The Three-Step Miracle

06.10.2016 |

Episode #2 of the course A serious person’s guide to positive thinking by Mitch Horowitz


Here is a way to start thinking differently about how you use your mind. Imagine that a genie offered you a wish, but with a catch—you had to tell him the truth about what you really wanted, otherwise you’d lose everything.

We repeatedly tell ourselves what we think we want (“a better house,” “a new love,” etc.), but rarely do we subject our desires and wishes to mature, sustained scrutiny. Often, we do not know what we want from life at all.

A powerful, simple exercise will blow open how you think about your desires. I call it the Three-Step Miracle. The exercise comes from a beguiling little pamphlet published anonymously in 1926 under the title It Works. In actuality, the author was a Chicago-based salesman named Roy Herbert Jarrett (1874-1937). Jarrett tested his theory for years and didn’t put it in writing until he was past the age of 50.

This program consists of three simple steps. Remember: to benefit, you must do them with total commitment.

1. Carefully devise a list of what you really want from life. Revise it, rewrite it, and work on it every day. Throw your certainties out the window. Keep rewriting and reorganizing your list until it feels absolutely right.

2. Read your list morning, noon, and night; think about it always. Commit to reading it in a quiet, contemplative atmosphere each morning upon waking, again at midday, and once more just before drifting to sleep at night. (Later you’ll see why this timing is important.) Carry it with you in a pocket notebook or on a laminated index card.

3. Tell no one what you are doing. You must keep your list to yourself. This is not to cultivate some air of mystery but rather to prevent others—friends, relatives, coworkers—from making casually negative comments that shake your resolve (a favorite human pastime). These dreams belong to you. They are intimate, powerful, and private.

Then, express gratitude each time results arrive.

That’s it? Yes, that’s it. How can something so simple really work? Because this exercise pushes us to do something that we think we do all the time but rarely try—honestly come to terms with our innermost desires. Most of us drift through life lazily thinking that we want a new house, a loving mate, a better job, and so on. But the things that we repeat inside can merely mirror what we believe would make us look good in the eyes of others or what our upbringing or peers tell us we should want. Or our desires may be fleeting fantasies—we want ice cream, so to speak, until the next thing catches our eye. All of this can obfuscate our most authentic aims and yearnings.

Ask yourself once more: have you ever sat down, in a mature and sustained manner, stripped of all convention and inhibition, and probed, with unsparing honesty, what you really want from life? Someone who scoffs at money may discover that he truly craves wealth. A person who has dedicated herself to promoting others may find that she hungers for the spotlight. A corporate climber may see that he just wants a quiet life at home.

You cannot harness the mental assets covered in this course unless you know where you want to go. When you do, you will discover resources that you never knew you had.


Recommended book

It Works Deluxe Edition by RHJ


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