Article courtesy of: Winning Words "Special Edition" by Nickolove Lovemore
Imagine growing up in the projects, living on welfare. Your father is an alcoholic and he abuses your mother. In fact, one of your earliest memories is living in a battered women's shelter.
One day he even puts a gun to your head and tells you,
"I love you but I will kill you."
Imagine a childhood surrounded by gangs and drugs.
Imagine being brought up in a society where it is commonplace to avenge a life by taking a life.
How do you think your life story would unfold?
Well three boys lived under these conditions. One has been in and out of prison. One is a well-respected school educator. And the youngest, Johnny Wimbrey, is on his way to Hollywood.
Nature or Nurture? Each child was brought up under identical conditions yet each life unfolded differently. I believe that while both our environment and our upbringing help to shape our character, ultimately it is our ATTITUDE that counts.
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens." - Lewis L. Dunnington
Normally, it is said that the word 'but' negates everything before it. Yet, somehow, when Johnny Wimbrey was told the words "I love you but I will kill you", it was the words "I love you" that he heard over and above everything else. Three powerful words indeed. These words gave him hope.
He believes that his brother who is currently in prison for the third time heard the words "I will kill you". He is now serving a 40-year sentence in State Penitentiary for aggravated robbery. It might as well be a life sentence.
Johnny's oldest brother chose, from an early age, to stay on the straight and narrow. Where did that child find the strength of character? What is certain is that with every decision he made to do the 'right thing' it became just that little bit easier. He has been in the ministry since he was 18 years old and became principal of a public junior high school at age 30.
"Every moment of your life you're in a character-building process. You cannot stop the process of character-building but you can control what you allow to build your character. The very nature of who you are." - Johnny Wimbrey
So what of Johnny? For a while his life could have swung in any direction and it did. At times he was literally selling drugs on the street on Saturday night and singing hymns in church on Sunday morning. But it came to a point where he realised that he had to make a choice. He decided to turn his back completely on a life that would've most likely landed him in jail or in the morgue. Judging how his life has been transformed over the ensuing years, one could say he made the right decision.
He has gone from being an ex-drug dealer to a success phenomenon. He is a best selling author, an international keynote/motivational speaker plus a success coach and trainer. Now he is about to host his own television show - The Johnny Show.
When he announced that he wanted to host his own television show many poured scorn on his ambitions. It couldn't be done he was told. And here's an important point - never let another person dream for you; they will dream too small. Johnny wasn't deterred. After everything he has been through in his life he knew that it wasn't a question of if he could do it but how he could do it.
"Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude." - W.W. Ziege
It is said that you don't have to know how you are going to achieve your goals. You have to clearly define what it is you want to achieve, believe that you can achieve it and take action. Your initial actions may seem insignificant but you have no idea what they will lead to.
What is all the more remarkable is that when Johnny announced his intention to host his own show he didn't have any Hollywood connections. However, he didn't let that put him off. Johnny will tell you that,
"It's not just about setting a goal. It's about seeing the possibility."
He could see the possibility.
Soon after, while travelling from one of his many speaking engagements he found himself seated next to someone who had just the right connections he needed to break onto the Hollywood scene. It was the first time this person was meeting Johnny yet he offered to help him achieve his dream.
"If we are basically positive in attitude, expecting and envisioning pleasure, satisfaction and happiness, we will attract and create people, situations, and events which conform to our positive expectations." - Shakti Gawain
Sigmund Freud said you become a product of your environment. I challenge that. You become what you think about.
"Where you come from has nothing to do with where you are going." - Johnny Wimbrey
If someone with such a disadvantaged background can turn their life around and be a positive influence on thousands of people across the globe what level of success can you achieve in your own life with a positive mental attitude?
Johnny Wimbrey is one of the teachers at Success University, the online website for inspiring success training.
Read Johnny Wimbrey's book From the Hood to Doing Good: From Adversity to Prosperity Through the Choices You Make