Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
A BETTER WAY TO
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
“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
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
Sharon and Rowdy