In Game 4 of the 1987 Finals, Magic Johnson was in a bind. His team was down and he only had seven seconds to act. He got the ball and the clock dropped to five seconds. Kevin McHale approached him as Magic went for the basket. He encountered a double team when Robert Parish joined McHale. The magic didn’t miss a beat. He ran and surprised the Celtics with a “junior sky hook.” He sank to the bottom of the net with two seconds to go. The Lakers won the NBA Finals 4-2.
He had done this before. When asked how he could do this, his answer surprised me at the time.
“I can do it, because the night before a big game I imagine myself making a great play.”
I’m paraphrasing here, but I’m not far off.
His statement got me thinking. How can you train your mind to achieve something? 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 keep us from achieving our goals and dreams. These are God-given dreams, sitting deep in our hearts. But something is stopping us. This Silent Killer is made up of four smaller counterparts. Each of us does a great job of keeping us from becoming all that God created us to be.
Four triggers that feed the “silent killer”
Trigger n. # 1: personal defeat
Nothing gets us down like personal defeat. Inside our hearts and minds is a movie projector. Reproduce our biggest mistakes and failures. Every time I tried to achieve a goal or a dream, this projector began to reproduce my past. Little by little I was losing ground. After a while, he mustered up the courage and faith to try again. But the vicious cycle repeats itself. This can take longer than necessary to achieve your dreams.
Trigger # 2: Wrong focus
One of the worst things you can do is have a 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 themselves. Believing that you are not good enough, smart or rich to achieve your dreams, loads you with a false view of who you really are. God says in his word that we have been made in a wonderful and terrible way.
Trigger n. 3: Reasons for Failure
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this one! When evaluating a goal or a dream, it was easy for me to find all kinds of reasons to fail. In the end I accomplished much less when I was younger. Explaining these reasons cripples your ability to move on. You never give yourself the opportunity to achieve what God has given you.
Trigger n. # 4: inappropriate entertainment
Hey, I’m not trying to spoil anyone’s “fun”. I am a big fan of movies and documentaries. I enjoy watching the latest information and the best and highest grossing movies. But the other night I was watching a gang documentary. It’s a show called “Gangland”.
If you watch the show enough times, you start to fear living in certain places. A quiet little voice asked me a question. “Do you really want to feed on fear?”
As a Christian, my answer was obvious. And you? Is there something you are watching, reading or listening to that is feeding you a great deal of fear? If so, he or they are keeping this “Silent Killer” alive.
Negative thinking is a cold blooded killer. Every day it silently kills our dreams. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to think that you can’t achieve your goals or dreams? From a young age we are programmed to believe that bad things will happen. For whatever reason, we think we can’t do something when in reality we can.
The great Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can or you can’t, you are 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 right thinking. Engaging in negative thoughts slows down your progress.
For many years I tried to find a way to overcome this kind of thinking. Through God’s Word, inspirational books, and CDs, I discovered three easy ways to end negative thoughts on a daily basis.
How to squash negative thinking
When I first learned these three steps, it seemed too simple. I’ve spent a lifetime thinking negatively on most levels. The waves of faith thoughts were great, but I hadn’t fully understood how negativity works. But now three easy steps were going to fix the problem?
The first day I tried it, I was amazed at the results! This is what happened. I was taken care of quickly and got over any issues. The things that normally stayed in my mind and bothered me, were extinguished. Three days later, my breathing changed. He went from quick breaths to long, steady breaths. And believe it or not, the answers to the prayers came a lot faster!
Try these steps and let me know how they work for you.
Step # 1: Replace negative thoughts
It says in the Bible to take captive every thought to the obedience of Christ. Every time a negative thought comes to your mind, replace it with a positive one. I notice to the devil every day that his negative thoughts are not allowed in my mind. I resist him and his thoughts and they both run away. You have the option to choose what stays on your mind. You can’t control what goes in, but don’t let negative thoughts live there. Keep replacing them with positives. Example: A negative thought popped into my head about me and someone else not getting along. I replaced it with a thought of him and me talking and shaking hands. The feelings of bitterness and anger left.
Step # 2: imagine your dreams
When I’m at lunch or have a few minutes to myself, I imagine myself fulfilling my dreams. My goal is to be an effective, full-time writer. Sometimes I am sitting on the beach writing a book. In others, I am speaking to a large crowd about how God inspired me to write a certain book. And I imagine building something for others, from the proceeds of my books. The conclusion is the following. Whatever it takes to achieve it, imagine it every day!
Find a quiet place and dream. Do this for yourself. God uses it to rekindle your passion to achieve what He wants for you.
Step # 3: Read God’s Word
Every day I read the Bible. I don’t, because it’s what I’m supposed to do. I certainly don’t read it, because it is politically correct in the church. It is my spiritual food. Without it, I starve spiritually. God’s Word reminds us of who we really are in Christ. And it tells us how much God has in store for our lives. Provides strength, encouragement, and truth. Something that is rare in today’s world. Without the Bible, I couldn’t write a word from my mystery books.
The devil knows how powerful the Word of God is. It’s one of the reasons why he works so hard to get us to ignore him. But don’t take the bait! Take 5-10 minutes each morning and night to read the Word. Before you know it, you will have a lot of spiritual strength to accomplish anything.
Here are some scriptures to get you started. Feel free to memorize them.
Philippians 4: 8 Colossians 3: 2 Isaiah 26: 3 Romans 12: 2
Try these three steps for a week or two. Email me and let me know how it went. You no longer have to be a prisoner of negative thinking. Follow these steps to achieve your goals and achieve your dreams!