How to Survive the Downs

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Life is like a roller coaster. When things go downhill, throw your hands in the air and smile!

Have you ever met someone whose life seems to be falling apart and they’re happy anyway? Have you ever thought, “Wait a minute, you’re supposed to be miserable and depressed!”

It’s true. There are some who are simply in denial, and who hope that the problems will go away if they just ignore them. However, there are others who feel happy even when things are going down because they know a secret.

These people can feel happy during a downturn because they know the ride never goes downhill forever. By law, it always turns upward again at the bottom – just like a roller coaster. They smile now because they’re focused on the longer term; and they’re already thinking about the joy and heights that life will take them to next.

Now, while we’re on this “roller coaster theme,” imagine you’ve saved for years to take your family to an exciting theme park on the other side of the country. You’ve pictured the laughter, the fun, the memories you plan to create: the joy of being together, the food, the free time; it’s all so very wonderful!

Now it’s finally time to take that trip. You enjoy a relaxing plane ride, settle in at the hotel, spend the night, and in the morning you have a full day to take in all of the theme park attractions. After entering the gate, you notice that just inside the entrance there are two roller coaster rides to choose from. The first one is called “Straight-Shot to Success” and goes like this:

“Straight Shot to Success”

You get on, and it pulls the line of cars all the way to the top of a twenty-story tower where ….

… it lets you off so you can climb down the stairs to do it again.

Look at the enthusiasm in this picture, just before unloading to climb down and repeat the experience all over again! (Wouldn’t it make for a pretty boring roller coaster ride? Yes. But isn’t that what we think we want out of life? A steady, predictable, safe and easy climb to success?) The thing is, if that’s what we got out of life, I think we’d feel pretty dissatisfied with the whole experience. Without the lows, the highs mean nothing.

So, let’s take a look at the second roller coaster ride called “Joy in the Journey,” which instead goes something like this:

“Joy in the Journey”

You get on, and it pulls you to the top of a big hill and then turns you loose into a series of ups and downs, loops and turns. Everyone is terrified and laughing, all at the same time.

Even when the people plummet at break-neck speeds straight toward the ground, they have a smile on their face.

Now, is that twisted, or what? Are they in denial?

No. They are genuinely enjoying themselves, because they know that the terror is temporary, that the danger is an illusion, and that it will come to an end. They know that they are in a controlled, safe environment that is simply giving them the appearance of danger. Deep down, they know everything is going to be okay in the long run.

Which rollercoaster ride do you think would have the longest waiting line? “Straight-Shot to Success,” or “Joy in the Journey?”

I choose the latter. Here’s what helps me endure the scary parts:

Believe it or not, like a roller coaster ride, Life itself is a safe environment, even with all its dangers.

Contrary to appearances, it truly is a safe place to be. From God’s vantage point, the things we fear are nothing to Him, including death itself.

Do you realize that the life you live is precisely the life you would have chosen all along? THIS is the life that brings you the greatest joy: the life with all the ups and aggravating downs. So be grateful for your downs, and as you allow your heart to swell with gratitude, you’re putting yourself into the right mindset to receive next the best “ups” that God has to offer.

The ups and downs we experience help us feel.

The change from up to down (or down to up) is precisely what makes it possible for us to recognize the difference from one emotion to the other. Like I said before, without the downs, the ups would be meaningless. The lows help us feel and appreciate the highs.

Bob Proctor says, “Most people tiptoe through life, trying to make it safely to death.” Do you see the irony in that? Instead, we should have courage and press on toward our dreams with full, fearless intention.

Fear not!

As Mark Twain said, “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

You have a choice of what to think about. So think on the expected highs that put a smile on your face, instead of worrying about the imagined train wreck at the bottom of the hill that hasn’t even happened yet.

It is only when your heart is at peace that it is truly prepared to receive inspired solutions to your problems.

So, if you’re headed in a downward direction, be at peace. The tracks are bent and will surely guide your roller coaster car up to the top again in time. It’s going to be thrilling! And in fact, according to the Law of Rhythm, you’re already on your way. Originally published Mar 12, 2008

Join me in the life-changing Mindset Mastery Program and I’ll help you find joy and success even in the downs.

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Hope Like a Balloon

Hot air balloons. Helium balloons. Truly magical, if you don’t understand the science behind their buoyancy. And even magical if you do, in my opinion.

Do you remember how it was to experience your first helium balloon?  When you were a child, were you astounded at how everything else you knew fell downward… except that beautiful, shiny ball in the air? It did two things: it ascended upward, and it helped you feel happier.

As you got older, maybe you allowed it to become more of a a commonplace phenomenon.

Even now, every time I stop to think about it, my spirits are lifted as I watch the pull of a balloon rising in the opposite direction of everything else around it.

All it is, is a container full of a gas that happens to be lighter than the oxygen/carbon dioxide mixture in the air, and when a balloon is full of a gas that is lighter than the gas mixture of its surroundings, it naturally rises above them.

Our thoughts, kept buoyant by focusing on the positive, also have the ability to pull US up and out of downer circumstances.

Every time you consciously choose a solution-oriented, hopeful, enthusiastically-expectant-of-good-things kind of thought, you fill your MIND with stuff that is lighter in nature than the common thoughts of negativity and discouragement.

It’s science:

Hopeful, buoyant thoughts do more than just help you feel good; they literally LIFT you above adversity like helium in a balloon.

So fill your mind with light-thinking, and in time, you’ll naturally rise above the gunk. The stuff that pulls you down will fall out of your life, like ballast out of a hot air balloon.

For a tank full of helium of the mind, I strongly recommend joining me in the Mindset Mastery Program.

I’ll help you keep your thoughts buoyant. I’ll give you REASON to hope, and a valid reason to have it, too. I’ll fill your mind with the stuff that will help you rise above your challenges, no matter what they are.

To your success! Originally published Oct 27, 2009

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And Along Came a Spider

Some time ago my eleven year-old daughter came home from orchestra practice simply devastated. She had been the first to arrive, and as the others filed in, nobody chose to sit by her. She sat at the edge of the room, the only student with an empty chair at her side.

She felt rejected and alone.

So the next day, as I dropped her off, I encouraged her to hold back and let some of the others sit down first, and then make her choice to sit by someone she’d like to get to know better. “Find someone who might be having a bad day, and BE the one to make a friend.”

I encouraged her to have a prayer in her heart, picturing herself with an abundance of friends, and reminded her that choosing to be positive and confident would help others want to be around her.

So she pulled herself together with an intention that things would be different this time. She agreed to pray in her heart and try to think more positively.

But what happened next surprised us both…

When I picked her up from school, she was excited to report that she ended up right between two girls that she was excited to get to know better.

How did it happen? Not the way we thought it would.

Contrary to my advice, she still showed up earlier than most; and out of habit decided to sit in her regular chair on the edge of the room. As a few of the other students filed in, the pattern threatened to repeat itself.

(That’s the power of subconscious thoughts right there…)

However, just then, she noticed a scary spider on her music stand. Creeped out, she took her folder and tried to push it off.

Instead of successfully getting it out of her space, it fell onto her leg. She jumped up and shook her pants, and wasn’t sure where it ended up. Assuming it was still at her chair, she decided that it would be better to move.

It took her out of her comfort zone and into another chair. One of the girls she’d like to know better came in and sat right next to her. Before long, a second girl took the empty chair at her other side.

Admittedly she said she thought the answer to her prayer would show up in the form of an idea, or an added measure of courage to do or say something uncomfortable.

But no, it showed up as a spider.

This micro-experience captures the essence of how God so often deals with us. When we ask for things to be better, he doesn’t just make things better. He creates conditions in our life that make us get out of our comfort zone and put us somewhere else – somewhere, where the blessing we’re asking for can finally be received.

Sometimes we get moved out of our comfort zone and still fail to receive the blessing. This can happen when our thoughts are not inclined to look for the hidden benefit in our adversity.

It would be like my daughter getting out of her regular chair and into another, and being so upset by it that she doesn’t even notice the potential friendships on either side of her. By her response to the hardship, she could have completely denied herself of the blessing that the change contained.

In that case, the girls that flanked her could have picked up on the downer-energy and might have been inclined to just ignore her.

I’m grateful that she was thoughtful enough to give credit to God for sending a spider, because it prepared the way for her to receive the very thing she was hoping for all along.

My dear reader… What’s your spider? What ugly thing has showed up in your life that’s opposite to what you’ve been praying for?

It’s there for a reason.

(To watch additional clips from this event, click here)

A Hardship is always a blessing in disguise. Pay attention to how it “moves” you.

I’d like to help you make sense (cents) out of your setbacks. Are you ready for a better future? Click here to learn more about the life-changing Mindset Mastery Program. Originally published September 22, 2009

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