Reviewing “The Power”

Welcome and good morning! It’s the 23rd of November. Welcome to Breakfast with Bob! Guess what tomorrow is? Yes! At least if you’re in America, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. More than likely, you’re rushing about, getting ready for tomorrow. What a day! Will it be a great day or will it be a day where the bread didn’t come out of the oven at the right temperature or the cream corn just didn’t taste like it usually does or the dressing that you’re working on burned? Is it going to be a great day? No matter what happens, when you wake up tomorrow morning and you take a breath and realize it, from that moment forward all throughout the day, be thankful because it’s called Thanksgiving. I’m reading from a book we just completed discussing, but we’ll pull some more good juice from it. It’s a book called The Power by Rhonda Byrne that we talked about for the last two weeks. This is page 33. This is an interesting thought.

“When you’re feeling any good feeling, you can also amplify it by looking for things you love. Before sitting down to write this book, each day I spent several minutes amplifying my good feelings. To amplify my good feelings, I thought about all the things I love. I counted the things I love nonstop one after the other: my family, friends, home, flowers in the, garden, the weather, colors, situations, events, and things I loved that happened during the week, month, or year.”

In other words—memories.

“I kept listing everything I love in my mind until I felt amazing. Then I sat down to write. It’s as easy as that to amplify your good feelings, and you can do it anywhere, at any time.”

It’s a different way of thinking about gratitude, isn’t it? It’s things you love. “Oh, I love that and I love that. I love that. Oh yes! And I love the food I’m going to eat today. We’re going to have a wonderful meal on Thanksgiving. Wow! I love it.” Even if you didn’t have a great meal on Thanksgiving, you got to love that too. You have to love whatever happens to you. Gratitude goes to everything, even the things that appear to be negative, that appear to be not good or not lovable experiences can sometimes turn into the greatest blessings of your life. You just haven’t had all the evidence come in yet to prove to you that that experience was a lovable thing.

I’m preparing for a speech in 2007 to a group called Book Wise and I’m working night and day preparing my PowerPoint presentations. It’s going to be a big one. My left eyeball starts to flash. Stuff starts floating in my eye. I can see it. Guess what? my retina detaches. A couple of days later, I’m in with the doctor and he says, “Yep, you got a rip in your retina. We got to nail it down with laser.” I’m getting ready to give a major speech to a thousand people. I’ve prepared for it for months. What am I going to do? My eye is blown up. Why? Why does a retina detach? I don’t know. It just does. What can I think about it? Well, through the series of experiences over the next month, I go through five different surgeries on this eye. I’m under anesthetic. I’m gummed out. They are re-attaching it. All the work they did caused a cataract in my eyeball so now I can’t even see on the doggone eye. I got to get a cataract operation. Now today, when I look out that way, I can see about half of what you can see, and it’s kind of messy in there because the retina fully detached and it pulled off the macula. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to see out of that way for the rest of my life. Just a week ago as I was coming back from London, the same flashing and floating started happening in my right eye. Oh my gosh. It happened on the Sunday as I’m flying back from London. I tell my wife about it. A member of my church is an eye doctor. In fact, he’s the guy who did my cataract surgery on my left eye. I called him on the phone (Since I’m a member of the church, I knew his phone number) on a Sunday night. I said, “Doc, I’m having that same thing happening.” And he said, “You’re coming in tomorrow.” Was I grateful by the way that I can have that kind of connections? Yeah, because he was a member of my church, and it just worked. The very next day, I’m in the office. The retinal specialist and he are both looking at my right eye and they said, “No, I think it’s okay. It’s a natural thing to have this. The stuff in your eyeball eventually shrinks and it pulls away from the retina, and it does cause little flashes and floaters.” We call it flashers and floaters. These flashers and floaters happen to everyone usually when they get older. Sometimes it pulls the retina off and that’s bad. Sometimes it just pulls away and it’s normal. Thank heaven. I still have that floating stuff in my right eye and I still can’t see as well, but eventually it will all settle down and go away and I’ll be able to see better. But I had to be grateful. Why? Why do I have to be grateful? Because frankly, I’m so grateful for my eyesight even in the good eye. I said to myself, “Wow!” So my left eye is bad. Okay. Yep. I’ll never see the way I was able to see before. When I look at all these people walking down the street and they haven’t a single clue about how unbelievably precious this sight from just one eye is, let alone two. Wow. Am I grateful for that one eyeball I’ve got left? Oh my gosh. I know that when I wake up in the next life, my eyesight will be perfect. The body that doesn’t work as much as it gets older will shrivel and go away, but my eyesight will be perfect again one day. I can live for another twenty or thirty years hopefully by being just grateful for what I’ve got. It’s a crazy way to think but frankly, does that move me closer or further away? I think it moves me closer. Thank you for what I have regardless of how it might seem to be less than what I would want, right?

Let’s talk about gratitude. In this book that we finished discussing last week but we’re going to have some more thoughts out of it, there’s a really profound set of pages in the book The Power on page 126. She calls it the key to gratitude. Wallace Wattles said, “You cannot exercise much power without gratitude because it is gratitude that keeps you connected with power.” And then she starts this conversation about gratitude. Another way of thinking about gratitude is loving what you have, being grateful for everything. She says on page 126:

“I know of thousands of people in the worst imaginable situations who have changed their lives completely through gratitude. I know of miracles that have taken place in health where there seemed to be no hope: failed kidneys regenerate, diseased hearts heal, eyesight is restored (I got to work on that one) tumors disappear, and bones grow and rebuild themselves. I know of broken relationships that have transformed into magnificent ones through gratitude: failed marriages completely restored, estranged family members reunited, parents transforming relationships with children and teenagers, and teachers transforming students. I have seen people who were in total poverty become wealthy through gratitude: people turned around failing businesses, and people who had struggled with money all their lives created abundance. Someone even went from living on the streets to having a job and a home in a week. I know of people who were in depression who catapulted into joyful and fulfilling lives through gratitude. People who have suffered from anxiety and every kind of mental illness have restored themselves to perfect mental health through gratitude. Every single savior of the world used gratitude, because they all knew that gratitude was one of the highest expressions of love.”

Isn’t that a profound thought? Gratitude is one of the highest expressions of love.

“They knew that when they were grateful, they were living in exact accordance with the law. Why do you think Jesus said ‘Thank you’ before he performed every miracle?”

By the way, I wasn’t aware that he did that, but that’s interesting.

“Every time you feel grateful you are giving love, and whatever you give, you receive. Whether you’re giving thanks to a person or feeling grateful for a car, a vacation, a sunset, a gift, a new house, or an exciting event, you are giving love for those things, and you will receive back more joy, more health, more money, more amazing experiences, more incredible relationships, more opportunities. Try it now. Think of something or someone you’re grateful for. You could choose the person you love more than anyone else in the world. Focus on that person and think about all the things you love and are grateful for about that person. Then, in your mind or out loud, tell that person all those things you love and are grateful for about them, as though they were there with you.”

In other words, you can do this even if they’re not in your presence. It’s nice for them to hear it, but at the very least, you can say those things out loud to yourself.

“Tell them all the reasons you love them. You can recall particular instances or moments by saying, ‘Remember the time when …’ As you’re doing it, feel the gratitude begin to fill your body and your heart.  The love you gave in that simple exercise must and will return to you in the relationship, and in your whole life. That is how easy it is to give love through gratitude. Albert Einstein was one of the greatest scientists who ever lived. His discoveries completely changed the way we see the universe. And when asked about his monumental achievements, Einstein spoke only of giving thanks to others. One of the most brilliant minds that has ever lived thanked others for what they had given to him – a hundred times a day! That means at least a hundred times a day, Einstein gave love. Is it any wonder that life revealed so many of its mysteries to Albert Einstein?”

This is a quote from Albert Einstein:

“ A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.”

 A hundred times a day. There’s a good assignment for you. At least a hundred times tomorrow, since it’s the day that we celebrate for Thanksgiving, at least a hundred times tomorrow, walk around the house, wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, and just count them off until you reach a hundred. Can’t stop. Thank you for this telephone. I’m thankful for the pair of socks that I’m wearing right now. I’m thankful for my glasses. Gee. If I didn’t have glasses, everything will be pretty blurry. Just walk around the house. Look at this. Look at that. Just notice everything and love them—those things, those people, those thoughts. That’s what gratitude is, one of the highest forms of love. Gratitude is a great multiplier. She says,

“When you’re grateful for the things you have, no matter how small they may be, you will receive more of those things. If you’re grateful for the money you have, however little, you will receive more money. If you’re grateful for a relationship, even if it’s not perfect, the relationship will get better. If you’re grateful for the job that you have, even if it’s not your dream job, you will receive better opportunities in your work. Because gratitude is the great multiplier of life!”

“Not only is it the highest form of love,” she says, “but it’s the greatest multiplier.” When you’re grateful for something, you multiply more of that in your life. It multiplies it. Times it by 2, by 3, by 4, by 10 depending on how you feel about it. Says Meister Eckhart in the 1300s,

“If the only prayer you say in your entire life is – ‘thank you’ – that is enough.”

I remember when I woke up in the hospital after my car accident , then I said, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” I said that under my breath a hundred times a day. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. ” I’m so overwhelmingly blessed to be here with you. Several years later after that devastating car accident, wow, I get to live another day. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Every breath I take is a “thank you.” Why don’t you just take three thankful breaths right now? The simplest things are so, so precious. She continues on page 129:

“Gratitude begins with two simple words…”

What do you think they are?

“…Thank you – but you have to feel grateful with all your heart. The more you start to say thank you, the more you will feel it, and the more love you will give. There are three ways to use the power of gratitude in your life, and every one of them is giving love:

1. Be grateful for everything you have received in your life (past).

 2. Be grateful for everything you are receiving in your life (present).

3. Be grateful for what you want in your life, as though you have received it (future).”

In other words, no matter what happened, be grateful for it. No matter what is happening, be grateful for it. No matter what I going to happen, be grateful for it is the way I would say it. Past, present, future. Wow. Wow. Wow. Find a wow. Find a wow in your past. Find a wow in your now. Find a wow in your future. Wow! Wow! Walk into a room. Find a wow in it is the way I would say it. Wow! World of wonder. That’s what wow means. It’s a world of wonderful-ness. Wow! I wonder what this means. It must mean something good. No matter what it is, you got to wow it. Wow! People walk into our home. I love it because as they come into various different rooms in our home (We’ve designed it and has taken us 63 years of my life to get in here) and they walk into each room and there’s a wow in every room. I just love to watch people as they wander through, and they look at the aquarium, they go, “Wow!” They look at the fireplace, they go, “Wow!” But you know what? Not just because my home is filled with wonderful things. It’s taken me a lifetime to earn. Everything is a wow. I look outside my room right now and there’s flowers blooming right there. I can see them. White. White. White. Beautiful, gorgeous flowers just cascading down this slope right outside our home. I can see it in my office. I can see the ocean. It’s four or five miles away but I can see it. There it is. Wow. It doesn’t matter whether it’s material things. If it’s home, it’s a material thing. It’s got a lot of wow in it. But gosh, there are so many things that are not material, that are much more wowable. Wow!

As we said in our previous call, what we can see, what we can experience is only a golf ball size compared to what we can’t see and what’s hidden from us. It’s the size of Mt. Everest of the things we can’t see around us. Most of us see the things we don’t like, and we don’t wow them because we don’t want that in our life and don’t really understand this Mt. Everest of stuff that’s going on all around us, that’s hidden and talk about Wow with a capital W. The things you don’t see, you don’t experience, that are going on around you right now? What could that be? I don’t know if you believe in guardian angels or spirits, people that direct and help, support, and make this world happen beyond your awareness. I do. I don’t know about you, but I do. The problem is I keep forgetting it. The Mt. Everest is all around me and I keep focusing in on the golf ball. And then especially when something negative happens apparently in that little golf ball of life experience of mine and I immediately start thinking how bad it could be when all the evidence hasn’t come in yet.

When an avalanche destroyed my mountain home in Sundance Ski Resort, it was a multimillion dollar home. It was when I was thirty-five, thirty-six years old. 1986 so that was twenty-five years ago. 1986. Wow. What a year. Destroyed. Avalanched. Wiped out. The house was gone—everything we built. We dreamed that home. We put it together, and it was wiped out. Destroyed. Devastating. Horrible. Rotten. Terrible. God, how could you do this? We were there. We were over. We were done. It sent me on an avalanche of catastrophic experiences. But then eleven months later, having moved out of Utah, business was done. The avalanche destroyed everything. Our banker called the loan. We had to move away in shame. We moved to California to find a home to live in. We leased a home in a very nice neighborhood, by the way. But it was a leased home on a lake, and it was magnificent. But it was leased and it was all I could do to pay the lease on that home because I was $3 million in debt. I was never going to get out. Then I had to figure out a way to just put food on the table. After having millions of dollars, I lost it all. Oh my gosh. Eleven months later, I’m meeting a fellow at BYU. I was on the advisory board of the alumni at BYU. A fellow comes up to me. He’s on the same board as I’m in. He says, “Bob, did my wife tell you about what happened that day? February 13th 1986?” “No, what happened?” He says, “My wife is in the car with the kids. We’re coming down from the cabin because it’s snowing about forty inches that day. We thought it was a little dangerous. So my wife, I wasn’t with her. We had our six kids” I think he had five boys or six boys or something like that. So she’s got the boys loaded into the car in a suburban. They’re coming down this narrow road in the ski resort, all plowed out to make only one car pass. The snow is piled up above the height of the car so only one car can get through. Every once in a while, there’s little place where you pull to the side and you let cars pass. My wife is stuck in this tunnel, this snowy tunnel, going up to see our cabin. She’s up there to bake a cake for our anniversary which is the next day. I was married on February 14th, so the very next day, we’re going to have a family party. My wife’s going to bake a cake. My son Aaron’s in the car with her. And this woman with her five kids or six kids, I can’t remember which, is coming down the same road and is going a little too fast. She puts her foot on the brake, which is the last thing you want to do if you’re on the snow, and skids hundreds of feet down the slope towards my wife in the car and finally at the very last moment, jackknifes her car into the bank on either side, so the bank and the front of the car are wedged into the road. Stuck. My wife is sitting in the car, ready to go to the home that we built as spectacular. The governor of Utah is coming to this home in a month for a party, a fundraiser for the governor of the entire state, and it’s spectacular. Guess what? My wife is frustrated and Aaron’s frustrated, and it takes an hour to dig the car out. They had to walk down to get help, and it was not fun. Not fun. After the car is dug out, she pulls up to where the cabin had been and calculating about seven minutes before the avalanche had blasted through that mansion and had reduced it to nothing. Oh yes, the cabin still stood but it was totaled because when you’re in the path of an avalanche, what good is that home? It was totaled. Snow piled through all the rooms. Without question, my wife and my son would have been killed. Without question. Now eleven months later, after eleven months of cursing the sky by saying, “How could you? I had everything and now I have nothing but $3 million in debt?” it all came to a full moment of reality of realization that if I hadn’t had that avalanche, that if it hadn’t happened the way it happened, I would be without a wife and a son. That would have been a tragedy. Take my cabin. Take everything. Take everything I own.  For my wife and my son, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I didn’t realize you love me so much. I didn’t realize that things had been orchestrated so that I wouldn’t have the tragedy of tragedies. I don’t think of the avalanche that way anymore. It doesn’t even affect me. Yes, it took me all the way through bankruptcy, the most humiliating financial experience that anyone can ever go through. But I have my wife and my son. It’s worth it. We tried to rebuild it about four or five years later. We’ll do it again. We’ll build this house with the ski slope over the roof like they do in Switzerland. Switzerland got a lot of avalanche, so the houses have these rooms that are built so the snow kind of zooms off the roof and goes off into the sky. In other words, they build houses in Switzerland to withstand avalanches, so I said, “We’ll build it again.” We want to look out the window and see the beautiful Stewart Falls there and the gorgeous Mt. Timpanogos and the magnificent view that we had. Pristine and gorgeous around the edge of the forest reserve. How could we not want to rebuild it? So we start to rebuild it and we have it all framed in. We’re just ready to put on the roof so the snow can zip over the top of it and guess what happens. A freak avalanche from a freak snow storm that just completely covered the mountain. This time, the house is reduced, flattened. This time the avalanche completely wiped out that house. Guess what? I fell on the bed laughing. I was in South Carolina in a business meeting. Somebody called me on the phone to say the avalanche had struck again just before we were about ready to fix it so it would never hurt again. I fell on the bed. I was laughing so loud I had tears formed in my eyes. I just said, “Obviously, we’re not supposed to build on that spot.” We sold it to somebody else who did build on that spot, and it’s a beautiful cabin. It still exists. It’s got a beautiful place where the elevator goes up. The eagle is emblazoned on the concrete. It’s gorgeous. It’s incredible. I don’t own it. I don’t want to own it. I’m not supposed to own it. I’m supposed to learn from it, and I love what I’ve learned from it. I’m so grateful for it.

Whatever happens to you, you haven’t received enough information yet to determine whether it’s a blessing or a curse. You have to reserve judgment on it and wait like I had to wait eleven months to find out that the greatest blessing was that my wife and my son survived. They didn’t even know. I asked my wife later, “Honey, you didn’t tell me you got stuck.” She didn’t even tell me. She had forgotten in the middle of all the catastrophic stuff. She’d forgotten that she’d been stuck. Eleven months later, we reviewed it. “Oh, that’s where the miracle happened.” So whatever happens to you, say “Thank you.” This is my personal belief, but this is what I think is going to happen. If you’re thankful for it, God will orchestrate things so that eventually it will be a blessing that you will view it as a blessing. So thank God in advance. Thank you for this seemingly, apparently bad thing that’s occurring to me right now. Thank you, God. At the very least, I’m here on this planet and I’m taking breaths now. I’m experiencing what everybody experiences which is pain and suffering. Thank you for that. If you come from a Christian perspective as I do. This is the way I think about. Sometimes people say that Christ suffered so much for us. He suffered the pain of all of our sins for us. He had to feel that, the weight of all our stupidity and our sin, if you will, and all of our moving away from God which is the definition of sin. You’re moving away from God; you’re sinning. You’re moving towards God; you’re loving. But guess what? In my opinion, at least in the way I’ve aha’d it lately, the reason that we experience pain and suffering is not so that Christ can understand us and understand what it was like for us to go through a life filled with sin and pain and suffering. It’s not so that Christ can understand us and be the total understanding Father, but it’s so that we get to understand His pain and suffering, so that we can understand what it was like to have pain that big so that when we go back to review our life a hundred years from now, we get to say, “Oh, I now understand how painful it was for You. I got it.” And then what will we say? We will say, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” My pain was only the size of a golf ball, and it hurt like crazy. Your pain was the size of Mt. Everest. Now I get it. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Underneath your breath, a hundred times today, say, “Thank you.” Say “Thank you” for the visible things and say “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for the invisible things. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” She quotes Mohammed in here actually. Since we’re speaking in Christianity, let’s throw a Mohammed quote in. Page 131, she quotes:

“Gratitude for the abundance you have received is the best insurance that the abundance will continue.”

You want to have insurance? That’s how you pay for it, your gratitude. You’re grateful for it. We could talk a lot more about gratitude but just today, find those hundred things today. Get in the habit of saying thank you and loving the hundred things you get to pick out today. Pick out a hundred different things tomorrow. The day after that, pick up another hundred things. Just like Einstein said he was thankful for all the people in his life, find a hundred people you’re thankful for—a hundred people who used to live, a hundred people living now, and a hundred people who are going to live in the future. Thank you, thank you, thank you, a hundred times. A hundred people. A hundred things in nature that existed in the past, all those things who have gone extinct that you never even got to see, the millions of things that had gone extinct. You see them in the fossils, in the rocks. Millions of things no longer exist. Life is so fruitful that an Earth can create millions and millions of species that no longer exist, that have existed in the past, and they were on this planet. In every moment of life, those things existed. Those natural things were here. It’s because this Earth is such a magnificent place, this dangling jewel of Earth in the midst of this ocean of space. It’s one little, tiny grain of sand amongst the trillions and trillions and trillions and trillions of galaxies of the universe. Oh my gosh. What an Earth! And it’s our Earth, and we helped build it. We prepared for it, and we planned to come here. Now we’re here. Soon we won’t be here. And we’ll look back on this Earth with such unbelievable fondness, that shining jewel that we got to spend some time on. Wow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

My best to you. My love for you. My hope for you. My plan for you. My prayer for you. Tomorrow, you wake up and have an unbelievably wonderful, incredible, fantastic, amazing Thanksgiving Day no matter what happens. I’m thankful for you. I’m thankful that you’re listening. I’m thankful that you gave me the chance to say what I just said. I’m thankful for the opportunity we had to learn together. I learned so much. I personally learn so much chatting with you every week. It’s going to come to an end at the end of this year. This is the last year for Breakfast with Bob. But I want to thank you for the opportunity that I’ve had to share these last ten years with many of you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I want you to have a wonderful day. My best to you. Bye-bye.