was out of control. She secluded herself and just stayed home. Thankfully we found the doctors who could help her partially control the pain with medication. However, the location of the nerve damage causes many complications and can be very disruptive to our plans and daily routines. There are times when it still gets overwhelming and all we can do is patiently wait for the pain to lessen.
Jeanne’s success in enjoying life is possible because she doesn’t focus on her pain. She limits making her pain a part of conversation with others, and pushes forward with a strong desire to fully enjoy our family and friends; making the best of the “good times.” To keep the positive energy flowing and our bodies functioning at its best physically, we both enjoy Pilates every Monday, and take advantage of the gym a few additional days each week.
Her passions in life are cooking and responding to the needs of our family, particularly our grandchildren. She certainly attests to the fact that positive activities offer a distraction from the pain. She has been a great sport in participating in my passion of experiencing life to the fullest. We are surrounded by friends who love a good time. The first six months of negativity and hopelessly regarding a cure of the nerve damage was indeed overwhelming. However her attitude to refuse to let it sentence her to a very limited life is a blessing to me, our family, our friends, and most of all to herself, as she continually opens herself to the many opportunities to live life to the fullest.
You may want to pay attention to your thinking and conversation when you first wake up in the morning. Those first thoughts can set the tone for the day. I suggest you surround yourself with posted positive affirmations, an open grateful journal to write one entry every day, and inspirational reading material to assist you to stay focused on your goal of positive possibilities.
Last week I talked about taking the road less traveled. Many times it can be a lonely road because initially there seems to be so few who want to take this journey with you. When you are writing a blog that is going out in cyber space you never know if readers of the message are attracting fellow travelers. If you have made the decision to pursue this adventure, I will be sending quotes from the book Before Happiness to offer encouragement to stay focused on your goals.
For a success driven person like myself I have to constantly remind myself to keep a positive prospective as I pursue my goals. My biggest successes happen when I least expect them. They would not have manifested if I had focused on the possibility of failure.
Many times events happen in our lives that are out of our control. The September 2008 financial crisis was the worst economic disaster since the depression of 1929. It was an event that devastated Wall Street and the banking industry. This took place one year after my retirement and wiped away a major part of my investments. What I did following this tragic event convinced me that staying focused on your goals with a positive perspective really works. I immediately adjusted my budget to reduce expenses.
In the month after that “event” I received a surprise call from a startup company entering the market I had worked in for 43 years. They were looking for a part-time consultant to help them get established in a new market. I met with the owner and was immediately offered the job. I remained working long enough to make up for the shortfall caused by that that economic crisis.
During this time I put into practice what always worked for me in the past. I continued writing in my grateful journal, not easy when in a crisis, but that did help me stay focused on the many blessings still present in our life. I did not give up on my dream board postings or my passion for travel. I still firmly believed that I could create the long-term travel dream to go to Europe for 21 days for our 50th anniversary. To keep me focused I also had affirmations posted around the house to support my goals and aspirations.
The proof that all of this effort was worth the discipline is the fact that we did take the Dream Trip to Europe and have traveled many places in the United States. We are living life to the fullest and enjoying every day of retirement.
You may want to write down a few of your goals and back them up with tools that will help you keep a positive prospective on achieving them. As always sharing your personal success stories in the comments below can offer support to followers of my blog.
“Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one
less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
In 1982 the book The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck was released, and it became an immediate best seller. I enthusiastically purchased a copy. It really spoke to me. It connected the dots in the way life was unfolding for me. My curiosity about so many aspects of life led me to workshops and experiences of personal growth that most of my friends and acquaintances had no interest in pursuing.
The following are comments made about the book.
"The Road Less Traveled" will make you realize that you CAN take charge of your life and your destiny. It is a journey toward self-acceptance that will affirm that life is worth living. It is one of the best books…
What does "take the Road Less Traveled by" mean?
Metaphorically speaking, someone who takes 'the road less traveled' is acting independently, freeing themselves from the conformity of others (who choose to take 'the road more often traveled'), generally making their own choices, and perhaps leaving a new trail that will become the road more often traveled (until, of course, someone takes the road ...”
Four years ago in November I took a risk of choosing a different path after retiring by publishing my first Positive Pops blog posting. I intended to write “my story” so my grandchildren would get to know about my life’s journey. They supported me by telling a few of their friends to check out my Pops’ blog.
I am amazed how ideas for the blog most often surface after I have journaled and meditated. The success I am currently experiencing comes from a support team who volunteered to travel with me.
On my fourth anniversary of Positive Pops I am grateful for the following helpful fellow travelers. My son-in-law, George, owner of GK Photography graciously handled all the technical work to set up the entire Positive Pops website and blog. He periodically updates the family pictures on my blog, which I promise is much easier than taking those family pictures of the 16 of us!
I am not a fluent writer, in terms of form. I just let the pen flow as I write my thoughts and stories then send the posting to my wife Jeanne’s computer for editing. Recently our friend Doug offered to do the final proofreading. Several weeks ago Roy, our good friend and a retired teacher, who has always had a passion for still life photography, offered to provide me with his beautiful photographic artwork for me to share on my blog.
The Hummingbird on last week’s blog posting “I Can Do It” is one of Roy’s most amazing photographs. Every week my loyal followers typically share my posting on Facebook. This posting was shared by 256 first-time readers with their family and friends throughout the country. It reached 11,000 people. Comments continue to come in daily.
Hopefully this success story will offer encouragement to you to explore the benefits of taking the road less traveled. Just think out of the box, explore new ideas to help change your world and surely that change will impact our world with positive possibilities.
”Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude
from achieving his goal; nothing on earth
can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”
Many years ago I saw a powerful movie entitle The Miracle Man. It was about a successful businessman, Morris Goodman, who crashed his private plane in March 1981. At the scene of the accident he was unconscious. The attendants thought it very unlikely that he would live to reach the hospital. However he did survive but was paralyzed with a crushed spine. The family was given very little hope that he would ever regain the ability to function even minimally in the life he had lived before the accident. He could not speak for months. However he could clearly hear words of doubt by his doctors; he would never walk again; he would be no more than a vegetable. Miraculously his inner strength did not fail him. He decided he would use the same techniques in his recovery that he had used to build a successful business. During the months of his recovery he would use the following mental affirmations again and again, “Think you can, think you can’t, either way you are right. I think I can walk out of the hospital on my own.” I can walk out of this hospital before Christmas!” And that is exactly what he did!
I implemented several of the practices he used in the movie and they assisted me in achieving positive results. It was all about the mental perception of achieving my goals. I am always shocked with some responses I receive from some people saying, “That may work for you, but it is not for everyone.” Today in this highly competitive world that children are being brought up in it is easy to believe “I Think I can’t rather than “I Think I Can.”
There is hope that is now backed up by research that by applying a few changes in our thinking patterns we can have enormous success in fulfilling our dreams and living life to the fullest.
To keep me on track of what I learned many years ago I am constantly seeking books to support my positive approach to life. The one I am currently reading has me so fired up! I cannot read it late at night for two reasons. One, I love to send quotes to family and friends from the book. Message beeping on phones at odd hours are not welcomed even by the best of friends! The second reason is that I get so excited I can’t ‘t sleep. The book I am currently reading is “Before Happiness” by Shawn Achor. The following is one of the many quotes from the book. “Creating more positive perception of our goals can dramatically increase our engagement, focus, productivity and motivation and thus increase the speed at which we attain them.”
One of the readers of my blog entitled Third Quarter Review said they were looking at their Dream Board and was surprised to see how many “dreams” posted had manifested in their life. They were so fired up they started writing additional dreams and goals for next year!
Regardless of how positive a person may be there will be times when doubt will creep in. When that happens to me, I review my success folder. This is a folder in which I keep comments from my readers letting me know that my suggestions helped them achieve their goals.
In my next posting I will share on research that came from Columbia University Graduate School of Business. It is so exciting because it has been proven by just applying a few principles, we can achieve our goals in life.
You may want to prepare yourself now for applying some of the ideas I will share with you by writing down three things you are grateful for that are present or happening in your life and three goals you would like to achieve.
“Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given.”
--- St. Francis of Assisi
Today, I can say what I could not say at the time I was growing up. I was blessed to come from a family that was focused on loving me and taking care of their family, friends and even strangers in need. As a teenager I started to emotionally distance myself from my father. I did not like the idea that they could not provide the financial support for the social events and lifestyle I wanted to pursue.
I was born with a different agenda, fueled with ambitions and desires they could never imagine for themselves. I was determined to experience life to the fullest, to travel and to be financially successful. At a very young age I decided I would get a part time job to start achieving my goals. By the age of eighteen I was earning more money than my father. I was not aware of the major circumstances that influenced much of the man my father had become. When he was still a young boy his mother and the baby died as she was giving birth to her eighth child. Some of the children stayed on the farm with my grandfather, and others were sent to be raised by several different family members. Survival was the priority, not education. My Dad never went to high school because every able body was needed to contribute to the income for the family. I suppose I always thought he was not very ambitious. However the one thing that made a lasting impression on me was how he was always responsive to the needs of his siblings and extended family. He and my mother generously shared their limited resources. We often had family over for Sunday dinner. Then of course those were the days when families visited each other on the weekends and stayed in touch and aware of family needs.
The last five years of my dad’s life he was dealing with kidney failure from cancer. This was a very stressful time for me as I struggled to balance working and seeing to his various needs. My mother didn’t drive. She also depended on me when any medical decision had to be made. Unfortunately there never seemed to be the time or privacy for my Dad and me to talk. I do think he would have probably felt very awkward with such a conversation.
I was blessed with a remarkable connection and healing experience with him years after he passed. I had a Soul reading with a spiritual intuitive. I had never met her prior to my appointment, and she lived outside of the city. When the reading was almost finished, she said “Your father is here, and he wants to let you know how much he loves you.” I felt like I melted in his arms. I was totally surprised that he had this message for me. Then months later I was attending a group meeting with the same intuitive and again he had a message for me.
This week two events centered around St. Francis of Assisi. I found myself thinking of my Dad. He reached out to poor family members, fed them and even housed them. He enjoyed the simple things in life like perch fishing and having a fish fry for the family every Friday. Weeks before he died, he planted tomato plants in his garden, He told my son he probably would not live to see the tomatoes, but other people would get to enjoy them. When he and his brother-in-law had a family grocery store, they allowed families in need to put the charge on the books and pay when they were able. Most of that money was never collected. My dad’s birthday on October 3 is the date St. Francis of Assisi died. My dad passed on October 4, the feast day of St. Francis. I do think this is more than happenstance.
This week you may want to reflect on one quality of your parents or a family member and send them a note to let them know that you appreciate that quality in them. Many of the blocks in personal and spiritual growth often occur when we have not healed the relationship we had with our parents. Once this is done it is much easier to develop an adult to adult relationship.
"For God does speak—now one way, now another--
though no one perceives it. In a dream, in a vision of the night,
when deep sleep falls on people as they slumber in their beds."
As I continue to focus on my fourth quarter review it has been helpful for me to go over the topics I listed in last week’s posting to be assured that I am practicing what I am encouraging others to do. The topic Dream Work immediately caught my attention. I remembered a significant dream I had the previous week that I had failed to write down in my journal. I often encourage our grandkids to jot down their dreams and then we can work on understanding them together. I was disappointed I was remiss in noting and interpreting this dream of mine.
Following is what I would consider a very significant dream. “My wife and I stopped over to visit my mother at her house. (My mother has been deceased for fourteen years.) I was so happy to see her. She looked terrific and had prepared several desserts for us. She opened the refrigerator and there was nothing but desserts in it. When it was time to leave, I felt sad that we had to leave and at the same time, I was very happy that we had taken the time to visit her”.
I use several books along with the website dreambible.com to look up the symbols in dreams. The following are the symbols I deemed important in that dream and the interpretation of them.
Mother. Anything your mother says in a dream sheds light on what awareness or intuition is guiding you toward in your life.
Refrigerator. The continuation of goals, plans or situation. Restarting something.
Desserts. Indulging in celebrating your success. Something worthwhile is happening.
I will be very brief with my interpretation of the message I got from the symbols and also the confirmation I received. My mother knew how I always would be so enthusiastic about my goals in life. She was encouraging me to pursue my goals, was preparing me for something worthwhile that was getting ready to happen and that I would celebrate my success.
The week following this dream I felt very enthusiastic about keeping my focus on my goal of lighting one candle at a time. I did not want to let this become a “numbers game.” I have always envisioned inspiring others to live a positive life of their dreams. It has just become very motivating to me to realize that touching just one person is an amazing miracle. Then out of blue I started receiving personal letters confirming the connection my blog is having with readers. The following correspondence touched me at a soul level and is a condensed version of that “testimony.”
“I wanted to let you know how inspiring your last blog about the “Fourth Quarter Review” was. After I created my dream board back in January, I tried to create the things I wanted, Then I read your post and I sat down and took a good look at my board and really focused on it. That’s when I realized that I’ve been creating more of those things than I thought. For example last month I started exercising (again), but this time I really created a routine. In a short period of time I’ve noticed my strength and stamina are increasing. (For me this is huge!) You’ve inspired me to finish strong this quarter and that’s what I intend to do. I am also considering what I want to accomplish for 2020. Thanks for all of the positive advice-keep posting.”
I truly believe we continue to connect with our loved ones that have passed. They are cheering us on to the finish line and want us to achieve our goals and dreams in life. This was definitely confirmed to me by what happened following the dream I had.
It has been my experience that having a notebook and pen on your nightstand is key to jotting down the symbols of your dream as soon as you wake up. Once you get up and start doing other things it is easy to forget about important parts of the dream. This week you may want to take positive action and get that notebook!
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”
– Winston Churchill
In my previous posting I discussed the benefit of a fourth quarter review of goals and achievements for this year. Perhaps that could also include a look ahead to possibilities for 2020. If this is something you have decided to do, I would also recommend that you combine the following three tools to achieve the fastest results in accomplishing your goals. When I experience success, I have more courage to try new things to continue achieving my goals in life.
For the weekly readers of my blog this is a story you may have read previously, and it was a major example of courage to pursue your dreams. A few years ago I posted pictures of a 21-day River Cruise in Europe on our Dream Board. We would celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary on this wonderful tour. This was a very expensive trip and I realized it would take planning to make it happen. My Dream Board gives me a constant visual of what I want to attract in my life.
It doesn’t make anything occur magically, but it serves as an important part of the roadmap to get where I want to go.
The next step was to review our Success Budget spreadsheet and increase our monthly travel budget to accommodate the cost of the trip paid in full by our date
of departure. In our case, it was necessary to reduce income sourcing in some categories to increase the travel budget.
The third step was using daily affirmations to support success in meeting our goal. The affirmations have to be stated in a way that the words support our belief that this is indeed happening in our life. I have my affirmations on the first page of my grateful journal. I review them every morning before I begin my writing. The one I said daily to create our dream of a lifetime trip was, “ I am looking forward to spending 21 days in Europe to celebrate our 50th.”
I have to be honest and admit that doubt crept in after I made the deposit to confirm this trip. I was caught off guard when we were notified that the final payment was due almost one year in advance of departure. It was at these times I frequently looked at the itinerary that was posted on the Dream Board and would repeat my daily affirmations. This trip celebrating our 50th Anniversary will always remain one of our fondest memories.
These three tools of Dream Board, Success Budget, and Affirmations may be worth your efforts for 90 days. The odds for achieving your goals will be in your favor. Much of this is backed up by scientific data in a book I am currently reading Discovering Happiness by Shawn Achor.
“If you don't know where you are going,
you'll end up someplace else.”
Before retirement I worked in marketing for a major corporation. The fourth quarter review was twofold, and the process took an entire day. We first had to report on year-to-date sales. If the numbers were less than the forecast, we were expected to justify the decline in shipments. We then had to submit an estimate on projected sales for the following year. Management always pushed to get us to exceed our own estimate. There was something about this process that succeeded. Top performers always met and often exceeded their goals.
For those of us eager to achieve our goals in life, we are now in the last quarter of the year. This is a good time to review your goals and achievements for this year. This could also lead you to initiate ideas and set your sights on what you would like to accomplish next year. As I stated in the beginning of this year, most New Year’s resolutions fail within the first 60 days of a new year. If they are thought out in advance with an action plan and determination to meet the 90-day challenge, the goals will be achieved.
I have covered many topics since the first of the year. The goal is to enable each of us to live life to the fullest. To do that it is essential that we seriously examine the major areas of life that tremendously influence our success or failure to experience abundance and fulfillment on a physical and spiritual level. The major areas are finances, relationships, optimal wellness of body, mind, and spirit. I truly believe positive thinking, goal setting, and personal growth resources greatly influence the success in these areas.
The following topics have been covered in my blog this year to help the readers achieve their dreams and goals in life.
If you want to get a jump start on achieving your New Year’s goals start now by selecting one or two of the above topics and make a 90-day resolution to Implement the practice into your life now. If you would like recommendations on resources in any of these areas that I covered in my blog, you can send me an email at email@example.com or in the comment section below. I will give you information on resources I have personally used with success. For example my Dream Board is something I have been doing for years. This year’s results have been amazing. My fourth quarter personal review of this one tool of goal setting indicates that 80% of what is posted has been achieved.
“All you need is the plan, the road map, and the
courage to press on to your destination.”
Who is driving your car and what happens when the road you are traveling on comes to a dead end? Today we depend so much on technology that often making a choice from our own life experiences becomes a challenge. This happened to us when we were going to a funeral in an unfamiliar area. Before technology we would have attained accurate directions before we left home. But we never gave it a thought. We just assumed our GPS would get us there with no problems. The dependence on this technology failed us. It led us to a rural road and an impassable bridge that was being rebuilt.
When I have such an experience, I am drawn to recall aspects of my life that reflect similar experiences. I have to ask myself who is in the driver’s seat. Am I habitually allowing outside sources to direct me to my desired destination? Am I prepared to get past the dead end should it happen? Have I strengthened my inner resources on a daily basis?
My resources are quite varied. My curiosity has led me to much research and discovery of tools to expand my horizons and strengthen my ability to move forward to achieve my goals in life. Since I started this blog, I have received inquiries about finances, budgets, helpful books, and many other avenues for personal growth opportunities. I have been blessed to receive many success stories. In most cases interest in creating a positive change occurred when faced with a roadblock or dead end.
The one common factor to achieve our desired destination is to apply the 90-day rule. Try a new practice or discipline for 90 consecutive days and then it becomes a habit in your life. Fifteen years ago I started a daily grateful journal. My notebook and a cup of coffee are the first things I grab in the early morning.
The first 90 days it seemed like another discipline. I had to get up a little earlier and put aside the daily newspaper. It is now something I look forward to doing to get my thought process focused on the positive things happening in my life.
I suggest you spend some time this week working on your road map and your plan to get to your desired destination in life. It could be in the area of finance, budget, spiritual growth, career, family life. Give it a try; you may be surprised with the results!