Breaking Through Your Prosperity Barrier

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Accessing That Creative Reservoir Within Your Mind

I should say, right off the bat, that this post is not the one I was thinking of writing when I mentioned a new awareness in my last post. Since then, I’ve been thinking about what four of my friends and mentors had in common. I said that Ray Bradbury, Norman Cousins, Leo Buscaglia, and Ken Keyes, Jr. seemed to be able to bridge the gap between their subconscious and conscious minds with ease and elegance.

It’s interesting that I keep coming back to this search for the one common factor most evident in self-actualized or highly successful people. My third and current program for The Moneylove Club’s audio subscription service is just going out to members. It includes a very spontaneous, down-to-earth conversation I had with Jack Canfield about prosperity.

I asked Jack whether there was a common factor, a single quality he noticed in the most successful people he has met and known, he said he hates that whole concept of trying to find the one thing–that it’s a number of factors that are involved–I think he cited 56 Success Principles in his book of that title. Well, if I don’t look for enough, I think Jack looks for too many. I got a kick out of one of his first principles being to have “a clear vision of what you want,” since he got that from me in my Moneylove workshops he attended, and from Moneylove itself. Not that I was the first to ever make that point.

Norman Cousins To The Rescue

Of course Norman was one of the preeminent thinkers of the 20th Century, not only as a humanitarian, diplomat, author, but as perhaps the most influential editor of that era as the longtime editor-in-chief of Saturday Review.  And he did have a one word answer for me when I asked him what the most successful people he knew had in common. And remember, this was a man who knew them all, including at least half a dozen Presidents, Albert Einstein, Albert Schweitzer, Eleanor Roosevelt, and a couple of Popes. He said that the one thing he noticed people at this level had in common was that they woke up most mornings with “robust expectations”

Robust Expectations

Norman Cousins elaborated a bit when I interviewed him for my 1981 book, Psychological Immortality:

When you’re talking about the positive emotions, you’re talking about  love, hope, faith, the will to live, laughter, creativity, any of the things that give you robust expectations and make you want to get up in the morning.

Go To Your Dictionary

Here’s an important and useful tip. When you are exploring a new term, even if you think you know its definition, check it out in the dictionary, or at an online dictionary. You may find some new insight in some of the subtle nuances, especially of sub-definitions. Great thinkers have often pondered the words we use, and much of their wisdom can be found in the dictionary.

Take “robust,” for instance. It’s basic Merriam Webster definition is “Having or exhibiting strength or vigorous health.” However, I really like its third definition–a lot: “Capable of performing without failure under a wide range of conditions.” There’s a definition I would like applied to me–how about you? Are you capable of performing without failure under a wide range of conditions? And don’t you think this is something most of these self-actualized people have in common?

When pioneering humanistic psychologist Abraham Maslow came up with the concept of self-actualized people, one of the factors he cited was “spontaneity.”  And that’s what I noticed people like Norman Cousins, Ray Bradbury, Ken Keyes, Jr. and Leo Buscaglia have in common. Not that they didn’t (or don’t) prepare their presentations, but they always allow room for the spontaneous, the unpredictable. It’s just the way their minds work, as one definition of spontaneity notes: “Developing or occurring without apparent external influence.” And a phrase I just coined on the subject:

When you’re authentic and walk your talk–you just have to show up, open your mouth, and compelling truth will emerge.

Norman, Ray, Leo, and Ken trusted themselves enough to speak without notes, sometimes to thousands of people.  But it was easier for them because they knew their material, and did not let fear or anxiety hold them back from expressing it.

I have mentioned one of my dearest friends, Rupa Cousins, a number of times. Well, Rupa and Norman Cousins were cousins (there’s a pun there somewhere), and Rupa’s late mother, Sidney Cousins, grew up with Norman and had lots of stories. One that she told me stuck in my mind and had to do with his parents expecting their children, at the dinner table, to come up with at least one new thing they learned each day in school. Norman continued the practice at his own dinner table, with his four daughters. Leo Buscaglia’s parents had a similar practice. If you have children, how do you encourage them away from conventional thought and instant text message abbreviations? A dinner table mini-seminar on what new thing they found out today may profit and surprise you.

And back to my original point–breaking through whatever barrier holds you back from a lot more prosperity. It’s about letting go. Spontaneity is about letting go of control, allowing whatever comes out to come out without editing or judging. It’s about saying what you’re going to do and then doing it.

Jerry

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