This is the underlying question almost everyone has running in the back of their minds. Someone makes you an offer and you automatically ask it.
“What’s in it for me?”
Parents ask a variation, “What’s in it for my child, my family?”
It’s perfectly normal and most everyone does it.
So why is it a problem?
Because this question reveals a mindset of lack.
“Gimme, gimme, gimme.”
“Take, take, take.”
It’s the voice of the ego based on fear, insecurity, and a lack of abundance.
It’s victim thinking, not a hero.
I experienced this growing up.
It was like life was an all you can eat buffet.
But “You better get your money’s worth.”
It’s why cruise ship guests put on their “buffet pants.”
Or the advice of some who say, “don’t fill your plate with the cheap stuff, grab the good stuff.”
Now, what if we could shift this to the opposite?
What if we could change the question?
“What’s in it for me?”
“How can I help?”
By asking this new question, there is an assumption of abundance. This question assumes you have the power, capacity, and ability to help. It’s a powerful question. You are tapping into your true gifts. It comes from a deeply spiritual place, not your ego. There is more than enough to share.
We’ve all had ups and downs in our lives. I personally experienced many magical miracles. And then flipped to complete despair.
What I’ve noticed is the presence of the first question and not the latter. Mindset is the key.
So what is mindset?
A mentor of mine recently gave me an amazingly simple definition:
“Mindset is the voice(s) in your head.”
That’s so true. I hear my parents, teachers, and even people I don’t care for speaking in my head.
Who put these voices in our heads?
They get installed automatically throughout life. Parents. Teachers. Relatives. Caregivers. Friends. Facebook. The media…
The thing is, unless you are aware, you are being programmed all the time. If you let it wash over you daily without consciousness, you are installing these voices. The prevailing mindset of lack, poverty, and despair.
The good news is, you can reinstall new voices. It’s like upgrading your internal operating system to the latest, greatest version. You choose your own voice.
Tomorrow, my son turns sixteen. Sixteen! We’re about to start visiting colleges. Think about focus of study. Plan out a course for life.
What I want most for him is to flip the questions. Ask more empowering ones.
“How can I help?”
“What can I offer the world?
What was I born to do?
What are my gifts?
What makes me the only one?”
A Lifetime of Questions
Of course, questioning goes on for a lifetime.
We never completely know. We are always discovering.
The journey of life and success IS the journey of discovering the answers to this question. Life is self-discovery. And this question can change your life.
How can I help?
I hope this awakens something inside of you. New voices = new life. This goes beyond parenting, music, education, business, whatever. This is for you. And through you, you will light up the world.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and place it under a basket, but place it on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine, so that they may see your good works…” – Matthew 5:14. the Bible
When you are feeling negative emotions, it’s like a warning light on your mental dashboard for a change. Something needs to change, whether it’s an action you are taking (or not), the environment you are in and the people you are surrounding yourself with.
2) The fog of confusion precedes the calm of clarity.
There is always a period of confusion right before the epiphany, “the a-ha moment.” If you are feeling confused, stop, take a breath, meditate, get calm enough to see the ripples on the surface of your mental waters, and reflect.
The clouds of confusion are burned away by the sun of awareness. A path forward is revealed.
3) You are responsible for ALL your results.
I remember when I first heard this and it was a feeling of shock.
“What do you mean I’m completely responsible for everything?” I was so used to blaming the world for my problems. And of course, the more you indulge in this kind of personal un-accountability, the more “proof” you get.
The traffic cop pulls only “you” over when everyone else is going at the same speed. Or the TSA official picks only you out for a random strip search. Of course the world is against you! Changing your mindset is akin to magic. By taking personal responsibility for your entire life, your health, your finances, your living environment, everything…it radically changes your world. And at first, it’s scary.
Start in one area. Pick a specific activity where you absolutely believe that you are responsible for your results like a sport, or a musical instrument or a language. By holding yourself accountable for your results you begin to live in this belief. From there, you can expand to all other areas of your life.
4) Everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.
I used to have a lot of anger and frustration. Taking on and conditioning myself with this belief has been a struggle, but produces fruit everyday. It really is unlikely that the world is conspiring against you. In fact, everyone is too caught up in their own problems, insecurities and limiting beliefs. Hold your judgment and realize, they’re doing the best they can with the resources they have available at the moment.
5) There is no permanence. Success or failure are a temporary state.
If you look around you, there’s the illusion of permanence everywhere. The furniture in the room. The buildings, the mountains, the lakes, trees. But look deeper and you see that all is temporary. A snapshot in time. Apple is the biggest company on the planet…at the moment. But remember US Steel, one of the largest employers in the world in the 1950’s? Today they are a mere shell of what they once were. Or what about Pan American Airlines? These were seen as bedrock, unstoppable successes, for a while. Nothing is permanent.
We are all in a state of motion.
Even the most solid of materials, at the quantum level, are in motion.
If we are not growing, we are dying. Keep moving, evolving, reaching for higher and higher levels. It’s the only way to stay in a state of success. Don’t be misled that it’s all sunny days from now on. There will be failures (or you can call them learnings) along the way. But as long as you are aware of the learnings, incorporate them, and move on, you will be in a more consistent state of success.
Everything in life can be viewed in one of two ways, positive or negative. Re-reading the classic book The Magic of Thinking Big, by David J. Schwartz, I came across this wonderful passage where he talks about having an internal broadcasting system.
“View it this way. Your mind is a mental broadcasting station. This broadcasting system transmits messages to you on two equally powerful channels: Channel P (positive) and Channel N (negative).”
I love this. The mind is a screen that you can project the images you have control over.
“You own it, so manage your thought broadcasting station . When your thoughts turn to people, make Channel P your listening habit. If Channel N cuts in, say stop. Then switch channels. To make the switch, all you must do is think of one positive quality about the individual. In true chain reaction style, this one thought will lead to another and another. And you will be glad. When you are alone, you and only you can decide whether you will listen to Channel P or Channel N. But when you are talking with someone else, that person has a measure of control over how you think.”
The more you tune into one or the other the more you get of the same. You’ve tuned your frequency to only receive on that channel. It’s like setting the defaults on your car stereo or the favorites on your TV remote control in your living room. It’s also what everyone has been saying with the Law of Attraction.
“Bear in mind that the longer you stay tuned to either Channel P or Channel N, the more interested you become and the harder it is to switch channels. This is true because one thought, positive or negative, sets off a whole chain reaction of similar thought.”
What channel are you tuned to?
Do you need to change the channel?
It may take some effort at first, just like learning to program the remote on your TV does. But this one is far more powerful with much greater impact. And it will last, as long as you stay tuned to…Channel P!
This of course makes me think of the wonderful song, Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive.
You’ve got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive
Elim-in-ate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
And don’t mess with Mr. In Between.
– From the 1944 popular song of the same name – Music by Harold Arlen and Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
And here’s one of my favorite versions by the great Aretha Franklin.