Do your goals sometimes seem so unattainable that they are tantamount to winning the Lottery? Do you get so discouraged, some days, that you honestly think it would be more likely to win the Lottery than to make your dreams a reality? Well, fear not – I can help you better your chances in both regards. While I cannot guarantee you’ll win the lottery or make all your dreams come true, I will share with you a few of the ridiculously simple “secrets” to success. What you do with them is entirely up to you.
Now, before I whisper these secrets into your ear, I’m going to tell you where I learned them. I didn’t learn them from reading or watching “The Secret,” although there are some interesting parallels to be drawn, and when I saw that movie a few years ago, I burst out laughing. “THAT’s a SECRET?” I learned this from my mom. I’m still working on putting her hot tips into practice – but you know what’s standing in my way? Me. That’s right. The hardest part about this is learning to get out of your own way. Because most of us – even ME! – aren’t brought up to think this way. As kids, we believe in magic. Our parents may even encourage our imaginations – but school soon squashes some of these silly notions, and the hundreds of thousands of people we meet do a pretty good job of chipping away at our faith in a universe where we simply cannot lose.
My mom used to make fun of me. I’d call the local radio station, chat with the D.J., request a song or two each day, and enter contests for a free pizza, a propeller beanie, a month’s supply of Hawaiian Tropic suntan oil, or some other silly prize. “How can you just call up the radio station and talk to a stranger like that?” she’d ask. Didn’t seem like a big deal to me – I mean, these guys were nice. They weren’t Top 40 and they regularly indulged my craving for a dose of The Irish Rovers’ and The Unicorn.
Flash forward a few years: My mom’s listening to some huge Top 40 station and hears they’re giving away $1000 to the seventh caller when they play some song she happens to know well. On a whim, she calls them. And nearly drops over in a dead faint when they answer and inform her that she’s the seventh caller.
Hot Tip #1: To win, you have to get in the game. You have to enter the contest.
Well, that’s obvious enough, right? But how often have you passed up an opportunity when the inner critic starts in on you: “You’re not good enough. You don’t stand a chance. Why bother?” Maybe it’s not the inner critic – maybe it’s a friend or family member whose own insecurities simply have to be shared to be savored. “Nobody ever wins those things. What makes you think you can succeed where I didn’t? What makes you think you’re better than anyone else?”
Your chances are far, far better than these naysayers. But you have to get in the game.
Hot Tip #2: To win, you have to believe you’ve already won.
Okay, this is the one I still struggle with. It’s not enough to think, “I’m going to win this! I can do it! I will succeed!” No, you have to believe the prize is already yours – you just haven’t picked it up, yet. It’s a mindset that takes practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Meditate. Close your eyes and visualize yourself succeeding. Holding the prize in your hands. Being in that job you want to do. Imagine it with all your senses – what does it look like, feel like, taste like, smell like, sound like?
Journal. Write about your life, now that you’ve won or succeeded at the goal. Remember, you’re writing from the point of view of your future self – but it’s a done deal. The prize is yours. What now? What’s your Next Goal?
Hot Tip #3: To win, you must be enthusiastic and positive.
My mom won lots of contests and sweepstakes, and the prizes varied from amazing and awesome (new car, anyone?) to silly and trivial (she had a lot of drink cozies and canvas tote bags), but she was always truly excited and enthusiastic about the win. It was fun. It was something she didn’t have the day before. It wasn’t about the material value of the thing, but about the joy of pursuit and winning.
Hot Tip #4: To win, you must be grateful.
“Always remember to thank the sponsor.” I don’t know if she literally wrote thank you notes for every tote bag, but my mother always remembered to show gratitude and thank the sponsors of the contests she entered. She thanked the radio stations, the D.J.s, the prize sponsors – she thanked them for the opportunity to enter, even if she lost. I don’t remember her ever having a case of “sour grapes” if she lost. I don’t remember her ever complaining at all; she was too busy entering the next contest or sweepstake.
Hot Tip #5: To win again, you must be as generous as the universe is to you. Share your good fortune.
We used to laugh – after all the years she made fun of me, it was my mom who ended up knowing every radio D.J. in town. They knew her voice, they knew her by sight. And they knew the rest of the family, because she’d win things like a family fun pack of tickets to a movie premiere, and the radio station would be hosting the event at the theater. One time, she had plans to go bowling with my dad – at the same time her favorite station was running another $1000 to the seventh caller when they played some song. Rather than beg off the bowling, she called me and asked if I’d at least give it a try. “Now, I know you’d never enter this or even know about it if I didn’t tell you, so here’s what I propose – if you win, you keep enough to pay the taxes, plus half the remainder. Give the rest to me as a ‘finder’s fee.’”
“You know I’m probably going to blow this, right? I mean…”
“It’s okay – just, if you happen to be sitting there, not doing anything else, and you hear them play—“ Yeah, I don’t even remember what the song was, “—just pick up the phone and give it a try. Okay? Don’t worry about it, but it could be worth a few hundred dollars.”
I was only half listening to the station when I heard the first few bars of The Song. I picked up the phone, dialed, and expected to hear a fast busy signal. Instead, it rang. That was too easy, and usually means the contest is already over. And then the voice on the other end of the line announced, “Congratulations! You are our seventh caller! What’s your name?”
Clearly, my mom had faith enough for the both of us – and this goes directly to Hot Tip #2, up there. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t experienced it, but she wasn’t the least bit surprised when I told her that we had won. She just smiled this knowing little smile, and I’m pretty sure the thought, “I told you so” went flitting through her mind.
Not Proof Enough, You Say?
Among the things my mother won, over the years, always following these simple “rules” of hers, were a 16-foot ski boat; a car (or, rather, a trip to the Daytona 500 and one of four keys to unlock the car – she also got the winning key); a trip for two to Spain; a job as an “extra” on HBO’s popular series, “Dream On” – and about a zillion cases of soft drinks, cash prizes of varying sizes, and other “fun” stuff. My dad also won a car. Then, one year, my dad had to ask her to stop for a bit so the taxes on her winnings wouldn’t take too big a bite out of their bank account.
So look – I told you at the beginning of this post that I guarantee nothing. But tell me – if you choose not to try these five simple tips – what do you have to lose that you’re not guaranteed to lose if you don’t?
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