From The Desk Of Clarence Bass
"The human brain is a magical biocomputer. It sends us
energy when we send it something
"How you think is everything." Investors Business Daily (March 18, 2003)
Owners and Victims
"You can set yourself free by how you talk to yourself about your capabilities," Steve Chandler writes in Reinventing Yourself (Career Press, 1998). You can be an owner or a victim. Itís up to you, says Chandler. It depends on your view of yourself and the world.
Iím not a fan of motivational speakers. Their platitudes generally leave me cold. They strike me as emotion based. I want to hear what people think, not what they feel.
It took Steve Chandler two tries to get my attention. In 1997, he sent me a copy of his book 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself. I put it aside to read, but never did. He got me on the second try, however, by appealing to my vanity. He send me a copy of Reinventing Yourself with an inscription saying that my books "have done more to reinvent [him] than anything else on the planet." This time I read the book. And Iím glad I did. He has a powerful message. Heís singing my song, or Iím singing his. Iím not sure which. Probably a little of both.
I know from long experience that how I talk to myself affects how I perform. Itís one of the secrets of how I have reinvented myself repeatedly over the last 50 years. (The Prologue in Challenge Yourself tells about the changes.) Chandler explains why people who continually challenge themselves to improve succeed. If you think you can, you probably can. Itís easier said than done, of course. Chandlerís book is a manual on how to unlock the human spirit. How to be an owner, not a victim. How to reinvent yourself.
The Language of Success
A well-known politician likes to call successful people "winners of lifeís lottery." As Investors Business Daily said recently in its continuing series on leaders and successful people in all walks of life, "almost nothing happens by chance." We create our own "luck," according to IBD. Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity. It takes persistence and hard work.
Chandler agrees. "Purposeful, focused work" isnít "politically correct," he says, but thatís what it takes to succeed. "Something magical happens when one is willing to go for it," writes Chandler.
Chandler uses Michael Jordan to illustrate how successful people respond to adversity. In his sophomore year in high school, Jordan was cut from the basketball team. Like any kid, he was hurt and angry. But he didnít give up and walk away like a victim. He asked himself an ownerís question: How can I use this?
"After thinking it over, he decided to practice harder than he ever had before," Chandler writes. "He would not be defeated by the thoughts in someone elseís head," says Chandler. "In fact, not only would he make the team next year, he decided that heíd be the best player who ever played the game."
Today, says Chandler, Jordan considers the experience "a defining moment in his life Ė one of the best things that ever happened to him."
A victim, on the other hand, says Chandler, responding to the same circumstance, would ask: How can I get through this? "Get through," unlike Jordanís "get from," is the language of "self-victimization," writes Chandler. Itís demoralizing and leads to fatigue. "A life that you have to get through is by its very nature an ongoing struggle," writes Chandler. "The air itself becomes a wall of clear thick Jell-O to get through. You can feel it in your walk Ė the struggle Ė the unbearable thickness of being."
How do you respond to difficult circumstances? Ask yourself. Is it the get through of a victim or the get from of an owner? Do you see things as problems or as opportunities? When confronted with difficulty, Chandler suggests that you ask yourself several questions. "How can I use this? What is the gift inside? What is it here to teach me?"
Itís energizing. Try it.
For many more powerful insights into the distinction between ownership and self-victimization, read Steve Chandlerís Reinventing Yourself. Youíll find it at your local book store or on Amazon.com.
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Copyright © 2006 Clarence and Carol Bass. All rights reserved.