Tag Archives: Attention

23 Ways to Control Your Attention to Succeed


“23 Ways to Control Your Attention to Succeed” by Joan Y. Edwards

Most of the information in this blog post came from a handout Copyright © 1988 from Bjorn Secher Achievement Systems in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 1988. I’ve reworded some of it to make it more meaningful.

You are today where your attention has brought you.
 You will be tomorrow where your attention takes you.
You cannot escape the result of your attention.
Attention is your most vital tool…Bjorn Secher

Is your focus scattered with distractions? I’ve had a little trouble focusing my attention lately, too. So I thought I’d read over notes I saved from Bjorn Secher. He was an expert in focusing attention in the 1980s. Reading these ideas might help you focus your thinking and feelings to achieve your goals.

Thought is the key to your success — and thoughts start from a single source…your attention. For increased health, happiness, and success, a change in your attention is essential. In the following, review how your attention influences every moment of your life.

Write 3 of the following statements that appeal to you on a 3″x 5″ index card. Refer to it 10 times a day for a month. It will help to activate your self-awareness and thereby automatically instigate positive behavior changes. Attention is the flow of your thoughts, consciously or unconsciously, in one direction or another, either positive or negative.

  1. When you focus your full attention on something with your thoughts and your emotions, you give it strength, energy, and power. It automatically becomes your priority.
  2. What you relate and identify with becomes your reality, positive or negative, depending on the focus of your attention.
  3. Any road can become a scenic route, depending upon your attention.
  4. Your attention creates the way you perceive the world around you.
  5. The direction of your attention determines what you see, think, hear, and feel.
  6. In any given situation, two interpretations of the same situation exist. Your attention with its beliefs and emotions decides the outcome.
  7. You are not responsible for other people’s actions, but you are always accountable for your own reactions. Your reaction depends upon how well you control your attention.
  8. Control your attention and you control your destiny.
  9. No event, situation, or circumstance can influence your thinking or emotions before you allow your attention to dwell upon it.
  10. When you deliberately change the focus of your attention, it is the first step for a discovery of possibilities that have existed all along.
  11. Attention with its beliefs and emotions is the basis for all decisions.
  12. By changing your attention, you automatically change your mood and attitude.
  13. Depending upon your attention, the problem will appear as an opportunity or turn an opportunity into a problem.
  14. Changing your attention with its thinking and emotions is the beginning of challenging any belief that you assumed was true in the past.
  15. To loosen shackles of your negative assumptions, place your attention on the concept of possibility.
  16. There are always new possibilities, answers, solutions, and techniques for a person with creative, open-minded attention.
  17. Attention creates images — and images are life’s controlling mechanisms.
  18. When you change the focus of your attention, you enter a whole new world and ways to think and act.
  19. Your good intention gets the job started; your controlled attention finishes it.
  20. Commitment and attention are synonymous. It’s very difficult to have one without the other.
  21. Your attention is your constant companion.
  22. In your attention lies the secrets to your strength, determination, and endurance.
  23. The most important thing to remember is wherever you fully put your attention, you will succeed.

When you concentrate your energy purposely on the future possibility that you aspire to realize, your energy is passed on to it and makes it attracted to you with a force stronger than the one you directed towards it.
― Stephen RichardsThink Your way to Success: Let Your Dreams Run Free

Thoughts Become Things… Choose The Good Ones!
― Mike Dooley

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”
James Allen

Thank you for reading my blog. I hope these ideas help you focus your attention to receive what brings you joy!

For the Giveaway from February 7 through midnight February 21, there were 3 people who left a comment. Thank you very much.

  1. Kathleen Burkinshaw
  2. Carol Baldwin
  3. Linda Andersen

Random.org chose Number 2, so Carol Baldwin you win a free logo image with the favorite saying from this post or a saying of your own to help focus your attention. Please email me at joanyedwards1@gmail.com to let me know so I can create it for you.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2017 Joan Y. Edwards


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  1. Bjorn Secher. Your Appointment with Success: The Way to Get Rich:
  2. James Allen. As a Man Thinkethhttps://www.amazon.com/As-Man-Thinketh-James-Allen/dp/1514698692/
  3. Joan Y. Edwards. “God Will Show You How” by Mary L. Kupferle public domain:  http://wp.me/pFnvK-1c
  4. Mike Dooley. Choose Them Wiselyhttps://www.amazon.com/Choose-Them-Wisely-Thoughts-Become/dp/1582702330/
  5. Stephen Richards.  Ask and the Universe Will Provide: https://www.amazon.com/Ask-Universe-Will-Provide-Straightforward-ebook/dp/B01FWWKSSY/



33 Books to Harness the Power within You

Copyright  © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

“33 Books to Harness the Power within You” by Joan Y. Edwards

In a former blog post, 28 Craft Books to Help You Get a Grip on Writing, I said that you should read 100 books that empower you to believe you can do what you want. You have unexplored and unknown power within you. You need books to help you build and improve on the belief system inside you. Look for sources that match up with your personal needs to meet your goals. Locate books, DVDs, and CDs of the great thinkers, philosophers, and motivators. Read books that teach you how to harness the power of your beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, and attention to reach your goals. There are hundreds of positive thinking books out there. Below I named 33 books that I believe will be beneficial to read. Check for them at your local library, borrow them from a friend, or buy them from a used-book store.

God is within each one of you. He wants you to achieve your goals and dreams. “Believe and it shall be granted unto you.”

Focus on what you want. Where you focus your attention is what you’re going to get.

Be grateful for what you have. What you are grateful for, you will receive more of it.


  1. Bjorn Secher. Your Appointment with Success: The Way to Get Rich: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Appointment-With-Success-Rich/dp/0811901971/ Shows the importance of your attention and your thoughts in reaching your goals and getting what you want.
  2. Bob Proctor. You Were Born Rich: http://www.amazon.com/You-Were-Born-Rich-Proctor/dp/1920909028
  3. Creflo Dollar. 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want: The Anatomy of a Successful Life: Creflo Dollar tells you the importance of watching the words you say. He also tells the importance of reading the Bible. He says that if you change your thinking you change your life.
  4. Duke Robinson. Too Nice for Your Own Good-How to Stop Making 9 Self-Sabotaging Mistakeshttp://www.amazon.com/Too-Nice-Your-Good-Self-Sabotaging/dp/0446673862/This book aims to help you let go of your need to please everyone. Help you to say “no” and feel wonderful about it.  Help you to stop trying to control, save and protect others and simply support them.
  5. Earl Nightingale. The Strangest Secret. http://www.amazon.com/The-Strangest-Secret-Earl-Nightingale/dp/161720286X/ Think in abundance. Your thoughts attract experiences to match them. Nightingale motivates you to clear thinking and action.
  6. God’s People. The Holy Bible.Empowering words are found here: “Ask and you shall receive…Love is patient…Love is kind. Believe and it shall be given to you.”
  7. Gregory Hartley. Get People to Do What You Want: http://www.amazon.com/Get-People-What-You-Want/dp/1564149935/ You’ll find practical answers of how to win people over.
  8. Hale Dwoskin and Jack Canfield. The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace, and Emotional Well-Being: http://www.amazon.com/Sedona-Method-Happiness-Emotional-Well-Being/dp/0971933413/ This book helps you release feelings that keep you stuck in fear and nervousness. When you release the feelings, you can think clearly and make better decisions. You will be able to accept yourself and others better.
  9. Henriette Anne Klauser. Write It Down, Make It Happen-Knowing What You Want and Getting It: http://www.amazon.com/Write-Down-Make-Happen-Knowing/dp/0684850028/This book explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them.
  10. Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Chicken Soup for the Soul: http://www.amazon.com/Chicken-Soup-Soul-Jack-Canfield/dp/1558749209
  11. Janine Driver. You Say More than You Think: http://www.amazon.com/You-Say-More-Than-Think/dp/0307453987/This book explains a meaning of body language. It could be beneficial in describing your characters, as well as insightful about you personally.
  12. Jeff Keller. Attitude Is Everything-Change Your Attitude, Change Your Life: http://www.amazon.com/Attitude-Is-Everything-Change-Attitude/dp/0979041031/  This helps you see how your attitude can affect your life and tells you how to change it. 
  13. Jennifer Baumgardner. You Are What You Wear: http://www.amazon.com/You-Are-What-Wear-Clothes/dp/0738215201/ Dr. Baumgartner helps readers identify the psychology behind their choices, so they can not only develop a personal style that suits their identity but also make positive changes in all areas of life.
  14. Joel Osteen. Your Best Life Now: http://www.amazon.com/Your-Best-Life-Now-Potential/dp/B0026IBY1I/This book tells you to focus on using your skills and strengths to reach your goals. Joel’s philosophy is that God wants only the best for his children. This book gives you seven steps to a happier you.
  15. Joyce Meyer. Living Beyond Your Feelings: http://www.amazon.com/Living-Beyond-Your-Feelings-Controlling/dp/0446538523/ She discusses the way that the brain processes and stores memories and thoughts, and then – emotion by emotion – she explains how we can manage our reactions to those emotions. By doing that, she gives the reader a toolbox for managing the way we react to the onslaught of feelings that can wreak havoc on our lives.
  16. Kate Marshall and Dave Marshall. What I Love about You: http://www.amazon.com/What-I-Love-About-You/dp/0767923154/ It would be fun to answer the fill in the blank questions in this book about yourself, as well another person you love.
  17. Keith Harrell: Attitude of Gratitude: http://www.amazon.com/Attitude-Gratitude-Keith-Harrell/dp/1401902006/ Memoir of Keith Harrell and how he overcame stuttering and became a motivational speaker through a grateful attitude.
  18. Keith Harrell. Attitude Is Everything-10 Life-Changing Steps to Turn Attitude into Action: http://www.amazon.com/Attitude-Everything-Rev-Ed-Life-Changing/dp/0060779721/  10 steps to build positive attitudes and rid yourself of negative baggage. Tells how to line up actions to meet your goals.
  19. Louise L. Hay. You Can Heal Your Life http://www.amazon.com/You-Heal-Your-Life-Gift/dp/1561706280/ Louise says that if you are willing to do the mental work, almost anything can be healed. You create your experiences by your thoughts and feelings.
  20. Maxwell Maltz. Psycho-Cybernetics(Mind Steering): http://www.amazon.com/Psycho-Cybernetics-New-More-Living-Life/dp/0671700758  Your subconscious mind steers you to success or failure depending upon your beliefs in your subconscious mind.
  21. Merl Runion. How to Use Power Phrases to Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say, & Get What You Want: http://www.amazon.com/Power-Phrases-What-Mean-Want/dp/0071424857/ Speak without fear of misinterpretation or negative emotional responses. Master six basic methods for crafting power phrases for any setting and every social, professional, or interpersonal situation.
  22. Napoleon Hill. Think and Grow Rich: http://www.amazon.com/Think-Grow-Rich-Napoleon-Hill/dp/1612930298/ Do what you love as a service to others to grow rich.
  23. Norman Vincent Peale. You Can If You Think You Can: http://www.amazon.com/You-Can-If-Think/dp/0671765914/Dramatic, heartwarming stories of how men and women — of all ages and in all walks of life — transformed their lives and careers by following Dr. Peale’s philosophy of positive thinking. Learn to develop the vital knowledge of inner power to carry you over every obstacle.
  24. Paul J. Meyer (2003). Attitude Is Everything: http://www.amazon.com/Attitude-Is-Everything-Paul-Meyer/dp/0898113040/  Your attitude affects every facet of your life.   
  25. Rhonda Byrne. The Secret: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Rhonda-Byrne/dp/1582701709/ This book shows you the results of controlled attention, beliefs, and the power of attraction.
  26. Robert H. Schuller. Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do: http://www.amazon.com/Tough-Times-Never-Last-People/dp/0553273329/Reading this book helps you realize it’s not the end of the world. It leads you to “I have the power” thinking. It helps you say, “There is enough. I have an abundance of everything I need.”
  27. Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. What to Say When You Talk to Yourself: http://www.amazon.com/What-Say-When-Talk-Yourself/dp/0671708821/ This book has great ideas to boost your spirits. Do something for others. Set goals that have action steps with them.
  28. Steve Chandler. 100 Ways to Motivate Yourself-Change Your Life Forever: http://www.amazon.com/100-Ways-Motivate-Yourself-Third/dp/1601632444/ Steve Chandler explains the nature of achievement. He doesn’t merely give you encouragement, he gives you options.
  29. Stuart Smalley and Al Franken. I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me! Daily Affirmations: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Enough-Smart-Doggone-People/dp/0440504708/Hilarious affirmations including: Today I will laugh at least once. When I visit family, I’ll stay in a motel.
  30. T. D. Jakes. Let It Go-Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven: http://www.amazon.com/Let-Go-Forgive-You-Forgiven/dp/1416547339/ Jakes shows you how to hurdle hurt and live in joyful freedom when you let go and forgive.
  31. Terry Cole Whitaker. What You Think of Me Is None of My Business: http://www.amazon.com/What-You-Think-None-Business/dp/051509479X/ This book helps you realize there is an abundance for you of whatever you need. It leads you to self-empowerment.
  32. Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer. How Full Is Your Bucket: http://www.amazon.com/How-Full-Is-Your-Bucket/dp/1595620036  When you treat others in a positive way, you fill not only their buckets but yours as well.
  33. Wallace D. Wattles – The Science of Getting Rich, The Science of Being Great & The Science of Being Well: http://www.amazon.com/Wisdom-Wallace-D-Wattles-Including/dp/1612931057/ The Science of Getting Rich is the basis for the movie The Secret. It explains the laws of attraction.

Thank you for reading my blog. Leave a comment. Please share your favorite positive thinking books with me.

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Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story

“Put Universal Conflict, Theme, and Emotions in Your Story” by Joan Y. Edwards

Editors ask: What is the universal theme of your story? information book? article? poem?

What do you answer? Are you clueless? Perhaps I can help.

I went to the Oregon Coast Children’s Book Writers Workshop in Oceanside, Oregon from July 12-16, 2010. I was sharing a poem I wrote. The editor wanted to know what was my poem’s universal theme. What I had thought was a universal theme was really not universal. It was regional or subjective. Therefore, I did research to find out more about the subject of universal theme.

But first you have to know what your conflict is. To gain more readership, make your conflict one of the universal conflicts listed below.
What does the main character want that he cannot get or have?
Conflict adds excitement and suspense to the story.
What disturbed him beyond belief? What is the cause of distress for the main character?
What disrupts the business as usual of the main character?
What happens that the main character may try to ignore but cannot? He has to deal with this problem, internally and externally.

The internal conflict comes when the main character has to choose between two solutions to the problem: one moral, one immoral; one against his family rules; one against club’s rules; one that might hurt his friend, one that might hurt himself; one that might win the trust of his friends, one that would make him untrustworthy, one that makes him a liar, one that makes him tell the truth; mixed emotions add the tension to the story and make people want to read it to find out what the main character decided to do and what the consequences were for his actions….did it bring him closer to the goal, or bring him to his last breath.

Universal Conflicts
In a story you have one of the following universal conflicts played out:
Man against Man
Man against Self
Man against Nature
Man against Society
Man against Family
Man against the Universe
Man against Machines
Man against Institutions
Man against God
Man against Time
Man against Destiny

Never fear: Your story will probably fit into one of the universal conflicts listed above.

Goals Main Characters Struggle for, Search for, Need, Want
Acceptance, Admiration, Ambition, Approval, Attention, Authority, Awareness, Beauty. Belief, Belonging, Choices, Commitment, Community, Compassion, Cooperation, Courage, Dedication, Dream, Education, Equality, Experience, Faith, Family, Friendship, Godly love, Good, Gratitude, Heroes /Heroic Figures and Actions, Honesty, Honor, Hope, Human Relationships, Humor, Identity, Independence, Individuality, Innocence, Justice, Laughter, Law and Order, Live forever, Love, Loyalty, Marriage, Money, Morality,
Nature, Nonviolence, Passion, Peace, Perseverance, Possibilities, Power, Principles, Rebirth, Redemption, Religion, Respect, Responsibility, Romance, Sex, Spiritual enlightenment, Success, Taxes, Time, Trust, Truth, Understanding.

Forces Opposing Main Character, Keep Him from Reaching His Goal, Struggle Against, Has to Triumph Over, Doesn’t Want, Opposite of Goal, Perils of, What the Main Character Doesn’t want:
Accusation, Alienation, Ambition, Authority, Beliefs, Betrayal, Blame, Challenge, church, Coming of Age, Competition, Corruption, Country, County, Court, Crime, Death, Deception, Despair, Destruction, Disallusionment of adulthood, Disapproval, Distrust, Envy, Etiquette, Evil, Faith, Family, Fate, Fear, Forbidden, Freedom, Future, Government, Greed, Grief, Guilt, Handicap, Hatred, Hospital, Initiation, Injustice, Institutions, Jail, Jealousy, Justice, Lack of compassion, Lies, Loss, Materialism, Nation, Nature, Nature as dangerous, Oppression, Past, Power, Persecution, Poverty, Prejudice, Pride, Prison, Problems, Punishment, Rebelling, Rejection, Religion, Responsibility, Revenge, Rules, Sacrifice, Schools, Self-Doubt, Shame, Society, Taxes, Time, Town, Tragedy, Vengeance, Village, Vulnerability, War.

After you finish writing your story or when you’ve finished your outline, what has your main character learned from his conflict? What did the main character learn in his battle against one of the conflicts listed above? This is the theme. Make it a universal theme shared by all mankind, so that all of mankind will want to read your book.

The Universal Theme
The universal theme is the story’s (author’s) view about life and how people behave. It is the statement the story makes about society, human nature, or the human condition that the author wants to convey to readers. It’s an observation about life that can apply to any and everyone representing the conflicts, dreams, hopes, and fears across cultures and continents, and from generation to generation. It could be the moral to the story, a teaching, or an observation. It transcends race, gender, sexual preference, and creed. Some examples are love, peace, friendship, and other concepts about life.

Universal themes exist because people worldwide go through the common human experiences of being born, experiencing anguish and joy, and dying come from emotions and that touch and can apply to any and all cultures, genders, ages, sexual preference, creeds, geography, historical periods, and genres.

The universal theme is the story’s (author’s) view about life and how people behave in a particular situation. It is a statement the story makes about society, human nature, or the human condition through the author’s words and characters. The theme is universal when it transcends race, gender, sexual preference, creed. cultures, continents, and generations representing the conflicts, dreams, hopes, and fears such as: love, peace, friendship, and other concepts about life that can apply to any and everyone.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Conflict of Nature against death
You do not have to worry about dying and death. It’s a natural thing.

Law and Order Television Series by Dick Wolf
Conflict of Good over Evil – Dick Wolf presents both sides of the issues
Even with the latest technology and evidence, police and district attorneys do not always win their cases against evil.

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Love against society, family, death
Love can be so passionate that one would prefer death to living without the loved one.

Here are links I went to find information about universal themes:



Universal Emotions

Emotions Are Universal.

Put emotions in your story. It makes your characters come alive. One way to make your story have universal appeal is to add the tension of opposing emotions. We all feel mixed emotions every day. Should we do this? We shouldn’t do that. It’s smart to do this. How could I be so stupid? How could he be so naive? What’s the wisest choice? What are my choices? Do I get a choice? When a character has two or three choices and none of them are very good, it’s tension time for reading and living, and it makes the reader want to turn the page.

All people experience emotions. Putting believable emotions into your story will help it reach more readers.

Here are Paul Ekman’s Big Six Emotions

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions Robert Plutchik used the above six emotions and added two others below:

Ekman’s Eleven Other Basic Emotions
Pride in achievement
Sensory pleasure

The Sedona Method by Hale Dwoskin gives nine emotions
Nine Emotions

Nine States of Emotional Empowerment by Swati Chopra

Swati Chopra from New Delhi, India says the nine rasas are:
Distress (hunger, discomfort)


Here are websites with information about emotions:

http://library.thinkquest.org/25500/index2.htm Great gives text descriptions of body when feeling 6 basic emotions
http://www.clipartguide.com/_search_terms/feelings.html Great! Pictures matched with emotions

I hope you enjoyed my blog post. I hope I enlightened you, rather than confused you. Please let me know if I helped you make your writing appeal to more people, to make it more universally appealing. Capture this universal appeal and you’ll capture an editor’s heart!

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog, I would be honored if you would. The sixth person to subscribe to my blog after May 12, 2010 from the left hand column where it says, “Sign Me Up Here,” will receive a free paperback copy of my book, Flip Flap Floodle, a little duck who never gives up on his song. Don’t give up on your writing. Never Give Up on winning and resolving conflicts that come your way.

You are a published author in your mind, before you get that way on paper.  You can do it. Yes, you can.

Please write a comment below. Click on comment and scroll down to the bottom of the page.


Never Give Up
Live with Enthusiasm
Celebrate Each Step You Take

Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2010-2016 Joan Y. Edwards

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