Sometimes Inspiration and Angels come to us in unusual ways…
I hope this prose from our friend, MIchael Johnson, will land upon those who need it most.
FROM MICHAEL JOHNSON
THROWING MY LOOP…
A BETTER WAY TO LIVE…
At 35, he was a wandering derelict – a hopeless alcoholic thinking about spending his last few dollars on a suicide pistol. Then, something happened. Later, he began to write and the day would come when thousands from all walks of life would say his words helped them change their lives for the better. Today, his 16 books have sold 36 million copies world-wide. What on earth could have been so powerful in this man’s life to create such a change? You might be surprised to hear the answer…
He went to a library! His name was Og Mandino.
When Og Mandino was in the valley – on his way to the end of lonely street – he happened to stop in at a library and read a few books – both modern and classic – about people who had been at rock bottom and yet came back. Moved by the books, instead of killing himself, he decided to change his life for the better and help others do the same.
I’ve met many people who have done something similar. Not that they sold million of books, but they did in fact, make profound changes in their lives. How do people do that?
First, there has to be pain. People who make dramatic turnarounds always tell the story of being in an unpleasant situation. Death of a loved one, divorce, loss of a job – something so painful the person is desperate to find a different place. Dissatisfaction with our lives can be a powerful motivator and spur us on to do things we didn’t know we could do – if the pain is bad enough.
Reminds me of an old joke…
A farmer is sitting on his porch as a salesman approaches. The salesman notices the farmer’s dog lying beside him, and the dog is crying. “Why is your dog crying?” asks the salesman.
“Oh, him?” says the farmer. “I think he’s sitting on a nail.”
“Why doesn’t he move?” asks the salesman.
The farmer replies, “I guess it’s not hurting him enough to do anything about it yet.”
Once we decide “something must be done,” we enter Phase Two of all turnarounds.
Since we are desperate enough…we go out in the world and try. That is the moment – if you listen closely – you can hear the angels begin to sing. (Angels can’t do much if you sit on the couch and mope.)
When we go out in the world and try, the very first thing that happens – this always happens – is that we run into somebody who tells us we can’t. For some reason I can’t explain our first encounter is often with some smarmy jerk who says things like, “You’re not college material,” or “Aren’t you a bit old to be doing this?” Or “If I were you, I wouldn’t quit my day job.” (I swear if I ever hear anyone say that again, I’m going to stab them.) But take heart – you are about to enter Phase 3 of all turnarounds…
Keep on. If we go out in the world, there’s a 50/50 chance something is going to happen. If we don’t try, there is a 100% chance nothing will happen.
Keep on because if you keep trying, something is coming to help you. Might be in the form of a book – like Og – or sooner or later, you are going to meet a positive person with some sense. One of these (angels?) will say, “Other people did it. I don’t see why you can’t.” And others will come. After suffering through the highs and lows, bumps and spills, one day you will realize, “I’ll be darn. I didn’t do so badly after all.” If you keep trying, they come. Have faith.
I had a student once. She couldn’t speak English. She worked two jobs all the while she attended school. She graduated with honors. I asked her how she did that…
“I’m the opposite of paranoid,” she said.
“What is that – the opposite of paranoid? What does that mean?” I asked.
She said, “If I worked hard enough, I always knew there was a conspiracy of people out there who were going to help me.”
– Michael Johnson