Are You A “Doofus?”

As a young boy, Norman Vincent Peale thought he lacked brains and ability.  In one of his many books he wrote, “I constantly told myself that I had no brains, no ability; that I didn’t amount to anything and never would…  I then became aware that people were agreeing with me; for it is a fact that others will unconsciously take you at your own self-appraisal.”  A college professor said he was “disgusted” with Peale and asked him “Why do you go skulking through life like a scared rabbit?”

So it was working through his own challenging feelings of inferiority that led Dr. Peale to write The Power of Positive Thinking, his best-known book that has now sold over 20 million copies. 

What is it that is holding you back?  T. Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind) says we all have a “money blueprint.”  Here’s how it seems to work. We all have a certain level of achievement we think we deserve.  If a person gets over that level momentarily, it’s not uncommon to see that person subconsciously underachieve to regain the success level they believed was their limit. 

I see this as people are looking for a new job.  If they have been making $40,000 they will look at jobs in the $35-45,000 range.  But if a position is available that fits their skill set perfectly and pays $75,000 they often don’t even apply.  Their level of belief or of deserving doesn’t match that level of reward.  Look at what happens to most lottery winners – within about 3 years most are right back at their previous level of having nothing.  Their unexpected wealth didn’t match their sense of deserving, and they made the adjustments to bring things back into sync.  Look at Pacman Jones and Plaxico Burress – they sabotaged their millions to match the real world as they see it.

I see a whole lot of confusing theology in this arena.  Is it more Godly to expect riches or to be content with poverty?  While space does not allow a full treatment of that hot potato here, rest assured that your beliefs in that area will likely be evident in your reality.  Circumstances do not determine your well-being.  If you think you’re a doofus, your world will confirm the truth of that belief.  This is very much a head and a heart issue – be careful of the messages you’re telling yourself and those around you.
  
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“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”  –  Pope John XXIII

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What’s keeping you from achieving your dream?  Take our poll at What’s  Holding You Back?

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6 Responses to “Are You A “Doofus?””

  1. rbmarler Says:

    I have been reading your blog for several months now, and find it inspiring and creative. I am hoping to order some of your material and read thru it during the next few weeks. I have already begun 2009-goal planning, via your post from several weeks back. This will be the first time I have formally done this, and I am 34! Needless to say, your writings are pushing me to expand my direction and goals.

    In light of these thoughts, a comment from this week’s post has me thinking again. I have pondered many hours over this question for the last 12mths, and cannot come up with a firm answer, nor do I feel I have been given one from anyone I’ve discussed it with, or during prayer and soul-searching. As you raised the question in your blog, I thought I would seek your opinion on it.

    “I see a whole lot of confusing theology in this arena. Is it more Godly to expect riches or to be content with poverty? While space does not allow a full treatment of that hot potato here, rest assured that your beliefs in that area will likely be evident in your reality.”

    From your quote and my soul-searching, I wonder if there will always be a non-resolution on this point. In my career, I have spent 75% of my employment with FORTUNE 50 companies, and 25% with small businesses. I am very happily employed right now, with one of the largest companies in the world. Opportunities abound, even some with high-growth potential and big pay raises. However, I have come from early, financial success in my career. I made a lot of money, invested wisely, then spent nearly one-year out of work, so had to use all that money to live on and support my family. From having that background of both extremes early on, and studying other “financially successful” people around me, I have come to the conclusion that in this day-and-time, if you want to be “financially successful”, you will in some way sacrifice your family and possibly your ‘mission’ (meaning, where you spend your time focused outside your day job — for me, it’s helping with a church plant). I have watched successful men I admire, and those I do not. I can only name (1) out of many, who I know somehow found the balance of faith and family, and still achieved great “financial success”. This was back in the 80s-90s, however, and the “rules of business engagement” have changed drastically.

    This is a very lengthy comment, and I apologize. However, I’ve spent countless hours pondering and searching for clarification on this. I am at a point in my career, where I must start defining my future path (be it corporate, small business, entrepreneurial, etc.). I can’t seem to justify the climb up the ladder that seems required in any of these business models to achieve “financial success”, at the cost of my family and faith.

    I appreciate anyone’s feedback, as I feel this has to be an issue for many 30-somethings in the workforce today, and possibly a defining decision for our generation.

    Thanks for sticking with the lengthy read!!

  2. Edwin Crozier Says:

    Do I actually have to answer this question?

  3. Josh Says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Dan. People rise up to their highest thoughts. If they believe they can only achieve a certain level of success, that is the highest level they will obtain. If people feel unbounded, then their potential is limitless.

    I like to think about this in terms of sports — the team that most believes in themselves will win. Lesser teams, when inspired, will rise to (and often surpass) the skill level of their challenger. That’s why the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament are so exciting — teams that don’t know they shouldn’t win typically win.

  4. Edwin Crozier Says:

    By the way, my question was intended to demonstrate that you have hit my nail right on the head.

  5. are you a doofus? « littlesanctuary Says:

    […] I see a whole lot of confusing theology in this arena. Is it more Godly to expect riches or to be content with poverty? While space does not allow a full treatment of that hot potato here, rest assured that your beliefs in that area will likely be evident in your reality. Circumstances do not determine your well-being. If you think you’re a doofus, your world will confirm the truth of that belief. This is very much a head and a heart issue – be careful of the messages you’re telling yourself and those around you. by Dan Miller […]

  6. Anita Says:

    Dear rbmarler –
    Dan says -“your beliefs …will likely be evident in your reality.” I sense a lot of either/or in the framework of your question. Do you believe it is possible to be financially successful without sacrificing your family or your mission? What do you want your reality to be? Just because you don’t see it being accomplished around you, does that mean it is impossible?

    We often look to others to see what is possible. I would encourage you, in your goal planning, to clearly define your values. This may not happen overnight; it might take time. You might want to begin to compile a list of scriptures that really “speak” to you and your sense of purpose or direction. If you list them one after another in a notebook or word doc, you might be amazed at the clarity you begin to get about your values and direction.

    Popular thinking often creeps in unawares. If you find that you really want to challenge your thinking on a base level, you might want to try something like Zig Ziglar’s self talk card (available as a free download from Ziglar.com) Zig is famous for saying, “You’ve got to BE before you can HAVE.”

    Challenge your thinking and establish your God-given values, then plan your goals accordingly. Focus on your value-driven goals and being the best of who God created you to be. You will most likely find that what is possible for others will then seem much less important. As a reminder, perhaps you might like to write: “with God ALL things are possible” in HUGE letters on the top of your goal planner. If that is your belief, …what might ultimately become your reality?

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