Things Cost Too Much!

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[originally published in The Meadville Tribune’s Active For Life supplement as a 2-part article titled: “Things cost too much!…and other thoughts holding you back” which ran 7/30/2010 and titled “Visualization a powerful tool to defeat negative thoughts” which ran 10/27/2010]


Things cost too much!


You don’t have to look too far to find people who will agree that things cost too much lately, and prices just keep going up! But, what if, hidden within this sentiment is a much subtler truth; a truth which, if understood, could change your whole life?


Jim Rohn, America’s Foremost Business Philosopher (recently deceased) tells how he too used to say: “Things cost too much!” Then, his teacher straightened him out on that by saying: “The problem isn’t that things cost too much. The problem is that you can’t afford it.” That’s when he finally understood that the problem wasn’t cost, the problem was himself! (1)


Effecting real change in your life starts with taking 100% responsibility for your current situation. People are quick to play the victim card, placing blame for their poor situation on the economy, the government, their boss, their spouse, their ex-spouse, their parents, high prices, lack of money, their race, their gender, their age, their education, etc. However, if these truly were the deciding factors, then everybody, similarly situated, would be affected in the same way. Mr. Shoaff, Jim Rohn’s teacher, reminds us: “What happens to any of us happens to all of us.”(2) Yet, history is replete with examples of people who have managed to prosper in the face of such adversity.


I, personally, have managed to become destitute during some of the most prosperous economic times in history. Because of all that I learned and the changes that I made in my thoughts, feeling and actions, I also managed to become and remain prosperous during the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.


Answering, “How did I contribute to or create my own current situation?” is the first step toward turning things around. George Addair is a successful Arizona businessman who has devoted his life to teaching unique personal development principles to others for more than 30 years. He makes a distinction between outer events (the world around you) and inner states (the world within you). These inner states of being include your wide range of thoughts, feelings and emotions. Basically, Mr. Addair says that everything you experience as the world around you (e.g. your present lifestyle or standard of living) is determined by your inner states of being, not by outer events. (3) The only way to change or influence the outer events you experience is by first changing or taking responsibility for your inner states. This may seem hard to follow (or swallow) initially. However, grasping this one principle dramatically helped turn my life around. As T. Harv Eker, president of Peak Potentials Training states: “Your outer world is simply a reflection of your inner world. If things aren’t going well in your outer life, it’s because things aren’t going well in your inner life. It’s that simple.”(4)


Dr. Robert Resnick, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, uses a very simple formula that may make this concept clearer for you. The formula is as follows: E + R = O. Event + Response = Outcome. (5) Of the three variables (E, R, O), your response to any given situation (R) is the only variable you have any control over whatsoever! Most people focus their blame on the events (E) for their lack of favorable outcomes (O). But, in the words of Jack Canfield, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul empire, “it is not the external conditions and circumstances that stop you – it is you!…(you) think limiting thoughts and engage in self-defeating behaviors.”(5) George Addair states further, “Yes, there are victims in this world but they are victims of themselves.”(6)


In other words, every outcome you experience in life (success or failure, health or illness, wealth or poverty, etc.) is a byproduct of how you have responded to prior events, either intentionally or by default. If you want to change your outcomes, change your responses by intentionally changing your thoughts, feelings and emotions. Stedman Graham sums it up by stating, “people who consider themselves victims of circumstances will always remain victims unless they develop a greater vision for their lives.”(7)


Bear in mind, there is a time lag between changes in your response and any changes in your outcome. During this time, it may seem like nothing is happening. Stay with it, though, and your success is a given. Jim Rohn tells a wonderful story about a woman who is going through some tough times and struggling to turn her situation around. He describes her as being like a frog in a jar of cream: she keeps kicking and kicking and kicking until, eventually, the milk turns into lumps of butter which enables her to climb out of the jar to freedom.(8) That’s a great analogy because that is how change typically comes about. You may feel like you are flailing about for a long time, implementing changes in your internal states of being without any noticeable changes in outcome until, all at once, it snowballs into a new you!


What are some of these changes in internal states of being? For starters, drop out of the “ain’t it awful” club. There is far too much whine served there anyways! And, as we all know, too much whine can lead to “aintitawfulism”, a chronic, debilitating disease of the heart.


One way in which I improved my internal state of being involved the nature and orientation of my thoughts. Rather than focusing on the past (glory days) or the present (how bad it was at the time), I spent time creating pictures in my mind of how I would like my ideal life to look. I devoted time, daily, to this exercise and really put a lot of heart into it. Peter Daniels, one of the richest men in Australia, performs a similar exercise and credits it with turning his life around. In fact, Mr. Daniels devotes an entire day a week just to thinking and visualizing his tomorrows. Interestingly, he has the dubious distinction of having gone broke three times within five years before turning his life around. For the record, I went broke three times within four years, but I always was an overachiever! Einstein used a similar strategy, actually doing his pondering in a special thinking chair. (9) Viktor Frankl, a survivor of four WWII concentration camps of the Holocaust, survived in part due to his ability to paint mental pictures of a better tomorrow. He spent considerable time visualizing himself successfully practicing psychology, lecturing, attending concerts and enjoying a fulfilling lifestyle, all of which actually came to pass following his release. (10)


Here is the thinking / visualizing exercise as I perform it:


Look at your life as though it is a play which you are writing / scripting through your thoughts, feelings, emotions, expectations and actions. You write the script. You hold the casting calls. You attract all of the players.


Everyone and everything that you encounter in your life is there because you attracted / scripted it. Everyone and everything plays their role 100% perfectly according to the script you have written. If you don’t like a particular act, re-write / re-script it! You don’t get to choose who will fill which roles. You merely write the script and the perfect actors show up in the perfect scenery. Anyone / anything that plays or played a role you dislike is still performing 100% perfectly according to the script you previously wrote. If you don’t like the role they play or played, change your script (i.e. your thoughts, feelings, expectations, etc.). Further, you don’t have to invite any particular actors back for a repeat or an encore performance. Change the script. Again, you can not control who will fill which roles. All you can do is re-write the script to include new or different roles.


Your subconscious mind can not tell the difference between current events and future, imagined events. This is where the magic of visualization springs from. However, it also can not tell the difference between current events and past events. Every time you re-live a past hurt, a past perceived failure, you resuscitate it and give it life anew. If you want to create real, lasting change in your life, stop re-animating (re-living) past hurts and start re-scripting (visualizing) new successes.


One way you might apply this exercise and make it more meaningful is to write an annual newsletter about your life and all you have accomplished in a year. But, remember, write it as though it has already happened, one year in advance!


Concerning your thoughts, feelings and actions, I would like to close with a quote from motivational speaker Zig Ziglar, “You are free to choose, but the choices you make today will determine what you will have, be and do in the tomorrow of your life.” (11) Choose wisely!


Dr. Jon M. Ketcham

Author iContractor 1 & Dream re-Kindler to Earth-bound Travelers of Light






1.)    The Treasury of Quotes by Jim Rohn  Jim Rohn p.51

2.)    Leading An Inspired Life Jim Rohn p.38

3.)    The Power of Focus Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt pp.282-287

4.)    Secrets of the Millionaire Mind T. Harv Eker p.15

5.)    The Success Principles Jack Canfield p.6

6.)    In Search of the Invisible Forces George Addair p.25

7.)    “The Northern Light” Vol. 41 No. 1 February 2010 p.27

8.)    Leading An Inspired Life Jim Rohn pp. 416-418

9.)    The Power of Focus Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewit p. 59

10.)         The Power of Focus Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Les Hewitt p.262

11.)         Identity Passport To Freedom – Nine Step Success Process Stedman Graham p.20




Movies that relate a similar concept:


1.)   What Dreams May Come

2.)   The Secret

3.)   Conversations With God

4.)   The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl

5.)   Bedtime Stories

6.)   Stranger Than Fiction (Parody of it)

7.)   Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium


Movies that relate an opposite concept:


1.)   Sphere

2.)   City of Angels


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