Apparently our minds are important

First it was “A Million Little Pieces,” by James Frey. Now “The Secret,” by Rhonda Byrne, is the self-help book everyone is talking about.

I haven’t read it, or seen the movie, or listened to it on tape, but people say it’s basically about using mind over matter to get everything you want in life. Big secret. I’ve been promoting that, and practicing that, for years.

“How do you wear shorts in the winter without getting cold?”

That’s what people always ask when I stroll down the street sporting bun huggers in the middle of January. And honestly, instead of how, they should be asking, “why?” (It’s because I have unusually short legs for being a six-footer, and long pants apparently make me look dumpy, like I’m “walking around with a full diaper,” as one on-looker so descriptively pointed out once. So I brave cold weather in shorts as a matter of style and taste).

But the key to wearing shorts in the cold is no secret. It’s all about mental toughness – telling yourself to “suck it up.”

“Wipe away those tears, Michelle,” I’ll say to my inner demons. “Everyone gets cold and wet and has searing windburns on their legs to the degree where hair won’t grow in those spots anymore. But you’re the only one crying about it. So quit blattin’, keep truckin’, and pretend you’re in a steamy, secluded hot spot.” What a great self pep talk. And let me tell you, I could have never fit into my high school gym locker in real-life, but the thought of sheltering myself in there with a pile of moist physical education skivvies has kept me warm on many a frigid day.

My method works, and always has. What’s unbelievable is how many people never caught on. I say mind over matter, people laugh. Oprah says, “Buy ‘The Secret,’” and now women will never complain about being cold in July again.


It’s not just about staying warm. If you want to be successful in any area, it all starts in your head.

Say you’re at work and nothing seems to be going your way. Look across the room at some co-worker and pretend that he/she is trying to sabotage your career.

“Why does Rick keep looking at me and smiling? Oh no. I bet he already met his sales quota. How? It’s only halfway through the month? Wait, why is the boss patting him on the back. Aw jeez, I bet he sent her a thank you note for the golf balls she sent us for Christmas. That snake, we all agreed we wouldn’t. Hold on, did they both just glance over here? I bet Rick just told her that ‘the team’ was concerned about my health and productivity levels lately, and that he could pick-up my slack if I were ‘let go’ to get my life in order.”

Pure fiction, but if that little inner dialogue doesn’t light a fire under your butt, nothing will.

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