My Best Advice: “You Can Do Anything You Set Your Mind To”

I’m just read through an old scrapbook from 1991 to 1993. Yup, I still have some things from nearly 25 years ago.

My little brother hadn’t been born yet, and I wrote a lot of letters to my family. Once I learned how to address envelopes and send letters, I sat down and wrote all the time. And when I got a letter in the mail, I’d get so excited. I thought it was the best thing in the world – to get a letter in the mail.

I was lucky to have a supportive family while growing up in rural Mississippi. My Mom was always there to take care of me, and I still talk to her on the phone constantly.

This letter from my Gramma is over 23 years old by now, and I still have it

This letter from my Gramma is over 23 years old by now, and I still think about it

My grandmother taught me about positive thinking early on. I’ll never forget a phrase I read in one of her letters.

“You can do anything you set your mind to.”

It was the first piece of advice that really stuck with me, and it was a good one. The letter came on June 4th, 1992. I was seven years old at the time.

The law of attraction

When I first read “The Secret,” it was like my mind blew wide open.  I finally had language and terms for all these things I thought about.

It was like reading feelings finally turned into words after so long. The basic point of the law of attraction is your thoughts become reality. You literally think things into existence.

Me and my Mom in 1989. She was a single parent at the time

Me and my Mom in 1989. She was a single parent at the time

But for years, I knew it as, “I can do anything I set my mind to.”

So now, it’s the advice I give others. Truly, it’s My Best Advice.

What else does it mean?

Embedded in that phrase are basic tenets of will and determination, decision, responsibility for your actions, and the consequences of what you wish for yourself.

You can apply it to anything.

Growing up, I always wanted to travel. Even before I new what a “point” or a “mile” was or meant, I traveled. I don’t know how I did it, quite honestly, but my god I did it.

I went to the Grand Canyon, Glacier National Park, Berlin, Paris, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Miami… and many other places.

For the time being, I’ve turned my will to FIRE, which is my plan to get my finances in order. This time next month, I hope to share good news with you guys here on Out and Out!

I’ve made a lot of progress really quickly and I can’t wait to talk about it. Almost there.

What it does NOT mean

You can have all the mental power and will and determination in all the world and some things will simply not happen.

You can wish all day and night that it will be 80 degrees in Paris mid-January. It’s not going to happen.

Say you want to gain muscle. But if you don’t pick up weights, it’s not gonna happen while you sit around.

You CAN do anything you set you mind to. But you have to hold up your end of the bargain.

You have to take action to get the things you want. Good intentions are… good to have. But they need to be paired with action. If a door opens, that’s great. But you still have to get up and walk through it.

And your goals need to be SMART:

SMART goal criteria

SMART goal criteria

We’re all working within our individual limits. Those can be stretched, a little at a time. And occasionally wide open, all at once.

Bottom line

We are all capable of so much.

Hammers can build a house or tear it down.

Hands can touch, heal, caress, or bruise another person.

And your mind can steer you in the right direction… or so far down the wrong one.

I flipped through old letters today. It made me remember where I came from and some of the things I’ve done so far.

When I was seven, my grandmother told me, “You can do anything your set your mind to,” in reply to a letter I sent her. And now here I am, blogging about it. Funny how things work out.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. “You can do anything you set your mind to” readily translates to “If Obama can win the Nobel, anything is possible.” Somewhere it will be 80 degrees in Paris mid-January. You just have to go to the Turkish bathhouse within the Mosquee de Paris. Everything is possible once you think outside the box!

  2. My favorite proverb of all time was heard while volunteering in Malawi: “when you pray, be sure your feet are moving.” love your posts Harlan!

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