'Your Best Life Now' by Joel Osteen

Houston televangelist Joel Osteen writes in his book, "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living At Your Full Potential," that people will become what they believe. Truly believing this is not so simple, so Osteen outlines seven steps: Enlarge Your Vision, Develop a Healthy Self-Image, Discover the Power of Your Thoughts and Words, Let Go of the Past, Find Strength Through Adversity, Live to Give, and Choose to Be Happy.

Below is an excerpt from the book.

Chapter One: Enlarging Your Vision

I heard a story about a man on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. He was a good man who had achieved a modest measure of success, but he was coasting along, thinking that he'd already reached his limits in life. One day, a friend was driving the couple around the island, showing them the sights. They stopped to admire a gorgeous house set high on a hill. The property was replete with beautiful palm trees and lush green gardens in a picturesque, peaceful setting with a panoramic view overlooking the ocean.

As the man gazed at the magnificent home, he commented to his wife and friend, "I can't even imagine living in a place like that."

Right there, something inside him said, Don't worry. You won't. You will never live in a great place like that.

Startled at his own thoughts, he asked himself, What do you mean?

As long as you can't imagine it, as long as you can't see it, then it is not going to happen for you. The man correctly realized that his own thoughts and attitudes were condemning him to mediocrity. He determined then and there to start believing better of himself, and believing better of God.

It's the same way with us. We have to conceive it on the inside before we're ever going to receive it on the outside. If you don't think you can have something good, then you never will. The barrier is in your mind. It's not God's lack of resources or your lack of talent that prevents you from prospering. Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God's best.

Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God's best.

You, too, may have assumed that you've already peaked, that you've reached your limits in life, that you will never be more successful. I'll never achieve significance, do something meaningful, or enjoy the good things in life that I've seen others enjoy. Sad to say, you are exactly right . . . unless you are willing to change your thinking.

That's why the first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision. To live your best life now, you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it.

To conceive it, you must have an image on the inside of the life you want to live on the outside. This image has to become a part of you, in your thoughts, your conversation, deep down in your subconscious mind, in your actions, in every part of your being.

Envision Your Success

From the time she was a little girl, Tara Holland dreamed of becoming Miss America. In 1994, she entered the Miss Florida pageant and won the title of first runner-up. She decided to try again the following year. She entered the same contest, and once again, won the prize as first runner-up. Tara was tempted to get down and discouraged, but she didn't do that. She stayed focused on her goal.

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