29: Right Motives and Courage

Possessing brilliant ideas and good intentions does not automatically guarantee great results. Many people become frustrated when their good plans produce few or no achievements. Even after engaging the powerful Law of Attraction, little change may occur. Clearly, something is missing in this process. This missing link is often the courage to act.

While faith in our worthy goals and belief that we can accomplish them are vital ingredients to our pursuit of success, they are not the only factors we need. Our culture often makes too much of the power of right belief for creating major improvements in our life and society. However, we can become so infatuated with our plans and lost in our ideals that we neglect to do those things that are essential to make them manifest. Unless we involve ourself in the work at hand, nothing is likely to change.

Part of the problem of our failure to act lies in the common assumption that the universe will respond to our intense belief in our goals and deliver a magical result. However, this formula works reliably only when we fully understand our role in this process. We need to participate in being the primary agent of change. We have work to do—and it is our part of the “magic” we are expecting.

This process is comparable to the work of a gardener who can rely on the sun to shine, the rain to fall, and the seeds to grow and flourish. However, the seeds do not plant themselves nor do the weeds just vanish by wishing them away. Someone has to do this work and persist until mature plants grow! Anyone can appreciate the logic of this, but the same understanding seems to disappear when many of us set to work on improving our relationships and health. Mysteriously, we expect our great plans to work by themselves. We obsess on “knowing the truth” and visualizing complete success. Unfortunately, we stop at doing only these things in the hope that mysterious, invisible powers will fill in all the empty spaces and generate great results.

The truth is: strong faith, positive beliefs, and clear visualizations are best used for preparation for our physical involvement. Faith can be effective in summoning good possibilities. Our positive beliefs energize our ability to act skillfully. Detailed visualizations serve to organize our consciousness to enact our plans. Even when doing all these things, however, the best ideas and plans mean nothing until we put them to work in the real world—not just in our imaginations. We still have to apply ourself by participating in the work of implementing these plans.

Unless we understand our role as a primary agent of change, good results will elude us.

The key to converting good ideas into good results is our courage and willingness to act. While this is a simple, common sense statement, it is remarkable that so many ignore the significance of it. They prefer to go back to “knowing the truth” and “keeping the faith” as their primary contribution to success. This is not how the universe works. We must learn to use the principles of success and apply good ideas—or they will remain as wishful thinking instead of concrete results.

It can be difficult to admit that we have engaged in psychic self-destruction and that much of our suffering is the result of our poor choices. We may need to revise our interpretation of painful memories as well as accept that we have provoked many conflicts and used wrong methods to cope with them. Working to heal the damage of this destruction and reverse the beliefs that caused it can be even more difficult. All the bodyguards of our ego (anger, pride, fear, stubbornness and guilt) will try to defend our old and erroneous beliefs. It will take real courage and persistent determination to defeat this resistance.

Thus the first step to take is to recognize where we engage in magical or lazy thinking. For example, we might be spending too much time dreaming about good results and optimistically waiting for them to manifest. Perhaps we are hoping angels will do all the hard work, or friends and benevolent strangers will rescue us. While few of us may go to this extreme, there is a great temptation to spend time dreaming of success instead of staying awake and working for it.

The second step for cultivating good results is to energize our expectations. This is not accomplished by extensive wishing. More often, we energize the power to succeed by anticipating the benefits or rewards of our success. We relish the freedom that comes with feeling confident about who we are after getting rid of loads of anxiety and guilt. Or we might dwell on the clarity of thinking that comes once we have accepted and processed the fact of old conflicts and failures. Likewise, we might look forward to being cheerful and optimistic once we heal the residue of blaming ourself for being “incompetent.” As we dwell on the possibility of problems solved or avoided by our skillful action, we build up strong incentives to be involved in doing whatever will promote these results. This preparation strengthens our motivation to take appropriate action.

An additional step we can take to mobilize our courage to act is to dwell on our worthiness to be healthy, productive, and happy. We need to focus our appreciation of the knowledge, skills, and opportunities we have. We can then add gratitude for the wonders and abundance in life itself that informs and supports all valuable endeavors. We are not alone in the world. We need to sense and embrace the invisible forces that can support us when we seek to pursue worthwhile goals.

Finally, we need to enjoy the work we do—both as our achievements accumulate and once we have reached our goals. When we are able to take delight in what we are doing, we raise the tone of our efforts to be aligned with higher forces. This also tends to eliminate the generic disappointment about hard work and the sacrifices entailed in it. Even if our work seems boring, exhausting, or troublesome, we are successfully meeting our challenges and validating our strengths and talents—and that should give us a measure of fulfillment. We are demonstrating our worth and competence, and we need to appreciate that this is one of the major ways we repair the wounds to our self-image and confidence. Not all work is fun, but all good work can be fulfilling during and after we do it.

As we come to trust the value of our plans and intentions, we neutralize any resistance that might sabotage our success. The reversal of our psychic self-destruction is therefore one of the most worthwhile activities we can pursue—for as we do so, we liberate much joy, contentment, and confidence. Most of all, we achieve a new degree of self-mastery.

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