Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book - The Pledge - Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life

As part of a private work project I was able to read The Pledge - Your Master Plan for an Abundant Life, by Michael Masterson, and take some notes on it. At first, reading the title, I thought, Oh, this is going to be a very interesting book to read, can't wait to see his method of using Law of Attraction. I guess I've become so used to LOA being in pretty much anything I read or watch or even do. I've even dreamed of TV shows I watch using intentions and other aspects of the Law of Attraction in their stories.

The book is not even close to being a Law of Attraction book. And that is fine. It doesn't have to be. But it's not the right book for me.

Masterson basically wants you to break your goals into down, starting at a big goal seven years out. Then you break it down into annual goals, monthly objectives and tasks. Basically the tasks you do today will support your monthly objectives which supports your annual goals which support your seven-year goal.

The book recommends writing down your goals and creating a plan. The plan includes getting up early - 4:30 or 5:00 am was highly recommended, eating right, minimizing distractions in your work day, and planning the work you will do and the work you will delegate.

There is nothing wrong with any of that. Think and Grow Rich recommended setting a goal or having a desire you wanted to reach. However, there was a lot in The Pledge that just didn't appeal to me. I guess I should say - the new me.

The old me, prior to learning about the Law of Attraction, would be all over this book. I would have a notebook already filled with my goals and objectives and tasks. But I no longer believe I have to do any of that stuff to make my dreams come true.

Do I believe in taking action? Yes, I do. But I believe more in inspired action.

I know that sounds funny. If my ultimate desire (re: Think and Grow Rich) is to be a writer (specifically a romance writer published with Harlequin), how will I sell anything if all I do is "wait" to be inspired?

Well, when I am inspired I don't wait. I have learned not to question those flashes of inspiration. The first short story I sold was inspired. I wrote it in two hours. Another short story I have finished was inspired by a dream that I had. I wrote it in two hours as well. I have submitted it, but it was rejected. However, that is only the opinion of one publication. There are more out there and there are other options for me. I know it's a good story, I have faith in that, and I am not giving up on it. I fully believe it was inspired.

Masterson states that positive thinking doesn't work for 90 percent of the people who practice it. I would be interested to know how he got that number. I would be interested to know why he believes that.

I believe it's because Masterson is looking for a specific outcome. He wants to help people become rich. That is a worthwhile goal. Napoleon Hill and many other writers wanted the same thing. However, one thing I have learned is that most people who practice positive thinking, affirmations, the Law of Attraction -- it comes to the point where they don't necessarily care about material wealth. That may have been a focus at the beginning of the journey, but not always.

For me, positive thinking was a way to help me feel better, to help me become a better person. I believe that I am doing that, I have done that. So in my case, because I am not wealthy by Masterson's standards, have I failed?

Besides, you could say I've even accomplished my desire - to be a published writer. After all, my story was sold and will be published. So I can say, with all fact and truth, I am a published writer. 

To illustrate this further, think about a competition, like the Olympics. There is one gold medal and many competitors. Only one person can bring home the gold medal. But that may not truly matter to every person in the competition.

One person wants to win the gold.
One person wants to place in the top three.
One person is just thrilled to be in the Olympics.

This is part of the Law of Attraction. In this way, everyone can have their way. We live in an AND world, not an EITHER / OR world.

We can have our cake and eat it too.
We can have chocolate and lose weight.
We can earn money doing something we love.
We can goof off and still make a living.

That is what I believe.

Look at competitions such as American Idol. I have never watched one episode of American Idol, but I am familiar with some of the winners. I am also familiar with some of the losers, such as Kellie Pickler. I had no idea she'd even been a contestant on the show. I believe that for many of the competitors on American Idol their goal was not to win the title but to have a career in music. And that is what happened. They did not fail by losing the competition. They reached their goal in a different way.

And as I neared the end of the book, Masterson says this:

"Every idea, strategy and technique I shared with you has been proven repeatedly through my personal experience. I know it works, because it worked for me."

And that is the clincher. It worked for him because he BELIEVED that it would. Masterson shares how all of this started as he graduated high school and was basically told that he wouldn't amount to anything. He chose at that moment to not believe that assessment of his high school guidance counselor. He took INSPIRED action to turn his life around. In  my opinion, that is LOA in action.

So if Michael Masterson believes that you have to write out seven year goals, annual goals, monthly objectives and daily tasks in order to succeed, then that is what his reality will be -- because he BELIEVES it to be that way. 

Personally, I feel that it's a lot of work. I don't want to do all of that work anymore. I don't want to live by goals and checklists and forms and worry about accomplishing my goals. 

So how am I going to finish a book to submit to Harlequin within the next six months (my New Year's / solstice resolution) without following checklists and goals and daily word counts and worrying if the story is good enough for them to buy?

Well, I may not. By July I may only have 25,000 words instead of 50,000. But that's okay. 

I may end up writing a few more short stories instead, selling them or publishing them on my own. And that's okay. 

I like to keep a word count of 1000 words a day, five days a week. It's doable for me. If I want to do more, I will. If I choose to do less, I will. And it's okay. 

And worry if the story is good? Well, good for whom? Harlequin editors? Romance novel readers? I can't think about them right now. The story's not even written yet, so who cares? Besides, I believe it's a good story. My only job is to get it on paper. That's all. I give myself permission to write poorly. I give myself permission to want to stop and start over. But I will continue and I will press forward until I finish. 

And however it ends up, that's okay. 

Michael Masterson may disagree, but that's okay too.

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