Let's Get Off Our Buts

Part Two:
Unworthiness Keeps Us On Track

There are three reasons why lawyers are replacing rats as laboratory research animals. One is that they're plentiful, another is that lab assistants don't get attached to them, and the third is that there are some things rats just won't do.


Just as "We can have anything we want; we just can't have everything we want," so, too, we are worthy of anything we want, but not worthy of everything we want.

Why? Unless our list of wants is truly meager, or, unless we plan to live forever, we simply don't have the time to fulfill them all. (More on this in the chapter, "You Can Have Anything You Want, but You Can't Have Everything You Want.")

Say I want to be a lawyer (God knoweth why, but let's suppose for the sake of an example I do). I commit to being a lawyer and sign up for law school. If one day I think, "I'd like to be a doctor," I might feel unworthy. While I'm studying law, the part of me that feels unworthy to be a doctor is accurate .

I chose something else, something that takes a lot of time, money, and perseverance. My sense of unworthiness about being a doctor keeps me on the lawyer track.

Even if I did declare a double-major--the nightmare of the insurance industry--and were (very) busy becoming an M.D., Esq., then feelings of unworthiness about being, say, a nuclear physicist would be accurate. Even if I declared a triple major . . .well, you get the idea.

Somewhere along the line, my plate will be full. At that time, everything not on my plate I am unworthy of. There's plenty to eat (do) right in front of me.

The important thing in acting is to be able to laugh and cry. If I have to cry, I think of my sex life. If I have to laugh, I think of my sex life.


When you discover your dream--your Big Dream--know that you are worthy of that dream. Tell yourself you are worthy of that dream. Program that worthiness in. (Lots of techniques for that later.) Act upon that worthiness. Be content knowing that your dream is yours. Accept that everything that's not part of your dream is not yours.

Worthiness and unworthiness keep us on our path. It is our path. We selected it--it leads to our dream. Unworthiness is a friend that says, "Your path is this way, not that way." If we listen and move back onto our path, we feel worthy again.

If we continue to stray, we will continue feeling unworthy until we (a) get back on our path, or (b) choose another dream and another path.

Seen in this way, the feeling of unworthiness is better described as humility . We know what we want, we know the direction we're going, we know that we are entitled to our dream, and we let the rest of the goals go by.

Humility comes with maturity. Children want this and this and this and this and that--practically everything pleasurable they see, smell, touch, or hear. Many adults do the same: "I want a career and a marriage and children and a house and a car and save the whales and stop pollution and write a book and find God. Then, next week, I want . . .."

I'll talk soon about how to choose which dream you pursue and which to consider "good ideas I might get to someday." (In other words, which goals you choose to become worthy of and which you do not.)

Remember--the choice of which to be worthy of is yours .

Hurt Feelings Are a Reminder of How Much We Care; Anger Is the Energy for Change

Don't go around saying the world owes you a living; the world owes you nothing; it was here first.


We only feel hurt about what we care about. Yes, when anger covers the hurt we say, "I don't care about them (it); I hate them (it)." That's part of the caring, too. If we want A, and B stops us from having it, it's not that we subconsciously care about B. We still love A. It's easy, however, to get lost in the hurting and hating of B and forget about the caring we have for A.

Hurt feelings are a reminder to find A, refocus on A, feel the caring we have for A, and find alternate ways to get A, even if B, C, D, E, and F get in the way. Most people use hurt as a reason to stop doing. If we let this happen, we truly are hurt--we hurt ourselves by letting hurt keep us from attaining our heart's desire.

Another word for caring, of course, is love. Love is powerful. Keep it directed toward your goal.

Feel the passion of the caring. Put that passion behind your goal. If you feel anger , remember this is the energy for change. Use it; do something with it. What you do may or may not work. If it does work, great. If not, you've learned something. If nothing else, you've learned one more thing that won't work. Even if you can't do anything physically, use the passion to imagine success.

Another excellent use for hurt and anger is to change the beliefs we have about the way the world should treat us.

As with guilt, add "...and sometimes they don't (won't, can't, etc.)" to each belief about things and people that includes the notion of "should," "must," "have-to," "ought-to," or "supposed-to." Adding these qualifiers not only makes life easier; it makes changing easier, too.

Vex not they spirit at the course of things; they heed not they vexation. How ludicrous and outlandish is astonishment at anything that may happen in life.


Hurt feelings and anger--like fear, guilt, and unworthiness--are there as energy to be used toward your goal, not as reasons to stop.

Our feelings don't say stop--our programming says stop. It's time to rewrite that programming to say, "Here's the information and the energy I need to make necessary corrections and continue moving toward my dreams."

Death--The Ultimate Deadline

The great French Marshall Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The Marshall replied, "In that case, there is no time to lose; plant it this afternoon!"


Deadlines help us get things done. Deadlines get us going, moving, and motivate us to do things sooner rather than later. There's no greater--or more certain--deadline than death.

Parkinson's Law states that work either expands or contracts to fill the time available. Death lets us know that there's only a certain amount of time available--the span of a lifetime--in which to get done whatever we want to do.

Of course, none of us knows how long that time will be, but most of us know it's not going to be longer than, say, another 100 years. So, whatever we want to achieve during our lifetime, we had better start today.

There are some who consider death bad . Death is neither good nor bad--it merely is. It is a fact of life, like gravity. ("Gravity isn't easy, but it's the law.") We can use death for ourselves or against ourselves. The choice is ours.

The first step in seeing death as an ally is removing the childhood fears we have concerning death. Children learn about death in a limited (and limiting) way. They see someone (or, in the case of a pet, something) go from warm, active, moving, and alive to cold, inactive, and motionless. Dead. This death stuff does not look very appealing.

Children then see the reaction adults have to death. Although grown-ups may say things such as, "He is with God," or "She is at peace at last," the emotional attitudes of adults (weeping, moaning, wailing) indicate that death is not a welcome guest in anyone's home.

In the last analysis it is our conception of death which decides our answers to all the questions that life puts to us.


The last straw for children concerns what happens to dead bodies. If a body is buried, the child thinks death must be eternal blackness, darkness, aloneness. If a body is cremated, the child thinks death is fire, flames, and pain.

For children, asking adults about death is about as useful as asking adults about sex--adults become uncomfortable and give conflicting answers to simple questions--answers they don't seem to believe themselves.

It's little wonder, then, that many children decide, "Death is not a good thing, and so I won't think about it any more." And most people don't. Death is such a taboo in our culture that we don't even talk about the fact that it's a taboo. We pretend death doesn't exist.

This is too bad, because there are only three beliefs about death in our culture--none of them bad.

  1. Life is purely biological, and when we die, we're dead. There's nothing bad in this view of death--we simply are not, so there's nothing to worry about. As Einstein explained, "The fear of death is the most unjustified of all fears, for there's no risk of accident for someone who's dead."

  2. After life, there is heaven or hell through eternity. If this is one's belief, then there's nothing to worry about, either. Heaven is for good people and hell is for bad people. Who but a good person would believe in heaven and hell? So, if you believe, then a place in heaven awaits you.

  3. We keep coming back, life after life, until we learn all we need to know. This, too, is not a view of death to fear. Here, death is no more significant than moving from one grade to another in the same school, or from one house to another within the same town. We may not know all that will happen there, but that's part of the fun. "Life is a great surprise," Vladimir Nabokov said, "I do not see why death should not be an even greater one."

Even very young children need to be informed about dying. Explain the concept of death very carefully to your child. This will make threatening him with it much more effective.


When questioned about life and death, almost all adults will describe one of these beliefs, or a close variation thereof. As none of these views of death is bad nor inherently scary, it's clear that the views of death formed as a child still control the emotional reactions many adults have toward death.

Many believe that young people have no sense of death; that they live their lives as though they will live forever. This may be true in some cases, but only because they have not been taught the inevitability of death, and the value of the interval between now and the inevitable. One's own mortality need not come as a shock later in life; it can be a fact of life, considered in all of life's choices.

When seen as a deadline, death can be used as a tool for doing. Some of the positive uses for this tool include

When we know "our days are numbered," we see that we can only accomplish a certain amount in this lifetime. This knowledge once again stresses the importance of choice in the planning and living of life.

Death is nature's way of saying, "Your table is ready."


When you cease to make a contribution you begin to die.


Death, for the doer, is the ultimate reason to do--and to enjoy the doing--now.

Discouragement Reveals Our Courage

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. They can be no courage unless you're scared.


The power of discouragement is available for obtaining our goals (or illuminating a small Southern town) by simply dismissing the dis .

Courage, contrary to popular belief, is not the absence of fear. Courage is the wisdom to act in spite of fear. In time, courage becomes the ability to use all the elements of the comfort zone as energy to move toward our goal. When we add en to courage, we have encourage . En is a prefix meaning "to be at one with."

Very few people possess true artistic ability. It is therefore both unseemly and unproductive to irritate the situation by making an effort. If you have a burning, restless urge to write or paint, simply eat something sweet and the feeling will pass.


We can think of encouragement as a cheerleader. Whereas discouragement says, "Give up! Give up! Give up!" encouragement says, "Keep going! Keep going! Keep going!" or "DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!"

Along the way, expect to be discouraged--to hear and to follow the voices of discouragement. The goal is not to never be discouraged again. The goal is to (a) catch the discouragement sooner, (b) call it for what it is, and (c) get out of it faster. How do we get out of it? You simply call on encouragement.

Oh, encouragement!

In fact, here's a scene from the play Oh, Encouragement!

SCENE: YOU are about to do something new--a necessary step along the path to your dream.

DISCOURAGEMENT has convinced you not to take the step. You call . . .

YOU: Oh, encouragement!


YOU: Over here.

ENCOURAGEMENT: I thought you'd never ask.

DISCOURAGEMENT: (Imitating your voice) I didn't ask. Stay over there where you belong.

YOU: No, encouragement. Come here! That was discouragement talking.

ENCOURAGEMENT: I know. Here I am.

DISCOURAGEMENT: (Imitating your voice) Thank you, now go away.

YOU: Don't listen; that was discouragement again.

ENCOURAGEMENT: I'm not going--and don't you listen to discouragement, either. You can do the thing you want to do. You know you can.

YOU: But I'm afraid.

DISCOURAGEMENT: You know fear means: "Don't do it!" Everybody knows that.

ENCOURAGEMENT: Fear is the energy to do your best in a new situation. You're in a new situation, so, naturally, you're afraid. Use the energy.

YOU: Oh, right.

Every human being on this earth is born with a tragedy, and it isn't original sin. He's born with the tragedy that he has to grow up. A lot of people don't have the courage to do it.


DISCOURAGEMENT: Oh, wrong. Besides, if you do it you'll feel guilty.


YOU: But discouragement is right. I will feel guilty. DISCOURAGEMENT: You'll feel guilty and miserable and you'll deserve to feel guilty and miserable.

ENCOURAGEMENT: Guilt is being angry with yourself, and anger is the energy to make change. Is this new experience something that physically harms yourself or another?


YOU: No. It's just new and different.


YOU: How?

DISCOURAGEMENT: It'll hurt you emotionally. You shouldn't feel uncomfortable. It's dangerous. It can kill you. You can have a heart attack. You can have a stroke.

ENCOURAGEMENT: Give us a break.

DISCOURAGEMENT: Never! Speaking of breaks, you might break your leg, you might break your neck . . .

ENCOURAGEMENT: (To YOU) Is this step you're afraid to take moving you in the direction of your dreams?

YOU: Yes.


DISCOURAGEMENT: There you go, advertising that lousy book again. (To YOU) You're not worthy to do this! Who do you think you are? Do you always have to be so special ?


DISCOURAGEMENT: No. I'm going to stay right here and ruin everything. It's my job, and I love it. Even if it wasn't my job, I'd still do it.

ENCOURAGEMENT: (To YOU) Is this a step toward your heart's desire?


YOU: Yes.

ENCOURAGEMENT: Then you're worthy of it.


YOU: Yeah, I might fail.

ENCOURAGEMENT: If you do, then you'll learn from the failure, but I don't think you'll fail.

DISCOURAGEMENT: You'll be let down. Your feelings will be hurt. You'll feel bad, terrible, miserable, deserted.

ENCOURAGEMENT: You'll be fine. You don't have to respond to anything that happens to you with hurt, and, if you do, you can remember that beneath the hurt is loving. Refocus on the loving. Redirect that toward your goal.

DISCOURAGEMENT: You'll be pissed off, furious, seething--you might have a heart attack.

YOU: Heart attack!

ENCOURAGEMENT: Use the energy of anger to make a positive change. Or change the belief you have that people should treat you in a certain way. Beneath the anger is the loving. Let that loving attack your heart. You'll be fine.

DISCOURAGEMENT: Will not! Will not! Will not!

ENCOURAGEMENT: Give it a rest, huh?

Our doubts are traiters, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.



ENCOURAGEMENT: (To YOU) Shall we pull out the big guns?

YOU: Sure.



YOU: Yes.


YOU: Uh-huh.



YOU: I love you!


YOU: I love you! I love you!

DISCOURAGEMENT: Stop! Stop! You'll have a heart attack!

YOU: I love you! I love you! I love you!

DISCOURAGEMENT: You're crazy! I'm getting out of here. I'll come back when you've settled down. (Exits)

YOU: I love you!

ENCOURAGEMENT: Okay, so let's DO IT!

YOU: There you go, advertising that book again.

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