SO MANY PEOPLE STRUGGLE WITH negative attitudes and self-defeating behaviors because they fail to realize that what you think about comes about. If you don’t discipline yourself to be positive by tuning in to positive messages and hanging out with positive people, then the world tends to suck the life-force out of you. Your output will always reflect your input. So if you have negative input, you are going to have negative results in your life. If you have positive input, you will have positive results.

When you felt down or sick as a child, your mother probably fed you chicken soup. One reason we wrote chicken Soup for the Soul was to give people hope be telling stories about individuals who’ve overcome great obstacles.

Some obstacles are bigger than others and take longer to overcome. You can’t do it all over a weekend. But you are only one good idea away from being rich, one good idea away from being healthy – and you make the decision.

In a Third Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul, I have a masterful statement by Nelson Mandela. I wept when I heard it. He says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented or famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be. You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.”

It often takes a “prison experience” to produce greatness. You have to be down to be up later. I have faced my own tough times in the past, including a bankruptcy, so I understand down. And I also know something about how to bounce back. The transition starts by getting into solitude, into silence. It is only in silence of the soul that you get to meet god face-to-face, so to speak. It is in that silence that you see who you are and what your purpose is in life.

You may succeed by yourself, on your own, but in the end it gets hollow. The fact is I am a spiritual being, and we live in a spiritual world where there is much that I can’t understand. Just being alive is a miracle.

Role for a Master Mind

Still, to achieve great things, we all need a coach or mentor. Jack and I coach each other. One of us is the macro thinker, and one the micro thinker. You need both in a good partnership. You also need to commit to somebody that you are going to make it happen. It is not possible otherwise. A flashlight doesn’t work with one battery, and none of us work very well alone.

I feel that it’s better to eat “chicken soup” as a cure for what ails you than to be fueled by taunts of “being chicken.” But different things work for different people. Some people climb Mount Everest because someone told them they couldn’t. But the people who are motivated by dares are a very small minority among they great achievers. What I need are models, not critics.

After reading Chicken Soup for the Soul, you feel better about yourself because you see that others have faced major obstacles and prevailed. I get over 100 letters a day from people who say, “I didn’t think I was good enough” or “I was going to commit suicide” or “I didn’t think I had it in me, but the story turned me around.”

Obstacles only make life more exciting. All of us like that right kind of opposition and competition – we thrive on it. So why fear it when it serves to make us stronger and better?

Jack and I believe that human potential is vastly Underestimated, and I believe that no one can succeed without overcoming real obstacles that stretch the soul. “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit,” said Napoleon hill.

Recently, I traveled to Saskatchewan, Canada, to meet with an Indian tribe that has a high suicide rate. The chief urged me to share my stories with his people. It’s universal. Everyone needs stories about overcoming obstacles to get them over the hard times.

Four Success Principles, Many Examples

When I speak to groups of people, I often share four basic principles of success: 1) you have to figure out what you want – not really, but ideally – in all areas of your life, including your health, happiness, relationships, and finances; 2) you’ve got to put it in writing – “I am going to be healthy by eating right and exercising 20 minutes a day”; 3) you’ve got to visualize it to realize it, see it before you can have it; and 4) you’ve got to have your team together to get your dream together, meaning you have to have your master mind (coach and mentor) and come together in harmony to create dynamic synergy.

Empowered people, working in cooperation, are what cause changes the world. America is a great country because those who succeed give other people a hand. Every millionaire in this country makes 11 more millionaires; and so the most unselfish thing you can do is become very successful.

B.C. Forbes noted, “History has demonstrated that the notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because the refused to become discouraged by their defeats.”

In our books are many stories of people who overcome serious handicaps.
* After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, said, “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!” Astaire kept that memo over the fireplace in his Beverly Hills home.
* An expert said of coach Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.”
* The philosopher Socrates was called “an immoral corrupter of youth.”
* Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Woman, was encouraged to find work as a servant or seamstress by her family.
* Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him hopeless.
* The parents of opera singer Enrico Caruso wanted him to be engineer. His teacher said he had no voice and couldn’t sing.
* Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for lack of ideas. Walt Disney also went bankrupt several times before be built Disneyland.
* Inventor Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was too stupid to learn anything. When Edison invented the light bulb, he tried over 2,000 experiments. A younger reporter asked him how it felt to fail so many times. He said, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000 step process.”
* Albert Einstein did not speak until he was four years old and didn’t read until he was seven. His teacher described him as “mentally slow, unsociable and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.” He was expelled and was refused admittance to the Zurich polytechnic school.
* Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 in chemistry.
* 18 publishers turned down Richard Bach’s 10,000-word story about a “soaring” seagull, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, before Macmillan finally published it in 1970. By 1975, it had sold more than 7,000,000 copies.
* When Lucille Ball began studying to be an actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try any other profession.”
* In 1952, Edmund Hillary attempted to climb Mount Everest, 29,000 feet straight up. A few weeks after his failed attempt, he spoke to a group in England. Hillary walked to the stage, made a fist, and pointed at a picture of the mountain, saying, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow…but I’m still growing!” On May 29, one year later, Edmund Hillary became the first man to climb Mount Everest.
Mark Victor Hansen, co-author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, has, for more than 25 years, uniquely focused on the vital elements of human behavior that most affect our personal and professional lives and has influenced society’s top leaders and the general public on a global scale.  To learn more about Mark and to receive 20% off Mark’s best-selling audio programs Sell Yourself Rich, How To Think Bigger, The Aladdin Factor and How to Build Your Speaking and Writing Empire, visit

Provided courtesy of 
Jim Rohn International