Keys to True Success in Challenging Times of Change

By Dennis Petersen, Adapted from: True Success in Times of Change By Tom Morris Nightingale-Conant Corporation

The Bible teaches followers of Jesus Christ to ask God for wisdom when you realize that you lack it, and trust that He will give it to you. How do you think that wisdom is found?   Can we really believe that there is practical wisdom available for the way forward from where we are right now?  When the seemingly overwhelming crises of the world are swirling around us, how can we find a well-lighted path into some sort of sustainable future that we all want? (more…)

The Ant Philosophy… let’s teach our kids

I heard about how Jim Rohn, the well-known business trainer, taught about a very simple yet powerful concept – the ant philosophy.

The Bible teaches the wisdom of observing the humble ant and learning her ways.  Maybe we should all talk with each other from time to time about the characteristics of ants that should apply to our own lives as humans.

Do we value success?  Survival?  Community?  Progress?  Accomplishment?  Overcoming obstacles?  Endurance?  Resourcefulness?

What other values can you think of and why everybody should study ants? (more…)

A single Word to delete from your Vocabulary

ben-franklin-excuse-makingDo you want to make one of the most important decisions that can positively change your life starting today?  Could this make more of a difference in your future than almost anything else you can do?

I’m completely convinced that many of us and those around us are far more capable of being much more productive, more influential and happier than they ever dreamed.  Is it possible that just one word can ignite a beacon-light of hope for you today?  Is there a word that can make a 180 degree change in your future?

Just to rattle your cage a little, let me ask you something.  Do you want to completely sabotage your life, destroy your potential, and ultimately look back on a life of wasted years with intense regret? Of course you don’t. No one WANTS that. But for many people, their actions — and more importantly their attitude — are leading them down a road of self-destruction that will ultimately lead them to such an undesirable final destination.

That road’s name is “I Can’t Boulevard” and it’s full of millions upon millions of unsuccessful, complacent, and mediocrity-filled men and women.

Yes, many of these people are also good-hearted and well-meaning, but unfortunately they’re stuck in a big fat rut with their health, their body, their income, their marriage, their career, or their relationships. They are stuck because their attitude is so affected by the phrase, “I can’t”.

Have you ever heard self-defeating statements like:

I can’t achieve a body like that. I don’t have the genetics.

I can’t make a six figure salary. What skills do I have?

I can’t fix my marriage. It’s too far gone.

I can’t be an entrepreneur. That’s too risky.

I can’t be forgiven by God.  I’ve done too many bad things.

This negative “can’t do” mentality is holding them back.

As employees, when a problem arises, they’d rather tell you about every potential solution that WON’T work instead of spending their time focusing on finding the one solution that will work.

Whine.  Complain.  Negative thoughts.  Negative words.  Negative action.

Fact is, when it all boils down, how you handle the problems and obstacles that arise in your life will determine whether you excel and soar like an eagle, or if you remain grounded in a chicken coop full of other self-limiting thinkers.

You see, problems and obstacles are OPPORTUNITIES for leaders. Are you a leader? You can be a leader, if you learn to RESPOND like a leader.

Leaders fix problems. Leaders learn from problems. Leaders grow from problems. Leaders become BETTER LEADERS because of problems.

Will you chose excuse making or leading yourself to victory?

Other folks, however, let problems and obstacles consume them, control them, and serve as the fuel for rationalizing their many excuses.

“I can’t eat healthy while traveling. It’s too hard.”

Yes you can. FIGURE. IT. OUT. Thousands of people do it (while hundreds of thousands don’t). What separates the few from the many? Simple. You can’t just “wing it” and hope it all goes well. Of course, if you do that, you’re going to fail. You have to have a plan – a plan for success – and you need to map it out in advance. Know where you’ll be and when you’ll be there.  Create options for success.  Creating a plan is creating a blueprint to solve your problems.

“My spouse and I can’t get along. My marriage is going down the tubes.”

Start with yourself and change the things about YOU that cause your spouse to react negatively to you. If you deal with the needs of your spouse, you will automatically have a much happier relationship and in turn you’ll find that conflict becomes less frequent. But, that’ll never happen as long as you’re pointing fingers in any direction other than back at yourself. Before long, once they see your changes, your spouse will also want to change to please you. Why? Because the relationship now becomes one of meeting each other’s needs again.  Isn’t that the way it once was?  I guess most relationships begin in a place of mutual admiration don’t they?   The first step begins with you; your spouse will follow.

“I can’t have a successful business. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

FIND OUT WHERE TO START. What does that even mean? Do you think anyone who has a successful business magically knew where to start? No, they didn’t. Talk to people who have done what you want to do. Hire a coach. Get the support you need to succeed. OR, just stop being negative long enough to do a little research on your own. That’s where you start. (more…)

Ethical Network Marketing

(for access to the complete book click on the link at the end of chapter one below)

Chapter One

What Type of Business Is Best for You Today?

Note: Do you think being financially free and clear is a worthy goal? Are you going to remain unduly dependent on people and systems outside your control for your financial needs?  Would you rather have the liberty to successfully achieve enough wealth so you can help others?  Remember that “wealth” is relative.  Do you have 2 cents in your pocket?  Then your wealth is worth what 2 cents will buy.  We all must answer this: “Are we making choices that limit our wealth or that enhance our ability to improve our wealth so that we can be a blessing to our families and to others?”  dennis.petersen

Mark’s Background in Business

I have worked in various business types through my life. In my teens, I sold Fuller Brush products. In college, I sub-contracted in building homes. I worked as a carpenter for several years, then built properties which I rented and, after many years, sold. I explored the stock and futures markets for several years. I read over 50 books on the subject and personally experimented. I established two print shops, and currently oversee one. I have explored more than 45 network marketing companies, trying about twelve. I built down-lines in four, with over 2000 enrollees. During all that, I have also worked as a pastor for about 25 years, founded a church, taught in a church-centered Bible school, and traveled world-wide full-time during the last five years teaching the Church how to hear the voice of God. So I have had a life full of many types of activities, all of which have been rewarding and growing experiences.

There are 4 ways of establishing financial independence

by creating and releasing wealth through your actions.

Financial independence – defined – “having your needs met with plenty to lend and give, and receiving this income whether you are daily engaged in your business/ministry, or in activities of ministry somewhere else.”


Topic Working as an Employee Own a successful    Small Business Own a successful   Franchise business Operate successfully in a Network Marketing business
Average start up costs Zero $80,000 $80,000 – $800,000 $50 – $500
Average hours worked per week 45 80 80 15 – 25
Weekly income $200 – $700 $500 – $1500 after a 3-year start-up $500 – $2000 after a 3-year start-up $500 – $5000 after a 3-year start-up
Needed to succeed Show up and perform your job well with a good attitude Multiple skills, money and good mentors (9 of 10 fail within 4 years) Multiple skills, money & good mentors (Success almost guaranteed because you are buying good mentors) An outstanding company, multiple skills, good mentors (9 of 10 fail)
Job security Uncertain Quite certain(after 4 years) Quite certain (after good training) Quite certain
Chances you can retire financially independent? Depends on the job Quite good Quite good Quite good
Coachability required to succeed Moderate Moderate Quite high Extremely high


[Note: the numbers above may have changed since this was written but the ratio comparisons between the different choices are still relatively the same… dennis.petersen]


From the above chart, it is clear that we will rarely achieve financial independence by simply working as an employee. Basically, we will only earn enough to survive. That is not a fulfillment of God’s will for us to be lending and not borrowing. Therefore I feel Christians must reach for more than just gainful employment. We should be stretching for the rest of what God wants us to become.

Let’s look at the possibility of beginning our own businesses. The Small Business Administration in the U.S. says that the average small business costs $80,000 to set up. These costs are out of the reach of many people, as is the $80,000 to $800,000 to purchase a franchise.

So the only workable possibility for creating wealth for many people will be to become involved in network marketing. You can start for $50 to $500 and operate out of your home. Your risk is small, and, generally, about 90% of it is refundable if you just can’t make it go. You do not need an office or employees or payroll taxes, nor do you need to set yourself up as a corporation. In addition, there are many tax benefits to operating a small business from your home. We recommend a whole book in this area at the close of this chapter.

[Note: There are primary reasons why people are stuck in the rat-race.  One is the difference between what people with different mindsets buy on ‘payday.’  Can you imagine just what the poor, the middle class and the wealthy buy on payday?  For a short video breakdown of the differences between them, check what Tim Sales has done at:]

From Shopping Malls to Network Marketing

Shopping malls were the business boom of the ‘60s. Network marketing was the business boom of the ‘90s. Although network marketing (also called multi-level marketing and consumer direct marketing) has been around for more than 50 years, it virtually exploded in the ‘90s. Currently over $100 billion of product is moved annually by network marketing.

Why are Network Marketing Companies flourishing in general?

There are several reasons why the ‘90s was the decade for explosive network marketing growth. Society is finally ready for a marketing system that markets and delivers directly through and to consumers. Delivery services make the shipping of packages simple, fast, and effective. Toll free numbers are easily and freely installed, and can operate right on top of any existing phone line in your home, letting your home line double as a business line, also. Computer tracking of down-lines removes all the paperwork previously associated with network marketing. People are more ready to shop from home than ever before. “Cocooning” is one word being used to describe the mood. People enjoy the hassle-free aspects of home shopping, with no busy or snowy highways, no standing in long checkout lines. Placing an order on a toll free line in one or two minutes replaces all this unpleasantness, and the product is at your door in two to four days.

The downsizing of major corporations has thrown multitudes of people out of work and shown the nation that there is no job security in corporate America. Over 3.8 million executives, administrators, and managers lost their jobs in the 1980s. Each day in the 1990s, 2650 people lost their jobs. There is no longer job security in working for someone else.

People are looking for freedom, independence, the chance to be their own boss, to have control over their own lives and schedules, and to determine how much free time they will have. Many are unhappy in their current work and do not like the bosses for whom they are forced to work. Network marketing offers a way out of this entire rat race, and once again lets them be in control of their lives.

Note: Despite the misconceptions of many about home-based networking types of businesses, the truth is that those who stay committed to persistent and regular activity in a proven and legitimate business enjoy significant benefits that many people are not aware of.  The challenge is to find the right business that fits for you. dennis.petersen


As a network marketer, you have a one-minute commute to work, can usually work in comfortable clothes, and have a better ability to obtain financial freedom. The average home-based business household earns $50,250 a year. This is almost double the $26,000 annual salary the average U.S. employee makes. About 20 percent of all home business households earn in excess of $75,000 a year. Over 30 million businesses are listed as home-based businesses in the U.S. That is approximately 44% of all U.S. households.

The home-based business allows you the opportunity to miss the “Three Cs” of big city life: crime, congestion, and corporate stagnation. Of those who work at home, 98% say they are happier, 96% would recommend working at home, and 88% would never return to the corporate world.

The top five positive effects of working from home are listed as:

1) feeling more relaxed,

2) having a healthier diet,

3) taking more time off,

4) exercising more often, and

5) having a better marriage and sex life.

Fifteen years ago, Alvin Toffler looked at the future in his book, The Third Wave. “The most striking change in the Third Wave Civilization,” Toffler wrote, “will probably be the shift of work from office and factory back home.”

Integrity, Diversity and Profitability that cannot be found in other business endeavors

Because of competition between network marketing companies, current companies offer many more services to their distributors and customers than ever before. The integrity of the network marketing industry is growing at a rapid pace. For example, one of the companies I work in has been in Inc. 500 (which lists the 500 fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S.) for five years in a row. And, it has received an “A” financial rating all five years. This is the highest financial rating a company can receive, and only a handful of other companies in the history of Inc. 500 have received it for five consecutive years. Talk about network marketing companies hitting the TOP! Another company I work in went from $0 to $100 million in sales in its first twelve months of existence and from 0 to 120,000 associates in its first two years! This has never happened before.

Note: The truest indicator of integrity for any company is a combination of the company’s sustained long-term success in the marketplace along with its public recognition by trusted institutions and non-compensated endorsers of the company’s business manners.  Since most companies go out of business within five years, it is risky to put your heart and soul into building a business with a company just because of your satisfaction with a product.  The choices made by the company with regard to people in management and how they use their profits will determine whether or not they stay in business and outlive the enthusiasm of starting up. dennis.petersen


By the end of the 1990s, network marketing became the marketing revolution of the decade. The person who sees this marketing shift continuing to take place, carefully researches the various companies, and participates in the very best, will be in an outstanding financial position by the time he works his company consistently for three years.

The rewards for Believers who are perceptive, discerning and diligent to study

I believe part of being a prophetic individual is that you are able to sense shifts in the winds which blow across the earth. I believe there is a wind blowing which represents a massive shift in the way we purchase our goods. If this is indeed true, the Church (which is people like you and me) has an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate its prophetic nature by sensing this change in marketing approaches and being on the forefront of it. The fruit will be that they reap the financial spoils that come to those who lead in taking the land of business back for the Lord.

Network Marketing — the Optimum Business Opportunity

Let’s review again the reasons network marketing is such an outstanding vehicle for achieving financial freedom.

  1. Minimal capital required for start-up.
  2. No employees. This means no hiring, firing, workman’s comp., etc.
  3. Limited paperwork because the company’s computer handles all sales volumes and commissions due.
  4. Low overhead because you work out of your home.
  5. You have immediate, unlimited income potential.
  6. You have a flexible schedule. You choose where and when you will work.
  7. You have no territorial restrictions. You generally have access to several nations. You can actually vacation in various nations of the world and build your company while on vacation.
  8. You have many tax benefits since you are self-employed (even if you are also employed by another company).
  9. You feel independent because you have no boss. Everyone on your team works together towards everyone’s success.
  10. It offers an exciting and challenging career and a chance for personal growth and development.

A Couple of Questions to Ask Yourself

Note: If you are willing to be honest with yourself then that is the beginning of transformation.  It might take some willingness to change your priorities, to commit to a new learning curve or find new friends willing to help you improve yourself, but the results will undoubtedly be life-changing. dennis.petersen


Are you financially free today? Are you able to lend and not borrow? Are you able to create and release money for the Kingdom of God? Are you doing exactly what you enjoy doing? Are you free to spend all the time with your family you desire? Are you able to spend all the time in ministry that you desire?

If you are not happy with your answers, what are you going to do about it? If you continue to do the same things you have been doing in the past, you will continue to reap the exact same results you are experiencing today. One definition of insanity is to do the same thing you have always done and hope for different results.

If you are not totally satisfied with your answers, you need to begin doing different things so you can get different results. If you are not willing to make this step, you will always struggle with unfulfilled dreams and hopes and will not live to fulfill the destiny God has given to you. Please do not let this happen to you. Please take the steps necessary to change your life today. It is your life. You are the one who has to live it. It might just as well be full to overflowing, rather than encumbered with limitations that God never intended for His Church to bear.

About 95% of Americans retire with limited incomes and no financial freedom. This need not be in the richest nation in the world. If you become one of these 95% it will have been your choice. I pray that instead you choose to become wealthy enough so that you can freely lend and not borrow. In future chapters, I will show how you can do this.

Thought: If you do what 95% of the people you know are doing, you will get the same results that these 95% are getting. You must choose to do what the 5% are doing.

God spoke the following prophetically in our midst:

“People have dealt with business; churches have dealt with business; ministries have dealt with business; now, I, the Lord, shall deal with them through business. Sound the trumpet call. The ground that was called business shall now be Mine and My enemies shall surrender and My adversaries retreat, and the spoils of battle shall be divided among the victors as a trophy of their inheritance.”

In the next chapter we will explore ingredients to look for in an outstanding network marketing company.

Note: Does God want you to have wealth?  Whether you think the answer is yes or no, the question becomes clearer when we acknowledge who owns the wealth of this world in the first place.  Psalm 24:1 says “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”  It all belongs to God anyway.  Jesus said in the parable of the “minas” that “a certain nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return.”  He then tells of distributing the management of his wealth to different servants who were accountable to make it prosper.  Here is a profound Biblical truth.  Why does God give his people the power to make wealth?  Deuteronomy 8:18 says “that he may confirm His covenant.”  Has God given Christ’s true followers a “better covenant?”  Is it also being “confirmed” (verified and proven) by prospering the “works of your hands” as described in the Bible?   What is the promised result of God’s wisdom?  Proverbs 8:18 says that part of the result of God’s wisdom being exercised in one’s life is “Riches, honor and enduring wealth.”  You don’t need wealth in heaven.  And there is a difference between mere “riches” (or money that disappears rather fast) and “enduring wealth” that keeps on returning an economic blessing (like a prosperous business or the recurring seasonal produce of a piece of farmland).  As you take charge of your own financial destiny under God’s sovereign authority as His “Steward” then you can look forward to meeting your own needs and planting the overflow of your efforts into things that will expand the kingdom of God by doing the ‘works’ of empowering or assisting others. dennis.petersen

What about investing?

In this book, I have not addressed the issue of investing, through which many have acquired wealth. One book which lays out a number of sound principles concerning investing is entitled The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton, published by Stoddart Publishing in Toronto, Canada. If interested in investing, you may want to read it. A few of his principles follow.

  1. Don’t invest in any mutual fund that does not have a 10-year consistent success record of a high rate of return (perhaps 15-25 percent every year).
  1. Make sure the same man is overseeing the fund who has overseen it for the last 10 (profitable) years. When he retires, withdraw your money, because you have no idea if the new manager has any expertise.

These two simple rules will put you on pretty good footing if you choose to invest.


Additional Reading:

Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

Your Destiny by Robert Natiuk

Financially Free by Dennis Windsor

Business School for People Who Like Helping People by Robert Kiyosaki



Think and Discuss

  1. What are the four ways of establishing financial freedom? Which ones have you tried? How well have they worked? What would you have to do differently in the future to achieve your financial destiny?


  1. Why is society ready for network marketing in the 21st century? Do you agree with these reasons? Do you think there is a shift toward network marketing in our society in the current decade such as there was in the ‘60s toward shopping malls? Why or why not?


  1. Are you currently financially independent? Are you in the position where you can lend and not borrow? Are you able to spend all the time with your family and in ministry that you desire? Will you be able to retire financially independent? If not, are you willing to make whatever changes are necessary to get satisfactory answers to these questions?


  1. What are the blocks that would keep you from making the necessary changes? How can these be overcome? Will you overcome them by the power of the Holy Spirit?


Access this book at this link: click here

Ethical Network Marketing

by Mark and Patti Virkler ©1997

with notes by Dennis Petersen – 2012


Chapter One

What Type of Business Is Best for You Today? –  page 2

Chapter Two

Examining the Network Marketing Industry – page 9

Chapter Three

Our Nation’s Move Toward Natural Health – page 20

Chapter Four

Choosing What To Sell – page 25

Chapter Five

Cultivating Spiritual Skills Through Network Marketing – page 28

Chapter Six

Learning to Communicate with Power and Conviction – page 33

Chapter Seven

Becoming a Successful Networker – page 40

Chapter Eight

Practical Tips for Successful Growth of your Customer Base – page 53

Chapter Nine

How Far Will You Let God Stretch You? – page 59

Chapter Ten

How to Effectively Handle Objections – page 62

Chapter Eleven

Establishing Your Career Path in Network Marketing – page 70

The Platinum Rule

The Platinum Rule is the Golden Rule going the ‘extra mile’ - by Dennis Petersen

Ziglar quote help enough peopleSatisfying your own desire ultimately comes down to helping others reach their goals.

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will *pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38

The ‘golden rule’ preached by Jesus is commonly known as “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Right?  So what is the ‘platinum rule?’

Well, what if the other person isn’t interested in what would make you happy?  Doing what you like for them might be a complete waste of time.  How are you going to find out about how to treat them?

Whose goals govern your actions?

When you decide what you want – what your goal is – your next step is to find out who you can help in reaching their goals.  Their goals might compliment your goals or they might not do a thing for your goals.  All that matters is that you selflessly grasp the eternal principle that is built by design into this universe: the key to accomplishing your desire is to find others to help in reaching their desires.

Remember the universal law of sowing and reaping?

 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7

Imagine sowing helpful and empowering insights and strengths into the lives of others without primarily thinking, “What’s in it for me?”  Yes, I know, we are all wired to think about ourselves all the time.  Just watch a child for awhile.  Listen to ‘em whine about getting their way.  How many full grown adults live in a constant state of thinking about themselves, about their needs, their worries, their priorities… without much thought about others at all?

 “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:4

Imagine how refreshing it would be to be surrounded by people who really think like that and live that way.

How would you like to work for a company where that is the resounding mission that resonates from every coworker?  How would you like to have a church family where that is the conviction of every leader and every parishioner?   How would you like a community where that is the code of ethics practiced by all your neighbors?  How would you like a family where that is the lifestyle from morning until bedtime?  How would you like to be the embodiment of that concept and begin a complete reformation of your culture?  Imagine… thoughtfully and intentionally helping people reach their goals.  What a relationship-building concept.  And it all starts with you.

“And the LORD will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and give strength to your bones; and you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”   Isaiah 58:11

Sounds like a pretty good result doesn’t it?  Who wouldn’t want that for themselves?  So, how does this manifest?  Check out the verse immediately preceding that promise.  Like most promises from God, there is a condition… it starts with the little word “if.”

 “And if you give yourself to the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then your light will rise in darkness and your gloom will become like midday.”   Isaiah 58:10

But a charitable attitude is something you can have toward not only destitute people.  Why not have that attitude toward those we interact with on a daily basis?

“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual up building.”  Romans 14:19

Sowing and reaping

It’s as obvious as any law of nature that serves to guide our own actions in almost every area of life we can think about.  As we sow, so then shall we also reap. That’s something you can truly have faith in because the Creator built it into the fabric of our experience.  It’s an unchangeable law decreed in heaven.  It guarantees that for every deliberate human effort we will receive a multiple reward. For each handful of seeds planted, a bushel is reaped.  For every good idea shared with another, many more ideas will be given to us in return.  For every loving act of helpfulness, a life of love is harvested in return, and that translates into a life full of legacy.

Giving to the poor has certain results.

“You shall generously give to him (the poor), and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings.”  Deuteronomy 15:10

Have you seen God’s promises to bless the “work of your hands?”

The work of your hands is the substance from which the Lord generates his blessing of increase.  And it’s not just about what you produce mechanically with your manual labor.  It is the promise for your productivity, your creativity, your profitability, your increase in wealth, your increase in the ability to provide for your needs and the needs of others.

“The LORD will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you.” Deuteronomy 28:8

The outcome of tending to YOUR business?

 “…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.”  1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

 “In all labor there is profit, But mere talk leads only to poverty.”  Proverbs 14:23

We all face a major challenge today.

Will we commit our ambition to grow up and stand up to learn how to positively overcome the challenges of a changing world or will we allow ourselves to be beaten and depressed into a state of complaining and bitterness as a victim of circumstances? (more…)

Who Can You Truly Help?


Parachute Mind works when openWhose Lives Can You Influence With Positive Benefits?  Who Are the People You Want To Talk To?

Who Are the Ones Most Open Minded To What You Have To Share With Them?

To everyone who absolutely loves to help other people,

Unless you love ‘beating your head against the wall’ and constantly feeling like you are in the business of ‘convincing’ people against their will, you must finally come to grips with the fact that there are really only a minority of the people out there who are even interested in hearing what you have to say.  Who are they?  You can find them easily because their mind is actually working— and working in their favor..  It kind of reminds you of a parachute… It only works when it’s open!  It’s the open-minded people who are actually willing to discover something that they don’t know and are willing to really admit that they don’t know what they don’t know.

Do you want to know how to spot those who are open-minded?

Open-minded people are constantly excited about their personal discovery of new things.  But more importantly, they’re eager for developing their life.  They’re serious about improving their health.  And they truly want to be better stewards of their resources.  They’re not afraid to be ACTIVE receivers of the blessing of the Apostle John’s wish where he said, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2).

How can a person honestly say they want to receive the goal of that prayer IF they’re unwilling to do their part to adjust their attitudes and behaviors that will enable the desired result to manifest in their own life?

Have you noticed that our society has unfortunately promoted a rather negative and cynical attitude that easily rubs off on many people who are inclined to be more pessimistic than optimistic?

Now I realize that you have to try your best to get along with everybody.  But does that mean you have to ‘spin your wheels’ wasting much of your energy and time with people who really don’t want to better themselves?

There’s an important lesson we need to learn from the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ, who said that you need to “shake the dust off your feet” and move on.  Imagine that.  Even when you’ve got the most life-changing and positive message to give someone, if they don’t receive what you have to say, pack up and find someone who is OPEN.   There’s a reason it says “the humble shall inherit the land and delight in abundant prosperity” – the humble one is the one who knows he doesn’t know it all and is open to hear what you have to say – explore undiscovered realms of life-building insights.

It isn’t a bad idea to start out a conversation with someone and ‘take their temperature’ to see if you’re going to have a short conversation or if they’re someone who you might want to dive a little deeper with.  Try something like: “Hey, I thought of you and wondered if you’re open to see what I’ve been discovering lately.”  If they respond with cynicism, sarcasm or condescension, just tell them, “Oh, that’s okay, did you hear the weather forecast for next week?” and move on to other topics.  Don’t even try to engage their mind.  It’s not working anyway!  Remember the parachute?

On the bright side, don’t let their pessimism wear you down.  Be encouraged with the hope that there really are a lot of people out there who are plenty happy to hear what you have to share with them.  Start asking questions that reflect your honest care for people.  Ask them what would make them happier than they are right now.  Ask them if they’re open to a new idea.  Ask them if they’d like to make a difference in the lives of those they themselves care about.  Ask them if they have taken the course you just learned about on how to …be healthier, …save more of their hard earned money, or …leverage their time to get more done and have more time to do the things they like to do.

With some people, if you’re brave, you might even be able to ask them something like this: “You wanna know what I learned about people that are open?  … Turns out that they are the same people who like to better themselves, improve their health and make more money so they can do more good in the world!”  Then you could follow up with another question like, “Can you think of anybody who thinks like that?” … and laugh with them if they seem to be good natured enough to engage with you.

You might think that everybody wants to solve their problems and find solutions for the things that cause them pain in their life.  But if they really did want that – solutions for their problems – then why aren’t they actively pursuing it?  Sometimes we have to rekindle the hope, inspire the optimism and rebuild the curiosity that makes people want to discover new things.  Just be careful not to ‘cast your pearls before swine’ if you know what I mean.  For an energetic young optimist, that’s one of life’s hardest lessons to learn.  The only ones you can help… really help… are those who really want to be helped.  You ‘gotta wanna’ have the results bad enough to exercise some initiative to get what you want.  And if a person doesn’t respond to you with some energy …some interest …some sincere curiosity, you must not let them drag you into an argument that goes nowhere.

So, don’t forget this one.  It’ll save you a lot of wasted time and energy.  Test the waters.  Ask some good questions to see if they’re open.  Don’t be afraid to taunt them a little bit if you have a good rapport with them.  But don’t ‘show your hand’ too soon.  See if they’re ready to activate their mind.  And when you’re confident that they are ready, just give them a few nibbles to see if they really want more.  Make a plan with them to talk again later and see if you have something that really can help them.  Let the curiosity factor ‘work’ on their subconscious.  That way they’ll be ready to hear you with both ears when you’re with them again.