“Many people aren’t aware of what holds them back. Are you? Yes, some can point to things that keep them stuck, and think, ‘if only this weren’t the case then I’d be better off’ and they may be correct. You could also be missing it by a long shot. Do you know why? Do you know what the number one predictor or ingredient for success is?
By success I mean over all well-being, happiness and enjoyment or satisfaction with life. I mean good health, career success, family and relationships, owning the possessions you want. I mean being able to be, do and have anything you want when you want it. Success can be part of anything it doesn’t have to just mean dollars and fame.
Are Hidden Assumptions Driving You
In my last post I shared with you this story of Houdini. I repeat it here for those who may not have read it yet. If you did read it GO ahead and re-read it again. Some things are worth re-visiting and repeating. I made some additions to it too.
Houdini, is the world’s greatest showman and most re-known escape artist. He is still remembered almost 100 years after his death for his amazing feats. Houdini traveled, during the days of vaudeville, to different towns and cities performing feats of daring, escape and magic.
In order to get people to his nightly shows he would do stunts during the noon hour. Sometimes, it was his famous suspended straight jacket escape. Other times it was to challenge the local police departments to lock him up inside a jail cell, naked and heavily chained and handcuffed. He would always escape,
He recounted a time when he was cuffed, chained and imprisoned. Being a master locksmith and lock picker he gained access to his hidden pick and went to work on the locks. Freeing himself from the cuffs and chains he tried the door. Nothing. He could not get the mechanism to turn over. He continued. He tried and he tried!
What normally took minutes, was taking more time. An hour passed and he feverishly worked trying to open the lock. Normally, he was out in minutes, dressed and presenting his ‘miracle’ escape to the police and the press who stood by waiting. Houdini had never previously been defeated. ONE defeat could mean his whole career!
Mental Training Gives You The Edge
Another half hour passed. He was beginning to panic. His training however, included keeping calm under pressure. More than having a trained body having a trained mind was crucial in his business. He placed himself in jeopardy and could not risk having a mind that did not remain calm and methodical in crises situations. He was tired, sweating, nearly defeated.
He leaned back against the door for rest, exhausted and it swung open. He stood transfixed. There in front of him was an open door. It had never been locked! In this one time, with all the commotion restraining him in cuffs and chains and the press noting every moment, the police forgot to lock the door. No one noticed the mistake. NOT even Houdini!
He spent over 90 minutes wondering why he could not get the tumblers to turnover. He spent 90 minutes with his career most likely flashing before his eyes. He spent 90 minutes IMPRISONED in a jail cell when he was actually a free man. The fact that the door was not locked was LOST on him. For all practical intents and purposes he was a prisoner.
Had he not accidentally leaned against the door he would have never known. In this case, he walked out opened the cell containing his clothes got dressed and strolled out having defeated the police as he always had in other cities. He could rightly inform them that this jail cell had been his most challenging ever!
Become Aware So You Can Claim What You Want
We are already free! Unless we claim it and act on it we will act as a prisoner of our past. We will act as a prisoner of our present circumstances. The time comes for each of us to open the door on our lives and walk through it a champion.
He was free but didn’t know it. He missed that and might have given up. He was fortunate in this case, but luck wasn’t something Houdini could rely on. He had to rely on his mental and physical preparation AND take advantage of opportunity when it presented itself.
Keep in mind Houdini was trained to escape. He spent years conditioning his mind and body to serve him in harrowing and dangerous times. He dedicated his life to his training of himself. He challenged himself continuously. He challenged the world to constrain him, to lock him up, in something he could not escape from.
He knew that in order to perform and to succeed he had to think right first. He understood the steps to success. Proper thinking and physical conditioning is what gave him the edge. It was why he always triumphed. Proper thinking and condition is why he became successful. Houdini was persistent. He knew he would always make it and he never gave up.
Free Yourself From The Past
We can do similarly. We can train our minds to serve us to deliver to us the kind of life experience we want. We can condition ourselves to be successful prior to any success or happiness showing up. We can make it through tough times and easy times when we take charge of our thinking process and make it work for us.
There is NO need to live as a prisoner to the past. The past has no actual connection to the present or the future except what we assign to it. We live from stories and scripts we have been told and we tell ourselves. There is no need to live as a prisoner of circumstances. Circumstances need not dictate to us how life will be. We should be determining that!
Houdini expected the door to be lock. It always had been. That was the point to escape from a locked cell. His expectations governed his behaviors. Since the door was locked he had to get the lock open. He used his tools, his know how or expertise and he went to work. It was frustrating work unlocking this door.
You Can Overcome Difficult Present Circumstances
He continued to try. He tried and tried. It never occurred to him to TRY the door! It of course, was locked. Even though it wasn’t he ASSUMED it was. His mind set, his expectations determined his course of action. It determined his thoughts. He must have been very frustrated and confused trying to get the lock open and not having any success. He did this countless times before.
Still, he never thought to try the door to see if it was open. I bet he did after this experience. So he toiled. As I stated, though methodical and with a highly trained mind to remain calm in dangerous and trying circumstances, I bet he began to imagine the headlines reading ‘Houdini Defeated’.
It most likely made him work harder and be more frustrated or scared. Still, he could not let it get to him or distract him from getting the lock open. I bet he probably worked all the harder on that ‘damned locked door’ because he never thought it wasn’t locked at all. He was for all practical intents and purposes a prisoner ONLY because of his mind. He operated from his assumptions.
Expectations Form Your Prison Or Your Liberation
His expectations led him to believe, because of past circumstances, that he was a prisoner and locked in. I don’t know that I would have challenged those assumptions either. He may have even confabulated. He may have, made up, and remembered that they DID lock the door, when the reality was otherwise. He lived from this version of reality.
He was locked in and he must get the lock open or his career is over. His situation illustrates what we mean by Believing is Seeing. BELIEVING IS Seeing! Erroneously, many people thing it is the other way around but it isn’t.
People think they will believe something once they see it. They wait for proof. In actuality we only see the things we ALREADY believe. The rest tends to be filtered out. We miss it. It is not inside our awareness. We see only what we already believe. We live from the reality we imagine just as Houdini’s example demonstrates.
Because our beliefs and expectations are mental filters they act like blinders. We can only be aware of what we expect to be aware of. Most of us don’t realize this so we act as if it were otherwise. This issue alone is much of the cause of our misunderstanding, our okay acceptance of lack luster living and of our suffering.
Historically, people have imprisoned and punished others because they believed them guilty. They looked at whatever evidence was compiled for and against, made a decision and carried out actions because they BELIEVED they were acting correctly. Sometimes they did. Other times they made horrible mistakes and punished the innocent.
Believing Is Seeing
We have gone to war because we believed it was necessary. Perhaps we were correct in some cases or perhaps there were alternatives we didn’t notice BECAUSE we didn’t know alternatives existed. We were blinded by what we believed was the right thing to do. We didn’t know that other ways existed hence we couldn’t and didn’t entertain them.
We act from the limitations of our expectations as well as from the heights of our expectations. If we expect to find difficulty we will. If we expect it to be easy, we will. Even, while it may be tough, we may actually find it easier than if we think it difficult. Our mind set paves the way for us.
If we expect to be successful and happy these expectations organize our perceptions, our thoughts, our feelings and behaviors. Everything originates from the mind set we hold. Expectations, our beliefs and attitudes, set the frame from which we operate. They govern what we see and find in the real world and what we do and how we behave.
Have you every proved yourself correct in this next example. You look for an item, perhaps your keys, and you can’t find them. You exclaim to yourself or others, ‘I can’t find them. I have no idea where they are’. Then someone hands them to you stating, ‘they are right here.’ To your amazement you discover that they were right there in front of you the entire time but you missed them.
If It Is Possible Or Not Is Up To You
You couldn’t find them because in your mind you kept thinking ‘I don’t know where they are’ or some equivalent thought. I certainly, have done this many times. Our expectations, our beliefs set the framework. They govern what we notice and what we don’t. We operate from these thoughts. These thoughts determine our successes.
Whether we believe something is possible or impossible dictates how much we will try. The issue for us to recognize is, just like Houdini, we may be operating from assumptions and expectations that do not serve us in every situation. We may think we can’t do something when in fact we are very capable of doing it.
Henry Ford stated, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right.’ This topic is an important one for our consideration. What do you let stop you? Is it real or imagined?
Attitude Is Everything! Attitude Determines Your Altitude
Even if you say it is real – is it? Houdini thought he was operating from accurate information on real world circumstances. What if you are wrong and you can do it successfully? What if you can do it but you don’t do it because you don’t believe you can? That would suck, wouldn’t it? How much might you miss out on because of your beliefs?
This is why feeling successful and happy precede being successful and happy. Mindset determines what we find, and what we do. This is why the aphorism ‘Attitude is everything!’ is so important. It shapes and governs how we move in the world, what we do, what we create and make happen. It governs what we attract.
We can alter or change our mindset. THAT is great news. We can make changes. We can take control. We can dictate and chose what we will think and feel most of the day. We can expand our awareness to include more opportunity, advantages and good times. We can make a world of difference for ourself when we take charge and seek to become aware. Think positive and keep evolving!” Rex Sikes
Make each moment magnificent!
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*Horizons photo used with permission of Phil Koch.
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