Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Power of Opposite Thinking

Al was the third of his parents’ eight offspring.  A sickly child, he couldn’t attend school, and it wasn’t until he was nine years old that his family could afford private tutors.  He proved to be an eager student, though, and developed into a competent chemist by the age of 16.  His father was a businessman and an inventor, which helped fuel Al’s keen sense of curiosity.  He loved to learn and taught himself five languages!  He also figured out how to live with adversity.  Several of his father's businesses went bankrupt, but all Al saw was that his dad kept trying and never gave up.

By his early twenties, Al’s fascination with physics and chemistry had led him to start tinkering with his own inventions.  His father owned a mine, and Al started experimenting to find new and more efficient ways to blast through rock.  He initially tried gunpowder, but it was too unpredictable.  Nitroglycerine had recently been discovered, and even though it was extremely dangerous to produce, Al built a factory to manufacture it while searching for a safer way to detonate the explosive.  It was more dangerous than anyone realized.  One day, a freak explosion at the factory killed several people, including Al's younger brother.

Al was devastated, but became even more determined to create a safer way to detonate the Nitroglycerine.  After several years, he experienced a breakthrough, leading to his invention of dynamite and the blasting cap.  His product was much safer, and resulted in immediate benefits to companies working on tunnels, canals, dams and other construction projects.  Al opened up 90 factories worldwide, and soon became very wealthy as a mass producer of dynamite.  What troubled him, however, was that various government entities were buying his dynamite to arm their military forces.  It happened so quickly that Al decided the only way to keep the peace was to make his dynamite available to opposing nations as well.  He believed that, if both sides owned dynamite, neither would use it against the other.  He was wrong.

Later in his life, a strange series of events took place.  When his older brother passed away, the newspapers mistakenly thought it was Al who had died, and they ran his obituary instead of his brother's, with the papers referring to Al as, “The Merchant of Death."  Al was actually a pacifist, so of course this troubled him, and he decided to do something about it. 

A few years later, Al passed away, and his family was surprised to learn that he had created a secret will.  He died a wealthy man, but had left very specific instructions.  Nearly all of his money was to be used to create something entirely unique in the world.  It took a few years to get it into place, but eventually the wish of Alfred Nobel, the so-called "Merchant of Death," was fulfilled:  his fortune became the basis for the most prestigious awards the world had ever seen, with annual international prizes bestowed in recognition of cultural and scientific advances in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology, Medicine, Literature, and, of course, Peace.
For more than 100 years, the Nobel Peace Prize has recognized individuals and organizations that are true catalysts for furthering peace and goodwill among humankind.  Recipients have included Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter.  And few people remember that Alfred Nobel was the inventor of dynamite, since he used his own belief in more positive goals to become the ultimate supporter of peace.

Perhaps you can use the power of opposite thinking in your life.  When you experience difficult relationships or have a disagreement with a loved one, don't wait for the other to say they're sorry... do the opposite.  You have the power to apologize first, and if you do, you may turn grief into gratitude.  If you find yourself struggling with money difficulties, perhaps it’s time to think about how to put your passion first.  By following your passion, money becomes a secondary focus, and significance becomes the new currency of abundance in your life.

Sometimes opposite thinking is staring us right in the face.  You get to choose how you want to read this word:  is it impossible, or is it  I  M  POSSIBLE?  Just remember that it’s all about your mindsets and what you choose to focus on.

Until next week…

Live Your Dreams

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