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          Welcome to the first of the 7 Mind-freeing, Life-changing, World-saving word-switches.  This wisdom provides the energy to acquire all the wisdoms that follow.

          Substitute the word-switch “Yes, I think I can” for “why bother,” “what’s the use,” “it’s too hard,” “I can’t,” “to Hell with it,” “ferk it” and any other helpless/hopeless give up trigger word that shuts down your energy factory.  This stren turns energy back on that you’ve turned off!  If you have forgotten, re-read The Little Engine that Could – “I think I can ...I think I can ... I think I can.”  “I can ... I will ... we will!”  If you missed this classic, get the book and learn its great insight.  It’s a very short read.  Remind yourself, until it becomes habit:  The way I think is my powerful resource to become my very best friend, to free my self from control by fate and circumstance, and to make a significant contribution to peace in the world.  This first step will generate the energy to accomplish the next basic steps.

          The Little Engine that Could tells the story of toys eager to be delivered to deserving children on the other side of a mountain.  The powerful engines who could take the toys to the children claimed they were too busy or too important, and refused to take the toys to the children.  The small engine had never gone over the mountain and the task looked overwhelming.  Inspired by the tears of the dolls and the thought of the children who would not have any toys, the little engine bravely said “I think I can...I think I can...I think I can” and you know the rest. 

          The reason so many individuals stay stuck in an unhappy life experience is because they maintain a hopeless/helpless attitude ingrained from the repeated “you can’t” statements learned earlier in their life.  It only requires a small spark to get enough energy turned on to grow into an energy producing factory.  If you lack even a spark of faith in yourself, here are several ways to get one started:

           1. Act as if.  Go through the motions even if you don’t yet experience this faith.  Actors know when they get into the role assigned to them that they may not feel the part.  However, when they “act as if” they begin to experience the emotion and energy of the character they portray.  They first go through the motions, and that soon turns on the desired experience.  With repetition, the “act as if” becomes “feel as if” and soon the “as if” disappears.  Expect it to feel strange at first when we add or make changes to the way we traditionally think, feel, and act.

           2. Learn from the inspiration others offer us.  Reread stren #1 about the teenager who became suddenly paralyzed in a sports event.  After a prolonged period of despondency he realized from a single inspiring insight that he was miserable because he kept focusing on what he had lost, had not accomplished, or might never attain.  He dramatically turned his life around to attain a joyous, fulfilled life experience when he focused his thinking on what he had achieved, what he had available right now, and what he could still do.

           3. There are many inspirational stories that worked for others who had equally or worse situations to manage.  They are readily available.  Two recent bestselling books, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Last Lecture are such inspirational stories of how two individuals, Morrie with Lou Gehrig’s muscle wasting fatal disease, and Randy Pausch with terminal cancer of the pancreas nevertheless make their days worthwhile.  What they found, you can also acquire and turn on the small spark that gets you started into an avalanche of life’s satisfactions.  

           4. In my youth, I wished I could flap my arms like a bird and experience the excitement and freedom of soaring into the air.  I don’t try now because I’ve never seen that happen.  However, if one day I looked up and saw someone flapping their arms and flying, I’d get very excited; I’d look for some directions to get started.  You see, I wouldn’t need to see a lot of people flapping their arms and flying, or even a few.  Just one would do!  I’ve seen many individuals who have hardly imaginable life hardships, but who just the same have created joy and meaning in their life we can envy.  Each of us, you included, can generate the spark that turns on enough energy to get started.  The succeeding steps get easier once we take the first.