Think & Grow Rich Lessons
Daniel Clark Bronx, New York, United States

Posted: 2016-03-16

As a lifelong Christian, Faith has always been a vital part of my upbringing, something that I have looked to pass on to family and friends over the years and have been successful in doing so with many of them.

When I was a child, it seemed so easy; just believe that you can do something, want it enough, and you will get it, get to do it, or what have you.  Don’t fill your head with negative thoughts and don’t let anyone volunteer them to you.  With the support of a loving and Faithful upbringing, Faith felt more like a given trait back then.

Then my teenage years came, my parents had divorced, and I was now facing a new slew of challenges.  My re-education was about to begin.

My mother had always been a source of Faith in my family, bringing it to everyone else that she encountered, especially my father and his side of the family.  Once they separated though, he and those on his side of the family didn’t waste much time falling back into their old ways of pessimism, anxiety, and lack of Faith.  And here I was, still young and impressionable, exposed to this type of behavior in a now completely unfiltered state, lacking the “buffer zone” that my mother had provided for years up to this point.  At first, it didn’t bother me very much, but once the “old ways” were turned on me, that was when things began to change.

Just like the man in the chapter who remains in contact with crime for an extended period of time, eventually the environment of people telling me:

“Don’t wear that fedora with your suit, it makes you look ugly!”

“Don’t take your own car, it’ll just be too many cars there!”

“Sometimes you have to know when the end is near!”

“You’ve seen enough of that!”

“You’ll never do it!”

…went from me responding with

“Ah, don’t be a hater!

To

“Eh… that’s your opinion.”

To

“Oh man, you’re… you’re right… maybe I DO look ugly in this hat.”

“Maybe I have watched enough of my favorite show.”

“Maybe I SHOULD learn to dream smaller!”

Now, when my mother was present, she would counteract these negative thoughts, which my subconscious mind could not withstand at the time, by saying things like:

“Don’t tell him he looks ugly, it makes him feel good!”

“Don’t say that, he enjoys watching it!”

“Don’t say that, it limits his IMAGINATION!”

Perhaps my subconscious did know the difference at the time, but felt powerless to do anything about filtering the bad messages from the good without the presence of a strong willed filter in the physical world that had been provided to me for the first 13 or 14 years of my life.  This was made more difficult by the fact that, as I had mentioned in my previous entry, that it’s tougher to withstand when the negativity you receive comes from your own family that knows you well, rather than an outsider with no credentials.  My Faith remained strong despite this and I always knew that there was a better, more fulfilling destiny for me.  It was almost like the memories of my early life stayed with me and remained deeply embedded in my mind so that I will always know that there is a positive alternative to what the world may try to give me down the line.

Turning my Faith into positive results in the physical world?  That was a much bigger challenge for me, especially when there are people trying to squelch your Imagination and Faith and impose limitations on you.

The fact is that whether it’s a protein steak or a fast-food hamburger, our bodies will digest whatever foods we eat or have fed to us, but the ingredients in the foods we eat will ultimately determine whether the outcome is beneficial or detrimental for our overall health.

And I ate a LOT of fast-food during this time period!  (in every sense)

When we become adults, Faith can be harder to obtain, let alone maintain; a lot of us have been through so many ups and downs, have felt like the rules of life had changed at the wrong times, and made to believe that what were meant to be the foundations of our Faith were now the very things that were breaking It.

“I did everything my teachers, parents, pastors, etc. told me to do… so, where did I go wrong?”

Throughout my life, I have been very healthy, I have had success in other fields, done well academically, social life was fine,… but my self-confidence had been the part of me that I had been sorely lacking in.  I’ve had opportunities to reconnect with old friends or acquaintances over the years that were doing very well in their lives, but I didn’t take them because I “didn’t want them to see me like this”… in my “weakened” state of mind, lacking self-confidence.  The only time I was ready for such an encounter was if I were in my “element”, in a state of mind and position where I felt like the person I was really meant to be.

I used to work for a local television station in the Westchester County area, where the coordinator was always under a lot of duress, barely managing to get through a day of work without having a meltdown of some kind, and generally, not looking like he was having a good time.  And in his office, on the wall right behind him, not on his desk facing him mind you, but on the wall behind him, hung a picture of him in his youth, dressed like a rock star, with long hair, and a guitar strapped on.  He had been playing in a band with his friends from the time.  Even under that gruff exterior, I could sense happiness coming from him in that image.

Now, I am not certain if his ultimate goal was to be a big rock star, but this always struck me as a metaphor of some kind; the way he would sit in an office, day after day, pushing papers around and struggling to get through the day, all the while his dream placed firmly behind him.  If the picture could talk, I would imagine it would ask him “what happened?”

Our Faith gets challenged very often.  The naysayers and ne’er do wells make it get to the point where we feel like we’re not even allowed to think of what it is that we really want out of life unfiltered and un-watered down.  You know that they have succeeded when someone is asked “do you like your job/career?” and the response is “yeah sure, I get my weekends off, I get nice benefits, I get to retire early…” never once saying what they like about the work itself.  Their minds get tricked into giving the diplomatic, non-confrontational answers rather than the ones that they would really like to give.

Those who challenge a person’s Faith are the ones who would’ve shared the sentiment that was originally geared toward Charles M. Schwab, to not upset the status quo or say anything that could be seen as challenging to the know-it-alls.  Today, everyone knows the name Charles M. Schwab but by the dawn of the 20th century, he was not much different from many other people in terms of his status in the world.

In the end though, listening to them, allowing our Faith to be broken, defeats us.  They will go on doing whatever, perhaps live on in their blissful ignorance of the damage they may be causing to others with their Faith poisoning (not to mention the damage that they have done to themselves by allowing their own minds to be filled with defeating thoughts).  But as we have been reminded constantly throughout our time as part of the Mentoring For Free community, what they think doesn’t matter.  Our goal should not be to change them, it should be to strengthen and fortify ourselves.

The information and advice I have obtained from the short while that I have been a part of the MFF community has helped strengthen my Faith already.  I feel less inhibited now that I feel like I am striving towards a goal.  I take great joy in knowing that Mentoring For Free was not designed by someone who had the mentality of “well, let’s try putting this together for people and maybe we will help them succeed”, but by someone who is living proof that there is definitely a goal to be obtained and wants to help us reach it.

Faith can teach us a lot.  Our minds are very powerful tools that can absorb a lot.  Let’s be sure to feed them with nutritious words of wisdom and courage, rather than the junk food of negativity and doubt.

“There is no knowledge that is not power”.
~tagline from the “Mortal Kombat” video game series