In game 4 of the 1987 Finals, Magic Johnson was in a bind. His team was down and only had seven seconds to act. He got the ball and the clock fell to five seconds. Kevin McHale moved toward him as Magic went for the basket. He ran into a double team as Robert Parish joined McHale. Magic didn’t miss a beat. He ran and shocked the Celtics with a “junior sky-hook.” It sank into the bottom of the net with two seconds left. The Lakers went on to win the NBA Finals 4-2.
He’d done this before. When asked how he was able to do this, his response shocked me at the time.
“I’m able to do it, because the night before a big game I picture myself making a big play.”
I’m paraphrasing here, but I’m not far off.
His statement got me thinking. How can you train your mind to accomplish anything? It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from or if you’ve failed in the past.
Every day we allow a “Silent Killer” to stop us from reaching our goals and dreams. These are God-given dreams, sitting the deepest parts of our hearts. But something holds us back. This Silent Killer is made up of four smaller counterparts. Each one does a bang up job of stopping us from becoming all God made us to be.
Four Triggers That Feed The “Silent Killer”
Trigger #1: Personal Defeat
Nothing gets us down like personal defeat. Inside of our hearts and minds is a movie projector. It replays our biggest mistakes and failures. Every time I tried to start reaching for a goal or dream, this projector would start playing my past. Little by little I lost ground. After awhile I’d get up enough courage and faith to try again. But the vicious cycle repeats itself. This can cause you to take longer than necessary to reach your dreams.
Trigger #2: Improper Focus
One of the worst things you can do is have false view of yourself. In his book “Changes That Heal”, Dr. Henry Cloud says that people need to have a proper and healthy view of self. Believing you’re not good, smart or rich enough to accomplish your dreams, saddles you with a false view of who you really are. God says in His word that we are wonderfully and fearfully made.
Trigger #3: Reasons to Fail
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this one! When sizing up a goal or dream, it was easy for me to come up with all kinds of reasons to fail. In the end I accomplished much less when I was younger. Coming up with these reasons cripples your ability to move forward. You never give yourself the chance to accomplish what God has put before you.
Trigger #4: Improper Entertainment
Hey, I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s “fun.” I’m a big movie and documentary buff. I enjoy watching the latest and greatest info and blockbuster movies. But the other night I was watching a documentary on gangs. It’s a show called “Gangland.”
If you watch the show enough times you start to become afraid of living in certain places. A small still voice asked me a question. “Do you really want to feed yourself with fear?”
As a Christian my answer was obvious. What about you? Is there anything you’re watching, reading or listening to that’s feeding you a heavy dose of fear? If so, it or they are steadily keeping this “Silent Killer” alive.
Negative thinking is a cold-blooded killer. Everyday it quietly kills our dreams. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to think you can’t reach your goals or dreams? From a young age we’re programmed to believe bad things will happen. For some reason we think we can’t do something when we actually can.
The great Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.” And in Proverbs 23, David tells us that as a man thinks, so is he.” In the Bible God delves into the importance of thinking properly. Engaging in negative thinking slows your progress.
For many years I tried to find a way to beat this kind of thinking. Through God’s Word, inspirational books and CD’s I discovered three easy ways to crush negative thinking one day at a time.
How to Crush Negative Thinking
When I first learned these three steps it seemed too simple. I’d spent a lifetime of thinking negatively on most levels. The spurts of faith thoughts were great, but I hadn’t completely understood how negativity works. But now three simple steps were going to take care of the problem?
On the first day I tried it I was stunned at the results! Here’s what happened. I quickly dealt with and got through any problem. Things that would normally linger in my mind and bother me, died off. Three days later my breathing changed. It went from quick breaths to long and steady ones. And believe it or not answers to prayers came much quicker!
Try these steps out and let me know how they work for you.
Step #1: Replace Negative Thoughts
It says in the bible to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Every time a negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with a positive one. I put the devil on notice every day that his negative thoughts are not allowed in my mind. I resist him and his thoughts and they both flee. You have a choice about what stays in your mind. You can’t control what comes in, but don’t let negative thoughts live there. Keep replacing them with positive ones. Example: A negative thought popped into my head about me and another person not getting along. I replaced it with a thought of him and I talking and shaking hands. The feelings of bitterness and anger were gone.
Step #2: Picture Your Dreams
When I’m at lunch or have a few minutes to myself, I picture accomplishing my dreams. My goal is to be a full time and effective writer. Sometimes I’m sitting by the beach writing a book. On others I’m talking to a large crowd, about how God inspired me to write a certain book. And I’ll picture myself building something for others, from the proceeds of my books. The bottom line is this. Whatever it is you need to accomplish picture it each day!
Find a quiet spot and dream. Do this for yourself. God uses it to reignite your passion to accomplish what He wants for you.
Step #3: Read God’s Word
Each day I read the bible. I don’t do it, because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I certainly don’t read it, because it’s politically correct in the church. It’s my spiritual food. Without it I spiritually starve. God’s Word reminds us who we really are in Christ. And it tells us how much God has in store for our lives. It provides strength, encouragement and the truth. Something that’s rare in today’s world. Without the bible, I couldn’t write a word of my mystery books.
The devil knows how powerful God’s Word is. It’s one of the reasons he works so hard in getting us to ignore it. But don’t take the bait! Take 5-10 minutes each morning and night to read the Word. Before you know it, you’ll have plenty of spiritual strength to accomplish anything.
Here are a few scriptures to get you rolling. Feel free to memorize them.
Philippians 4:8 Colossians 3:2 Isaiah 26:3 Romans 12:2
Try out these three steps for a week or two. Drop me an e-mail and let me know how you did. You don’t have to be a prisoner of negative thinking anymore. Use these steps to accomplish your goals and reach your dreams!