When I was growing up, my father was a HUGE Zig Ziglar and Positive Mental Attitude fan. He was also a bit of a latent hippie. It was the ’70’s and we rode around in a Volkswagen Bus with different colored flower stickers all over it. So, yeah, as a young girl being dropped off at school…well, it could be pretty embarrassing. Plus, when he would drop us off at school, he would park in the front and make us repeat a Paul J. Meyer quote:
“Whatever I can vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”
Now, yes, there was a car line. And no, he would not let us out of the bus until we had repeated the quote word for word. Very embarrassing! I just knew the cutest guy in class was sitting in a car behind this blinged out VW bus watching me just sit in the passenger seat.
Jump ahead 43 years and I can still repeat that quote word for word. So can my children. It has helped me through so many difficult tasks in my life. In fact, two years ago at 460 pounds, when I decided to do something about my life…that was the first thing I wrote in my journal. And it is the first affirmation I say to myself every morning.
After all these years, I have realized something. My father was pretty smart. At my lowest, when I thought there was no hope for me…I could still vividly imagine myself being able to walk through the mall with my daughter without losing breath and having to sit. I ardently desired to be in a more healthy body, oh did I ardently desire this! And then those last two: sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon.
After failing at so many diets and so many attempts to exercise, how could I possibly sincerely believe I could do this. And tell an overweight person to enthusiastically cut back on the carbs and see what happens. It won’t be pretty, trust me.
But Paul J. Meyer knew something that I did not know. Once I start imagining and desiring, then the “believing” and “acting upon” fell right into place. The more I saw myself being below 400 pounds and wanting that, the more I began to move and to eat differently. At 400 pounds, I began imaging 350, then 300, then 250 and now I am seeing myself at 200 pounds and going strong.
And a funny thing happened along the way, I began to stop hating myself. I stopped blaming my weight on my situation. I spent more time outside with my daughter. I traveled. And I SAT IN THE MIDDLE ROW FOR A PLAY (a really huge deal for a person who used to spill over the seat).
So when my father was trying to instill some positive thoughts into the mind of a 12 year old child, I doubt he ever thought that it would save that child’s life 40+ years later.
But it did.