Sunday, March 24, 2013


Have you noticed how often you tell people what you don't have, and what you can’t and won't be able to do? It's a very bad habit that only perpetuates the situation you're in. Our words are the most powerful weapons we have, and when we don't use them in the positive sense, we create negative scenarios. The next time you get ready to tell someone that you don't have, can't do, or won't be able to do something (that you actually do want), try to catch yourself before the words come out, and instantly switch to one of these two substitute phrases: "I'm in the process of [getting it]" or "I'm pursuing [it]." Or add in any other positive phrase that you can think of that leans toward your possession of or ability to do something you truly want. Whatever you do, don’t claim that it doesn’t exist.

Repeatedly claiming your lack of something doesn’t indicate your advancement in that area; it denotes indefinite stagnation. It also alludes to your having a victim mentality. When you say “I don’t have,” not only is there no indication of forward motion, but it also sounds like you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that there’s nothing you can do about it. But when you claim something as being in the process, it sounds like it’s really in motion; it could happen at any moment. Isn’t that what you want, anyway? Don’t you want what you want as soon as possible? If so, then you have to start speaking about your goals and dreams as if they really are in the process of coming to fruition any second, even if you can’t see a single shred of evidence that they are. What you can see with your eyes is not the point; it’s what you want in your heart that’s important. You’ve been around long enough to know by now that when a blessing finally appears, you almost never see it coming, and even if you do, it usually happens in a way that you don’t expect. That’s because you couldn’t see the whole [spiritual] picture. All you could see was what your physical eyes could take in, which most of the time isn’t reliable information because your perception is often clouded by other people’s opinions, suggestions, and demands, and by your own unhealthy belief system. But most importantly, it’s literally impossible for you to see every aspect of how your good is developing. There are too many people and situations involved that aren’t within your scope of vision.

“But isn’t claiming something that hasn’t happened yet the same as lying about it?” you might ask. No, because your objective behind the claiming is completely different than if you were having a conversation with someone and blatantly lied to them with the intention of deceit. This claiming is strictly about faith. Faith that your good is on its way to you, expeditiously at that, even though you don’t have the [full] details about how and when it will manifest. Speaking your ideal life into existence is your right, and dare I say your duty, and there are ways to do it diplomatically. I say, “Hey, we’re all going to the movies and then out to dinner. Wanna come?” You say, “I’m in the process of getting extra funds for splurging. Maybe next time. Thanks, though.” Yeah, I know. That was a little more work than just saying, “I can’t; I don’t have the money.” But do you see the strength behind the former statement and the weakness behind the latter? The former says that you have something definite in motion; the money’s on the way, albeit sight unseen by you. The latter just says you’re an out-of-luck, no-money-having victim of your circumstances; and unfortunately for you, nothing’s on the way. If you can remember that everything you think, do, and say has either positive or negative energy behind it, and that whatever energy you release into the universe you get back in the form of positive or negative experiences, then you can see how important it is to start rewiring your brain, and subsequently your mouth, so that every word you speak, particularly about the things that matter to you the most, is not only positive but also driven in the direction you want your life to go.

Rewiring takes conscious effort. I won't lie: I've caught myself slipping during my course of action. It takes practice and patience. You’ll have to really think about how to nix those negative thoughts and words at a moment's notice. You may have to repeat the same replacement phrase to yourself consistently during panic moments, which is when the lacktalk is bubbling over in your mind, out of control. That’s okay, because you’re probably not used to thinking and speaking about your life in forward-moving phrases regularly. You’ve been blurting out what you don’t have and can’t do for so long that you don’t even realize you’re saying it most of the time, not to mention the damage you’re doing to your life whenever you do. It’s not your fault that speaking yourself into incessant lack is second nature. This ghastly habit is rampant, and you’ve been taught well by everyone around you, including your parents, who probably meant absolutely no harm. As a child, you may have heard them say how broke they were, that they couldn’t afford to buy [you] this or that; it wasn’t in the budget; times were hard. It’s not their fault, either. They said it because that’s the phrasing they heard and learned. They couldn’t teach you what they didn’t know, so no blaming need take place. This is not just about money. It’s about having been conditioned from youth, by society at large, to speak in the negative about the existence of the things you want—even need—when you don’t see them in front of you.

I have lots of examples I can share, even recent ones, but I’ll share this one from back in the day because even now, I’m still amused by it. I was working at San Quentin State Prison, in the records department. I wanted more than anything to work in the mailroom. I was really determined to move. Problem was, there had been a long-term hiring freeze in effect, even before I started working at the prison, and the likelihood of my position change was laughable. No one had been able to transfer to a different position in an unheard-of amount of time. Yet, I told my coworker, not long after I began working in records, that I was gonna do just that. He laughed at me, then told me it was never gonna happen because of the hiring freeze. I told him to watch me. I was leaving that department. Frequently, and with a smug smirk on his face, he would ask me if I had “heard anything” about an opening in the mailroom. I would say no, and then confidently tell him that I was still gonna work there, that my move was already in progress. When he would ask me how, I would shrug and say I didn’t know, but that it just … was. He would laugh, shake his head at me, and then walk away while mumbling about how funny I was. Well, ha … ha … ha. About 14 months later, my supervisor, whom I’d also told about my interest in moving, came to me and informed me that a position had opened that I was eligible to apply for. I did, and so did a bunch of other people. But since I had already claimed that spot, I wasn’t the least bit surprised when I got it. So I left my coworker in Main Records, flummoxed and with his mouth hanging open … and no longer laughing at me.

You have complete control of what runs through your head and comes out of your mouth. You control the energy of your life and its impending direction. Why not prioritize making your mind and mouth the compasses that point your life toward all the victories you fully intend to achieve?

From my book Building Faith and Character Through Life Challenges