I recently heard something that has impacted me in a profound way.  I wanted to share it because it might do the same for you.


It’s from an author named Hal Elrod, who said this:


Where you are today is the result of choices you made in the past.
Where you will be tomorrow will be the result of the choices you make today.




Here’s what it means to me:


We tell ourselves things about ourselves all the time as if they are set in stone.  Stuff like…


“I’m terrified of putting myself out there and being judged….”
“I’m not disciplined enough to write every day….”
“I’m too shy to ever speak in public…”
“I’m not meant to stand out or be famous.  That’s for other people, but not me…..”
“I’m too old to succeed….”
“I’m not educated enough to succeed….”
“I’m not talented enough to succeed….”


                                                        and on and on and on.


We view these statements as objective truths, as if someone out there has decreed them and we have no choice but to live our lives in accordance with them.


But wait — that’s really not at all true!    We are the ones who have decreed these things, and we are the ones who choose to remember them every day and live small lives as a result of these phony beliefs.


And — here’s the key thing — if we choose to believe them, we can also choose to discard them!


Since hearing Hal say that, I’ve started making a list of the “truths” about myself that I’ve always believed – just 5 minutes here and there as they occur to me.


Things about my commitment to health, success and living a bigger life that have kept me from reaching my potential.  Stuff that was ingrained in me at a young age by things people may have said, and things that I’ve told myself over the years to stay inside my comfort bubble.


And, for each one, I’m simply asking:


  • Is this actually true or is it a false belief that I can discard?
  • How can I choose today to leave this belief behind and move forward boldly?


It’s an exciting process, and very, very illuminating.   I invite you to do the same as you think ahead toward the New Year.


You might just find that most of the “facts” you’ve come to believe about yourself are little more than falsehoods that you choose to believe about yourself.


Try leaving them in the dust and choosing something different, and watch your career — and your life — blossom.




PS:  I have a hidden motive for talking to you about this.  As writers for children and teens you are uniquely capable of sharing this thinking with young people, who can benefit greatly from leading lives without phony self-limiting beliefs.  How can you inform your writing with this message, and spark your readers on to great things?


Something to ponder, isn’t it?
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    GLyndora King
    GLyndora King
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the insightful post. It is a very powerful concept to include in books intended for children.

    Angela T. Baron
    7 years ago

    Wow! This reminds me of one of those deep messages you see written on a picture of a beach scene, with the waves rushing up the sand. It is tremendously great advice.

    I decided to try writing the list idea and checking them off as if it was a shopping list when I complete them. I hope I can stick to it.

    As far as inspiring the youth with this, I have already done something similar with many of my Fortune Cookie Friday Posts, on my website.

    Thanks for the thought provoking message.

    7 years ago

    Jon, you’re right. You can’t pass it on, until you’ve lived it.

    Lois Melbourne
    7 years ago

    I liked your PS the best. I want to see everyone in the entertainment world to be reminded that we have these powers and should use them for the right reasons. We can greatly impact our readers and we must do it purposefully and with integrity. Thank you for a great inspiration.

    Kate Longacre
    7 years ago

    So true, Jon! We’ve all heard things like, “You are what you say, or think.” “You’re a self fulfilling prophecy of doom.” – and even if we have not actually done the research, we kind of know that positive thinking is better for us. In fact, the medical community has done studies that show a more positive outlook and optimism creates a healthier life all the way around. There is something about positive statements that triggers happy chemicals in the brain. Plus, Scripture agrees with this truth. We are told to think on things that are true, honest and of good report and we will have peace of mind. It also says to not be afraid of evil tidings. So, we can all benefit from following this good advice and reject negative statements about ourselves. I’ve been thinking about this for a bit and plan to post a blog on the subject soon. Thanks for sharing!

    Meghan Campbell
    Meghan Campbell
    7 years ago

    I am so happy that Jon decided to share this message with others! I learned about this same idea years ago and try to live my own life in this way, daily working at erasing any negative beliefs I have of myself and living my life according to the positive truths God has given me about myself. In addition to being a children’s book writer and illustrator, I am also a holistic life coach, and this is a mindset I definitely encourage.

    Maxine Clark
    Maxine Clark
    7 years ago

    Thanks, Jon. It’s true. I worked as an instructional aide (teacher’s aide; classroom helper; adult friend on campus) for almost 20 years. When you know a child is capable of doing something, and you give him encouragement–letting him know you believe in him, he begins to believe in himself. When he knows someone is standing by his side, he really does accomplish the thing he thought he could not do. As for me, I didn’t write when I was 9, because I felt that I would be teased by my older brothers. also, I thought I could not write right, but I have had some things published. I really want to write picture books, and I know I can, but I have to keep on learning and trying. Thanks again!!!

    Lilia Westmore
    Lilia Westmore
    7 years ago

    Hi Jon,

    I don’t know who Hal Elrod is but I believe he knows what he was saying. I believe what he said is true because that is what I have gone through years ago; and what I shall probably go through again if I stay on the same path!!!

    It is inspiring to listen and know words that come from people who know and understand the meaning of what they say and do – at the present or in the past. I remember something like those words from my Mum many years ago – and I didn’t listen; I probably did listen but did not actually make it my own – to remember and follow!!!

    Good tidings to you Jon and the writeforkids organization. May Christmas and the coming New Year bring you the perfect gift you want!!!


    Lilia Westmore

    7 years ago

    I have come to realize this awesome truth in the last 5 years and it has changed my life. Just knowing that I am the creator of my destiny simply by the way I think, has led me to many discoveries. It inspires me every day to take on new challenges and feel that I can succeed at anything I do.

    I’ve shared this philosophy with my teenage son and hopefully it will be part ingrained in his psyche as an adult.

    Thanks for sharing and for the writing suggestion.

    Wayne Gilbert
    7 years ago

    A beautiful piece of wisdom. It is one that I’ve been weaving into a story for quite some time now.

    David Leslie Urion
    David Leslie Urion
    7 years ago

    Thanks Jon, a great piece of advice. I try and follow the same positive route in my own life, and also encourage my creative writing students to feel as positive as they can because it will unleash their imagination and produce brilliant stories, poems or comics here in Arctic Russia. So far this winter it’s working again. Or maybe with the arrival of Polar Nights we are helped by invisible writing spirits?
    Have a great Christmas and New Year one and all, and may 2016 be even better!

    Peggy Creighton
    Peggy Creighton
    7 years ago

    Jon, this is the best advice I’ve read this year. It is worth sharing and repeating often, because feelings of limitation, low self-esteem, and unworthiness are pervasive and deep-rooted. It can take a lot of work to rid the fertile garden of such deadly life-sucking weeds. Thanks for sharing.

    Sue atkinson
    7 years ago

    As a teacher I can so relate to Maxine’s post. If it takes an adult months, if not years, to change their negative self-beliefs, how much more sense it makes to develop positive self-belief in children before the negative paradigms set in!
    This has been my hobby horse for so long now and I’ve written a book for parents on this very theme called Life Confidence For Kids.
    Thanks for your words of wisdom Jon. We all need reminding to keep on track and I’m sure it’s made many of us do a reality check – including me!

    Giulietta Passarelli
    Giulietta Passarelli
    7 years ago

    Thanks Jon for the encouragement. All writers need to be encouraged and supported. The part you said about age is true. Sometimes believing in myself is not so easy and age enters in. But I’m growing and believing in myself is too. I’m 66, retired, and in college. Will complete my Associates degree by this December 23rd. And I’ve been writing steadily. Will be trying to put them out on the market in 2016. I have one middle grade novel almost done and two more started, so the spark is there and ideas keep coming, so age doesn’t really have anything to do with it. Happy Holidays and thank you again! Giulietta