Robert Frost once wrote:
We dance round in a ring and suppose,
But the secret sits in the middle and knows.
This session focuses on two simple, weighty revelations:
Revealing the "Secret of Success" and exposing "Your Ultimate Power."
But let's begin with a story.
Have you ever heard of Bill Irwin?
The Bill Irwin that comes to most people's minds is the actor. That's not the Bill Irwin I'm talking about. This Bill Irwin, at the age of 50, was the first blind man to hike the Appalachian Trail. He was guided and aided by his trusty German Shepherd, aptly named Orient.
It took the "Orient Express," as the two were affectionately known, eight months to traverse the two-thousand one-hundred mile expanse of mountainous wilderness in 1990.
Neither Bill nor Orient were experienced mountaineers when they set out – in a drenching rain – from Springer Mountain, Georgia. They were rookies, greenhorns, complete novices attempting something that had never been done before.
They didn't have maps, or a compass, or a GPS navigation system. As Bill put it, "He traveled by faith, not by sight."
Imagine this for a minute: beginning a twenty-one hundred mile journey, through the mountains, blind.
Bill had gone completely blind from a degenerative eye disease by the age of thirty-six. He struggled for years will alcoholism but eventually opened his heart to Jesus and found sobriety. A series of coincidences led him, and Orient, to attempt the Appalachian Trail.
Most people who endeavor to through-hike the Appalachian Trail quit. They give up when it's not fun anymore. Bill never suffered from the illusion that the 21-hundred mile hike would be fun. It was work – work he felt he must do. Quitting was not an option, so the two kept on going.
Think of the challenges they faced: negotiating obstacles, navigating ascents and descents, fallen trees, swathes of washed out trail, swollen rivers. These hurdles would all be difficult for sighted hikers. Bill was always in the dark.
Bill recalled that eighty percent of the time, the conditions were less than optimal: too hot, too cold; raining or snowing or wind howling. Bill suffered from heat exhaustion in the south and hypothermia in the north. He estimated he fell thousands of times along the way. He was scratched and bruised. He even cracked his ribs, but he was never broken, and the two ventured on.
Both Bill and Orient had to grow accustomed to the grind of daily trekking. A dog is not naturally ready for long hours of grueling work; it takes training. Mile after unrelenting mile, the two adapted. While Bill's body slowly broke-down from the journey Orient grew stronger. Where Bill encouraged Orient to begin, Orient encouraged Bill to complete the trek.
The Orient Express faced daunting, life-threatening challenges, but when things seemed at their worst, some-one or some kindly group was always on hand to provide what was needed or help salvage the situation. In truth, the pair were never really alone.
Bill's confidence in his and Orient's ability to succeed was vested in his faith in a power beyond himself – a power which guided and reassured. Disciplined habits, and dogged determination – I just had to do it – saw Bill and Orient through a challenge most sighted people would never attempt.
How is it that they succeeded? How is it that anyone succeeds?
Bill and Orient succeeded, traveling two-thousand one-hundred miles from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine by moving in the right direction.
The secret of success – if you want to call it a secret – is to move in the right direction.
You were probably hoping for something more...
This truth – this secret – seems at once unremarkable and self-evident.
But let's dig a little deeper. The "secret" is comprised of two elements: the first demands action – you must move. The second is that you must apply your effort along a preferred or optimum course. The optimum course is the way of your highest potential; the fullest expression of your greatest gifts.
That – moving in the right direction – is success.
You are meant to succeed.
Anyone and everyone who moves in the right direction will succeed.
Harmonizing with your life's purpose, you climb to new heights, hear with greater fidelity, see with exacting clarity, and feel with immense conviction.
Moving in the right direction, you realize the objective Aristotle determined to be the purpose of life: HAPPINESS!
The assertion, "Move in the right direction," elicits a straightforward and very legitimate question: How?
The clarification of "How?" leads us to the means of personal power: _thought. _Thought guides the direction of every life. Thought is the one aspect of life we – you and I – the one aspect of life we control.
If we care to use our minds and think, thought is the mechanism by which we receive guidance and by which we choose. It's through our choices we experience life.
Thought is the gateway to ultimate power – to an all-knowing, everywhere present, all-powerful ultimate reality. Thought is the channel from the material world of sight and sound to the ethereal world of spirit and truth.
Our ultimate power resides in thought – what we think about and focus on is what we call forth.
Your thoughts are your responsibility. Your thoughts determine if and when you move; and in what direction you move. From your choices, life presents experiences.
Accepting full responsibility for your life and employing the ultimate power of thought moves you in the right direction.
If you're struggling with this secret, look beyond mere words for meaning.
Ignorant people are unable, even unto death, to abandon the idea that in the fingertip of words, there is the meaning itself, and will not grasp ultimate reality because of their intent to cling to words.
Words are, in fact, twice removed from reality.
Words exist because of meaning;
once you've gotten the meaning,
you can forget the words.
Think about what Bill and Orient – the Orient Express – were able to do. Bill thought about an experience, an adventure, a quest. Bill felt guided – called. He then made a choice.
And together, the two set out on a journey. They followed a trail. With fits and starts, stumbles and falls, mistakes and mishaps, they ultimately headed in the right direction and succeeded. You can too.
Use your power of mind – your power of thought – to choose a direction. Then move.
Sure there are obstacles in your path. But think about this: The secret of success is to move in the right direction. You move by means of the thoughts you choose, you nurture, you cultivate. Choose your thoughts wisely.
Employing the truth will bring you all things in the measure you desire and in the measure you deserve.
Recognize these truths; internalize these truths.
Know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Join me in lesson four to discover the one obstacle holding you back.