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Welcome to Abundance, a program of 1001 Thanks.  This is a celebration of the good things happening in your life and the world.  I am your host, Dane Allred.  I believe you can change your life and the world by celebrating the joy, the happiness, the positive parts of this wonderful journey we call life.

In just a moment, we'll be discussing a presentation I give called “My Best Self”.  In ten parts, I document how we know when we are being our best selves.  Each of the letters of the “My Best Self” phrase represents one of the qualities which helps us be our best selves.

How  do we know if we are being our "Best Selves"?

The “M” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Makes a difference.

Now you need to know that you , individually you; the person I'm talking to right now; you do make a difference.  There is a reason you are here at this time and this place.  Someone once said it this way, “Being you is so difficult that no one in the universe has ever attempted it before.”  Now when you find the purpose for your life, you will see the difference you can make in the lives of others and in this world.  And now that I think about it, since I’ve injured myself so many times, the purpose of my life may only be to serve as a warning to others.  If I can make that difference, it may save you from stabbing yourself in the hand with a spading pitchfork, getting a free bath in the carwash, or from being stranded on a windsurfer overnight on Utah Lake.

That's why the “Y” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Yearns to be better

We all yearn to be better, to be more than we are.  We may measure our success against the successes of others, but the person we really need to be compared to is ourselves – the person we were yesterday.  Can we ask ourselves, and answer this question honestly, are we better today than yesterday?

It would seem to me that this journey of how to be better would have an ending, where we end up being our best selves, but due to the vicissitudes  of life, we become better at some things.  We lose our ability to do other things.

So your yearning to be better might need to be associated with limitation.  Like the time I saw a student do a back-flip on-stage I remembered that I could do back flips when I was young.  Now smacking my face on the stage halfway through the flip reminded me I am 30 years older and 50 pounds heavier than my back flip days.  This isn’t to say I couldn’t do back flips again, but that time may have passed.

You know what you want to be better at.  You really do, and that nagging guilt and conscience that tells you "I need to work on this"; that's what you're yearning for, and you probably also know what you need to do to get to that point.  If you aren’t sure what you want to be better at, you might want to find someone who can point out to you your talents.  Then decide how to be better; you can get a coach, take lessons, go back to school, just focus and do it.  You know what you want.  Get out there and get it done.  That's why we're blessed with all this abundance.

Now the “B” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Believes in my potential

Once you know what you want to do or what you can do, believing in your own potential is the next step.  Self-doubt has shot down many more dreams than someone saying “no” to your idea.  A lot of times we'll say no to ourself thousands of times before we actually give somebody else the opportunity to say no, in the fear that they may say "Yes".  Believe in yourself, because no one else has your potential, your goals, your vision.  Who else can accomplish what you are here to do?

The “E” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Entertains new ideas

To be your best self, you may have to entertain some new ideas.  For example, I was the first in my family to graduate from college.  That new idea gave me the opportunities I have today, and since I believed in myself and my potential, there really never was a time when I didn’t think I would graduate and be gainfully employed.  Again, there were challenges to that, called job interviews, and I did wind up working out of state for a couple of years because I had to go where the opportunities were.  But there was a time when it became a new idea to me, and I can even recall when this happened.  The ASVAB test is given by the armed services; I believe it stands for the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery.  This test  predicted I had the mechanical aptitude to be in the service.  So I got lots of mail from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and that's one of the reasons they give the test is so they can get recruits.  But thanks to that test, which also included an interest survey, I was told I could be a lawyer.  This new idea had never occurred to me, and once planted, I knew I could do it.  But that would involve college, and so I had to finagle my way into an AP History and AP English class.  That way I could get some college credit while I was still in high school.  Combined with the College Level Education Program tests, the CLEP tests I took in college, I tested out of a year of school.  I finished my undergraduate degree in three years.

The strange thing about this whole process is, remember, this idea led me to college, but then another new idea presented itself to me.  I enjoyed my student teaching so much; I never again wanted to be a lawyer.  That doesn’t mean you can’t be a lawyer if that idea has captured your imagination.  So be open to the new ideas that appear in your life.  Your potential is trying to get your attention.

The “S” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Strives for perfection

Once you have chosen a path, there’s no reason really not to be the very best at what you do.  Being our best selves means not being our second best self.  It doesn't mean we have to be better than somebody else but we're always striving to perfect what we do.  If we dig ditches, there may be some new technique you may discover that will change the world of ditch digging.  Search for the new ways, there's new techniques, there's new approaches.  There's always going to be a demand for those who have new innovations, and if you have that new idea, it may be time to share it with the world.  Remember, you are here for a reason.  Find it, and perfect yourself, and perfect the world.  We all need it.

So how?  How do we do this?  This is where the next step applies.

The “T” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Trusts in the Creative

This is where your higher power, if it's God, Allah, Vishnu, even just a concept of supreme being or creator, even if you have no religious tradition, I believe you can connect with your creative side; this has been called inspiration or the muses.  As you seek new ideas, trust in your inner creativity to connect with this higher power.  It'll give you an inspiring, new or creative idea.

Where did that idea come from, is what we need to ask ourselves?  If you think it came from you, that’s fine with me, but I believe each of us is a channel for the creative process to manifest itself in this universe.  If you talk to authors, lyricists, musicians, dancers, choreographers, and other creative people, you'll often hear of the process of creativity described as a collaboration and sometimes even just "notation-taking".  The end result is often much different than anticipated by the artist, and this creativity is an exciting chance for you to connect with whatever it is that guides our creativity.

Now I'll give you an example.  I once wrote a murder mystery which was hi-jacked by one of the minor characters.  It was supposed to be about a high school teacher, but instead the teacher ends up being a minor character in the plot and the local police officer actually becomes the hero and center of the story.  Writing is an amazing process which I enjoy immensely, but I would never take all the credit for what I write.  It’s not just me.  I will never take the credit for the collaboration I have as I create, and I don’t know how; I don't know why it works, but I am grateful to receive the help because most of the time I really need it.

So if you'll just trust that creative ideas will come to you; ways and means to implement the reasons, the ideas, the purposes you have for being here; I actually believe it will be manifest in your life.  I know it sound really short-sighted to say it in such a simple way, but I really have no other way to describe it besides, "Go out and do it.  Try it and see if it works for you."

The “S” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Succeeds and celebrates success

This second "S" may seem like a contradiction.  If we credit a higher power with help in creativity, why would we celebrate a success that is not wholly ours?  Think about the last person you tried to compliment.  Did they accept the praise, or did they try to deflect it?  Celebrating success means taking credit for the successes you've had up to this point.  You need to think about what has led you to this point.  There is a string of success trailing behind you.  To deny those minor and major victories cheapens the work you've done so far in this life.  Remember, to be alive and kickin' today when there's people in this world who weren't alive and kickin' this morning when they tried to wake up.  These are victories we need to celebrate along the way.

Reward yourself and accept that praise.  Even if you don't believe it, just say, “Thank you.”  That small validation really goes a long way to help you on your way to your future success.  We don't want to deny the compliments of other people.  It's a really bad human tendency.  If we can accept compliments and give compliments, I think celebration of those successes are very, very good.  If I can just figure out a way to stop celebrating my successes with food, I'll be in really good shape.    When I have a success, that's one of my favorite things to do; is to buy something and eat it.

The “E” in “My Best Self”, the second "E", stands for:

Expects great things to happen

An expectation of success is really key to achievement.  Self-doubt short circuits the path you need to follow to make ideas succeed, and doubts usually involve some kind of past failures.

So rather than doubt yourself, think about this phrase.  When they say “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”, this means this new day is the only day given to you to use.  This day.  You can’t access tomorrow yet, and to let the past shackle today is to deny the miracle of waking up another day.

So expect some great things.  There's a reason you woke up today.  Expect that great things will manifest themselves in your life.  Write them down.  Contemplate them.  Improve them.  Expect those things, and do things in your life to make them happen.

The “L” in “My Best Self” stands for:

Learns from everyone

Without a human connection, and without admitting that we can learn from everyone, I think you have sold short your biggest asset in this universe.  If it was just me, if it was just you that was here to do stuff, there wouldn't be a reason for all these other people.

I know there are people who think they know it all.  I think this is a really sad attitude, because  I have learned something from every person I have ever met, if I was paying attention.  Now if I’m not paying attention, I might miss one of the major lessons about to be given to me that day.

For the last few days, it's been my great blessing to notice many other people succeeding with what some people would call a handicap.  These are people who are "handicapable" if that's your choice of words.

I'm not sure why all of these people were presented to me this week, but in an amazing collection of “coincidences”, the dozen people I saw during this last week inspired me to think about how blessed my life really is.

I have full use of all of my limbs; which may surprise some of you who have listened to my “adventures”.  My health is good.  I have a good diet.  I have access to medication.  I have  doctors if I need them.  And again, we take more things for granted each day than anyone in the ancient world ever could have imagined.  It’s time to start paying attention and learn from the person standing in front of us.

What can we learn?  What's the lesson being taught by the words, actions and life of the people we meet each day?  Some of them may just be negative lessons, and we'll determine that's something we don't want to be in our life. Have we learned what they are trying to teach us?  I believe they must be in our lives for some reason.  This includes people you may  not be happy are in your life.  Let’s take some time and learn from them and maybe we can get on to the next lesson.

To get a little less serious for a second here, I'm going to summarize "My Best Self" by going to the “F” in “My Best Self”.  I'm not sure why it came out this way, but the "F" in "My Best Self" stands for:

Fearlessly forges forcefully forward

I really believe the old axiom, "If you're not moving forward, you're going backward,"  so fearlessly forge forcefully forward.

While the frequent use of the letter “F” may be the only thing you notice about the last part of “My Best Self”, this may be one of the most important parts.  Fear really is something that paralyzes us into inaction.  We're afraid to approach someone; we're afraid to try a new idea; we're afraid to do whatever it is that's causing that fear.  Fear paralyzes us into that inaction, and how can we be our best self if we are unable to act on the ideas we are given?

Here's a few other "F" words to try and help you understand how to forge fearlessly and forcefully forward.

Ferociously facilitates foresighted, foundational, futuristic, flawless focus; forever.

Which to me means don't get distracted.  There's plenty of things in this world to help us be distracted.  Surprisingly, a lot of those things tend to be on television, and on our computer, and on the Internet, and on the radio.  Focus and don't get distracted.

I also believe furthermore, feverishly factoring future fundamentally feeble-minded frugality is important.  We realize that everyone in the world does have a budget and you're going to have to understand what's available to you; what you can do and can't do because of frugality; maybe the frugality of somebody else; maybe your own frugality.  Maybe our income is only limited by the amount of money we think we should make.  Maybe our potential is only limited by the potential we feel we really have.

Also, I think some "F"'s that would help us are

we "Foresees favorable feedback which fosters fertile futures."

I really seriously believe in being positive.  It really is more than just my blood type.  If you're positive, and you think about  favorable, fertile futures, I think those things tend to manifest themselves in your life if you'll give them a chance to take root.

Negativity, doubt, all of those things can really short circuit a lot of this process.

I think you should "forecast fumbling, fanatical, fixated ferocity from formidable factionaries."

To me that just means,  anticipate some opposition.  Be glad for that opposition, because unless we bounce our ideas off someone else and they make us defend what we're thinking about embracing in our lives; maybe their feedback is really what we need.  But again, we are not going to let their negativity stop us from doing what we need to do.

I think that things like this fascinate future feckless, feeble-minded, fickle, fawning, full-blooded freaks.

If you can make it interesting I think there's are a lot of people who are going to try to find out what's going on with that.  For some reason, things that are interesting give us some distraction, but also give us some enjoyment.  So, I can't think of another reason why, as I was pursuing one of my great distractions this week, cruising around on YouTube, why a website called Brainiac would explode watermelons with dynamite in slow motion to classical music.  It was very interesting to watch, but again, there's a lot of things people will watch just because they want to see it.

We're talking about "My Best Self" and focusing on finally the "F" of "My Best Self".  This program is meant to emphasize the positive and I hope we're having a good time today raising your spirits on Abundance with Dane Allred.  Today we've been talking about "My Best Self" and we are about to finish up what is the "F" in "My Best Self".  I've been tossing around a few "F" words, but not the kind you're thinking of.

I think that if you are your "Best Self" you would frequently foster formal, full on, full out, full-tilt, full-circle, full blown, full-bore, forward-looking freedom for faithful fellows.

What that all means is I think you would really encourage others.  If "Your Best Self" is not encouraging the ideas of other people, I'm not sure that is "Your Best Self".

We've already discussed distractions so you do need to factor frequent fantasies from fumbling, flabbergasted fools. Watch for those fantasies, don't let them distract you.

Fanatically feature familiar face-to-face fictions, which means you may need to tell your story to somebody over and over again to help inspire them.  We used that word inspire earlier in the program and if you think about the way we use the word inspiration, we not only use "inspire" and "expire" as a way to describe breathing in and breathing out.

But, a breath of fresh air, "inspiration", can be something that comes and rejuvenates us.

So make sure you are inspiring and rejuvenating those people who are supporting you.  Fervently, fervidly, foster fantasy, fluency, faithfulness, familiarity, fastidiousness, fearlessness, fortitude, forgiveness, felicity, friendliness, functionality, and forthrightness in those friendly followers.  In other words, help them be their best selves.

Even though I don't like to get into negative talk too much, I would ask you to forbid fright, fumbling, fear, fatalism, fuming, foreswearing, forsaking, feigning, frustration, flouncing, fleering, flashiness, forlornness, fraudulence, flippancy, frailty, flattery, foolishness, and fearfulness.

I believe those all short-circuit your reason for being here.

As we sit and talk about our best self, I'm going to finish up explaining maybe why some of my adventures might seem really foolhardy to some of you out there.  In future editions of Abundance we'll be discussing how to be our best self, but I would discuss just briefly why it is maybe you can dismiss all the things I talk about because when you have no brain you have no pain.

I flunked the same English class twice, and that's another reason why you could say, "Well, this guy can't even pass an English class, I'm not sure why I'm listening to him."

But this may be the best reason for you to go ahead and discount any of this that may be inspiring to you, but you don't really want to go act on it.

I used to be the victim of frequent sinus infections.  I would go in to the doctor once or twice a year and get some antibiotics.  The doctor wanted to try and figure out what was exactly wrong with my sinuses.

I wouldn't recommend this because it really has changed  my life.  If the doctor asks to x-ray your head, put some serious thought into that.

What he had me do was tip my head back, my chin up in the air, and he took an x-ray of the top of my skull.  If you feel up above your eyebrows, your sinuses go to about that part of your head.  If you've had a sinus headache, you've had pain right there, and you know what I'm talking about. They're pictured on television with all of these sinus remedies and all the different kinds of things that can help you with those.  I have to tell you that I am personally acquainted with nearly every kind of anti-histamine and allergy medications ever been made.

Once the doctor took this picture, he came back shaking his head.  He had this picture in his hand of my skull, and he said, "This is the picture of your sinuses."

And I said, "Well, what's wrong?"

He said, "Well, you know how most people have sinuses up to their eyebrows?"  He said, "You've got sinuses all the way up to your receding hairline", which explained quite a bit.

I mean if you think about it, if you've got more sinuses, then you're going to have more sinus infections, more ability to gather all kinds of the nasty stuff that gives us infections.  But the reason I'm really not going to encourage you to have your doctor inform you about your own head x-rays.

Think about this.  I have extra sinuses, and I don't have a fantastically huge head, so logical reasoning follows that I think  I have less brains than everybody else, too, because there's only so much space up there.

Stabbing yourself in the hand, getting stuck on a windsurfer in the middle of Utah Lake, skiing down a mountain-side on rocks, skiing down a mountainside in snow without any skiing instruction, and all the various ways I've hurt myself probably have good reason now.  If you think about that, it doesn't take much brain to throw yourself into the air and flip your body around and land on your cheekbone because somebody you saw is doing a back flip and you "used could do those, too".  I "used could", too .

As we think about our abilities and freedoms, I really want you to think about what you need to accomplish this week.   Confront those fears you have about doing those things. I need you to go out and find all the reasons we have to be thankful for this abundant life.  I believe you can change your life and the world by celebrating that joy, that happiness and those positive parts of this wonderful journey we call life.

Abundance is a way to emphasize what we like in our life.  We want to eliminate the negativity and pessimism; we're really trying to accentuate the positive.

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