Principles of Inner Victory

“The capacity to determine one’s success [in life] begins from within, from the way we see the world we live in, and the attitudes we use to approach it.  Every public victory begins in the quiet chambers of the mind and heart.” ~D. Mark Nygren

by Pete Ferguson

In college I took a course that has forever shaped the way I approach life. It is still offered at BYU-Idaho and is called Principles of Inner Victory.

I had needed two more credit hours and it was an experimental course that was to be tried out on a few of us to see how it went. It required many hours of listening to great speakers and authors expound on how to shape your thinking, and your life.

There were the classics and more popular titles. From Russell Conwell (Acres of Diamonds) to Anthony Robbins (Unlimited Power), I would sit in the small library media room with an oversized pair of headphones and move through each tape, taking many notes along the way.

In the beginning I had felt great skepticism. I remember calling out my teacher in class, asking him what right he had to promise success. He would challenge me back with deep and poignant questions. I later discovered he was teaching as a hobby, not for income. He had done very well as a coach and mentor in Michigan and didn’t need to work another day in his life.

But it took a while to get me to move out of the skepticism. My self-talk was “It’s great these authors all achieved success, but I can’t because … .”

Then I moved into an interested state of listening. I began to internalize the principles taught and weigh them against examples of victory within my own life and I found there were trails of success in following principles. I had either taken advantage of my success or missed it all together until I had this new perspective.

The common theme was watching how a belief can take hold of action and transform into a success.

Even today I’m still learning, still understanding what was discovered when I took this class.

The culminating project for the class was to write a Creed Document. Back then I was very stuck on material items, so in my final paper I spoke of riches and notoriety as major milestones.

As kind of an afterthought, I committed to the kind of friend and family member I would be.

But the key fundamentals of being able to spiritually and mentally create my future have stuck with me consistently. Like bedrock supporting a 100-level building which extends into the sky, my life is built on a firm foundation.

As life does – I’ve gone through cycles of high achievement and coasting. I’ve had times of reawakening to remember that I am the master of my fate, the architect of my destiny and overcome the slumber of mere existence.

As I get older, I realize that much of what I have yet to do on the back nine of my course in life is to shape and help others reach their true potential. It is through serving others that we grow and are strengthened. Everything else is fleeting and has a very short shelf-life.

The principles I latched onto as an 18-year-old dreamer have held true through life’s various challenges.

One story I’ve related in this forum before but has been so instrumental in how I think that it bears repeating comes from Covey’s 7 Habits and is the tale of a ship captain who is heading on a collision course with what he thinks is another ship on a foggy sea.

He commands for a signal to be sent to what he supposes is the captain of an approaching vessel to change course. The signal comes back that he must instead change his course.

In anger, the captain orders a message to be sent to the opposing vessel unveiling his rank and importance.

The returning message is simple but unwavering – yet revealing. The captain in all of his rank and prestige is headed for a collision course with a lighthouse.

No motivation, positive thinking, or other mortal strength or mastery can help us when  we are headed for a collision course with the principles of a lighthouse. The sharp rocks will not soften because of our will.

Like principles, there are many lighthouses along our path. We must respect them, steer around them, and trust them to serve us well as we heed their call to correct our course.

Learn: What defining moments in your life have revealed your principles of inner victory?

Act: Do you have a QLA? (Quiet Love Affair – with yourself) If you do not love yourself, how can you allow others to love you, and how can you serve them? Take good care of your body, mind and spirit. It will pay great dividends.

Share: While much introspection is good for the soul, it is in the explaining of things to others – a journal, friend, or Tribe – that we define our thoughts and give legs to our ideas.

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3 thoughts on “Principles of Inner Victory

  1. Great post Pete. Very insightful. Sounds like a great college course.

    Last week I told my Parents that although I am not working on a formal advanced degree, my current education is the greatest of my life

  2. Pingback: Defining Inner Strength | learnactshare

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