“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them to become what they are capable of being.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Imagine for a moment that we actually treated one another with such an unbiased respect and unconditional belief that we were able to elevate each other to be the best we can be. It’s not just a military slogan. It can and does happen. I’ve experienced this kind of respect, belief and positive reinforcement in my own life.

I’ve heard and witnessed many incredible stories of how people, given little chance to live or to walk again, overcame their physical and emotional injuries to lead positive, productive lives. They, in turn chose to “Pass the salt and make a difference in other people’s lives.” One particular story I read about recently, where a man who was barely able to read was given an assignment that required him to not only read, but to speak in public and exhibit leadership skills. (I know from personal experience that man’s greatest fear is NOT standing in front of a crowd and speaking. Man’s greatest fear IS walking (or crawling) through a wall of fire.) The man’s personal transformation was called miraculous.   He was told that GOD inspired his assignment, and he took it quite seriously. He became an eloquent speaker and leader and that helped him to prosper in other areas of his life and provided a better life for his family. How can this be done you ask? Glad you did and here are some tips:

Release the prejudice. The first step is we must relieve ourselves of the limitations we place on others. Eradicate (I like the word) negativity about ours and others limitations from our mind and memory; erase the mental models and phrases like, “She’s only” or “He’s always” or “They never,” or “He can’t.” We need to stretch our mind and our imaginations and visualize, “see”, them doing something great or being something great. Change our thought patterns from the negative to think “Just because he (or she) never did that before doesn’t mean that he (or she) can’t. It just means that he (or she) has never tried before because no one really believed he (or she) could.”

“None can be more negative on its impact than the limitation on human resource capacity.” Said Musa

Forget the past. Car windshields are larger than the rear view mirror because it’s far more important to see the ‘highway’ ahead than the ‘road’ travelled. Look where you’re headed, not where you’ve been. Whatever mistakes you and others have made and wherever you and they have failed before, or the horrible way you or they have been treated, leave it go! Those issues are totally irrelevant for today. The past is the past. It’s over! Everyone has a story. Choose to change your mental models. ‘See’ yourself and them as winners, not whiners and treat yourself and others that way. It’s sequential, inside out, not outside in. You and then others. Get your own ‘house’ in order first.

“Life is divided into three terms-that which was, which is and will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present to live better in the future.” William Wordsworth

Remember your roots. We’ve developed and grown into the person we have become because someone, or in my case, many someone’s, believed in us. It was our parents, mentors, teachers, friends, God, all the above and many others. Along the way, there were (and are) people who believed in us and that belief helped us to believe in ourselves. When we stop, pause and reflect on where we began and where we are now and all those who’ve helped us and believed in us and then apply that same belief in others, the results can be (and are) amazing. Like all meaningful change, it has a beginning and middle but no end. It’s continuous.

“Believe in yourself and stop trying to convince others.” James De La Vega

Use words that encourage and inspire. Positive affirmations. A few examples like, “If I can, you can.” “You will succeed.” “You’re potential is endless.” “You’re more than capable.” “You’re smart and articulate.”

Assist them through the setbacks. I’ve discovered that few things in life have a trajectory that’s straight up. On the contrary, there are many issues from our choices that are often straight down. There are times when we ask, “What am I doing? Am I crazy for trying this? “What was I thinking?” “I should have asked for help?” Don’t let the negative thoughts get in the way. Bring them out. Talk about them with people you trust. Share your thoughts and then dismiss them. Vent! It’s healthy. Then continue with your encouragement and prayers. Caution: prayers work! Be careful for that which you pray. You might just receive it.

Encourage others to play it forward. Regardless of when and where I’m greeted by others, my reply is always, “I’m vertical, take nourishment and play it forward when God provides the opportunities.”

After a goal’s achieved, encourage others (and yourself) to establish and seek more goals and continue that pattern. I believe we have an obligation, or errand to help those around us; those who seek our help and are truly committed and enrolled in the process. What we don’t want to I do is become an enabler and weaken them emotionally, spiritually and physically. When we see others as better than they are or were and help them on their journey of self-realization and self-improvement it is one of the noblest things we can do for others. When they achieve success, it’s a win-win. Many, many others have done that for me and for you too, I suspect and often without us even knowing it. So…”Pass the salt and make a difference in all you choose to do. Make a person, place or thing a little better for your having been there.”

“Correction does much but encouragement does more.” Johan Wolfgang von Goethe

Becky Hammon was recently hired as the first female basketball coach in the National Basketball Association (NBA) by the San Antonio Spurs. She’s played professionally here in the U S and overseas for 17 years and begins her new position as an assistant coach next year.

In the Tuesday, August 12, 2014 edition of “USA Today Sports” an article written by Nancy Armour shares her exclusive interview with female basketball player Becky Hammon. “Even after all these years, Becky Hammon hears the voices in her ear,” she said. “The assistant coach at Colorado State University was constantly on Hammond telling her she was going to be the school’s first All-American. How she was going to do this. How she was going to do that,” she said. In the interview Becky Hammond said, “but when she started speaking all that, she started planting seeds. ’Yeah, maybe. Maybe I could do that if I worked really hard,’ Hammon said. “You have those people speaking really good things in your life and it grows and produces fruit later on,” she said. “But somebody had to initially plant those good seeds.”

”Hope and encouragement, especially hope, is probably one of the greatest things you can give another person,” Hammond said. “I mean, what a gift to allow that person to be able to dream, to be able to say, ‘Why not me?’ ‘Why couldn’t I be the first?’”

Hope is the thing that perches in the soul-and sings the tunes without the words-and never stops at all.”   Emily Dickinson

Life really IS like a roll of toilet paper. The closer to the end the faster it goes. When you leave this life, what will be your epitaph? What do you want others to say about you? How do you want to be remembered? When our time’s up, it’s up. No more make-ups or second chances. So…take time to be the person who others hear in their ears. Tell them how they’re going to do this and how they’re going to do that. Make the choice to become a planter of positive seeds then stand back and watch the ‘plant(s)’ grow. I know it works!!

This article was submitted by “Captain George”J Burk, USAF (Ret).Vietnam Veteran, Plane crash & burn survivor, motivational speaker, author & writer | www.georgeburk.com | gburk@georgeburk.com