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How to Make Yourself Miserable

Vincent Harris

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Earl Nightingale recorded one of the first personal development recordings ever produced. The Strangest Secret was centered on one key idea: We become what we think about. Nightingale argued that not only is this the key to success, but failure as well. Many have taken this one idea, and used it to quickly accelerate to the kind of life they desire. Interestingly enough, far more have suffered from a crucial misunderstanding of Nightingales “formula", and as a result, have not only come up short on one goal after another, they have also worked themselves into one state of misery and frustration after another.

Nightingale suggested, (brilliantly, I should add) that when we have a clear and concise goal of where we want to go, or of the things we want in life, we stand a much greater chance of achieving the things we desire for ourselves.

Now, here are where things can go terribly wrong. But before I reveal this idea to you, I'd like to have you participate in a brief, but powerful physical metaphor that allows you to feel the concept before you are asked to process it cognitively or to think about it.

Place your hands together, palm to palm, like you might see if someone were praying. Now, for 3-5 seconds, just push with your right hand as hard as you can.

If you actually took the time to do this, what you discovered is highly predictable. As you pushed with your right hand, against your left, your left hand “pushed" back with equal pressure. Your hands remained in pretty much the same position, not moving very far to the left- your right and left hand were pushing against each other, even though the instruction were to only push with your right hand.

Key Concept:

When the goals we set are not aligned with our natural desires, strengths and passions, we will “push back" against our conscious wishes, goals and desires from the unconscious level. (This is what many call self sabotage. )

Here's where things can get ugly. Someone thinks “Hey, I believe in this ‘we become what we think about thing', so since I am so sick and tired of being broke; I'm going to think of nothing but becoming a Doctor!" Things get messy, however, when the only reason for choosing a “Doctor" is because your parents suggested that it would be a good career, or you are only interested in the money physicians make, but have little interest in the medical field. When this happens, resistance is initiated at the unconscious level, and much the metaphor of pushing the hands together, we will fight against ourselves all the way to the end.

When the goals we have set for ourselves are aligned with our passions, we will never have to try and focus on our goals, or work to hold them in focus.
What is it that you think about with ease? What just seems to “show up" in your mind that also makes you feel good and ignites your spirit?

Do you think Michael Phelps had to work to hold the thoughts of being the world's best swimmer in mind?

Do you think that Stephen King had to do affirmations each morning about becoming a writer?
Did Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, John F. Kennedy or any other President have to write down their goal 100 times each day that said “I want to become President of the United States!"?

Did Mother Theresa have to put up “picture boards" on her wall as a child to stay motivated enough to help the masses of the sick and hungry?

The answer to each of these questions is a BIG and powerful “NO!"

These men and women aligned themselves with the things they were passionate about. They were answering the call of their soul, spirit, unconscious mind, or genetic predispositions- or whatever you want to call it. They weren't fighting against themselves.

Are you aligned with your passion?

Are your goals centered on the things that you couldn't keep out of your mind, even if you tried to? If you will take a look at most of the goals you have come up short on and have long since given up, you'll find that the goal “made sense" on a logical level, but simply didn't connect with you on an emotional level.

See, Eric Clapton, while having met with tremendous commercial and financial success playing the guitar, would have still been happily knocking out the tunes each night, even if he would have would up working in a steel mill. Why? Because playing the guitar is something he was passionate about. Whether he did it or not was not contingent upon his financial success. We all know someone who wanted to be a “famous" singer, but soon after being told “You don't have what it takes", decided to settle into flipping hamburgers, never to again sing in public or at home. Had singing have truly been a passion, they would have spent the rest of their life looking for places to sing for free, just so they could express the music and emotion that was inside them.

Every time I write one of these “follow your passion" articles, I get a few emails from those who carefully describe all of the reasons why this just isn't feasible for them, that it's not reality. My reply is always the same: “Okay, you've successfully outlined all of the reasons why it can't be done. Anyone can do that (and most do). Now, spend as much time, outlining all of the reasons why it is feasible, and why it can be done- that's where lives are changed for the better-much better. "

I urge you to create a file like the one I started compiling years ago. It's my “possibility" file.
I look for examples in history where the “experts" have concluded that something was impossible- but then it happened anyway.

Anytime I find myself being infected by someone's mainstream thought process that severely limits what's possible, it only takes a couple of minutes to read a few of my examples to immediately blow their nonsense to smithereens, and get a good laugh at the same time.
Here are a couple of my favorites:

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music s on the way out. " (This statement was made by the Decca Recording Company when they rejected the Beatles in 1962)

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home. " (Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, 1977)

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" (Harry Warner, Warner Brothers Pictures, 1927)
I could go on and on for pages. The “experts" are often wrong about what's possible.

If you are a regular reader, you may wonder why I write about the concept of following your passion at least three times a year. The answer is simple and straight forward: After having read 2000 books in this field over the last 20 years, I have found it to be core theme in any philosophy of meaningful success. And, after analyzing dozens of interviews with successful athletes, actors and men and women in various fields, none of them said they did daily affirmations, read their goals 50 times per day, or had to force themselves to focus on positive thoughts. In short, they knew what they were passionate about, and went that direction.

What are you passionate about?

Who, with that same passion, is already making a good living doing that very thing?

Find 25-50 of them and come awake to the fact that any passion can be incorporated into an income that serves society, and allows your brilliance to shine.

© Copyright 2008, Vincent Harris-All Rights Reserved

Vincent Harris is a Body Language Expert, and the President of Harris Research International. As a speaker, trainer and consultant, Vince teaches others to transform their ability to achieve communication mastery. Vince's audio program, Revealing Happiness, can be found at or visit


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