As we move into the New Year, I would like to share with you what most people say was Napoleon Hill’s most important Law in his timeless and legendary book, Think and Grow Rich.  It’s called, Accurate Thinking.

The opposite of that – inaccurate thinking – is the one thing that I believe gets people locked into a life full of mediocrity and complacency. Instead of boldly living and creating the life that God desires for them where they thrive.

There are many other things that are characteristic of people who settle instead of pursuing what they really want such as: timidity, fear, comfort, and laziness.

Most people simply lie to themselves to cover up the obvious, to paint a prettier picture, to pretend as though something is what it isn’t. This goes for all aspects of life: love, money, health, etc…

I have been thinking a lot about reality lately and it’s time we talk about Truth in OUR life. In order to achieve the health and life God intends for us to have, we must first change our perspective of reality.

“…The truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

God’s Word can help us in every season of life. It grounds us in our mind to focus on heavenly goals, by helping us to think accurately. The reason accurate thinking is important is because it’s the source for all other decisions.  It’s the source to be able to judge and discern what the ultimate price tag for life is: OPPORTUNITY vs. COST. God provides us many opportunities, but many times we are not willing to move on these opportunities for fear of the cost—mainly self-sacrifice, where we put aside our selfish desires of the flesh and focus on God’s desires for our life.

For me, opportunity vs. cost is a huge part of the victory equation for life.  When you do something to move you toward success NOW, you aren’t doing something else that simply takes up your time with a wasteful use of it.

Thinking accurately about your reality will lead to better decisions in all aspects of your life.

Tomorrow is the first month of the year; here are some key things to think about:

– Where did you plan to be in your life or maybe your career one year ago?

– Where are you right now in reaching those goals?

– Where do you want to be one year from today?

After asking those questions, attempt to accurately assess what the gap is between where you want to be and where you are right now.

Once you do that, you must then ask yourself what is going to be different in your life. What is going to change, improve, develop, etc. in order to close those gaps?

In my opinion here is the “GAP” for most of us, and why we failed to achieve everything last year: “too much us and not enough Him.” All goals and plans of the previous year were about us and not about His goals and plans for us.

If we are going to progress, something must change!  Albert Einstein said that one definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results!

And that’s the craziest part about all of this. When people state their goals and plan what’s next in their life without accurately assessing the how’s, why’s, when’s, what’s and most importantly Who’s it about… it throws a monkey wrench in the whole process.

Here’s a point that may or may not seem rather obvious: Not assessing leads to wrong thinking; detailed assessment leads to accurate thinking.

As example, people may say that their goal for this next year is to get healthy. Yet they spend most of their time doing anything but the things that they need to do to get healthy, this includes accurate thinking.

People will say they need a special gadget or magic pill to achieve health, but then list all kinds of excuses why this isn’t possible, or they can’t find their magic bullet, etc.  The reality is they really don’t want to take the leap, to take on the responsibility and be held accountable to achieve their desired health they were designed to achieve.

Personally, people live lives of pretend scenarios all the time—when reality is staring them in the face.  Mostly it’s because people shy away from risk and do instead what makes them feel good in the moment.  But in order to move to the next level in anything, you have to base decisions on future rewards, not immediate ones.

Yes, it’s what you did yesterday that leads to today’s results.  That means today dictates tomorrow.

Yet, most people live in today only, waking up tomorrow miserable as if it were a flashback… usually because it is.  They live as if they were in the Jim Carey movie, The Truman Show.

If you’ve never seen The Truman Show, I recommend it.  It is about the ultimate reality show, where a little baby is born onto a huge and elaborate Hollywood studio built to resemble the ideal small town setting.  Truman grows up on this set thinking that it’s real life, never realizing that he is trapped inside a make-believe world.

Most people stay stuck, just like Truman did for most of the movie.  They are content to settle for a life of survival and small experiences, never setting sail to the end of the world just to find out what’s there and if there are bigger opportunities where they can truly thrive.

So what are you waiting for?  Is it a fear of failure?  Let me put your mind at ease:  If you shoot for the stars and only hit the moon, you have still made great progress.  Don’t be afraid to go for more. Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

If you do nothing else for yourself at the beginning of 2013, set sail towards something that God desires for you, go discover, try new things, and find out what you’ve been missing.  Don’t sit by casually, wasting away with opportunity all around you and watching other people get the best of life, as God intends, while you settle for leftovers.

Of course, “tomorrow” decisions are always more difficult, complex, and even scary.  Yes, they can be hard because they are full of uncertainty. They lack immediate gratification by sheer definition.  IT IS TOMORROW after all!

Making decisions today for the benefit of tomorrow often causes pain, sacrifice, and many other things that are uncomfortable. In those uncomfortable times, remember our faith must have action. Thus persevere and press on.

Here is a trustworthy saying:  Anything worth having is going to require sacrifice on the front end so that you can enjoy the rewards on the backend.  That is how God designed life.  But the leftovers are for people who only go after instant gratification and couldn’t care less about discipline, hard work, and sacrifice up front.

You will find courage in your decisions and confidence in your direction when you first seek God’s guidance, and accurately assess where you are so that you can map out a plan to get where God wants you to go. This will give you clarity about opportunity versus the costs that you are paying for staying in “today” and thinking status quo thoughts. It will help you recognize the circumstances that you have justified but that do not actually match with your goals, desires, hopes, dreams, and sincere expectations for life God has blessed you with.

Read that one again, please.  You should be basing your life, setting yourself up for success, and stacking the deck in your favor based on goals, desires, hopes, dreams, and sincere expectations for the life God has blessed you with, NOT what other people and the world have projected or forced upon you. God does not want you to simply survive… He wants you to thrive for His glory.

My prayer is that you will have accurate thinking in all you do and in each area of your life.  Then, you will have the clarity to act decisively about tomorrow in pursuit of what God wants for you.

Yes.  Today is here now, but tomorrow will soon be.  You may suffer in the short term, but you can choose to suffer for a lifetime in an unfulfilling life, or you can choose to suffer initially (sacrifice for Him) in order to create and design the perfect tomorrow.

Until He returns, there will always be suffering in our fallen world.  However, good and Godly decisions today can lead to great things later.  Passively settling for whatever life gives you and acceptance of what is today leads only to more suffering tomorrow and in the future.

The whole concept of “live for today” that has been foisted upon society is one of the biggest lies in history.  Anyone who is living a life that thrives knows that.  You can’t just live for today and enjoy fulfillment later.  It doesn’t work that way.

Of course, enjoy today as best you can, maximize it, do something with it, but by all means don’t live for one day, because in my opinion, you’ll never leave the shallow waters.  Instead, I say, build something, do something, be bigger, better, strive for more! Live for future heavenly rewards in mind.

I personally have been stuck in circumstances that have held me back, left me frozen in life, and I squandered time away because of it.  The point being is that “I” was stuck because I allowed myself to be.  I ignored and forgot what could be, through Christ, because I was caught up in “what is” of this world.

If you’ll let Him, He will change your life, guide your decisions, actions, feelings, and ambitions.

He will give you strength, courage, and discipline to get through “what is,” and the persistence, patience, and commitment to enjoy and achieve “what can be.”

God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He does not change, You must change, or things of this world will change you.  And if things of this world change you, you might not like where life takes you.  With God, take control and dictate the direction of your own life.  Don’t let life dictate the direction for you.

I challenge you, do not base your life on what is – but what can be.

You will always find the greatest things, the sweetest things, and the most significant things on your journey to what’s possible.

I hope this helps you as you set out in this New Year and forever more.

Take care and God Bless

Dr. Ryan Bentley