Reclaiming Your Lost Power

If you felt it once, and it’s gone, you can find it again, and keep it.

Photo by Julian Santa at Unsplash

The power to succeed.

With it, I lost 140 pounds after 25 years of dieting failure. Prior to that, I could not sustain my motivation and discipline long enough to get anywhere, sometimes not even for a day.

When I was 21, before I discovered how to create and sustain this staying power, I quit college after a series of miserable false-start semesters. I just could not handle the work and stress of a job and school. I’d be sure I was ready do what was necessary to succeed, but then, things would fall apart. However, at age 38, with a new firm grasp on staying power, I started again, got the degree, then a graduate degree, and then a Department of Health license to practice Mental Health Counseling.

At one time, when I was younger, I could not muster the stick-to-it-ness to follow through on so many dreams that one has, hundreds, the energy fading when the difficulty became apparent.

Today, among other things, I’ve built a successful private practice that has grown in good will over the years, created a nationwide organization of therapists who teach my successful weight loss methods, and I’ve written and published a book that has helped people around the world solve their weight problem.

It took a lot of starts and stops and lots of study to understand why my motivation and discipline would come and go, most of the time not staying long enough to create anything good. But eventually, I got it. You can too.

The vanishing power

There is a phenomenon that we all need to know about so that we can overcome it. I call it “The Vanishing Power”. You have probably experienced it many times. An example is when you may hear a great sermon or powerful speech and are filled with hope and enthusiasm. You walk away ready to conquer the world, confident in your coming success, filled with energy, ideas and dreams of success. And you gain traction and start getting somewhere! But, by the end of the week, the power fades, evaporates, and you wonder what happened.

When you go again to hear the preacher, the great teacher or great coach, you hear the message again, and are recharged. You set out again with that regained power and start getting somewhere again. You wonder, “How did that happen? Why did it poop out before?”

Was the power real? Was the short-term success you experienced real? Yes, of course. You felt it. You lived it. But then the power vanished. The power faded because the power of the teacher, the empowering words, evaporated, vanished, and got replaced. They were in the brain for a while, and while they were, they created a reality of their making. But when they were forgotten, literally erased and replaced, they no longer exerted their power. 
 
 We tend to think that learning is a matter of reading or hearing something, and then we know it, it is ours. But that’s not how our brains work. Rarely do we hear something once and retain it and make use of it, especially if we skipped it, discounted it, disagreed with it, or weren’t paying attention. In those cases, it doesn’t even get recorded. 
 
Even if we think it is wonderful, get enthused and find we are empowered to do what we had been unable to do, the power often fades over time, and we wonder what happened. I’ve seen this happen with more than a few of my clients. When I check, it’s like they have forgotten what was taught. The knowledge, the words, have been erased! Evaporated! Replaced!
 
 I am reminded of the parable of the sower, wisdom from a source beyond our understanding. 
 
What I teach has power when it is believed and retained, when it has taken root in the mind so that it works even when we are not. That certainly does not occur when it is not heard. But even when it is heard and understood, where a person has the surprising empowerment, the “ah-ha” revelations, the power often fades over time as the knowledge evaporates, the ideas becoming forgotten and unused.
 
I experienced this phenomenon of the vanishing power many times, always stupefied and frustrated by it until I learned about it and learned how to overcome it, how to create and sustain that power. 
 
Perhaps some can hear an important lesson once, and then make it part of themselves, never to be forgotten, impacting their life on an unconscious basis from that day forward. It often happens with trauma, like touching a hot stove.
 
However, I had to overcome the phenomenon of vanishing power by doing the work to make sure those empowering words took root, hearing them over and over so that my recorder got it, like rote, taking root and becoming a permanent part of me.

I also needed to root myself in something greater than myself, their source, with belief that this power to create was a part of me and that I was irreversibly connected to it, as a wellspring is connected to the earth.

We need to keep working, keep thinking the thoughts that keep us whole and well and make us able to create and succeed. We need to keep connecting with those words and their source. I had to keep reading them and hearing them and thinking them every day until they eventually became mine, became me. I imagine you will need to also.

Every one of my clients has experienced this phenomenon of vanishing power. Every successful person has. It doesn’t stop us or keep us from the success we deserve unless we don’t do what needs to be done to overcome it. 
 
 Keep working, keep learning. Keep growing.

William Anderson is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in weight loss, eating disorders and addictions. He was an obese heavy smoker and workaholic until his early thirties, and burned out, but survived and changed direction. He changed in many ways, among them, losing 140 pounds permanently. Health, in a holistic way, is now his mission. He is the author of The Anderson Method of Permanent Weight Loss.
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