Perhaps The Most Important Question You Ever Ask Yourself


“As a young actor, with my buddies at the time, we entertained a question. Turns out it is a very important question. At the time we only gave lip service to it but didn’t ask it in our hearts. Maybe the others did but I certainly didn’t. It was nothing more to me than a mere intellectual curiosity.

That question was and is, ‘If your success were absolutely guaranteed 25 or more years from now. Without question, you would be then a huge star. You would have everything you want. It is yours. How would you live your life between now and then?’

(Okay – housekeeping note – this is a long one. But do please read to the end. I didn’t want to divide it into installments as I could have.)

Most of us assumed we would stay in workshops and continue the pursuit. Then after discussing the question we continued to do what a lot of actors and others do. We went on complaining about our agents, managers, the casting directors who weren’t seeing us and all the producers and directors who were missing out on our great talents.

We went to classes, those who had part time jobs did them, others worked full time while trying to pursue a career. Some married and with children some without. Juggling a career in the movie business with partner, kids and job can be quite a challenge. Being single, lonely and alone is challenging too.

It is hard in show biz and you know what, it is hard in any career. Becoming an actor, film director, producer, writer, editor and all the rest it’s tough to get in and it is tough to sustain. There is no formula you can follow out of college. Everyone succeeds is an individually unique way.

While traditional businesses offer more provincial routes to success it is not easy there either. Whether you want to be a doctor, lawyer, politician, engineer, realtor, investor, banker, fireman, educator and on and on each has there own share of difficulty and sacrifices that require making.

So back to the question regardless of what career you are in or which one you want to be in. Back to the question even if it isn’t a career that concerns you but life in general. “What would you do if happiness and success were absolutely guaranteed but not for a very long time from now? How would you live between now and then?’

Here is the reason I ask. In order to succeed in anything, the easiest way is to believe you will succeed. You have to know what you want, you have to have a burning desire for its fulfillment and you have to have faith that it is yours and on the way.

You must believe you can make it happen. These were conditions and principles put forth by Andrew Carnegie (at one time the world’s richest man) and through Napoleon Hill (the author of Think & Grow Rich) commissioned by Carnegie to study success.

Hill stated that, ‘whatever the mind of can conceive and believe can be achieved’. It begins with thought and how we manage our thought. It is brought forth by our intense feelings, our passion and desire for its attainment.

It is delivered through unrelenting faith that we will succeed no matter what obstacles rise up before us. It is ours and we will persist until we can claim it.

Said another way, ‘What we hold in our head we will some day hold in our hands’, and ‘What we think about we bring about’. I would add in, ‘what we totally feel in our hearts, all the incredible feelings’ puts the fuel in our engines to get us where we want to go.

Great, we know the formula. What does that have to do with the question. The question is what do you do between now and then when success is unconditionally guaranteed? If you believe that is true, which I did not as a young actor, I thought it was a nice, fanciful idea but nothing is guaranteed, you will operate in a particular way.

You will live from this conviction and it will shape everything you think and do. If you unquestionably know it is yours you live with the confidence that you will have it. It feels good to own it even if it takes a while to claim it. It is yours. It is a given. You are successful and happy. Why would you ever let anything rain on your parade in the meantime?

You have everything you want coming to you. Celebrate and be glad. If you compare now to then and you focus on what you don’t yet have then you get pain and end up in a world of hurt. THAT is what I did. I thought, nice idea but I am suffering and I need it now. You must not think like that!

You must focus on what you want and what you know is coming your way and not on what you don’t want and don’t have.

You will never be happy or successful focused on negativity. You won’t get rich focused on lack. You get happy and rich and successful by first being those on the inside. If you knew ultimately you would triumph why would you ever chose not to live like a successful, happy victor? You wouldn’t if you were convinced you would be, do and have everything you want.

That is Carnegie’s and Hill’s third principle. In order to be successful you must expect to be successful. You must know it in your mind and heart and soul and in every fiber of your being. You must be unstoppable and never deterred.

Every cell, every atom in you knows you will win. This is the mindset we must have to have what we want.

you atract what you focus on

Instead, I focused on my bills, girlfriends or no girlfriends, not having the big home or cars as others did. I focused more on how I wasn’t working enough and how unfair it was that others got breaks that I didn’t. On and on and on it went. I was consumed by all the woe in my life. Whether actual or imagined.

So the question was posed, I thought about it and dismissed it as a curiosity. Nice to entertain but unrealistic. Yet, later I learned that Hill studied over 500 of the wealthiest, most successful powerhouses of his day and that since his work others have done similar and guess what.

Carnegie and Hill were correct. You have to know what you want. You have to feel it as already belonging to you.  You have to know this and want it and feel it coming to you with your entire being! You must keep that faith. In the future you are already victorious! You will have everything you want when you truly believe it.

Decades ago I would have called that magical or mystical,fairytale thinking. Nice but cheesy. NOW I know so much better how true it actually it is.  It has worked in my own life and continues to and I have seen it work, and helped make it work in countless others’ lives.

When we know what we want we determine where we want to end up. We know what the end result is. We do not yet have to know how to get there but we must know what we want to be, do and have. If we don’t define it and clarify it there is nothing to aim at. The mind needs a well defined clear target.

We must feel it with a burning desire. If we don’t want if very much we won’t do very much to make it happen. We will be lazy and accept whatever. We will drift and not amount to much of anything.

Think about all those romance movies where the valiant swashbuckling hero has to overcome all sorts of tremendous odds in order to win the lady’s heart. He has to win her, overcome insurmountable odds and difficulties and make it back to claim her love.

He has to really want her to fight for her all the way! He has to know that he will fight to the death and come away winning her hand or he is not all in. You must be all in. You must be passionately and wholly committed. You can’t play half assed and expect to win the prize.

WHY? because with a clear target and positive powerful emotions your brain then totally gets it. There is no question about what it is you desire. It is completely clear. Message received!

In order to keep the mind on track you have to stay on target. That is where faith and feelings come in. You have to feel it is yours. You deserve it. It is yours no question.

There are no doubts, no worry, no fears. It is only a matter of time that this or something better will be fulfilled. You are all in and will never give up no matter what.

Now your brain goes to work for you. It makes connections, associations, organizes and utilizes  all your resources and abilities to help you make it happen. You become confident in yourself, positive and powerful.

You trust yourself to make it happen. Where there is will there is a way. You are a champion, of course you will triumph! There is no other outcome that could happen. Your success is guaranteed!

Your mind is alerted to possibilities and opportunities. You become sensitized to these in the same way as when you purchase a new car and suddenly, notice all the same make and model on the streets. You look for opportunity and discover them where none seemed to previously exist.

You find yourself drawn to likeminded positive successful people. You discover events and circumstances working for you. Obstacles and challenges provide lessons which you extract, and you adapt and adopt and continue to move forward.

If you know success is yours you let nothing stand in the way. You know that ultimately nothing can or will prevent you from claiming what it is you want. You are already a success within!

So while it may sound like magic this is what we have learned from successful people during the past century and from well beyond that. This is how the kings and rulers think. This is how those born to wealth and privilege think. This is how the successful shakers and doers think. Their mindset paves the way for the results they want to achieve. ‘As above so below. As within so without.’

It is true there are some of trust fund babies who squander their good fortune and make a mess of their lives. By far the majority of successful people will, IF THEY WANT YOU TO KNOW IT, tell you they always knew they would do well and succeed at whatever they wanted. There was NEVER any question. NEVER ANY QUESTION!

For the rest of us we need to cultivate this mindset. We weren’t born into circumstances where we grew up knowing one day all this would be ours. We didn’t have a life where money was no object.

Anything and everything at anytime could be had for a price and we could afford it. We didn’t live this way. Good or bad, right or wrong, thankfully or not we have to develop the winner attitude on our own.

desire backed by faith

The greatest news for human kind may be that it is ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE to do! WE CAN DO IT! We can change our lot in life by taking control of our thoughts and feelings and we can begin getting the results we want, and may have always wanted.

THIS is why it is true that the past does not equal the future because no matter what failure, heartbreak or disappointment you may have had in the past YOU CAN RIGHT NOW CHANGE IT FOR THE BETTER!

The decision is yours. You can blow it off as I did the question or you can decide now to turn your life around and start getting everything you deserve. You can live abundantly without having to deprive anyone else of anything too. You can make your dreams come true.

The decision is yours. The time is now. It is a journey but a worthwhile one and the true value of which you will only know once you get on the road. Become unstoppable. Become convinced that you will be, have and do everything you want.

Put these practices to work and discover what I and countless others have discovered, and are discovering. This mind stuff works!!! It absolutely, truly does! There is amazing, dynamic energy and power in a committed, firm decision. It may be unlike anything you have ever experienced up until now.

If you are like some people you may have to get close to hitting bottom before you act in your own best interests. I was like that. The painful signal value had to be really loud, strong and hurtful to get my attention.

If you are like some others, you see the value of an opportunity as it is presented to you. You can make the decision without having to suffer.

Sadly, there will be those, in both groups who do nothing because they simply don’t know any better. That was me too. I couldn’t see opportunity when presented, I was suspicious. I didn’t know enough consider something as that question worthy of my attention so blew it off.

Then I had to let life circumstances and my own negative and bad feelings get strong enough to make me exclaim, ‘I don’t want to live like this anymore! I must do something.’ I began to search.

THIS is what I found. Even then, I dabbled. I dipped my toes in. I went a way for a few years but I kept encountering myself again and again in less than glorious ways. Finally, I decided, ‘I really can’t live this way. I have to change and I will do whatever is required to change it!’ In that moment, I became freer.

I decided I was 100% responsible for anything and everything that happened to me. I would be a victor and a champion. I would fill my mind with positive thoughts and my being with positive glorious feelings.

If I fell I would commit to getting up. If I didn’t feel like it I would forge ahead anyway. There were many times I fell and countless times I didn’t feel like it.

Bottom line: If I can do this ANYONE else in the world can do this too. I am not special, I am not smarter, I am no one at all, just another person on a journey. I committed to it and change began happening.

Slowly, no evidence at all that anything was changing, but in time I felt better. No miracles, nothing. Shit still hit the fan. At first, I was confused and wondered why bad things were still happening but I soon learned it was my response to situations that made the difference. Wondering why only threw me back into negativity.

I learned I had to manage my thinking and steer it back to what I wanted and to focus on what I now have and what I am creating for the future. I have to and had to apply these principles repeatedly to make them a habit.

I was used to doing things other ways before so I had to learn the new ways and make these automatic, AS automatic, as the old ways of doing things. Once that happens it does get easier and easier.

Eventually, I began to notice, not only feeling better and better as a result of my mind, feelings and life becoming more positive, but small wins. Little things, positive things began happening more and more frequently and as they did I felt grateful and celebrated all I could. Gratitude opens a doorway to let so much more come in!

More wins, eventually, bigger wins. The seed sprouted, the tiny plant grows before becoming big and strong. Even more. The feelings and thoughts and results I were getting fed each other. As I felt better more things good seemed to happen. As more good things happened the better I felt. It is as if I can’t separate the two. It is quite glorious!

YET, still there are challenges and that is absolutely okay. I learn from them. I am resolved to being a life long learner. One can’t know everything. So I learn from opportunity and challenges alike. It is so wonderful!

I still fall and I get back up. Not each one is easy to get back up from but it is far easier than before. There is just no way to share how incredible this all is in my life. Words just don’t seem adequate. You really have to experience it for yourself as countless, COUNTLESS others have.


Countless, but the number is far smaller than those who won’t. That is truly sad. They are used to doing things the way they have been doing them. A wise old friend spoke these words, ‘I am awakened, it is true. Once I slept but I awoke and it is glorious. You are sleeping now but one day you too will awaken. That is just how it is.’

We are ready when we are ready. No blame, no excuses, nothing. We come to change in our own time. I love my life and I didn’t always feel that way. I love it and adore it. Funny, but as I typed these words I just had an agent phone me to come in for a call back in two days.

Make your dreams come true. Commit to yourself and making your world better. When you do you find you also want everyone else to have a better world too. Great things await you if you will only claim them and make them yours. If you haven’t already done so do it today!” Rex Sikes

Make today incredible!

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