Nathaniel Drew joined us for a Genius Bootcamp in 2015 and later sent me this message:
“Hey, thank you for your genius Bootcamp. It was an amazing experience. …My life has changed quite a bit. A lot of positive manifestations that keep gaining momentum.” He added, “My wife saw a video of you …[and] approached me in tears because she related with your story so much. She read The Jackrabbit Factor and had me watch the video. In a month’s time we went from $19k/year expecting to be starving artists for the rest of our lives to over $70k/year and much more to come on the horizon. Thank you for sharing your world of abundance with us. It really means a lot to us. … Thanks again.”
I replied, “Great to hear, Nathaniel 🙂 I’d be happy to spotlight your story in an upcoming newsletter, if you would like to [send more details]. No hurry, just an open invitation.”
Well, turns out he has a fantastic story, and I’m thrilled he took the time to share it!
He related the events of the previous several years in his own words:
“I don’t want to be a starving artist anymore!” I said angrily standing outside my mobile home. I’m not sure if it was to my wife or myself or God or the Universe.
You see, when my dear Emily and I began talking about marriage during our courtship I told her “You know, if you marry me, you’ll be the wife of a starving artist for five or ten years.” Not only was she ok with that, but she was excited about it.
At the time.
As we lived the life of starving artists for 10 years we began to see others making a lot of money. Even artists doing exactly what I was doing making a lot more money than I was.
I had written music for musicals, commercials, short films, long films, and even some amazing feature films!
So many times both she and I would get so mad. We knew how talented I was. We knew my compositions were technically amazing and I had won plenty of awards. We just had little money to show for it.
So it was, just after our tenth anniversary that I got mad for the last time. I cursed myself. I cursed the universe. I cursed my wife and my children and anything else I could blame. Anger and blame after all was better than the depression I had been through because I was now taking back my power.
One night I walked in the door from a torturous day at my studio and I closed the old heavy front door into our warm trailer. “Hey, did you get that video I emailed you?” she asked.
“Uh, yeah, the rabbit one?” I asked with smidgen of annoyance.
“Yeah, [about] The Jackrabbit Factor! It really has changed the way I look at things!” she said hopeful, but trying not to be too excited.
From here I must rewind to let you know some things about Emily to give you an appreciation of the place that she’s in at this moment that she’s offered this video to me. From the time we married it took seven years and many fertility treatments until we finally gave up on the idea of having our own children. Once we gave up our resistance we had our first child. Our son Liam. We then had our second son Peter 18 months after that.
She should have been the most elated mother in the history of the world, but she was depressed. In order to combat her depression she became determined and decided that she was going to run a triathlon. In order to run this triathlon she was going to train all summer for a specific triathlon at the end of the summer. She was so determined. She got up every day and went out to run. She scheduled other races that would lead up to the triathlon. She got her sisters and a niece involved who would run with her or watch the kids while I worked on my latest film score.
I had never seen her take such initiative. In the process she ran a half marathon! When she finished that triathlon I had never seen her more alive and happy. She even called it “easy” and “fun” and wanted to do more!
Many aspects of her life were changing. She stopped working so hard and started enjoying the kids more. It was this kick of empowerment that led her to Leslie Householder’s materials. “I haven’t looked at it yet, but I’ll watch it tomorrow if you want.” I responded.
“You should watch it right now!” Emily said excitedly.
I sat down with her and found the video [the one called Discovering Your Hidden Resources]. We watched together. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after a while I began to feel excited. I wasn’t sure what to say. We talked for hours afterwards about the law of attraction and about emotions and about what we really wanted.
Those following weeks were full of emotion and change. I began to get up every morning at 5am and started a vlog called the 7 Day Journey. I began to clean and fix up my house and be proud of my appearance. I began looking at houses and different properties that brought me joy. I began to live my life in a way that my priority was to feel joy as much as I could.
Most of all we felt joy and love and peace surround our desires. Things began breaking loose in my life. I began to focus on the house that I wanted. I focused on creating and feeling good. Taking walks, getting enough sleep, getting exercise, meditating. Every moment of my life was a quest to find joy. I began to believe in myself again. To feel powerful and alive. To feel in control. I was finding my true self and my purpose.
The first two months I received more money than I had the whole previous year.
I remembered how well my brother-in-law was creating in his life and we began partnering up in business. We had a $50mil. development that funded that March. I created a high-class resort with a restaurant and spa. But the best is yet to come. The totality of my work right now is going places and doing things that bring me joy.
…I felt inspired to go to a certain University I graduated from. I sat in their brand new beautiful and open library all day. It was so fun watching students. It was as if they had idea bubbles coming out of their heads. So much energy and fun, and I just felt the energy flowing through me.
I then felt prompted to go and talk with the President of the college. I headed out to his office, when on the way I ran into some ladies from the music department from where I had graduated. They were talking about a new music building for which they were going to be getting funding. And it hit me why I was to meet with the President of the University.
I was in the office and scheduled an appointment that they normally don’t give, at a time that was perfect. I met with the President, Dean of the school of Arts, Dean of the school of Music and several others. I found them another $30mil for their arts building and created the first social media wing/program in the world for the arts.
They also wanted me to do their social media marketing (something I’m very very good at).
Everything just fell into place including talking with the former Mayor of the city who set up meetings for me to meet with state legislators for more funds and setting up meetings with Facebook. It was just an avalanche of momentum all at once.
It feels good to know my purpose and to listen to my inner being. It is so amazing when source energy is flowing through me and I am so excited to see this manifest in my life!
The funny thing is that it’s not even that much of a surprise. It just feels natural. I am a powerful creator and have always been. The only reason in my past that money has not flowed to me is that I haven’t allowed it to.
I’m not just a musician.
I have been expanding all of my life and I now recognize that. I have felt bad as a composer when I wasn’t willing to let myself expand. I will continue to find things that truly bring me joy, and I am so excited to allow more and more expansion within my life and allow myself joy and happiness and money and amazing relationships. Every moment of my life is my choice.
I choose happiness. I choose wealth. I choose love.
Well done, Nathaniel! To learn more about what he’s up to now, watch his video below:
This is nuts. It’s 1:00 am and I can barely keep my eyes open, but I know that if I just go to bed, I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep anyway. I have to get this out of my head. Having a message to convey is my curse and my blessing all wrapped up together.
Anyway, if I wait until the morning, there will be too many distractions.
So here’s my question to you:
How much money do you need to feel financially free and secure?
Is it a monthly cashflow? Is it a pile of “X” amount of dollars in the bank? What’s your number?
For years I operated from a standpoint of, “I will feel secure when we have $_______ coming in every month, residually.” Or, sometimes it was, “I know the work is done when we have $________ saved or invested.”
What I’ve noticed is that no matter what benchmark was set, once we achieved that number, I still didn’t feel financially safe and secure. I could see how quickly it could evaporate, or how easily we had grown into that income, and once again, felt a driving need to earn more.
Suppose One Million Dollars is your benchmark for success. Suppose you think that having $1M in the bank would allow you to do everything on your list that has been waiting for the day you could afford it. What if I could send you a check today for $1M. What would you do with it, right now?
I know you’re just reading along, but I really want you to stop and ponder that question:
What would you do TODAY with $1M?
If you don’t have a solid answer, then you are not prepared to receive $1M. If you feel like just putting it in the bank would solve everything, then you’re not prepared to receive it. If it’s so big that you can’t even wrap your brain around the concept of having $1M, then what difference would it make if it were $2M, or $400M? If you cannot conceptualize the difference between those figures and what that kind of money could do for you, then it’s time to start doing your research on the elements of your lifestyle that you’d like to enjoy one day.
Find out how much that cabin really costs, and whether that price includes granite or Formica, indoor or outdoor toilets, log or sheet rock. Get a feel for what the money can buy.
Suppose you were to leave your occupation to serve a humanitarian aid mission somewhere. How much money would you need each month, and how much does the plane ticket cost? Have you done enough research to know what’s a good deal and what isn’t?
If you have something in mind you’d like to do, have, or become, pretend like you already have the money and start shopping seriously for the things you’d need to purchase in order to have those dream experiences.
THEN (and here’s the cool part), release your concerns about the money, and focus on enjoying the experience as though it is happening now.
You don’t have to worry about the money part, because when you apply the principles of visualization to your dream-goals, things begin to line up for you to deliver the experience, sometimes without even requiring you to pay the regular price. Either opportunities line up that will provide you with the money you need, or circumstances will evolve in such a way that you will get to enjoy the benefit of your dream-goal through a barter, or a gift, or some other unexpected way.
It’s not your job to manage the creative process.
This is why I’ve always hesitated to encourage money goals, because honestly, for me, that’s not what pushes my buttons. Every time I set a money goal, it seems to put me into a state of being that repels the money. It must be some kind of subconscious program I have, I don’t know.
However, some people are really motivated and driven by money goals, but for me, they always seem to backfire. Well, I’ve decided that’s okay. I would rather that my driving force be the ultimate reason for wanting the money. I don’t want to have the money at the expense of all the other things that are more important to me than money, and that’s the risk we take when our goals are centered on a dollar figure.
So this begs the question: “What if I really do want a pile of money in the bank?”
Let me put it to you this way:
What is financial freedom, really?
What is financial security?
Isn’t it knowing that no matter what happens in the economy, or with your job, or whatever, your family’s needs will be met?
When our income tripled and we experienced what it was like to pay off credit cards, and buy the groceries we really wanted, and sign the kids up for all kinds of lessons, and fix all the broken things around the house… and ultimately move to the home that would really meet all of our wants and needs as a growing family, I thought I was experiencing financial freedom. I was able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to.
No question, it was an experience I hope everyone will enjoy.
However, we could not be content with life as it was, because Trevan was gone too much, and we always had to ask permission from his employer if we wanted to take some time off with the family. We would be concerned about the consequences he’d face at work if he had to stay home sick.
We were doing pretty well, but had so many opportunities come across our table for which he (we) simply did not have time to do our due diligence, and we could see it was potentially costing us as much as his annual salary to let the opportunities go. These were opportunities that could have replaced his annual income in just one or two transactions… and how much time would that have afforded him?
So it became clear a few years ago that he had to take the leap of faith. We believed that by letting go of his regular and dependable source of income, we’d begin to really soar financially. He’d have time to do due diligence on the amazing opportunities to invest in businesses, or real estate, or helping businesses find capital, etc.
We were convinced that by letting him finally be his own boss, and as we continued to live the principles of prosperity we had been studying, we’d finally get to start putting BIG piles of money in the bank. This is how we pictured creating peace of mind. In a small temporary way, we planned to make a ton of money and then simply take a little break. We had worked so hard for so long, we were liking the idea of taking it easy. Not retirement, of course, but easing up on our crazy life-pace that we had subjected ourselves to for as long as we could remember.
Well, just as in the story of the acorn, letting go of the tree was terrifying, although we knew in our hearts it was time. (In the case of the story, the tree represented his job). We wondered how long we could survive without the sustenance that the tree had always provided.
We envisioned the grandeur and prestige of being independent, full-time entrepreneurs. It sounded so glamorous, and we were proud of ourselves for taking the step in spite of our fears, especially in light of the Stickman Concept.
With a bit of cockiness, we approached our investments with confidence, knowing that everything works out for us, because we had enjoyed a superb track record since discovering the principles in 2000.
Well, God has a way with people like us.
Like the acorn, we took a hard fall, and had never before experienced such fear and confusion. We wondered how long we’d have to flounder before God would see fit to rescue us and send us the financial windfall we continued to chase through our various ventures.
We literally lived on the end of our resources, eking by, one day at a time. I couldn’t let myself wonder, “What happens when the money runs out next week, and there is no paycheck coming in?” I didn’t let myself even think about it. There were times where I had to consciously choose to relax and subject myself to peaceful music in order to combat the storm raging inside my mind.
Somehow, God continued to sustain us in various ways, week by week, against all odds. This lasted a few months and then turned into more than a year… and I finally began to think, “If He has kept us going this far, and we’re still alive, we have food to eat and a place to live, and our family is in tact, then why wouldn’t I believe He would continue to support us?”
So during the second year, we pressed forward full throttle toward our goals, allowing the little money we had to flow through us freely, trusting that nature would fill the vacuum we continued to create. Unlike year #1, during year #2 we operated with very little (if any) anxiety, and gained confidence that everything was going to continue to work out. By this time, we were at peace with whatever was going to happen, good or bad. We’d move our feet in the direction of our goals a little further each day, and until there was absolutely nothing left we could do, we’d keep on keeping on.
I settled in to that strange new way of life. Like the acorn, we realized that we could survive, even disconnected from the tree, and I began to release my fears of, “What if we have to move?” Or, “What if you have to go back to a job?”
Suddenly, I found myself relying on God the same way we had relied on the paycheck. I knew God was there, and was aware of us and our needs, and I also knew that He could only bless us according to our faithfulness, so we practiced being at peace in the storm. Can’t really practice without a storm, so here was our opportunity to practice.
Honestly, it flows through us faster than you’d believe because of how much we continue to pump back into our business so that we can extend our reach to more families and bring more mothers home from work.
I’m like that acorn, and as much as we all think we want a pile of money, I have learned that financial freedom is not having ten years of money in my hands today.
The seed does not benefit from having ten years worth of nutrients and water dumped on it all at once.
Neither I nor the seed would be able to absorb it, and it would likely wash us both away into oblivion. No, in the bigger picture, the seed is better off receiving only as much as it needs, as it needs it.
Financial freedom is the financial peace of mind that comes from recognizing that your job does not pay you… it is God that pays you through your job. It is not your business that pays you, it is God that pays you through your business. Remove the delivery vehicle, and He can still deliver the resources you need to become all you have chosen to become. It will find you, so relax as you keep taking just one more step!
As you allow yourself to find peace in darkness and uncertainty, you discover that miracles here on earth have not ceased. You become the newest recipient.
The acorn only becomes a mighty oak after it lets go of the parent tree, and finds all the sustenance it needs from God through the elements within its immediate surroundings. It grows independent and becomes shelter and sustenance for other tiny seeds only just getting started.
You don’t need a bazillion dollars in the bank. The person who learns to rely on God for daily support is the person who is truly financially free… because no market crash, no bank failure, no thief nor law suit, can ever overshadow the peace of mind that comes from having discovered God’s willingness and power to give you just what you need when you need it.
I will point out, also, that only people who experience great financial hardships will likely ever discover this miracle I’m talking about. If you’ve got it rough, count yourself highly fortunate. The sooner you let go of your fears, the sooner you’ll experience true financial freedom.
Realize now that even if all of your fears came true, you could still bounce back bigger than ever.
And then once you finally feel, and daily live, with that freedom in your heart, it’s only a matter of time before it begins to manifest in your physical reality, too.
But by then, you’ll have a wise and proper perspective on money, and will put it to work, blessing the lives of others.
I look forward to hearing your story. Originally published September 3, 2008
Some time ago I held a special Mentor Training for those who graduate with Honors from the Mindset Mastery™ Program and want to learn how to effectively (and profitably) mentor others in the principles of “right thinking”. It was designed for those who were ready to take their skill and expertise to the next level.
(I held this course twice before taking time off to focus on my family. The last class was recorded and is available online so that Honors Graduates can enjoy the same powerful advanced training experience — complete with personal one-on-one coaching with me — all from the comfort of home. (Mindset Mastery Honors Graduates: click here to learn more.)
But now and then I hear from someone who went through the Mentor Training program to update me on what’s happened since. A couple weeks ago I heard from Jan Lambert, and her story was too inspirational to keep to myself. 🙂
First, a little back story…
Jan showed up at Mentor Training in an electric wheelchair and with a service dog. To attend, she drove over 1200 miles (each way), pulling over as needed to sleep in her van, despite the physical discomfort. In her words:
“I read Leslie’s book The Jackrabbit Factor. It awakened something in me that will not go back to sleep. I feel an energy that I have not felt in years, as if I am being driven toward a goal I did not know was there, until everything started to ‘work’ so I could come to Mentor Training.”
Here was a woman determined to make a change in her life, despite a past full of some extreme and traumatic hardships. She has given me permission to share a few of the many difficulties she experienced:
When she was a baby (13 months old, with medical records that prove it), she was sexually assaulted. Her childhood was un-loving. Nobody ever told her they loved her, in her entire childhood. Neither parent, no grandparent, friend — only men who wanted sexual favors. Her mother was violent. She was spanked every day for some offense or another, “walked on eggshells” and hid from her at every opportunity. Later in life she was married twice to cruel and abusive husbands. She says,
“It’s difficult to describe the feeling of going through life without a goal, other than ‘to survive.'”
In July of 2001, she was taken to the hospital with supra-ventricular tachycardia. The echogram showed damage consistent with Congestive Heart Failure. She was never able to do strenuous exercise, as she had Rheumatic Fever twice as a child. She ended up on Disability.
In 2003 a nurse determined that she was no longer able to take care of herself. She needed to either go to a nursing home, or have a daily caregiver. In her words:
“Over the years …I steadily gained weight. I knew it was ‘protection’ … My weight climbed to a height of 310 pounds. [After falling] I broke a rib once trying to climb up the furniture.”
“In October, 2008, I fell [again]. It didn’t seem like a bad fall, as I’d been having falls for about the past two years, but this time I couldn’t get up. It was the worst pain I can ever remember feeling since falling from a horse across a fence and breaking some ribs back in the ’60’s. Another run to the Emergency Room. X-rays revealed a fractured vertebrae. A subsequent MMRI revealed THREE MORE fractured vertebrae, all old, long healed. But the way they healed, they put on calcium on the inside, putting pressure on the spinal nerve.”
“So THAT’S WHY, all my life, I’ve been in great pain when I had to stand for any length of time, and when I had to walk. I’ve always avoided it. I’ve been called ‘lazy’ more than once because of it, but the pain can become incapacitating. It wasn’t the kind of pain I could just ignore!”
“Long ago, before I knew I had been a victim of child sexual abuse, I heard Spencer W. Kimball state in General Conference that the man who betrays a young girl’s trust is her destroyer, as surely as if he has put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Well, I guess that something inside me that remembered what happened… refused to be destroyed! I had always thought I was given the life I was given because I needed to learn to fight, but from this end of it, I realize I was given this life because I WAS ALWAYS A FIGHTER, and I had a chance to overcome it…”
Never giving up on the hope that she could find peace, and doing the best she could, step by step she held to the vision of a better life and worked for years to improve her condition – emotional and physical.
Long story short, she says,
“I’ve found healing. I had not realized the level of hatred and rage I had harbored toward all men, until it was gone. I feel a peace inside now that I’ve never had before. I feel safe.”
These were Jan’s remarkable words in 2010. So you can imagine how happy I was to hear from her again seven years later:
“About two years ago, I met a man I could not walk away from… he’s a Disabled Veteran who served as a Navy Seal for ten years. …We are now engaged to be married.
“And…he owns land in two other states, one unit is large enough to qualify as my ‘ranch’ and I can have all the horses, dogs, and cats I want there! Also most of the other things I dreamed up while I was writing (and drawing) the details… Including windmills and storage batteries for electricity independence, greenhouses for 12-month/year fresh food production, the barn of a size I want for the domestic livestock I need to supplement the greenhouse enterprise… it’s all there…
“His own dream of rehabilitating Felons will bring us the students I will need to teach the Program to while they make plans for their own futures, meanwhile learning skills with which to establish an independent business of their own instead of being reliant upon ‘finding a job’ which, if you don’t know this, is very difficult to do if you have ‘Felon’ on your record.
“My dream was to find people who needed to become independent business owners in order to earn a living, build a life, keep their family close by involving each family member in the business, keeping each one ‘needed’ and appreciated as they grow. I feel I was guided to appreciate the needs of felons for this purpose. Of course, anybody who wants to come and learn the Program will be welcome. 🙂
“My dream is coming true! And with a bonus I …had not even considered: my Sweetheart…
“I’m only 65. My life is far from over. …If my experiences can help another, they are not wasted. Not my fears, my tears, nor my triumphs.”
I love stories like this, which show that the principles aren’t just about money. As far as I’m concerned, they are even more about the kinds of things that money can’t buy.
If you want to feel renewed, encouraged, and inspired as well, read or re-read The Jackrabbit Factor now. (It’s free!)
Super LONG and Super COOL Laws of Thought Story and Tender Mercies…
First Some Back Story…
Prior to the taking and graduating with honors from Leslie’s Mindset Mastery course, I had been living in a scarcity & doubting mindset for well over 20 years. For the past year or two I’ve been focused on implementing all that I had been learning in the Mindset Mastery course to change the trajectory of my mediocre life. Among many other tools I’ve been using to support my mindset shift into abundance is a “Day Dreaming” Word Document that I look over every day to “visualize and feel” certain goals into my reality (kind of like a vision board on steroids). I keep things in this document that I want to attract within a year’s period of time and I started this at the beginning of 2017, so it contains all the goals and dreams I want to attract into my life this year. Anyway, a few of the items that made it into my “Day Dreaming” document for this year are :
A new fence because our East fence is about to fall over, and our South fence has enough slats missing now that our neighbor’s dog can come over and poop in our yard whenever it feels like it.
A new roof because we’ve sustained enough wind and hail damage over the years to warrant the use of several buckets in our attic to catch the main leaks.
Fix a hole in the brickwork on our house to the side of our garage door (a car rolled into it a couple of years ago leaving a moderate sized eyesore).
Each of these items are towards the end of the list of items in my “Day Dreaming” document for the year because I figured that the roof would cost over $5,000; and the fence & brickwork… well, I had no idea how much those would cost, but I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to pull any of these off until after attracting substantial increases in our business income throughout the year.
After mowing the lawn and seeing our back yard fence for the first time in a month or two, and realizing once again, just how bad our fence had deteriorated; A Thought crossed my mind to not let doubt continue to stand in my way from at least finding out how much it would cost to fix the fence… even though I was 99% sure we couldn’t act on it for a while because our income hadn’t improved yet this year. So I made a Facebook post to a community Facebook Group asking if anyone out there had recommendations for a reliable and reasonably priced fence repair person or company.
Within a week…
We had a guy come out and give us an estimate of about $2,000 for the two sections of fence we would need to replace.
Not more than an hour later our neighbor on the South of our house (who we’ve actually never spoken to before), knocked at our door to tell us she has someone coming over to repair the portion of fence we share so we could give him access to our back yard if he needed to come back there. I asked her how much he was charging & she told me it would cost only $50-$100 to do it. I told her he could definitely have access to our back yard, and that we’d split the cost. The Lord gives good gifts, and I was thinking that having the worst of it repaired for $25-$50 (our half of the cost) would get us by until later in the year when we could afford to put a brand new fence up… but that’s not the end of the story…
A few days later…
Even though I was thinking that I’d wait on fixing the East section of our fence; right after finishing my morning exercise (when I was all sweaty and gross), I had a recurring thought to go talk to our neighbors on the east of us right then about my intention to fix the portion of our fence that we share. I went right away, and in doing so I learned that THEY were already making plans to fix it! We talked about sharing the cost, but I didn’t know how I could even come up with half right now. As we got talking my neighbor told me how their insurance claim worked when their house was damaged in the storms the previous month. I learned that their deductible was not required to be paid up front, but was deducted from the check the insurance company sent the them… and then they hired someone to do the work cheaper than what the insurance company had paid so they had money left over for other things. Dang! I had thought all of these years (without looking into it of course) that we’d have to come up with $1,000 deductible out of pocket, so I’ve never even given a second thought into filing an insurance claim to have our roof fixed. With this new found knowledge of how home owners insurance claims work… I immediately went home & filed a claim with our insurance company. Upon doing so, I discovered that our deductible is not $1,000… it’s only $500 (even better!).
One week later…
The insurance inspector came to our home to assess the damage. When he finished his work he said he has enough evidence to submit a recommendation for us to receive a new roof, and to replace the East fence. He said they would ALSO pay for the water damage repairs in our kids bathroom (which I had forgotten about until he asked me if there was any water damage inside the house)!!! Can you say TENDER MERCIES? Holy cow we are being so blessed!
As I was sharing this tender mercy with my daughter later that afternoon we got talking about feeling genuine gratitude for things we want to be blessed with… and feeling the actual feelings as if a goal had already been accomplished. I described to my daughter how challenging it’s been for me over the years to FEEL the feelings and gratitude ahead of time. I found myself telling her of one time that I actually felt some pre-created (is that a word?) gratitude. As I began describing the first time I ever really felt real genuine feelings of joy and gratitude for something as if it had already happened, the realization struck me forcibly that the scenario I was describing to my daughter was at the beginning of April and I was picturing and feeling joy and gratitude for our fixed fence and new roof! Wow!!! Heavenly Father gives REALLY good gifts when we follow the correct principles upon which those gifts (aka blessings) are predicated!!
I met with the project manager of the remodeling company that will be replacing our roof & repairing our bathroom from water damage. He reviewed all the insurance paperwork and then proceeded to discuss what he could offer…
There is a coupon for $500 that will satisfy the deductible!
He OFFERED to give us a $250 cash back credit if we allowed him to put a sign in our yard as advertising!
He pointed out several items that really don’t need to be fixed by a professional that we could do ourselves & keep the money for doing so.
All in all, we will receive over $1,500 back to put towards:
Our back fence repairs… that will only cost us $600 because: We are splitting the cost with our neighbor who we discovered is a Veteran and can get a VA discount on the fence materials at Lowe’s or Home Depot… AND we got the labor cost cut way down too by getting other bids – HOW COOL IS THAT?!!!),
The brick repairs next to our garage door (that we discovered will only cost about $200
So basically, we are having over $10,000 worth of home repairs completed within the next two weeks… that we don’t have to pay for, and in fact we’ll be RECEIVING about $600 above and beyond all repairs that will help our cash flow!!!
To wrap up, I just want to point out that each of these tender mercies were a SINGLE IDEA AWAY all this time! All I really needed to do was to doubt not, but to be believing… having faith merely the size of a grain of mustard seed so that I could receive them!
Contained in every adversity is the seed of equal or greater benefit. (Napoleon Hill)
But even though I understood this principle, it was still frustrating when I tried to get my book The Jackrabbit Factor published in 2005, but received letter after letter from publishers who weren’t interested. There was, however, one letter that stood out from the rest. I had studied the criteria of what the publisher was looking for, and was convinced that my book and their company was a match made in heaven. I was absolutely 100% confident that what I had written was exactly what they were looking for!
So when I got word that even THEY had rejected my book, I threw up my hands and decided to just publish it myself. In hindsight, I’m grateful I did. Self-publishing my books is the only reason I’ve been able to give them away for free, and to earn over a million dollars because of it. (More about that…)
Because that rejection letter ultimately changed my path for the better, it went down in history as “my favorite rejection” of all time.
Whenever I share the letter, those who have read my book The Jackrabbit Factor erupt with laughter. (Those who haven’t usually just grin, as they wonder what’s so funny.) With all due respect for the publisher who rejected me, (I hold no malice), I thought it might be inspirational to share the letter with you. I hope this helps you think of your rejections, and how you might be able to see them in a different, happier light:
So, take a fresh look at your obstacles and setbacks. If something seems bad now, think of it as a blessing in disguise. By law, it must contain the potential for something phenomenal. What could the blessing be?
Looking for the upside to your challenges (and being grateful for them before you even know what’s good about them), can put you in position to receive incredible blessings. On the other hand, when you focus only on the inconvenience of your obstacle, you can miss the blessing altogether.
Recorded at a Thomas Jefferson Education Conference (SLC, UT) – Making Cents out of Setbacks: How to Profit from your Losses
Are you weary of the fight? Has ‘quitting’ ever crossed your mind? You’re closer to succeeding than you probably know. Let Leslie take the lid off your mind and show you how to view your challenges in a whole new light, so you can turn them into some of your greatest assets. Identify and access the hidden benefits contained in your adversities.
Why setbacks are a necessary piece of the success formula
How to pass the persistence test
What you can do to avert unnecessary setbacks
When (and how) to turn off the part of your mind that sets the goal (turn it off too late and you’ll miss the mark)
How to turn ON the part of your mind that achieves the goal
The role of a third part of your mind, and how to reduce the amount of energy required to accomplish the goal
The surprising purpose and meaning of ‘failure’ (and why you’re more fortunate if you experience it than if you don’t)
How to recognize, enlist, and trust your gut instinct for success
Background, newlyweds, seminars – “What, is this a sick addiction?”
Assigns meaning – good or bad: a ton of gold? What if you’re on a rowboat?
Create new idea
Subconscious Mind keeps you alive
Only accepts ideas, doesn’t discern
Responds to YOUR thoughts charged with emotion
Body – tool of the mind
Health, behaviors, action
As a Man Thinketh
Why we get stuck after a setback
Why we stay in bondage
2 factors determine the programs that will run:
Repeated often, or charged with emotion
Break the cycle with imagination
Respond properly to setbacks
Focus where you’re going
Turbulent wave tube
It’s the wave that propels you
Those who want to make the most progress in life, are the ones who are willing to take on the toughest challenges
Picture what you want
How would it feel when?
The only way you can answer it is through FEELING it
Seed of equal or greater benefit
The bigger your setback, the more fortunate you are
Handle negative experiences without emotion
Approach your hopeful plans with emotion
A successful person isn’t made as he sails his way to the top. A successful person is made in the moment of disaster when he chooses to think right anyway.
Laws of success
Life said, “Alright Leslie, what are you going to do with THIS…”
Laws were suspended on my behalf, working for everyone but me.
List of setbacks
“Keep teaching, you do not make them true or false by how well you’re living them.”
“In times of change, the learners will inherit the earth while the learned find themselves … to a world that no longer exists.” Eric Hoffer
The only constant we can depend on is there will be change.
Failure is not an option, so that only leaves blame.
Bethany’s lips are blue
Home study course – www.prosperthefamily.com
Failed 4 times:
– to keep her safe
– hit head
– didn’t plug nose
No time to bemoan mistakes
Shallow lesson – watch kids better around water
Deeper lesson – life is fragile. Family more tender with one another
Life lesson – delivered straight from God to teach me what I had been looking for: Failure is feedback.
Cut your losses, keep moving
Bemoaning mistakes. No time for that.
Japanese Proverb – Fall down 7 times get up 8.
Dog without front legs, owner brought food, pig stole his food. Learned how to walk.
Our setbacks can bring out our hidden talents and gifts
What’s your handicap? What’s your weakness?
When life throws you something traumatic, you’ll discover new things about your capacity and potential. None are pointless.
It has a purpose. Look for the blessing it contains because it’s there.
It’s been a very interesting New Year! As we said goodbye to 2016, there was a feeling in the air that change was coming.
So when my husband noticed an interesting position posted at (I’ll call it “Company B”, a vendor for his current employer), I told him: “You should look into it…”
Husband: “I was thinking about it…”
Me: “I’m wondering why you’re still standing there.”
Chuckling, he disappeared into his office. He messaged his friend (the man he knew from Company B), and based on their relationship, he fully expected an eager, enthusiastic response. But two weeks went by and there was no reply at all.
Oh well, we both thought. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.
Then on January 13th my husband came home early, at about 10:00 am. A forced smile held back a flood of emotions as he sat down and broke the news to me that he had just been let go.
I was surprised, but not really. We had been feeling change coming, but didn’t know this is what the change would be. Remembering the Law of Polarity, I said, “Okay. This is good!”
He took a deep breath and said, “I choose to believe this is going to turn into something amazing.”
Let me pause to provide a little bit of back story for context. Here’s the sum up:
1991-1997 – Really hard financial struggles.
2000 – Big breakthrough, tripled our income in 3 months, started teaching seminars on what we learned. I tell the story in this video.
2006 – Husband quit job to help me run the books/seminar business full time.
2007 – Invested too much money in real estate at the TOP of the market.
2008 – The real estate market tanked and we worked overtime trying to hold it all together.
2009 – New breakthroughs – had our biggest month to that point: $43,000. Published the sequel, Portal to Genius to describe all I had learned since releasing The Jackrabbit Factor.
2011 – Husband returned to the 9-5 workforce to heal our strained relationship and begin working a longer-term plan with a stronger foundation. I stepped back from doing the business full time to recover, heal, and focus m0re on the family (instead of speaking as much as I used to).
2012 – Sold our dream home and started working the new plan.
2015 – Finally dared to begin dreaming again.
So, for the last couple years we’ve just been plugging away at the long-term plan and have been feeling pretty great.
I tell you all THAT to tell you THIS:
2012 was probably one of the hardest years we’d ever had. Our finances were in the biggest mess they’d ever been in, and when the market plummeted, we couldn’t sell our investments, people who owed us money couldn’t pay, and because the ripple effect was devastating, we also became those people.
I watched my husband’s self esteem shrink to pretty much nothing and I was not able to encourage him. I myself was just as depleted, and instead of being his greatest support, I was openly critical. I was exhausted, embarrassed, disappointed, and angry that my business had gone from a hobby I loved (because of how it helped people), to something I hated (because it was now needed for paying gigantic real estate bills).
So I’ve seen him broken and depressed. I’ve seen him completely paralyzed and unable to think of solutions. I’ve seen him beat himself up because he knew better, but still couldn’t shake the darkness.
To illustrate where we were at and what we were feeling at the time, let me paint a picture. I wanted to approach our problems with the belief that anything was possible (I was still teaching it, after all), and that we could just apply the principles and turn things around. But I wanted him to solve it, because I was exhausted. However, while I knew he could apply Rare Faith to solve it, I struggled to believe that he would. I was too tired, and he was stuck in despair.
After years of running the business 12-16 hours/day while trying to homeschool 7 kids, I ran out of steam altogether. My husband was doing all he could to help build and support the systems that delivered our product, but didn’t have direct control over creating the paycheck like I did as the marketer. I berated him for letting me shoulder the burden of the bills, and he wondered why I kept jumping in all the time instead of trusting him t0 figure something out.
Ironically, I had encouraged him to quit his job five years earlier to help me with the business. But now I wanted nothing to do with it, and I wanted him to solve the problem—even though he no longer had his best source of income for solving it. Still, he kept telling me to slow down and let him handle it. I don’t know why it was so hard to let go.
So the next big bill came along, and I let him own it, no matter the outcome. I wasn’t even tempted to step in. But he couldn’t think of a single thing he could do to generate the money. I was too fatigued to implement any of my ideas, and all he could think of was to ask our Bishop for help. I thought, If this is the only thing he can think of, and if I’m really committed to letting him solve this, I need to support him in however he chooses to solve it.
Yes, this meant me showing up at the Bishop’s storehouse for a food order. We had plenty of long term food storage, but needed help with the weekly fresh foods.
Yes, this also meant running into people who knew my books and probably wondered why the Jackrabbit Factor lady needed welfare. I remember standing outside thinking, If I’m too proud to go in there and accept some help while we put our life back together and re-establish how we want our relationship to work, then I’m in a worse condition than I thought.
Trusting the experience would be good for my soul, I took a deep breath and walked through those doors.
After a couple visits, consciously swallowing my pride each time, I told my husband, “I think you should take a turn.” I knew his pride was already shot full of holes, but facing humiliation head on can sometimes really shift things, as I discovered. After all:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
So yes. I told him, “I think you should take a turn.”
My sweet husband answered, “That’s the least I can do.”
In time, he swallowed his pride even more and took a 9-5 job at 2/3 his previous salary so we could rebuild with a little bit of stability and give me a break.
A paper sack on the path: something to be grateful for, even if it wasn’t the ultimate goal.
Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, when he lost that job of five years.
We very quickly learned how far we’ve come. It surprised us, how natural it felt to think optimistically, in spite of the blow. It shocked us that we were able to feel increasingly excited about all the possibilities—all the things we could do with our future.
His options were now completely wide open!
He allowed himself to feel relief that he didn’t have to be at that job anymore, and we looked for evidence that the Lord was not only aware, but probably orchestrating things to bring us to even greater opportunities and blessings.
Thus, we began talking about all the reasons this “setback” was good:
With all the experience he had gained over the last 5-6 years, he was now more marketable than he had ever been before.
He had been unhappy and thinking about leaving anyway, but didn’t feel like quitting was the responsible thing to do. In some ways, it makes it easier when they just decide for you that you’re done.
Because they let him go, he received severance, which would not have been available to him if he had left on his own.
We had been hoping for a chance to finish the online school we had been revamping, so that the online version of the Mindset Mastery™ program could finally re-open for students. We thought, maybe this will give us the opportunity to finish it! And, by offering a more affordable format to our readers, the potential revenue could be more than 4 times what he was making at the job.
We’ve already been through MUCH WORSE, so we knew we were going to be okay, no matter how this was going to play out.
We’ve been independent business owners before, and while we didn’t really want to depend on our business to pay the bills again, we knew it could if we needed it to. (The advantage and power of having previously taken action to build multiple streams of income).
Our relationship has never been stronger, and we’ve never been so trusting of the principles at the same time (instead of one of us being up while the other is down, or vice versa). Not an easy thing to do! But now we know it’s possible. So facing this together was proving to be a deeply rewarding experience instead of the opposite, as we had experienced before.
We had been listening to Dave Ramsey and trying to follow his advice for the last few years, so we had a decent emergency fund in place—not fully funded, but better than nothing. I have to say, it is SO TRUE—the promise that if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.
The promise was never, “If ye are prepared, ye shall not suffer.” It was that “if ye are prepared, ye shall not FEAR.”
Because truly, fear is the real enemy. When you do not fear, you qualify for blessings that cannot be given if fear is present:
“Behold and lo, mine eyes are upon you, and the heavens and the earth are in mine hands, and the riches of eternity are mine to give. Ye endeavored to believe that ye should receive the blessing which was offered unto you; but behold, verily I say unto you there were fears in your hearts, and verily this is the reason that ye did not receive.” (Doctrine and Covenants 67:2-3)
Needless to say, it only took a few minutes and we were feeling pretty excited and grateful for the blessing of his unexpected termination. Not without a little bit of apprehension, of course, but every time the worry crept in, we consciously kicked it out and focused on all of the happy possibilities.
Within 30 minutes of his termination, and just as we were talking about the possibilities, he received a reply from Company B’s representative: “Yes! I would love to talk to you about the position – how about breakfast on Tuesday at 8 am?”
Isn’t that interesting.
We were reminded about our experience at the restaurant in 2009 when we were at the end of our money, had no credit, and needed to find $15,000 in just a couple weeks. We had decided to forget about our immediate problems long enough to allow ourselves to get excited about what we’d be doing in ten years, after we had figured it all out. That’s when the waiter announced the meal was on the house, and that’s the month we ended up making $43,000.
We’ve learned that as long as we focus on where we’re going, and the happy outcome we expect to enjoy as though it’s already been accomplished, things just work out.
I dare you to test it.
Together, we’ve been testing it regularly now for about five years. As we raise our large family with all the unexpected expenses and needs that come with that, we’ve often wondered where the needed resources would come from. But as we strive to keep an optimistic, faithful approach, our needs have been met unfailingly, and without compromising our values.
It continues to prove itself to be a true and DEPENDABLE principle.
This job loss experience (okay I’m going to say it: he was fired!), is proving to be no different.
However, even though we were choosing optimism, we still didn’t know if the new job was going to work out, or if it would be the right next step for him to take. But the one thing we knew for sure: things always go better when we are optimistic.
Especially when we choose optimism and let go of our concern about how things will turn out. It’s a type of surrendering.
By evening when it was time to tell the children, we had worked ourselves up into such a feeling of excitement that we told them it was time for a celebration! We announced that we needed to celebrate because Dad was just let go!
As he explained what had happened, he paused and said, “Wait…this happened on Friday the 13th… Seriously??” Everyone was like, WHOA… but then he added, “I thought nothing good was supposed to happen on that day!”
Originally, they were shocked, but after rehearsing to them all the reasons we believed this was happening because the Lord needed Dad more somewhere else, they understood.
We told them, “We have no idea how this is going to play out, but we trust that He is leading us. We just wanted you to understand why we might be saying no to some things, or eating food storage for a while until we get it all figured out.”
They were humbled, and supportive.
So anyway, instead of lamenting his loss (been there, done that, far too often, and for far too long…) we spent most of the day imagining the possibilities.
The next morning (Saturday), he had an idea come to him like a flash of intelligence, accompanied by a flood of details. (The Portal to Genius is real! You should really come experience it at Genius Bootcamp!) He immediately went to the computer and posted the following on a neighborhood Facebook group:
Yesterday my employment was terminated unexpectedly, so I’m now freed up to help you out. (Yay!)
I’m not looking for pity – I want to teach my seven children the value of work. I’m not too good for ANY honest work.
I have a little savings, so I’m ok for a little while, and I thought it would be fun to try an experiment.
So, here’s the deal: I will bring my own tools, and you supply the materials. I do work for you, you pay me whatever you feel it was worth – no questions asked.
Yep, simple as that. I have faith in God and in the humanity of people, and want to show my four boys that they aren’t too good for any honest work, and that as they rely on God and go to work with the resources they have available to them, their needs will be met.
I believe in Win-Win. If you don’t win, neither will I!
Need something fixed or created? I can help!
Metal Signs (cut on a CNC machine)
I LOVE to build, repair, and create things. I’ve rehabbed homes over the years (outside of my normal computer software job), and I’m good at it. I can do just about anything, but if what you need isn’t something I am good at, I’ll let you know.
Disclaimer: I am not a contractor and I don’t have a license. I don’t have a business entity for this, and I’m not bonded nor insured, so I can’t do the jobs that require such. Also, if I get more requests than I can handle, I’ll choose the projects that seem like the best fit for my skills.
(My wife doesn’t know I’m doing this – hope I won’t be sleeping in the doghouse for it, haha)
Let’s have some fun and see where this goes!
PM me with your needs and I’ll let you know if it’s something I could do a good job with. I’m available to start today!
Immediately requests began to come in. He was out working that very day, and every day thereafter while he waited to see what might come of the job opportunity with Company B. One of our teenage sons even went with him as an apprentice (never let a good opportunity be wasted, right?)
He laid carpet, built cabinetry, fixed sprinklers, hung shelves, and performed a myriad of miscellaneous handyman tasks. Gratefully, he brought home some pretty good money, which put us ahead.
Quite a contrast from the last time life needed him to get creative.
My husband felt happy and free, and was having more FUN than he’d had in a long time. Yes, the concern would creep in sometimes, but we just kept replacing it with action, and optimism.
More than once he told me that he felt like he wasn’t just finding his feet; he had been pushed out of the nest, and was finding his WINGS.
Can I just say? We LOVE the feeling that the Lord is actively involved in our life, and we LOVE the opportunity to show our kids a better way to respond to setbacks than what they saw last time.
What a wonderful opportunity it has been, to discover for sure that we ARE different than who we were, even just 5 years ago. There’s no way we could have known this about ourselves without the opportunity to face something “awful” like this.
So the Tuesday interview went well. As did the Thursday follow-up. He was offered a position on Friday, but felt like he should negotiate a better package. Calming our nerves all weekend, by the next Tuesday they had come to an agreeable offer. It provides a higher salary than his last job, a wider array of potential opportunities in the future, the opportunity to work from home 3 days a week, and a little bit of travel.
A few other interesting things that convince us there was a divine plan behind it:
The man whose position he’s filling resigned the same morning my husband was fired.
Because he found another job so quickly, the severance pay helps us very quickly achieve one of our goals that we thought would take much longer.
Through a conversation because of his job loss with another former employee, my husband learned about a job opportunity that was exactly what my daughter has been looking for. She was hired and started that job two days ago.
And a whole lot more that I’m not going to take the time or space to explain here.
I’m just here to say that as scary as change can be, there’s no question that the Lord is mindful of ALL of us, and orchestrates things for our good when we do our best to stay faithful. Believe in good things! Optimism opens doors to opportunities that may otherwise remain hidden.
So if you’re feeling worried or stuck now, just imagine what you’ll be doing (and especially how you’ll be feeling) after you’ve finally solved the problem. Live THERE for a while, refuse to worry, have Rare Faith, and watch your world shift to a better place.
With effective goal achievement, there comes a point where it’s time to “let go”, or “surrender”, because if you try to force it, your persistence can backfire. This podcast is an excerpt from a personal coaching call with me and my client, who graciously allowed this to be made public so that it can help others who have similar questions.
My client had seen God’s hand in her life before, and acknowledged that He has ensured her needs have been met many times. But she worried:
What if this is the first time it doesn’t work out?
What if I’ve used up all the grace tickets?
What if I just keep busting myself up against the laws?
What if everything that matters to me falls apart?
Discover the answer to these questions and many more in this episode of the Rare Faith Podcast.
The misunderstood principle of letting go or surrendering
Giving up – not to the enemy but to God
Examples of a pattern: JS in the grove ready to abandon himself to destruction, Peter using Rare Faith to walk on water but still needing a rescue, Alma snatched from burning.
There is a time and a place for giving up.
Surrendering doesn’t mean do nothing, it’s letting go after you’ve tried everything and it didn’t work
I want to be led. I don’t want to impose my agenda. I want total faith.
Choosing rock bottom
Being clear on how you want to FEEL
What is your time frame to accomplish that? By NOW
Are you willing to RECEIVE? Snarky.
Beating myself up for my inability to receive
What if the thing you want is a few years down the road?
If I can be guaranteed that, then I can hang in there.
Labor – what kept me going was knowing that it WILL end. I can endure anything if I know it will end soon.
Get out of your own way. What does that even mean??
The struggles are not for nothing. It IS going to happen, no doubt
You and me hanging out in heaven saying, remember when? That was HARD! We will sit in a garden somewhere…
You found out it would take 15 years. How would you tackle today’s tasks?
If you don’t want to think about heaven, think about 15 years from now, reminiscing back.
Goals written in present tense, vs. goals in past tense
Get comfortable with a longer term plan, if for no other reason than to keep you out of anxiety. If that’s all it’s for, it’s enough of a reason.
Why I love Dave Ramsey
Yes you can triple income in a short time, but it’s important to also live by the law of the harvest and develop habits and accept the slower processes
Quick success? If they have not also established some long term habits, they will fall.
Next goal: to know that you have sufficient
Time for your loved ones, time to serve.
When you feel anxiety:
1) remember, you’re on the X year plan
2) don’t be afraid to find out exactly where you’re at, listen to Dave and come up with a plan
Why I love KLove
I’ve noticed that I can get weary easily. I run, run, run throughout the day to get everything done, and by 4 or 5 pm I’m depleted. I drag myself to the kitchen to make dinner, and have nothing left of myself for the family, sometimes until the next morning.
So when I attended a special meeting on a Sunday night in August of 2014 with my teenagers, and the speaker began talking about something that would give them power, strength, and endurance to face (and conquer) their day with strength, and to overcome all that challenges their sense of identity as children of God or which puts at risk their ability to enjoy true happiness in spite of their difficulties, I listened, for my own sake.
Then I tried what he suggested, and it worked!
I’m sharing this with you now because it provides a good reminder as we begin a new year:
He reminded us of the power that comes from studying the scriptures. Not just reading here and there to say you did, but to really search them, make them a priority. He said that missionaries who dedicate two years of their life to serving God have incredible stamina, extra strength, and tenacious endurance, because they get up early and study the scriptures for an hour every day.
However, there are some sad statistics indicating that when missionaries return home, within 2 weeks, 8 out of 10 of them find themselves neck-deep in pornography, and within a year, 1 out of 3 of them find themselves without faith.
Faith is the fuel of life. It is the source of true happiness. To believe in God even if you can’t see Him is to find happiness when life is difficult, to find joy in spite of difficulty. Life is hard for all of us, but those who find faith also find joy anyway.
So how do these missionaries lose ground so quickly? He said that when they come home, they get back with friends and family and stay up late into the night sharing stories from their mission, miracles they witnessed, faith-promoting experiences that would surely change their life forever.
Then in the morning, the voice in their head says, “You served an honorable mission, I’m so proud of you. You deserve a little break.” So they sleep in, and then stay up late again the next night, visiting with more friends and family, sharing more faith-promoting stories, and then sleeping in the next day.
These fine young missionaries haven’t slept in a single day for two years, and now they’re enjoying a little break. After all, they deserve it, right?
But in the morning, they wake late and don’t have time to study their scriptures for an hour like they’ve done for the previous two years. They are not replenishing the oil in their lamp, and within two weeks, it’s gone. So when they find themselves playing a game on the computer (or surfing Facebook perhaps), and pornography pops up, they don’t have the strength to click off.
The contrast of feelings is overwhelming. The heaviness and loss of self control they feel is completely the opposite of the joy and freedom they experienced on their mission. Some wake up at that point and do the hard things to put their life back on track, but some don’t, and within a year have totally lost sight of who they are and how to live strong and happy.
The source of that strength they felt for the two years prior was the Word of God.
So as I listened to the speaker, I realized that I have been feeling weary because I have not made scripture study the priority that it has been at other times in my life. I might read every day, but it hasn’t been first thing in the morning. I can see the wisdom of making an intentional study at the beginning of the day, to provide the strength, the oil for my lamp, that I will need for the following 16 hours. No wonder I’ve been running out of stamina after only about 8.
So I began again yesterday, waking early, eager to study the scriptures first. And the inspiration I received has helped me and my family turn a corner. It feels good. I had all the strength I needed until I eventually hit the sack at 11. I felt like I was my better self practically the whole day.
I need this strength. Life is hard and beats us down on a daily basis. But I’ve just re-discovered the power, strength, and endurance that comes from feasting on the Word of God.
(My scripture of choice that day was Isaiah, for Christ said, “search these things diligently; for great are the words ofIsaiah” (3 Nephi 23:1) – I’m telling you what, that’s no small task, but even the effort alone provided the oil for my lamp that I needed that day.)
This article was originally published August 19, 2014.
Here’s wishing you all the best in 2017. May your family enjoy an increase of peace, prosperity, and happiness this year, and in the years to come!
For 43 years, Householder children have been determined to get to the presents without waking the parents.
But for the last two generations, Dad has gone to great lengths to prevent it.
What do booby traps have to do with the true meaning of Christmas?
It’s a tradition too well established to throw away, so instead I’ve thought about what spiritual metaphor can be drawn from it. Turns out, I didn’t have to think very long:
Life is like these traps – nobody gets through it without making mistakes.
Nevertheless, we can be grateful that all of God’s blessings can still be ours (the presents are still under the tree waiting) if we keep moving, keep trying, and keep trusting in his grace.
Enjoy the video (above), and have a Merry Christmas!
Now for those who want to go deeper…
I’ve been studying success principles for 25 years and writing about them for 15 years. I’ve been impressed that they can make a person more effective at anything they do, whether it be sports, finances, relationships, health, or spirituality.
The principles are dependable and sure. They bring peace of mind. They increase our capacity for happiness. They turn disaster into good fortune and heartache into healing. They are constant and reliable.
If success principles are this powerful and effective, what, then, is the purpose of religion? (Why, Leslie, do you still hold fast to yours?)
The short answer is because truth fits. Additional truth doesn’t replace the truth I’ve already found. On the contrary, it expands, magnifies, and amplifies everything I learned and believed before.
The reason I hold fast to my religion is because I believe the real power behind healing and true happiness is the atonement of Jesus Christ, and that the reason for being on this earth is to learn, grow, be tried, tested, taught and changed into someone who will be fit for his Kingdom in Heaven. With that as the overarching purpose, our daily struggles make more sense, and the more we learn, the more we discover that pain may be inevitable but suffering is optional.
As we learn and apply scripturally sound success principles (no matter where we learned them), we gain access to his power of healing and gift of peace. His blessings are predicated upon our obedience to the laws that govern his universe. We can learn obedience to law, practice it, and experience the rewards for it, even if we don’t understand exactly what it is or where the rewards come from.
For example, I don’t understand the electrical workings behind the wall of the light switch I flip, but I know that if I flip it, the light will turn on. I don’t know who manufactured the wires and connectors, or who placed them properly behind the sheetrock that make lighting my room possible, but I still use them effectively every day.
It’s the same with success principles. Believers and non-believers alike use them every day, and experience the power. But if you have an understanding of that which remains unseen, it’s easy to give the credit to God, because he is the creator and organizer behind the “wall”.
I hold fast to my religion because I cling to truth no matter where I find it. I add to it as quickly as I’m able to comprehend more. As Brigham Young, one of the early presidents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (also revered as a prophet) explained:
The gospel of Jesus Christ embraces all truth.
“All truth is for the salvation of the children of men—for the benefit and learning—for their furtherance in the principles of divine knowledge; and divine knowledge is any matter of fact—truth; and all truth pertains to divinity.
“Be willing to receive the truth, let it come from whom it may; no difference, not a particle…
“‘Mormonism,’ …embraces every principle pertaining to life and salvation, for time and eternity. No matter who has it. If the infidel has got truth it belongs to ‘Mormonism.’ The truth and sound doctrine possessed by the sectarian world, and they have a great deal, all belong to this Church… All that is good, lovely, and praiseworthy belongs to this Church and Kingdom. ‘Mormonism’ includes all truth. There is no truth but what belongs to the Gospel. It is life, eternal life; it is bliss; it is the fulness of all things…
“I want to say to my friends that we believe in all good. If you can find a truth in heaven, earth or hell, it belongs to our doctrine. We believe it; it is ours; we claim it.
“[The gospel] embraces all morality, all virtue, all light, all intelligence, all greatness, and all goodness. It introduces a system of laws and ordinances.
“Such a plan incorporates every system of true doctrine on the earth, whether it be ecclesiastical, moral, philosophical, or civil; it incorporates all good laws that have been made from the days of Adam until now; it swallows up the laws of nations, for it exceeds them all in knowledge and purity, it circumscribes the doctrines of the day, and takes from the right and the left, and brings all truth together in one system, and leaves the chaff to be scattered hither and thither.
“It is our duty and calling, as ministers of the same salvation and Gospel, to gather every item of truth and reject every error. Whether a truth be found with professed infidels, or with the Universalists, or the Church of Rome, or the Methodists, the Church of England, the Presbyterians, the Baptists, the Quakers, the Shakers, or any other of the various and numerous different sects and parties, all of whom have more or less truth, it is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head) to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach, … to the sciences, and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue, and people and bring it to Zion…
“Our religion measures, weighs, and circumscribes all the wisdom in the world—all that God has ever revealed to man. God has revealed all the truth that is now in the possession of the world, whether it be scientific or religious. The whole world are under obligation to him for what they know and enjoy; they are indebted to him for it all, and I acknowledge him in all things…
“Truth will abide when error passes away. Life will remain when they who have rejected the words of eternal life are swallowed up in death. I like the truth because it is true, because it is lovely and delightful, because it is so glorious in its nature, and so worthy the admiration, faith and consideration of all intelligent beings in heaven or on the earth.
“I delight in this, because truth is calculated to sustain itself; it is based upon eternal facts and will endure, while all else will, sooner or later, perish.
“Every individual that lives according to the laws that the Lord has given to his people, and has received the blessings that he has in store for the faithful, should be able to know the things of God from the things which are not of God, the light from the darkness, that which comes from heaven and that which comes from somewhere else. This is the satisfaction and the consolation that the Latter-day Saints enjoy by living their religion; this is the knowledge which every one who thus lives possesses.
This is why I have held fast to my religion, and also embraced the success principles, which I learned from other sources. They have contributed to my life, helping me solve many of my temporal problems and making this earthly sojourn a little more bearable. Okay, a LOT more bearable. Sometimes even enjoyable.
As we look a little farther down the road, there is an even greater purpose for learning and understanding the principles:
“When we can grasp the ideas that Christ is the Master Teacher, the universe is His classroom, and the curriculum is the Atonement, we will never read the scriptures the same way again.
“I believe you can find types of Christ in events, travels, topography, seasons, people, names, and so forth. …Israel’s journey typifies our journey toward eternal life. Israel left Canaan, went to Egypt, and fell into bondage. They were led from bondage by Moses, were purified in the desert, and then returned to their home in Canaan. Likewise, we leave God’s presence, enter a fallen telestial world, are delivered from spiritual bondage by Jesus, pass through a purifying terrestrial millennium, and return to God’s celestial presence.
“Let’s look at Moses as a symbol or type of Christ… Moses was Israel’s physical deliverer. Jesus is our spiritual deliverer. Moses’s first plague to get Israel out of Egypt was turning water into blood. Jesus’s first miracle in His ministry was turning water into wine. Moses’s last plague was the death of the firstborn. Jesus’s last miracle was the resurrection of the Firstborn.
“…Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:1–2 that Israel passing through the Red Sea was a symbol of a baptism by water and a baptism by fire. Israel was saved by water. That is why there had to be a wall of water on each side. …The fire held the Egyptians back. Hence Israel was also saved by fire. It is the same with each of us. We need to be saved through a baptism of water and a baptism of fire…
“When Israel went into the promised land, they went through the Jordan River. Why go through a river? You have to be ‘born again’ (see John 3:1–5). Who led them through the river? It was Joshua. Joshua is the Hebrew name for the Greek word Jesus. It was ‘Jesus’ who caused them to be born again and led them through the Jordan River back home to the land of their fathers. …All things testify of Christ…
“The sun itself is a type of Christ. It comes from the east. Christ will also come from the east. The sun gives light and life to all things. Its heat can also consume all things. …The Light of Christ gives ‘life to all things’ (D&C 88:13). Christ’s glory will also consume the wicked at His Second Coming (see D&C 5:19). People whose lives are filled with darkness will be destroyed by the light. People whose lives are full of light will be saved by that light—’as by fire,’ to use Nephi’s words (1 Nephi 22:17). Doctrine and Covenants 88:25 states that ‘the earth abideth the law of a celestial kingdom.’ Well, what does the earth do? The earth revolves around the sun (s-u-n). What should we do if we are to abide by the law of a celestial kingdom? Our lives should also revolve around the Son (s-o-n).
“The universe was designed to testify of Christ. Consider hibernation. Every creature—every squirrel, insect, snake, or bear—that hibernates and lies dormant during the winter appears to be dead. Each one that comes alive again in the spring testifies of Christ and His Resurrection. Every tree, every plant, every leaf that becomes green each spring—all testify of Christ. Do you think it was by chance that all of these things come to life after appearing to be dead at the same time of year when Jesus came alive again? I don’t think so. All things testify of Christ.
“Why do you go to bed at night? Because you are tired? No. You symbolically die every night. Why do you get up in the morning? To go to school? No. You symbolically resurrect every morning.” (Todd B. Parker, BYU professor of Ancient Scripture, given on 20 January 2015.)
Food for thought.
And I’m convinced now that even the principles of success are a “type” (symbol) for Christ. As I said before, the principles are dependable and sure. They bring peace of mind. They increase our capacity for happiness. They turn disaster into good fortune and heartache into healing. They are constant and reliable.
Do they make you think of him as I believe they are intended to? Or you they make you think you don’t need him because you’ve got the power within yourself to make anything happen that you need?
Where some may see the principles as a replacement for Christ, I think it is wise to see the principles as a “type” or symbol that helps us learn of Christ, understand him, and experience his power in our life.
Some rejected Christ because they didn’t recognize Moses as a “type” (symbol) of things yet to come. Let’s be careful with success principles. They can take us away from Christ, or they can bring us closer to him.
This is why I hold fast to my religion.
I’ve always tried to keep my studies of the success principles inside the context of eternal, spiritual truths. To always remember that Christ is at the center, remembering that no earthly success could ever compensate for what would be lost by forgetting him. I believe that true happiness, the kind that lasts forever, cannot be achieved in any other way.
How I Apply Success Principles to my Faith Practice
I cannot achieve seemingly impossible goals without faith, and I cannot achieve the ultimate goal of eternal life with God without faith. In practicing faith in the little things, I gain experience and understanding that helps me understand how to apply faith in the Ultimate Thing.
When my children are old enough, I explain that we keep Santa alive so young children can practice believing in something they cannot see. It builds the faith muscle. It teaches them to love something they cannot hold, and to trust something about which they have only scant evidence. In practicing faith in Santa, they gain experience, understanding, and neuro-pathways that helps them understand how to apply faith in Jesus Christ. I also tell them that as long as they keep believing, Santa will keep coming, so if you ask them if they believe, they will always say yes. And some of them are in college now. 😉 We can choose to believe.
Santa is a “type” (symbol) that points us to Christ.
How it’s done
To achieve seemingly impossible goals, we must first imagine how it will feel to experience the success we seek. If we can see it in our mind, and feel it as though it is accomplished, then something in the world around us shifts, and all things combine to help us achieve it. The resources we need are there when we need them. The inspiration we need for overcoming the obstacles becomes easier to detect. The tenacity we need to see it through becomes a more instinctive part of us.
We must test it, and prove it to ourselves. By doing this, we build the faith muscle until faith is replaced with knowledge.
The same goes with the ultimate goal of eternal life with God. I never thought of it before studying success principles, but I am convinced that achieving that Ultimate Goal must also begin with imagining how it will feel. Testing, practicing, and eventually figuring out how to successfully apply the principles caused me to consider that.
So it should make us wonder: What would it be like?
Imagine meeting your Maker and hearing him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
What would that feel like? Can you imagine it?
If you can, and if you let yourself FEEL it, I’m convinced that you shift something in the world around you, and his holy angels gather to help you achieve it. The resources you need to do his will are there when you need them.
“In the gospel of Jesus Christ you have help from both sides of the veil and you must never forget that. When disappointment and discouragement strike—and they will—you must remember and never forget that if our eyes could be opened we would see horses and chariots of fire as far as the eye can see riding at reckless speed to come to our protection. They will always be there, these armies of heaven, in defense of Abraham’s seed…
“‘And ye cannot bear all things now; nevertheless, be of good cheer, for I will lead you along. … I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left … and mine angels (shall be) round about you, to bear you up. … The kingdom is yours and the blessings thereof are yours, and the riches of eternity are yours.’ (D&C 78:17–18; D&C 84:88; D&C 78:18.)”(For Times of Trouble, Jeffrey R. Holland)
If you allow yourself to imagine and feel that victorious day, the inspiration you need for overcoming the obstacles becomes easier to detect. The tenacity you need to endure faithfully to the end becomes a more instinctive part of you. You begin to love and serve as Christ did. You become the kind of person who would feel comfortable in the presence of God.
Jesus taught us by his example to believe in the impossible. He turned water into wine. He fed the five thousand with just a few loaves and fishes. He healed the sick. And it wasn’t just for show—it wasn’t just to impress us. It was to show us what faith can do.
It was also to show us what man can do:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.” (John 14:12)
When Peter tried to walk on the water but was overcome by fear and began to sink, Jesus caught him and asked, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28)
We practice faith in our daily challenges, so that one day we may have enough faith to believe in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in spite of how terribly short we fall in our life’s performance. “There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
Talk about believing in the impossible.
So if we struggle to believe that faith can help us pay our $200 bill, where will we find the faith to believe that Jesus can save us in the kingdom of heaven after we messed up so often and so badly throughout our life? A price far greater than a measly $200.
“And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom,” (3 Nephi 27:19)
The good news of the gospel is that He provided a way. Truly, if the dream (faith) is big enough, then the facts (even our worst sins) don’t have to count.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18)
As we practice faith, optimism, hope, and belief, relying on the Lord for our daily bread, and acknowledge God’s hand in all things, we develop that muscle of faith, and our confidence grows in our ability to rely on him also for the saving of our very soul:
“…let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God; …The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion…” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46)
THIS is what I hope to remember at Christmastime, and always: that with God, nothing is impossible, even my salvation.
Faith is a muscle that is strengthened with practice, but it can also atrophy when neglected. It must continually be exercised. So thank heavens if you have a daily struggle to make ends meet. You get to have lots of practice exercising faith, and it very well may become your salvation. You can’t get to heaven without a strong faith muscle.
So practice the principles of success—faith, hope, optimism, eager anticipation—and alway believing that something wonderful is about to happen!
If you are comfortable, set goals that stretch you. Keep your heart and desires centered in Christ, and always give thanks for that which you receive—the good and the bad.
And never lose sight of the ultimate goal—returning to your Father in Heaven in a joyful, victorious reunion.
It is because of this potential victory, this incomparabletriumph, that we celebrate Christ’s birth, because without his birth, life and sacrifice, the possibility wouldn’t even exist.
Let’s remember that the reason for the season is Christ, but also that we celebrate it for the hope and possibility of that glorious moment when we return to our heavenly home with honor. For the hope and possibility of the embrace, the joy, the tears, and the exclamations of praise to God that he showed us the way.
So think on it. Imagine it. Honor Christ by longing for it (after what he went through, it’s the least we can do), and then take whatever next step comes to mind for putting your life on to the straight and narrow path toward it.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6).
Bonus: by putting him first, you demonstrate obedience to another law connected to yet another blessing:
“And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.” (Jacob 2:19)
“…and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means [without forcing it] it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.” (Doctrine and Covenants 121:45-46)
So there is much to celebrate. There is much to hope for. And it’s all because Christ was born, lived, ministered, taught, forgave, comforted, healed, loved, atoned, and died for all of us.