Begin with Yes by Paul S. Boynton is easy reading and the message itself is simple: Begin with Yes.
Then how come it took me 64 pages to say, “Oh! I get it now!”?
It’s completely counter to the positive thinking stuff we’ve been talking so much about lately, especially since The Secret and before that, Norman Vincent Peele’s book The Power of Positive Thinking.
Actually, it goes back further than that, doesn’t it? There’s a Bible verse (in fact, quite a few) with variations on the same thought: “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” This one happens to be from Proverbs 23:7. All the positive thinking gurus could distill their beliefs on the same premise.
Just for fun, I typed “Books like The Power of Positive Thinking” into the Google search engine and came up with a few … hundred thousand. Here is the list.
This book is different. The premise is about action. Specifically, the action of forward movement. And that action … even the very first step… get ready … creates your thoughts. Not the other way around. Mind blown. In fact, it’s so important, Boynton calls it “a law”.
Let me tell you why this is important, if I can. <<< I say it this way because I wasn’t joking about taking 64 pages to understand. I mean, as I read, of course I understood what he was saying from a cognitive standpoint. Say yes, then more yeses will follow. Except, even as I explain it here, it sounds simplistic and kinda makes no sense. Ugh.
I’ll tell you … the day before yesterday, I read page 64 and immediately went to my voice memo on my phone. I recorded myself saying, “A pathway to yes, not accepting the no to begin.”
Wow, profound, right? What made me say that? Of course, I just went to page 64 to see what nudged me. I have no idea! But something in those few pages jumped out and I realized what he meant.
So, easy enough… you flip positive thinking on its head. Now, this will sound like a math problem and we all know I stink at math… but bear with me.
think = become = do
It is now:
do = think = become
*student raising hand*
Student: Um, how do you do that?
Me: Oh, you just do it.
Me: Do it.
Ah, not helpful. Why don’t we let Boynton explain: “You change your behavior first and the positive thinking takes care of itself.”
It’s all about setting things in motion.
When I was thinking about this, I realized a recent example from my life:
I needed new glasses. I hadn’t been pleased with my last visit to my regular optometrist… and needed a new one. I was procrastinating, as I tend to do
sometimes, never okay, often. It’s all very anxiety-provoking for this health anxious woman. (er, me!)
As I was driving to the grocery store (while rubbing my eyes) one day, I noticed an optometrist’s office by our dentist’s office… in a strip mall. I decided to throw caution to the wind and just go in. I pulled into a parking place and noticed a woman outside the door of the office, smoking. I had a funny feeling – and could go off on a whole intuition thing here, but won’t. Still, I got out and she took a last puff before opening the door for me. I walked through her smoke. Yuck. It was dark, stuffy and messy… and while there were eyeglasses on the wall, nothing felt right. No doctor, no other people at all – working there or visiting. I won’t belabor the obvious, except to say, I had a nice enough conversation with the woman, considering, and left. I was bummed.
I went to the grocery store. All around the store, I moped. Seriously, it almost ruined my day.
On the way home, I noticed another optometrist office across the street from the first and decided to not let my earlier bad experience stop me from going in.
Well. It was a completely different experience. Beautiful place, filled with light, people, a doctor and good juju. Yeah, I have new glasses.
Remember what I said, above? “A pathway to yes, not accepting the no to begin.” I did that!
Without realizing it – and before I even read this book (another recommendation by my mom, by the by!) – I was going in the right direction. No longer content to stop at the NO, I tried again… and was creating my own YES.
Was the yes always there or did I create it? Does it matter?