Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potentialby Joel Osteen
If you are like most people, you have written these goals and dreams on a
Do you often dream of living a more rewarding life? Do you aspire to a better job, a stronger marriage, a happier home? Do you wish for more gratifying relationships with your family and friends? Perhaps you simply want to accomplish more and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
If you are like most people, you have written these goals and dreams on a list that's titled "Tomorrow's To Do." You can't pursue what's truly important to you because your day is crowded by the demands of mundane routines and other people's priorities. How do you break out and experience the full potential that God intended you to have? The answer lies in a simple yet profound process to change the way you think about your life and help you accomplish what's truly important. In this straightforward guide, Joel Osteen gives you a way to improve your life for good and help you experience victory, joy, and satisfaction every day!
Your journey to a brighter future begins with these seven steps:
• One: Enlarge your vision
• Two: Develop a healthy self-image
• Three: Discover the power of your thoughts and words
• Four: Let go of the past
• Five: Find strength through adversity
• Six: Live to give
• Seven: Choose to be happy
In this remarkable book, Joel Osteen offers you unique insights and encouragement that will help you overcome every obstacle you may encounter.
Your life has a divine purpose and destiny. As you put the principles found in these pages to work today you will begin living YOUR BEST LIFE NOW!
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Read an Excerpt
Your Best Life Now
By Joel Osteen
Warner FaithCopyright © 2004 Joel Osteen
All right reserved.
I heard a story about a man on vacation in Hawaii with his wife. He was a good man who had achieved a modest measure of success, but he was coasting along, thinking that he'd already reached his limits in life. One day, a friend was driving the couple around the island, showing them the sights. They stopped to admire a gorgeous house set high on a hill. The property was replete with beautiful palm trees and lush green gardens in a picturesque, peaceful setting with a panoramic view overlooking the ocean.
As the man gazed at the magnificent home, he commented to his wife and friend, "I can't even imagine living in a place like that."
Right there, something inside him said, Don't worry. You won't. You will never live in a great place like that.
Startled at his own thoughts, he asked himself, What do you mean?
As long as you can't imagine it, as long as you can't see it, then it is not going to happen for you. The man correctly realized that his own thoughts and attitudes were condemning him to mediocrity. He determined then and there to start believing better of himself, and believing better of God.
It's the same way with us. We have to conceive it on the inside before we're ever going to receive it on the outside. If you don't think you can have something good, then you never will. The barrier is in your mind. It's not God's lack of resources or your lack of talent that prevents you from prospering. Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God's best.
Your own wrong thinking can keep you from God's best.
You, too, may have assumed that you've already peaked, that you've reached your limits in life, that you will never be more successful. I'll never achieve significance, do something meaningful, or enjoy the good things in life that I've seen others enjoy.
Sad to say, you are exactly right ... unless you are willing to change your thinking. That's why the first step to living at your full potential is to enlarge your vision. To live your best life now, you must start looking at life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rising to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it is possible if you ever hope to experience it.
To conceive it, you must have an image on the inside of the life you want to live on the outside. This image has to become a part of you, in your thoughts, your conversation, deep down in your subconscious mind, in your actions, in every part of your being.
From the time she was a little girl, Tara Holland dreamed of becoming Miss America. In 1994, she entered the Miss Florida pageant and won the title of first runner-up. She decided to try again the following year. She entered the same contest, and once again, won the prize as first runner-up. Tara was tempted to get down and discouraged, but she didn't do that. She stayed focused on her goal.
She decided she needed to change her environment, so she moved to Kansas, and in 1997, she entered the Miss Kansas pageant and won the title. That same year, she went on to be crowned Miss America. Tara Holland saw her dream come to pass.
In an interview after the pageant, someone asked Tara the secret to her success. She admitted that after she had lost twice in a row at the state-level competitions, she had been tempted to give up, but instead she went out and rented dozens of videos of local pageants, state pageants, Miss Teen, Miss Universe, Miss World-whatever she could find. She rented hundreds of videos of various pageants and watched them over and over again.
As Tara watched each young woman crowned a winner, she pictured herself in that situation. She pictured herself receiving the crown. She pictured herself walking down the runway in victory. Time and time again she envisioned herself winning. Seeing herself as a winner, said Tara, was the key to her success.
Another reporter asked her if she was nervous walking down the runway in front of millions of people watching on television and with the announcer singing the famous Miss America song.
Tara's response was interesting. "No, I wasn't nervous at all," she said. "You see, I had walked down that runway thousands of times before."
Have you ever walked down that runway? Have you ever seen yourself accomplishing your dreams? Do you keep that vision of victory in front of you? Tara Holland knew she would never be a winner until she first saw herself as a winner. She had to reprogram her mind, to rid herself as much as possible of the hurtful memories of losing. She had to replace that vision in her mind of herself as Miss Runner-up. She had to develop a can-do attitude. She saw herself stepping onto the winner's platform. She saw herself walking down that runway in victory. She created an environment of faith and success.
What you keep before your eyes will affect you. You will produce what you're continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, then you're going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.
Too many times we get stuck in a rut, thinking we've reached our limits. We don't really stretch our faith; we don't believe for anything bigger. But God wants us to constantly be increasing, to be rising to new heights. He wants to increase you in His wisdom and help you to make better decisions. God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas, and creativity.
The Scripture says that God wants to pour out "His far and beyond favor." God wants this to be the best time of your life. But if you are going to receive this favor, you must enlarge your vision. You can't go around thinking negative, defeated, limiting thoughts. Well, I've gone as far as my education will allow. Or, I've had this sickness for years. I guess it's my lot in life.
To experience this immeasurable favor, you must rid yourself of that small-minded thinking and start expecting God's blessings, start anticipating promotion and supernatural increase. You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it. In other words, you must make room for increase in your own thinking, then God will bring those things to pass. Until you learn how to enlarge your vision, seeing the future through your eyes of faith, your own wrong thinking will prevent good things from happening in your life. God will not pour fresh, creative ideas and blessings into old attitudes.
You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it.
Centuries ago, wine was stored in leather wineskins rather than bottles. Animal skins were dried and cured until the leather could be shaped into containers to hold the wine. When the wineskins were new, they were soft and pliable, but as they aged, they often lost their elasticity; they wouldn't give anymore. They would become hardened and set, and they couldn't expand. If a person poured new wine in an old wineskin, the container would burst and the wine would be lost.
Interestingly, when Jesus wanted to encourage His followers to enlarge their visions, He reminded them, "You can't put new wine into old wineskins." Jesus was saying that you cannot have a larger life with restricted attitudes. That lesson is still relevant today. We are set in our ways, bound by our perspectives, and stuck in our thinking. God is trying to do something new, but unless we're willing to change, unless we're willing to expand and enlarge our vision, we'll miss His opportunities for us.
The fact that you are reading this book, however, says that you are ready to go to a higher level; you want to reach your full potential. The good news is, God wants to show you His incredible favor. He wants to fill your life with "new wine," but are you willing to get rid of your old wineskins? Will you start thinking bigger? Will you enlarge your vision and get rid of those old negative mind-sets that hold you back?
One fellow whose marriage was on the verge of dissolution told me, "Joel, I've been this way for a long time. Nothing good ever happens to me. I don't see how my marriage could be restored. We've always had these problems."
"That kind of thinking will keep you from receiving the good things God wants to pour out in your life," I told him. "Those wrong attitudes will block the flow. You must stop dwelling on negative, destructive thoughts that keep you in a rut. Your life is not going to change until you first change your thinking."
Early in our marriage, Victoria and I were out walking through our neighborhood one day when we came upon a beautiful new home in the final stages of construction. The doors were open, so we stepped inside and looked around. It was a fabulous home, much prettier than any of the other homes in that community. Most of the other homes around us were one-story, ranch-style homes that were forty to fifty years old, but this house was a large two-story home, with high ceilings and oversized windows providing an appealing view of the backyard. It was a lovely, inspiring place.
When we came out of the house, Victoria was excited. She turned around, looked back at the home, and said, "Joel, one day we're going to live in a beautiful home just like that!" At the time, we were living in an extremely old house that had experienced some foundation problems, preventing all of our doors on the inside from closing properly. We had stretched our faith and spent everything we had just to buy that home and get into that neighborhood. Thinking of our bank account, and my income at the time, it seemed impossible to me that we'd ever work our way up to a home like the one we had toured.
Being the "great man of faith" that I am, I said, "Victoria, that home is so far beyond our reach, I don't see how we could ever afford something like that."
But Victoria had much more faith than I did, and she would not give up. We stood out in front of that house for thirty minutes and debated. She told me all the reasons why it could happen. I told her all the reasons why I doubted.
She said, "No, Joel; I feel it deep inside. It is going to happen."
She was so filled with joy, I didn't want to burst her bubble, so I let the matter drop. But Victoria didn't! Over the next several months, she kept speaking words of faith and victory, and she finally talked me into it. She convinced me that we could live in an elegant home like the one we saw. I got rid of my limited thinking and I started agreeing with her. I started believing that somehow, some way, God could bring it to pass. We kept on believing it, seeing it, and speaking it.
Several years later, we sold our property, and through another real estate deal, we were able to build a house just like the one we had viewed. We saw it come to pass. But I don't believe it ever would have happened had we not first conceived it on the inside. I don't believe it would have happened if Victoria had not talked me into enlarging my vision.
God has so much more in store for you, too. Start making room for it in your thinking. Conceive it on the inside. Start seeing yourself rising to a new level, doing something of significance, living in that home of your dreams. If you want to see God's "far and beyond" favor, then you must replace those old wineskins.
"I've gone as far as my parents were able to go," Steve said to me. "I've gone as far as anybody else in my family. That's good enough, isn't it?"
"No," I told him. "You don't have to be bound by the barriers of the past. God wants you to go further than your parents. I'm sure your parents were fine, hardworking people, but don't fall into that trap of just sitting back and accepting the status quo. You need to make a decision that you are not going to live an average, mediocre life. When you get up in the morning you need to have the attitude of: I'm going to do something great. I'm going to excel in my career. I'm going to enthusiastically serve other people. I'm going to break out of this mold and rise to new heights.
I tell my children all the time, "You're going to go much further than Daddy. You have so much potential. You're going to accomplish great things!"
I'm not simply trying to instill pride in our children; I want them to have a big vision. I want them to conceive great possibilities at an early age. I want them to grow up expecting God's favor, expecting to be leaders, expecting to excel in whatever they do. And I know they must have it on the inside before God can ever bring it to pass on the outside.
One day, I was driving through Houston with my eight-year-old son, Jonathan. As we drove down the freeway we came upon the Compaq Center, the sixteen-thousand-seat arena that was the former home of the Houston Rockets professional basketball team, and soon to be the home of Lakewood Church. I slowed down and pointed. "Jonathan, look over there. One day, that's where you're going to be preaching."
He said, "Oh, no, Daddy. When I get old enough, I'm going to preach in Reliant Stadium!" (Reliant Stadium is Houston's seventy-thousand-seat home of the Houston Texans football team.)
I thought, I like the fact that he's got a big dream. When I first told that story at Lakewood several years ago, after the service a lady came up and handed Jonathan a check for one hundred dollars toward that new stadium. He was so excited. He said, "Daddy, I wish you'd talk about me more often in your sermons!"
Even if you come from an extremely successful family, God still wants you to go further. My own father accomplished great things in his lifetime. He inspired people all over the world. But I'm not going to be satisfied to do merely what Daddy did. I don't want to simply hold my ground and maintain. No, I want to press on toward new heights.
If you look carefully, you will see that God has been trying to encourage you. He's allowed people to cross your path who are far more successful than you are, who have much stronger marriages, who are enjoying His favor in marvelous ways. When you see or hear about other people succeeding or doing what you want to do, be encouraged rather than jealous. Don't say, "That could never happen to me. I'm not that talented. I'll never get those kind of breaks. I'll never have that much money."
Get rid of those old wineskins. Change your thinking. Get beyond the barriers of the past and start expecting God to do great things in your life.
Excerpted from Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen Copyright © 2004 by Joel Osteen. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
JOEL OSTEEN is senior pastor of America's largest church, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. His weekly services are seen by more than 10 million viewers each week in the United States, and millions more in 100 nations worldwide. He is the author of six #1 national bestselling books and has been named by numerous publications as one of the most influential Christian leaders in the world. He resides in Houston with his wife, Victoria, and their children.
Learn more: JoelOsteen.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I thought the book was incredible and I am discouraged by the folks who think that it is God's plan to have us live unhappy, unmotivated lives. We all know that we are here to glorify him and living our best life now is a way to do that. Who wants to be around someone that is moping and unhappy and thinks that God would have us down here miserable......I am certain that is not the way to spread the word... as we are called to do.... My glass is half full
Too bad Job didn't read this book. He'd have had such a better life! Beloved, God ALLOWS us to go through trying times which include loss, poverty, and pain, that we may better know to rely on Him for our every need. To lean not on our own understanding or 'positive thoughts,' but to acknowledge Him in ALL our ways. God is not only love. He is angry with sin and with sinners. Joel preaches a half God who is only love. Not until we understand this can we know Him aright and love him fully. Why preach the good news if there is no bad news? Why must we be saved if there is nothing to be saved from? Joel plays on emotion, self-relaince, and tickles the ears. This book is unbiblical, albeit feel-good. Christianity is not always feel-good. Read your Bible. Start with Job.
Well, if you call yourself a chrisitan, you should read each book or listen to each pastor, lecturer, etc. with the bible in one hand. Read the Gospels, did Jesus paint a flowery path? A bed of roses? He said 'The road is narrow...' and 'Take up your cross DAILY.' Am I bashing this book or author? Nope. I just think if your looking for self-help, great, this would be a good book. If your a christian and think this should be required reading for christians...I would suggest another book first...The Bible.
This is what I call an excellent book !! It is very life changing and up lifting. It teaches you to move on, let go of the past, things will come your way, it motivates you to become a happier person. I recommend this book to people who are always down, depressed, mad, sad, angry at the world. This book changed the way I think about life, and I am a happier person now for reading this book. I thank Joel Osteen for making me a better person and to realize that you should always be happy !!.
Joel Osteen reminds me that I can have righteous anger. God warns us again people who distort his message for other purposes than it is actually intended. Osteen is the prime example of manipulating God's words for human gain. He speaks in the guise of a Christian leader, and nothing could be more upsetting to me. He does not preach of Christ's love, but of what Christ can do for us. It should be the opposite - because we live to glorify Him, not the other way around. It hurts me to see someone abusing God's message. Living our best life now is a far cry from what Jesus says and what He said during His time on earth. Jesus said to give our lives to Him, because they are truly His. If he made our lives easy, He wouldn't love us. I hope that Osteen will open His eyes to this because he has so much potential as a leader and speaker to actually share the truth. It just really saddens me to see God's word of truth... misrepresented by a person whose words so many believe. I speak not from the eyes of superiority, but from the heart of one who knows God calls us to call each other out in our wrongs.
I feel Joel has it mixed up. God will grant us a kingdom, after death. Our purpose on Earth is to worship and follow the Lord, not to focus on wants.
If you are a Christian, I advise you to stay away from this book. It is dangerous. Its message is not one of seeking Jesus and the will of God. It is about making me happy and how I can prosper. I believe the Lord Jesus does want us to live abundant lives, but He did say that life following him would NOT be easy. He said we'd have to depend on him for everything. Faith is how we get through life, not through '7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential'. I believe this is a very dangerous book, and I hope other Christians will speak out as well. Turn to the Bible for guidance in how to live your life. But beware, in the Bible, there's the sad tale of Job (who followed God and was still cursed), and of those in Hebrews 11 who believed and never received what they believed for...in fact they were persecuted and killed for their beliefs. Please don't read Osteen's book. PLEASE DON'T!!
Joel Osteen has been gifted with the insight into human weakness. He shows anyone willing to be open minded tools to navigate the rough seas of life and yet live "Your Best Life". He does not teach pie in the sky intangible things. No if one is interested, he does teach us how to feel good about ourselves and other... is that so wrong? We need to hear and have references to refer to as need that we are loved, special and meant to have a good life...Jeremiah 29:11
I never knew, reading Joel's book would put me in the frame of mind, that i am now in. When i started to read it, i would try to read one chapter at a time. The book was so interesting that i read chapter after chapter. I could barely put it down when i picked it up. I've recommended it to everyone i know. It has helped me in ways no one could ever imagine. I just want to personally thank you Joel. I am getting ready to purchase your new book now. I watch you on T.V. all the time. We get the daily inspirations at work each and everyday, and we make sure we forward them all around our company to many of our friends. Again, thanks so much for writing this book, and i can't wait to get started on your new one. Della Price
I watch Joel every Sunday and he's keen on how your demeanor affects everything else around you. Being positive won't keep bad things from happening to you, but it will ensure that you survive and perhaps surmount them. I've been homeless and hungry before myself. My wife wound up homeless and hungry after a 13-year abusive relationship way back when She went to her minister for help and he sent her away. She spent a week sleeping in an alley. The local barber let her sweep his floor for a paycheck and an old lady let her sleep on her couch. I met her a year later and we've been married a couple years now. Joel's ideas are sound. Rather than preach that man's suffering is God's wrath and write them off- he urges people to help themselves or those who are suffering.
This man doesn't understand our role under God at all. To think our insistants of something be done will influence God's will is ridiculous.
After studying the Bible carefully and praying we will see that Joel Osteen does not teach the same as JESUS Christ. There are many good books written by godly men and women who do not make an appeal on your money or make distorted promises. Study the Bible and ask the Lord for discernment. Go to the Lord when you have a need. His guidance is different and 100% trustworthy. I would like to delete Osteen's book from my nook, how can I do this?
Joel Osteen is a hoax. Please do yourself a favor, read the bible. "Do not love the world, neither the things that are in it, for whoever loves the world does not have the love of The Father in him." - 1 John 2:15
He is such and inspiration. I highly recommend this book.
This is an awful book. Joel Osteen spends so much time talking about how Christianity can help you get everything you "want," he misses the entire point of Christ and Christianity. God gives you what you need, and what you need the most is His all-powerful love and forgiveness. Your earthly success in this life--material, mental, social, etc--has very little to do with God's view of yourself.
If there ever was a man that made you feel good about being alive, it's Joel Osteen. This book is just an extension of that good feeling. I love this man. I'd also recommend that you buy "When God Stopped Keeping Score," an intimate look at the power of God and forgiveness. It's on sale here on BN. It too will change your life.
I don't think my words can do this book justice. All I can say is that it will open your eyes to so many things. I'd also like to suggest "When God Stopped Keeping Score," an intimate look at the power of forgiveness and yet, it's about so much more. I loved every minute of it. Given the chance, it too will change your life.
This book remains one of the best gifts you can give for anyone who loves to read. Birthdays. Christmas. Father's Day. Mother's Day. Just because. I also recommend "When God Stopped Keeping Score" that takes a revealing look at the power of forgiveness. If you have ever been bound by anger, guilt, hurt or pain, this book is for you.
I read Mr. Osteen's book and let me tell you this man is a motivator. Plain and simple. God is a powerful motivator also. I read samuel's rating and it proves what was proven when Jesus walked the earth. NO matter how obvious the message, some will miss it. Some will doubt their creator. And to ask how aquatic life was supported when the world was covered with water? Are you simple? Samuel its never too late to be saved. Its never too late to accept the Lord, he is all forgiving. And dinosaurs existed 65 million years before Genesis. Hmmm think it over before you let satan speak for you. Anyways this is about Mr. Osteen and his powerful messages. Pick up this book, read it cover to cover. Follow and watch the beautiful things that begin to happen in your life when you accept god, accept Jesus as the messiah. Speak it with your mouth, and your heart and you will be saved. Amen. Thanks Joel.
I was very disappointed with this book, it is just a bunch of Christian propaganda. I am a Christian and I could not believe the way he misinterprets scripture to fit his way of thinking.
this book fell completely short of my expectations. it lacks any validity, and is ridiculously repetitive. if materialism and superficiality is what you're after, this is the book for you!
I was pretty skeptical about this book, as I knew that the last thing I wanted to here was some evangelist telling me to embrace Jesus. There was a bit of that, but this book goes far beyond that and gives you real world steps to living a better life. The tips that Joel lays out are brilliant, easy to follow, and really do work. I would recommend this book to anyone that is wondering when their prayers will be answered, or have been thrown off course.
According to this book, God can help you: get discounts off store merchandise, get random inheritance checks in the mail, take items onto a plane as carry-on that should be checked as luggage, win lawsuits, buy large houses and many more 'favors' too ridiculous and numerous to mention 3500 characters. Like many others, I was interested in this book after listening to some of his audio sermons and TV appearances. Even despite its many shortcomings, I'm glad I read this book because it exposes Osteen for the false preacher that he is. The God presented in this book is materialistic, with a core focus is on what you can 'receive' as opposed to what you can 'give' others. Some of the self-help advice is actually quite good, but to label this book as "Christianity" is downright dangerous if not blasphemous.
Lovelovelove!! Please write more...