Finding Peace and Joy through the Storm

Serenity is life’s supreme accomplishment. It’s not about living life without storms, it’s about finding peace and joy in spite of them.

According to James Allen, serenity is the supreme accomplishment. In his classic essay, “As a Man Thinketh,” he describes how we shape our lives by our thoughts, and how we create a life of joy and bliss by thinking lawfully… or we create a life of misery through unlawful thoughts.

This means that true prosperity is built, not upon principles of competition and brute ambition, but upon principles of successful right-thinking.

Let’s take a look:

The Law of Polarity guarantees that contained in every adversity is the seed of equal or greater benefit, so by law, there is good to be found in all circumstances. That’s why joy and misery are simply NOT determined by what happens to you.

This is proven by the fact that there are rich people who are miserable, and poor people who are full of joy. By the same token, there are poor people who are miserable, and rich people who are full of joy.

In all areas of life, it comes down to this: “Unfortunate” people can be miserable, or they can be joyful, if for no other reason than because the law guarantees the potential exists for both poles in every circumstance.

(Clinical depression or other mental illness can make it nearly impossible for a person to find or access the seed of equal or greater benefit contained in their adversity. If you feel this way, watch this.)

Finding joy

Some of our greatest joys come from growing and becoming all we can be. Growth feels good. It’s what defines us as “living”. So, if the lack of money prevents us from doing that, then we should use the fundamental principles of prosperity to obtain plenty of money. If the lack of positive relationships prevents us from doing that, then we should use the principles to improve our relationships. We can even use the principles to improve our health: physical, mental, and spiritual.

How is this done?

We must first realize that our thoughts are the only domain over which we have ultimate control. We must also acknowledge the fact that all areas of our life are affected by our thoughts. Something happens, and so we respond to it. But how do we respond? It all goes back to how we thought about the situation, and the resultant actions spawned by those thoughts.

We cannot respond gracefully to setbacks if we do not first think graceful thoughts. We cannot turn a bad situation around unless we first think of ways to turn it around.

Success always begins in the mind. (And so does failure.)

That’s why I’m convinced that the most important thing we can do is learn to control our thoughts. True peace and tranquility can be obtained in no other way than through self-mastery:

SELF-mastery, not ENVIRONMENT-mastery.

So when we stop waiting for our circumstances to improve, and instead make peace with—in other words—find happiness with, the way things are NOW, then The Law of Cause and Effect kicks in, and the world begins to soften towards us.

Sometimes making peace with the mess we’re in now is the only way our circumstances will ever improve.

But it’s a scary thing, to make peace with disaster, to come to terms with ruin.

We’re so afraid to go there, because we think it means we’re giving up; and if we give up, then maybe it also means that all hope is completely lost.

But it’s just not true.

Remember, it’s how you THINK that determines what happens next. So if you THINK that making peace with disaster or coming to terms with ruin means irreversible failure, then you’ll never let yourself go there. And that’s what keeps a lot of people stuck.

But what if I were to tell you the truth: that happiness, progress, victory, and goal achievement are ALL waiting on the other side of your coming to terms with the mess you’re in, and finding happiness just the way things are? What if I told you that you should let go of the need for your environment, pocketbook, health, or relationships to change?

Do you dare go there?

What if nothing EVER changed? Can you imagine that? What if I were to tell you that the way things are, are exactly the way things will be for the rest of your life?

How much time would you spend grieving? How long would you let yourself be angry?

And then what?

After a period of grieving, you would be different. We are designed to recover. We were born with the capacity to adjust, and adapt to change. It’s a natural process, in fact. Once we let ourselves give up on waiting for things to change, we can fight it and prolong the pain, but ultimately our systems are physiologically programmed to cycle through all of the stages of grief until we come to acceptance.

The Stages of Grief:

  • shock or disbelief
  • denial
  • bargaining
  • guilt
  • anger
  • depression
  • acceptance/hope

And so we go there (if only just in our minds), and then here we are: having made peace with the way things are NOW.

This is where Nature, the world around us, notices we have changed, and because of the Law of Cause and Effect, it begins to soften towards us.

It’s about finding peace in the storm. Not peace without a storm, but peace in spite of the storm. Greater success then becomes a natural byproduct of our increased serenity.

Ironically, if your serenity is real, and you’ve genuinely given yourself to the process, then it won’t matter to you if you gain more success, because you’re already happy with or without it.

Besides, isn’t happiness the reason for our pursuit of success to begin with?

In conclusion, let me just say this:

We will continue to face challenges. It’s a necessary part of life, because without opposition we do not gain experience, strength, or wisdom. Adversity is a blessing, and when we begin to accept and embrace it for what it is, we begin to experience the peace and prosperity that is ours to enjoy. Life just gets better.

It reminds me of the story of the farmer who complained that everything was always bad. God thought, “You think you have it bad now? Hmmmm. I’ll show you! I’ll show you what bad really is!” and so things got worse for the farmer.

On the other hand, another farmer expressed gratitude for everything, even his hardships, even without understanding why the hardships were good. He prayed: “Thank you for the challenge, because it helps me grow.” God thought, “You think you have it good? Hmmmm. I’ll show you! I’ll show you what good really is!” and things only got better for the farmer.

So just remember:

The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom.”James Allen

For more on this topic, visit How to Surrender (and why you’d want to). Originally published July 29, 2006


When You Feel Confused and Don’t Know What To Do… Pick Your Picnic


John Sims was traveling with an associate. The associate said, “John, aren’t you going to put on your seatbelt?”

John replied with his raspy tenor voice, “Why, are we going to get into a crash?”

“No, but seatbelts save lives…”

John retorted abruptly in his usual blunt way, “Seatbelts don’t save lives.”

“Of course they do!” His friend explained, “Once, I was driving with my family and something told me to make sure everyone was wearing their seatbelts. So we all belted up, and just as we turned a corner, there was another vehicle coming at us in our lane. Even though it was a head-on collision, we all survived because of those seatbelts!”

John was firm, “No, the seatbelts didn’t save your life, whatever told you to put them on saved your life.”

Probably a decade has passed since I heard John relate that story. Leaving a lasting impression on me, its message has deepened and taken on new meaning. He’s right. It wasn’t the seatbelts that saved their lives. True, they played a part in the actual physics of keeping the bodies secure during impact, but the credit belongs to the voice of warning. The “life-saving” seatbelts were there during the entire trip. But the timeliness of the prompting, and the man’s response to it, changed the would-be tragedy into a miracle.

I am reminded of a game I played in high school. Planning to take some friends to a picnic, my friend and I prepared a tape recorder which described our every move as we traveled from our starting point to the final destination.

When it came time for the event, we told our unsuspecting friends to wait at a payphone until we called them and told them where to find the hidden tape recorder. Our instructions: “Turn it on and follow the directions explicitly!”

At the end of the journey was the picnic fit for a king. But along the way, we followed our friends, incognito. The most hilarious moments came when they tried to mimic what we had done, but in the wrong places. Having accidentally fallen out of step, our friends found that the description of our actions no longer suited their surroundings and, to us, it became absolutely laughable. If they had only known where they were trying to go, they could have improvised and found their own way.

Sometimes we look at others who have reached an admirable destination in their life, and then imitate their same steps in an effort to achieve their results. We listen to their tapes, read their books, and attend their seminars; and then we do our best to follow what they say. While we can learn a great deal from people who have what we want, we must realize that we’re not always on the same sidewalk, so to speak, as they were when they began their journey to the picnic. We’ve had different life experiences and carry with us a different variety of baggage, all of which makes a difference. We need to have the destination clearly in view, so that when someone else’s instructions do not work, we are still able to improvise our way to success.

So, how do you identify your picnic? It’s so simple that most people discard the idea as unimportant. This is one reason why few ever discover the power behind it. All you have to do is simply DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT.

If you knew you could not fail, what would your goals be? This is actually the toughest part of achieving success; the part that at least ninety-seven percent of the population will never do. Create a description of the success you desire, and commit it to paper. Write it in the form of a gratitude statement as though it has already happened. Then you are entitled to, and can trust the impressions which come to your mind. By doing this, you’ve done it: you’ve ‘spotted’ your picnic table. As you hang on to the vision, you’ll know instinctively just how to get to it, because it will be in clear view. Without it committed to paper, your impressions will seem random and you’ll struggle to know what to do next. Perhaps you’ve already felt that way.

Take control of your life, and experience the exhilaration which comes from proceeding methodically toward your worthy ideal. Your success begins with the dream…and happens after you’ve done your part to enlist the voice of inspiration on your journey. See it in your mind, commit it to paper, and be grateful for it before it’s even yours. This puts you in tune with that ‘inner voice’, and you’ll finally know just what to do, and when.

This article, originally written November 14, 2003, was adapted and expanded to become the award-winning international bestseller: The Jackrabbit Factor


Are You Making it Harder Than it Has to Be?

When making a phone call, if you dial the numbers right, it works. Children who have never used a phone often have trouble making it work right for a while, just as we can have trouble making the laws of success work to achieve our goals.

It takes practice!

When a goal doesn’t happen the way you expected, it’s easy to get discouraged. That IS the COMMON thing to do. The uncommon thing to do is brush yourself off and ask the hard question:

“Where did I go wrong? What more do I need to know? In what way am I making this harder than it has to be?”

Most people ask those questions, rhetorically, but not with a real intent of finding answers. And in fact, sometimes they don’t WANT the answer, because it’s just easier to say, “That law of attraction thing doesn’t work.” Truly, it’s easier to blame our failure on things outside of ourselves.

On the other hand, uncommon people ask hard questions with a firm intent to find the answers. They seek for answers, even if it means they have to admit that there may be more to learn.

Uncommon people get uncommon results. Uncommon people enjoy an uncommon lifestyle. If they ask hard questions and find answers, then next time they pursue a goal, they can apply new understanding, and get better results.

Or not…

Here’s why: For me, this question / answer / new attempt process happened HUNDREDS of times before I actually saw it really work even ONCE. I know hundreds of ways it DOESN’T work. Each failed attempt showed me something else that I needed to tweak about my approach.

Think about it… The first time a kindergartner tries to use the telephone, chances are good that s/he will dial the number wrong. When that happens, it would be foolish to say, “This phone doesn’t work!” The PHONE works fine. The user just needs to be extra careful to dial ALL the right numbers, in the right order, with no extra numbers inserted along the way.

The law of attraction works FINE. You’ve just got to be careful to dial ALL the right numbers in the right order, and not insert any extra ones along the way. When you do it right, it unfailingly works the way it should.

And the good news is that when you see it work once, you gain confidence, and eventually realize that it can work for you EVERY time. In fact, it can become second-nature, just like using the phone. Then, after experiencing some success, you discover that it can even be easier than THAT… like discovering the redial button.

But I have some BAD NEWS…

The one element that does NOT go away, no matter how slick you are, or how smart you get, is the TEST to exercise faith when all appearances indicate impending disaster. Yes, no matter how good you get at the process, and no matter how much money you make, you’ll always get plenty of opportunity to exercise faith, make sacrifices, and stretch yourself OUT of the comfort zone to accomplish the next goal.

You just get to a point where you learn to accept the difficult nature of the process. Sorry to burst your bubble.

The knowledge I share here does not avert the challenges, it just gives you the power to overcome them when they show up… the power of subconscious goal achievement in spite of difficulty… the power to have PEACE of MIND through the process.

And yes, you CAN HAVE your victory. You can have the MONEY you need. You can find the job, or succeed in business… You can have the FREEDOM you seek!

Just try again, and learn from your mistakes. That’s how you win.

Find out what else you may need to know, so that you can achieve that oh-so-elusive goal. I want to help. Read the Jackrabbit Factor story free, so I can reveal the common mistakes people make with the law of attraction; or if you’re ready for more advanced answers, start the 12-week Mindset Mastery Program.

You can succeed!