I don’t have any tattoos. At 77 years old it’s taken me until recently to think of anything I would want to be painted on my skin for the rest of my life. I have identified two things that have been pivotal in my life. That title above is one of them. When I was about 16 years old I used to listen to a radio program of a motivational speaker named Earl Nightingale. He said, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” That sounded about right to me. Of course, we can conceive of all kinds of crazy things, and if we don’t truly believe in them nothing will happen. So the trick is in the believing. For me, visualization plays an important part in developing a belief. I focus on what I want and visualize myself doing that in the greatest detail possible. What does it feel like? What do I still need to learn to do whatever it is? Where can I get help with that? What sort of problems might arise and how would I handle them? I imagine myself being successful at whatever it is. By keeping those images in your mind and focusing on them you will create the goal you imagined. Then, like Nike says, “Just do it”. Conceive, believe, and achieve! Earl Nightingale wrote a small book entitled “The Strangest Secret” which talks about this in more detail.
An interesting fact about this key is that once you are committed to a course, the universe seems to present you with opportunities to aid you in achieving your goal. I wanted to go to university in the United States, but my family could not afford the expense of sending me from Puerto Rico, where we lived, and pay all my university expenses. Nevertheless, I was determined and took every test that was offered in my last two years of high school that might result in a scholarship. As a result I earned a full ride scholarship to the University of New Mexico. After graduation I decided I wanted to work in something that allowed me to travel. This focus led me to become first the Assistant Export Manager and later the Export Manager of a Fortune 500 company where I earned an award from the President of the United States for excellence in exporting. As a result of using the idea of conceive, believe, and achieve I have worked as an award winning stockbroker, been a travel writer and photographer, sold real estate in St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. I joined the Peace Corps at 49 years old and served in Chile. Returning from Chile, I enrolled in a Master’s degree program at the University of Colorado to learn to teach English as a foreign language. This last goal brought me to Mexico where after teaching for two years at a university, I opened my own language school. Since retiring in Zihuatanejo, Mexico, I have begun travel writing again and also am learning about blogging. The point is the opportunities are endless. You can do anything you conceive and believe you can. An axiom of this philosophy is embodied in the words of the author C.S. Lewis who said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.
The second tattoo I would choose would be Noblesse Oblige. It’s in French and translates to nobility obligates or requires. It comes from the middle ages when chivalry and helping others was starting to be a more widespread concept. The idea is that those who have more privilege, more education, or more talent, have a duty to help those who are less fortunate. The good king or the good noble was the one who was kind and helped those not as fortunate. We may all be created equal, but we are not all born to the same circumstances.
The saying is the motto of The National Honor Society. This organization, established in 1921, is composed of high school students who have excelled in academics as well as performed leadership functions in the school or community, demonstrated good character, honesty, respect, and compassion toward others. The NHS has approximately one million members throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. I was privileged and surprised when I was chosen in my sophomore year to join this group. I have taken this motto to heart. I feel that I am fortunate to have the education and opportunities that I have. At the same time, I feel a responsibility to do what I can to help others who have not had the same. I have worked with street children in Chile. I offered scholarships to poorer students who wanted to study English at my school. I have given work to people who needed it. I volunteer with organizations like Sailfest to raise funds for the schools in Zihuatanejo. During this current pandemic, I have taken food to people I knew needed it. I feel an obligation to help where and when I can. Whenever you help others you always gain more than you give. My nearly three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chile was one of the most rewarding times of my life.
In closing, I want to dedicate this blog to all the young people that are closest to my heart. To Lorien, Edgar, Margarette, Albert, Elliot, Alice, and Juliette; this is for you. Perhaps, like for me, these words will resonate and contribute to the life that awaits you.