It seams that in all aspects of life, many of us are failing.

·       Most marriages end in divorce: most of those that don’t are still unhappy
·       Most retirees can’t survive without Medicare – which we all know will soon be broke.  Even most retired doctors can’t afford to buy their wives a new washer and dryer set!
·       Most new businesses never make it past their first anniversary
·       Most Americans bog down our medical system and die of totally preventable diseases
·       Most lottery winners are broke again in less than 5 years
It should be quite obvious that if you want to end up differently, you’re going to have to be different.  You’re going to have to become a contrarian, someone who acts contrary to the common and popular way. 
We’ve all heard that the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things but expect different results!  What you maybe haven’t heard or thought of is that what you do is a direct reflection of what you believe.  “Every thought seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later into act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.  Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bad fruit.”  (James Allen in As A Man Thinketh)  If you believe that the world is flat, you will turn around before going too far.  If on the other hand you believe that the world is round, you’ll confidently continue on your journey.  If you believe that only stupid or evil people believe or act differently than you do, you will treat those people with distain.  However, if you believe that diverse backgrounds give others legitimate reasons for acting and believing differently, you will treat them with the same dignity and respect that you wish to receive from them.
So, if you want to change the results that you are getting, the first place to start is with a close and honest look at how you believe the world works.  What are the cause and effect relations you expect?  Where do you expect to find the resources you need?  Do your actions reflect a firm belief, or rather demonstrate an inner core disagreement with your own words?  And what exactly is success for that matter?
It all starts with challenging your core beliefs, your paradigms.  Before anyone can truly prosper, his or her mind must be right.  The “impossible” will never happen.  And even if it did, you wouldn’t believe it.  So if you want to realize prosperity in your own life, there are four Laws, or Paradigms, that you are going to have to study and experiment with until they become a part your core beliefs.
 The Cross of Prosperity
“The devil made me do it.”  “That’s just who I am.”  “I didn’t have a choice.”  How many times have you heard or said these words, or some variation of them?  The core belief that makes these statements possible is the generally assumed Law of Coercion which states that “If you want something, you’re going to have to take it.  And if you want someone to do something, you’re going to have to get either a bigger stick or a bigger carrot.”   In this “survival of the fittest” psychology of external control everyone is either a conqueror or a victim, either you’ve got the stick or you’re trying to get it.  And those who are successful and prosper, they’ve got it.  “Carrots and sticks” may be anything or behavior that is intended to control or manipulate another person, to cause them to do what they would not otherwise choose to do. 
In stark contrast is the Law of Choice which represents the core belief that no one can force another to do anything and that who you are is a direct result of choices you have made.  In this model a person influences others by helping them better meet their own personal needs, while at the same time being purposeful in how you yourself respond to the environment around you.
One can become wealthy with either model, but which model will lead to the greatest success?  If happy healthy relationships with family and friends, co-workers and employees, neighbors and nations are part of you vision of success, then you are going to have to start living a life of choice.
A choice salesman is the exact opposite of the proverbial “used car salesman”.  Rather than spending all his time and effort attempting to “close” a prospect, the choice salesman becomes a problem solver.  He spends his time discovering the prospects needs and motives, then helps find the most satisfactory solution possible, irregardless of whether that solution involves the product or service he represents.  In effect he becomes a win-win transaction engineer as opposed to flimflam artist.
Similarly, a choice manager never needs to resort to termination threats, nor does she rely solely on monetary compensation to retain her employees as do “boss managers”.  This is because she understands that job satisfaction has more to do with feeling valuable and appreciated, having fun, and fulfilling a sense of purpose and meaning.  Therefore her job also becomes one of discovering the needs and motives of her employees, and balancing them in a win-win solution with those of the organization.  By involving her team in problem solving, she not only confirms their value and purpose, but also maximizes the efficiency and success of the business.
Successful parenting also involves teaching children how to make responsible choices just as fast as their mental development will allow.  Those who rely on power and coercion to control their families soon find themselves out of control and out of touch.
How different would our international relationships be if we spent as much on mutual win-win problem solving and trust building as we do on deterrent building and intervention?
Freedom of choice is something we all cherish, but too often we forget that the best way to keep it is to give it.
One of the greatest barriers to living and practicing a life of choice is the common belief in scarcity.  While it is true that there is only so much gold, only so much oil, only so much land, it is also true that there is an unlimited abundant supply of creativity, limitless energy, and endless resources.  By their very existence, each person brings a wealth of potential to the marketplace.  Here is how Steven Covey describes the difference.
Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.
The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.
The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.

People with an abundance mentality believe the following:

  • "The more I sell, the more there is to sell."
  • "The more I give, the more there is to give."
  • "The more I know, the more there is to know."
  • "If I need money, I'll find the money because there is plenty of it."
  • "If I need people, I'll find the people because there are lots of great people.”
  • "If I need ideas, the ideas will come because needs never come without solutions."

Having been raised in a dog-eat-dog survival-of-the-fittest mind set, most of us initially find the notion of abundance implausible.  And indeed, many fortunes have been built by raping the land and its inhabitants.  But this can not be called success.  Success, real satisfying success, never comes at the cost of integrity – that quality of life that comes from living with an integral balance of body, mind, heart, and soul.  “For what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but loose his soul?” 
And the corresponding result of scarcity thinking is equally misguided; that in order for the disadvantaged to get “their fair share”, wealth must be redistributed either through graduated taxation or nationalization of assets; a strategy which only stifles creativity and further alienates the classes.
With a belief in abundance though, neither of these need ever happen.
It was Aristotle who first said “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.  And that is particularly true of humans.  What good is an architect without a builder, or a doctor without a nurse?  Together however, miracles can happen.
I like a good western story probably a bit more than the next guy.  But one of the biggest myths, a myth common to all of western society, is that of the “self made man”.  No man really ever “made it” on his own, and trying to do so is one of the most common impediments to prosperity.
In his landmark book Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill identifies the creation of a “Master Mind” as one of the most striking similarities between the ultra rich.  The reason for this is the synergy that occurs when people work interdependently rather than independently.  Again quoting Steven Covey:
"When properly understood, synergy is the highest activity in all life … What results is almost miraculous.  We create new alternatives - something that wasn’t there before."
So what is a master mind?  Hill defines it as the “coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people, for the attainment of a definite purpose”.  Working independently we are limited to our own knowledge, experience, and time.  In an interdependent master mind though, we exponentially leverage ourselves with the time, experience, and knowledge of others to achieve many times what we could otherwise do on our own.  Who’s knowledge and experience could you tap into to make your dreams a reality?
The fourth and final arm of the Cross of Prosperity is altruism.  This paradigm is closely allied to the Abundance Paradigm, for if you really believe in abundance, then you can easily afford to be generous. 
Taught by nearly all religions, but argued by nearly all academic philosophers, altruism is difficult to demonstrate, yet simple to experience.  Though a person’s motives can always be questioned and second guessed by others, he will know in his gut the real motive behind his giving.  And although altruism is a prerequisite to meaningful prosperity, personal prosperity is not the goal.  Rather, the goal is to be an agent of change.
You see, in the abundant world each of us are merely conduits, or siphon hoses.  What goes in one end must come out the other.  And what comes out this end must go in that one.  So if you want increase the volume of your inflow, you’ve got to clear away anything that might be blocking your outflow.  By giving, you will create a receiving vacuum that constantly pulls in more for you to give.  In other words, altruism is the power behind success.  Which brings us to the defining question.
Trying to describe success is kind of like the proverbial blind men trying to describe an elephant by what they feel; it will be different for each person.  However, there will be some common characteristics.
One common misunderstanding regarding success is the expectation that at some point we should “make it”, we should get there.  The reality though is that you will never “get there”, because success is a journey, not a destination.  Success therefore is not about how many goals you achieve, but about how well you travel.  And the contentment you find on this journey, the mark of traveling well, will come from finding your own unique balance; finding the proper balance of body, mind, heart, and soul (The Cross of Life); work, play, love, and worship (The Cross of Action); freedom, fun, belonging, and purpose (The Cross of Mental Health); safety, nutrition, exercise, and love (The Cross of Physical Health); listening, sharing, giving, and releasing (The Cross of Relationships); job, self-employment, business, and investment (The Cross of Income); earning, saving, spending and giving(The Cross of Money)… well you get the point.
How you define and achieve your personal balance, which is also a moving target, will in turn be a direct result of what you discover as you seek and pursue the Cross of Knowledge – as you seek to Know Yourself, Know Your World, Know Your Purpose, and to Know Your God.
Not a seeker?  Please reconsider, for if you’re not seeking you’re not growing.  And if you’re not growing you’re dieing.  And dieing is certainly not success.
For more help and guidance on your quest, please feel free to visit us online at .  The resources there are continually being updated and expanded.
First of all, because you live in a world of abundance, understand that you are already wealthy. 
Second, because you are already wealthy, you can afford to start being generous now.  Don’t wait until you have “made it”, because as we just said, you’ll never “get there”.  So put your money and your time where your head is, and start giving now.
Third, accept that where you are now and where you will be tomorrow, is mostly a function of your own choices.  Sure we all start at different places, and we all have “life” dump on us, but how you react and what you do with how much or how little is given to, or taken from you, is totally up to you.
Fourth, start assembling your own Mastermind of mentors who will help you get where you want to go.  Surround yourself with people who have similar ambitions, people who know more than you do.  If you believe in a benevolent Higher Power, be sure to include Him or Her.  Some help you will get for “free” and some you will have to pay for.
And finally fifth, never quit.  Plan, implement, assess, learn, and repeat.  Follow this, and your life will be full.
For many of you, this journey will lead you to become a social entrepreneur, a business owner who has dedicated her profits to helping others.  In a way, you can think of this type of business as the ultimate fundraiser.
The Cross of Income, which I alluded to earlier, teaches that that there are four places income can come from – a job, self-employment, business, or investments.  Each have their advantages and disadvantages.  But for the person who has yet to establish a reliable source of passive income, a business can be particularly attractive.  By definition, a business or enterprise is a systematized money machine that can operate without the ongoing attention of the principal.  And in addition, a social enterprise is a self-sustaining business that cannot be stopped because it is doesn’t horde the income; it’s giving creates a vacuum in “the Universe” which continually pulls assets in.  That is why I call it the ultimate fundraiser.
Typical scarcity based fundraisers, because they assume money must be coerced from those who “have too much”, never become self-sustaining.  Each and every year, the process has to be started all over and repeated again.  Donations have to be re-solicited.  Auctions and walk-a-thons have to be re-produced.  A new class of volunteer sales-persons must be recruited and trained.
In contrast, a social entrepreneur with an abundance/altruistic mindset will be thinking “What can I provide that people want? What can I give that will start a siphon of money that I can give away?”  By definition, a business or enterprise is a systematized money machine that can operate without the ongoing attention of the principal.  And in addition, a social enterprise is a self-sustaining business that cannot be stopped because it is doesn’t horde the income, it’s giving creates a vacuum in “the Universe” which continually pulls assets in.
If this sounds like a lifestyle that you would like, I invite you to visit a website specifically designed to help beginning and established entrepreneurs find the balance and success that comes from becoming social entrepreneurs.  You’ll find it at  Please join us in bringing success and prosperity to our world.
Copyright © 2010 by Lon Peckham

© The Peckham Foundation