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The 333 story by Bob Proctor
This is one of my absolute favorite Bob Proctor stories:
“I was doing a seminar, which ran from Thursday night to Sunday, at the Deerhurst Lodge, which is a resort approximately 100 miles north of Toronto. On the Friday night, a tornado swept through Barrie, Ontario, a town about 40 miles south of Deerhurst. The tornado killed a dozen people and did millions of dollars’ worth of damage.
On the Sunday night, as I was coming home, I stopped the car when I got to Barrie. I got out on the side of the highway and looked around. It was a mess. Everywhere I looked, there were smashed houses and cars turned upside down. That same night, another gentleman, Bob Templeton, was driving down the same highway. He and I had never met, however, an idea from my seminar was about to bring us together in a lasting friendship. He stopped to look at the disaster, just as I had, only his thoughts were different than my own. Bob was the Vice-President of Telemedia
Communications, a company which owns a string of radio stations in Ontario and Quebec. As he stood there viewing the disaster, he thought there must be something he could do for these people (with the radio stations he had). That thought kept returning to his mind that night and all the next day. The following night, I was doing another seminar in Toronto. Bob Templeton and Bob Johnson, another vice-president from Telemedia, came in and stood at the back of the room. They were evaluating my seminar, trying to decide if I could help their company reach its goals, which I ultimately did. Because of Bob Templeton’s influence, I subsequently worked for the entire Canadian broadcasting industry. He loved what I was doing in my seminars because it was in harmony with his way of thinking. Bob Templeton became fascinated with the laws of the universe, particularly The Law of Polarity or as it is often referred to, The Law of Opposites.
This law clearly states everything has an opposite. You cannot have an up without a down, hot without cold or in without out. By the same token, if you can figure out why something you want to do cannot be done, by law, you must be able to figure out how it can be done. People who accomplish great things are aware of the negative, however, they give all of their mental energy to the positive. After the seminar, Bob Templeton went back to his office. He told me it was late but this one idea he picked up had him excited. It also had him committed to the idea of raising millions of dollars and giving it to the people who had been caught in the tornado, and he was going to raise the money immediately! Furthermore, he was not remotely interested in why he couldn’t.
The following Friday he called all of his executives at Telemedia into his office. At the top of a flip chart in bold letters, he wrote three 3’s. He said to his executives “How would you like to raise 3 million dollars, 3 days from now, in just 3 hours and give the money to the people in Barrie?”
There was nothing but silence in the room.
Finally someone said, “Templeton, you’re crazy. There is absolutely no way we could raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, 3 days from now!”
Bob said, “Wait a minute. I didn’t ask you if we could or even if we should. I just asked you if you would like to.” Bob Templeton was wise; he was appealing to the charitable side of their nature. It was important for those present to openly admit that this was something they wanted to do. Bob Templeton knew that his new idea could show anyone how to accomplish anything they wanted by working with the law.
They all said, “Sure, we’d like to.” He then drew a large T underneath the 333. On one side he wrote, “Why We Can’t.” On the other side he wrote, “How We Can”.
Under the words, ‘Why We Can’t,’ Bob Templeton drew a large X. As he placed the X on the flip chart, he said, “Now there is no place to record the ideas we think of which explain why we can’t raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, 3 days from now, regardless of how valid they might be.” He continued by explaining, “When anyone calls out an idea which suggests why we can’t, everyone else must yell out as loud as they can, NEXT. That will be our command to go to the next idea. Ideas are like the cars on a train, one always follows the other. We will keep saying Next until a positive idea arrives.” Bob smiled and continued to explain that, “Opposite the X on the other side of the flipchart, directly under the words, ‘How We Can,’ I will write down every idea that we can come up with on how we can raise 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, 3 days from now.” He also suggested in a very serious tone of voice, that everyone will remain in the room until we figure it out. “We are not only going to think of how we can raise 3 million dollars immediately, after we originate the ideas we are going to execute them!” There was silence again.
Finally, someone said, “We could do a radio show across Canada.” Bob said, “That’s a great idea,” and wrote it down under, ‘How We Can.’ Before he had it written on the right hand side of the flipchart, someone said, “You can’t do a radio show across Canada. We don’t have radio stations across Canada!” Since Telemedia only had stations in Ontario and Quebec, you must admit that was a pretty valid objection. However, someone in the back of the room, in a rather soft tone said, “Next.”
Bob Templeton replied, “Doing a radio show is how we can. That idea stays.” But this truly did sound like a ridiculous idea, because radio stations are very competitive. They usually don’t work together and to get them to do so would be virtually impossible according to the standard way of thinking. All of a sudden someone suggested, “You could get Harvey Kirk and Lloyd Robertson, the biggest names in Canadian broadcasting, to anchor the show.” These gentlemen are anchors of national stature in the Canadian television industry. Someone clearly spoke out saying, “They’re not going to go on radio.” But, at that point the group yelled, “NEXT.”
Bob said, that was when the energy shifted; everyone got involved and it was absolutely amazing how fast and furious the creative ideas began to flow.
That was on a Friday. The following Tuesday they had a radiothon, where 50 radio stations, from all across the country, agreed to work in harmony for such a good cause. They felt it didn’t matter who got the credit, as long as the people in Barrie got the money. Harvey Kirk and Lloyd Robertson anchored the show and they succeeded in raising 3 million dollars, in 3 hours, within 3 business days!”
So here comes the question: Can you remember a time where you focused on why you can’t do something and then never did it because you focused on what you think can’t do, rather than on what you CAN do?