Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

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 happened...
     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 such thing.
     “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 your limitations.”
     “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 said...
“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 life experiences”

-- Michael Johnson                      


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