Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
Now there is
something worth living, and worth fighting for - a positive
life. We are often not aware of the value we receive if we
work toward that noble thing. As a young person, I was lost.
Had no idea where I was and didn't question any statement
about my lack of ability made by others. But what else could
they think about me? When they looked at me, all they saw
was someone who failed. And why did I fail? Who knows –
maybe because I lacked intelligence or maybe because I was
lazy. What did it matter to those in the world around me?
All they saw – all they had to judge my worth by - was what
I showed them. And I showed them nothing. Then something
A young bull rider who traveled with us on occasion,
suddenly began to do better. Much better.
We asked him why. His answer surprised us all. He said he
read a book.
“A book about bull riding?” we asked. We knew of no
“No,” he said. “I read a book about not defeating
myself.” And that chance remark by future world champion,
Gary Leffew, changed my life. I read the book, too. The book
was called “Psycho-Cybernetics.”
The author, Maxwell Maltz, an American cosmetic
surgeon, had a wealth of experiences with patients and their
reconstructive surgeries. He came to believe while looking
our best on the outside is important, our internal view of
our self – or “self-image” – may be more so, and a fertile
key to higher life satisfaction. The book is full of studies
that cause the reader to question opinions they may have of
themselves, and suggestions to strengthen the self-image.
The book is not magical...it's practical.
The value of the book for me came through clear and
simple insights. In my words...
“It's important to be realistic, but you have no idea
what is “realistic” for you. You are more than you think.
More than you know. Avoid people who want to tell you about
“You have to try. How on earth can you do anything if
you don't show up?”
“You have not been short-changed. The Spirit is too
kind to do that.”
“You say you failed at everything before. Welcome to
the world. Everyone does at first.”
“The difference between success and failure is that
successful people can endure embarrassment,
humiliation, and failure better. They fail and they fall,
too...then they pop right back up and try again.”
“Don't make negative statements about the outcome of
some event. No one can predict ten seconds into the future.
If you can't say something positive, don't say anything.
Don't make negative statements about your self. Just do your
best and wait and see what happens.”
“Work and effort are required. More than you think.”
“Find joy in what you are doing rather than dread.”
And the words went on and on, and they went deep in me.
I wasn't giving myself a chance. In my early days, just as
Gary Leffew had said, I was defeating myself. I stopped
doing that and the world changed. Here's what I didn't
know...all that never stops!
Even if you have success, you
can't sit on the mountain top. Remember what Will Rogers
“Even if you are on the right track, if you just sit
there...the train will run over you.”
For five years, I've put off writing the sequel to
Healing Shine. Why? Because I focused on the hard work, the
mistakes that will happen, the computer foul-ups that will
occur, and some people I will
want to kill with an ice pick. The task filled me with dread
so I didn't do it. And nothing was accomplished... because I
was defeating myself.
But what if I made a different set of choices? What if
I gave myself a chance? I could focus on the joy of writing.
(After all it's not like hauling alfalfa; I'm in an
air-conditioned room.) I could be grateful for the humans
and horses in my life, and thankful they are all here, and
that I have a mind and body that still work well enough to
complete the task. I could find joy in my heart. Couldn't we
all do that?
So now I'm making lists – the primary key to getting
things done. Make a list. Make a plan and work your plan.
Works whether you are saving money, hitting a golf ball,
playing a fiddle, building fence, or writing a book. Yellow
sticky notes on the mirror. Re-charge, refresh. Up early.
Keep trying. Three weeks of bad days – work hard one more
week, and you'll find you had a pretty good month. Joy in
your heart whatever the task. A spirit of gratitude.
Remember, the only time we really have a problem is when we
can no longer climb the mountain.
Those are my New Year's resolutions.
Want to join me?
“Positive thoughts and positive people generate positive
-- Michael Johnson
Sharon and Rowdy