(This post originally ran in July 2013.)
Once again, yesterday my son won the Top Grand Prizes at a Raffle contest at one of the big international schools here in Tokyo. The prize was a trip for two, all expenses paid, to New York, New York, or another destination of our choice.
My son with his grand prize certificate. Actually, besides the Top Prize, we also won two of the other Top 50 prizes. Count that in with a day outside helping friends and volunteering to make this world a better place, it was a day of constant winning! (Look at that smile! Any child who is that happy all the time has just got to win, right?)
It is about the fourteenth time he has won one of the big prizes at a raffle or bingo in the last four years. We always win. We have come to expect to win. In fact, if we don't win (at least a trinket), it has come to seem strange to me.
Mar. 2011: Wins 11 games in four years. Grand Prize three times. Not a bad winning
percentage. You really can do that too!
Winning at raffles, bingo and winning at life are very, almost eerily, similar and I'd like to talk to you about that today. I think, if there is anything that I have been a massive success in my life at is that is being able to convince my children that they will "win." I have shown them that the way to "win" is by first believing that you will win. I have even convinced - may I suggest that I brainwashed - my third daughter into believing that she would conquer "incurable" forth stage cancer.
I do not mean here that you can believe yourself into winning a game of chance; I mean you can become a winner simply by changing your attitude and better understand of what it means to "win."
But before I go into theory and philosophy more, allow me to continue (brag like a looney) by telling you about the past and our "luck" and wins in all sorts of games and winning at bingo.
Two years ago, we won the very top prize of a vacation to Okinawa that included hotel and airfare. Yesterday, he won the trip to New York. In February of this year, he won a gift certificate worth several hundred dollars at a very famous store in Tokyo. Last year, he won five times out of a total of 12 games or so in one tournament. Think about that; there are seven hundred people all competing at bingo trying to win the prize. To win once is enough to bring wide smiles and cheers to anybody's face. But he won five games in one night! That must be a record. Every time my son won, people were astounded. By the forth time he won, everyone was clapping for him. By the fifth time, people were verbally shouting, "That's incredible!" "I've never heard of such a thing."
The lady sitting next to us at our table last night has worked for the organization that ran last night's bingo for thirty years. She told me that she had been coming to this event twice a year, every year, and she and her husband had never won even once!
She wrote, "We can all learn a lot from you." Indeed. We can. My son's former teacher is very much a woman who understands a positive mental attitude and what that can do for a self-fullfilling prophesy.
Now, if you've ever played bingo, then you know that winning any prize is very difficult. People play all their lives and never win a Grand Prize. But winning it several times is almost unheard of. Last night, there were probably about seven hundred people playing and yet he won. It's always that way; seven hundred to one-thousand people playing and we always win.
But, even before my son was born, I was lucky at winning these things. My wife too. And, don't think it is just luck. There is something to be said for a positive mental attitude or, may I go on a limb here? ESP.
My family and I have won at least a dozen grand prizes and at least seven free vacations to places all around the world.
But this is not a blog to brag to you about how lucky I am or we are. It is a blog to tell you how you can become this way. It's a not blog post to tell you how you can start winning Bingo. But, believe it or not, folks, winning at bingo and winning at life are EXACTLY the same thing.
Winning is easy! It is easy, actually... Well, let me say that it should be easy... But people need to understand what "Winning" actually is. For most people, with a confused idea as to the definition of "Winning," it's "easier said than done." And you know why? Because most people are so negative and defeatist all the time. People are their own worst enemy.
Think back to your school days. Think back to that guy or girl you remember that you envied. You thought they had everything didn't you? They always won. They were the best looking, they had the nicest car; they were popular, they always won at everything. They became class king or class queen. They had the coolest parents, the most beautiful girlfriend or boyfriend. They were truly lucky. You wanted to be like them.*
My high school class king & queen. I thought they looked like movie stars!
Well, I hate sounding like a salesman, because I'm not selling you anything, but I'm here to tell you right now you can become one of those lucky people... Read on.
There are two really important things that you need to understand about becoming one of these lucky people. One is understanding what exactly it is that we are doing and its purpose in our life; and the second part is how these things affect your entire belief system. These two go hand in hand.
The first part about understanding what it is that we are doing is, perhaps, the most important part. Today, we're using bingo as an example, so let's go with that. Think about this; is winning at bingo the best part of going to bingo? Is winning everything? I don't think so.
At bingo, I meet friends and other parents and always smile and shake their hands and say, "Hi!" We are all at bingo so, of course, the subject quickly turns to bingo. I always try to be extremely positive and say, "I always win!" They laugh. They don't believe me (the ones who knows us well don't laugh). Invariably, they all say the same thing,
"I never win."
They say this with a voice of exasperation and defeat. Poor folks. They are totally and completely missing the point. They are really missing the boat in the bad lesson that they are unknowingly teaching their children subconsciously. Get this: I suggest to you that they are teaching their children defeatism and a losing attitude.
I can imagine this family in my head; after "losing" at bingo (I mean, they don't win a "prize"), they hop in the car and go home. Dad and mom and kids are sad because they "didn't win." When they get into the house, dad takes off his coat and gives out a very loud sigh. "We lost again!" He says.
Is that any way to teach your children how to win? Is that anyway to teach your children how to be positive?
Here is what I always tell my son before we play bingo;
"Remember the best part of bingo is not in the winning of trinkets or prizes, it is in the doing. Just being able to be here playing bingo with friends and family is winning. That is the "win." This is fun and it is a wonderfully exciting time we spend together. Just by being here together, we have already won. So smile and let's have fun!"
It is. Playing bingo with my wife and son is a great memory and it is so very much fun.
I tell my son this because I want him to be a winner. I want him to understand what "being a winner" truly is. This sort of thinking, this positive attitude, actually, I learned from an old Zen Buddhist saying,
"The joy is in the action, not in the result."
Can you understand this concept? The joy is in the action, not the result. Get it? I think people who truly love to paint or fish or golf, etc., can understand this. For the painter, a beautiful work is nice, but the true value and joy is not the finished painting, it is in the action of painting. For the fisherman, of course catching a fish is fun, but the true joy is standing there alone in front of nature and contemplating life - the joy is in the doing; for the golfer, the winning score is interesting, but soon forgotten; the real joy is in the day and the time considering the play. For all of them, the real value is in the action, not in the result.
This is what is meant by, "The joy is in the action, not in the result."
Now, do you understand why, whether or not my son wins a big prize (a trinket), he knows, he believes and knows in his heart that he is a true winner? Can anyone deny that, regardless of prize, that we won merely by being able to go and play together and enjoy this moment together on our short time on this earth?
Some people will scoff at this (they have a losing attitude). But let me ask you to consider this question: There are two children. They both have to go to school. One wakes up in the morning and says, "I don't want to go to school. School is no fun." The other wakes up and says, "I want to go to school. School is fun." Which kid gets good grades at school? Which kid becomes successful at school? Which kid is positive, is popular, gets the best girlfriend or boyfriend and becomes class king or class queen? And is considered a "Winner"
Simple, isn't it? It is the old chicken and the egg problem. Which came first? The kid liking school or the positive attitude? Which came first? Hating school or the negative attitude? And how did these children get these attitudes?
How do these attitudes affect our belief system? How can we change these attitudes? And, if we have children, how can we stop teaching them bad attitudes and start teaching them beneficial ones?
I think it is obvious how these attitudes affect our belief system. In the example above, do you want to be like the father above who comes home exasperated and continually expressed doubt and a defeatist attitude to himself or his children, or, do you want to be the person who understands that the joy is in the action and not the result?
Think about that: The family who thinks they "lost;" They just spent a wonderful time together, probably a rare time together, and they are so focused on winning some "stuff," (usually junk) that they fail to see the true value of what they have just done and they fail to see that just by being alive and being together that they've won the greatest prize of all!
I see this with people I meet everyday. They are worried about their job and the economy. They fear for the future. Almost everyone I see is this way nowadays.
But consider this, my friends; you are still here. I would wager a donut that you have had these fears and worries on and off for the last 5 to 10 years; "Will I have a job?" "What am I going to do?" "How will I survive?" With all of these worries what you are actually saying is, "How can I win?" Or, perhaps, "I never win."
Guess what? Thinking like that you probably won't ever win at bingo, and I'll bet that, even if you are winning, with that attitude, you'll never realize it either...
Today, many of my friends and many people are worried about their life and the future. It is natural to worry. I do it too! But I fight it. You should, you must, fight it too. Worrying, like saying "I never win at bingo," is creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. Stop it right now. If you say, "I never win," you won't win.
You need to start saying that you are winning (not "I'm going to win." You must say, "I am winning." In the present tense). Saying first. Repeating. This will start and plant the seeds of belief. When you believe, really believe, you can move mountains.
From today, here's five things that you need to do to start on the track to believing that you can win at bingo and win at life:
1) Write down on three pieces of paper the saying, "The joy is in the action, not in the result." Tape one of the pieces of paper to the refrigerator and tape one in your car where you see it constantly and the last one in your wallet. Think about that phrase a lot. Repeat it out loud whenever or wherever you can.
2) Get a dollar notebook and start writing down your top 10 goals for your life and do it everyday! Here's how.
3) Wake up in the morning and the first thing you MUST do is think: "Smile! Today is going to be a great day!" If you can't remember to do this by yourself, then write it in large red letters on a piece of paper and tape it to your bathroom mirror.
4) Start using the Law of Attraction and positivity to create a good self-fulling prophesy to help you. Here's how.
5) Start greeting everyone you meet with a happy and healthy "Hello!" or "Good Morning!" Stop sounding like you are dead to the world. If you greet people with an un-energetic salutation then you sound like you are losing. Stop it immediately. Everyone is searching for positive people. You should be that person. Instead of being "dark" and absorbing light like a sponge, you should give out light. People are attracted to light.
And, number six, OK, I said there'd be only five, so sue me...
6) Call your mom or dad or kids and tell them you love them and do it RIGHT NOW! Don't hesitate! Or, better yet, give them a great big hug and tell them yourself how much you love them and how beautiful they are. Realize that today is a fantastic day and you all are the luckiest people in the world... (Oh, and of you do go to bingo, take grandma... She's lucky, right?)
Some people read this and think that I am a very lucky person. I am. But I've been through two divorces, a war with cancer, family members dying in bizarre car accidents, worrying about work as we all do (nothing special)... I've been through a lot of difficult times... But you know what? I never forget something special; I know that projecting negativity will just make things worse; I know that projecting positivity, in the face of great challenges, is creating a good outcome for myself and my loved ones through the power of the Law of Attraction. I know that, by being happy and thankful that I create a better situation for you and a better situation for myself.
Remember my friends, "The joy is in the action, not in the result."
Stay happy. Stay positive. Spread positivity. You already possess the greatest prize of all.
* Did you know that those people you envied in high school who you thought were truly lucky had parents that went through a terrible divorce or a parent who died when they were young? Or they had a sibling who was terribly handicapped? Or they had a younger brother or sister who died at birth? The difference between these people and negative people? These people didn't allow these things to create dark clouds on their horizons. They took the challenges and learned from them and those challenges helped them to grow into better, more positive, more loving people.... Think about it. Everything happens for a reason. Look for the positive and you'll find it - or create it yourself.
For my friends: Dale Yost, Naomi Yamada, Allison Sayne, Jp Valentine, Julie Rogers, Sheena Rogers, George Williams, George Chumly Cockle, Takatoshi Uchiyama; and also a thanks to the positivity of the Moxxor gang of JT, James Turner, Jared Turner and John Saylor! You guys all rock!