Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cancer Treatment: Coping with Cancer

Dear Friends and Subscribers,

This is probably the first time in over two years of publishing my Hero Soul newsletter that I am openly soliciting help and support from subscribers of my newsletter. I’m a little shaken up and shocked right now and was almost not going to write this newsletter.

My younger brother (Junaid; age 33) was recently diagnosed with cancer. Initially it was thought to be tongue cancer that could be cured by surgery; but the biopsy test results have shown the cancer has spread. It is very serious and could be beyond the stage of surgery.

My brother will have to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He is suffering great emotional and physical pain. He cannot talk or eat properly due to the severe pain in his mouth and has lost a lot of weight from ingesting only fluids.

All I ask is that you please pray for healing in my brother and mentally send him your thoughts of love. Your combined thoughts of love directed toward my brother will help in his recovery.

World-renowned scientist, Dr. Masaru Emoto, “discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to
negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.” (Taken from: I believe that Dr. Emoto’s research applies equally to human beings, considering we are all made up mostly of water, and can have a profound positive impact in the art of healing. So, please send your concentrated thoughts of wholeness, beauty,
and love toward my brother and keep him in your prayers!

In love,

Sharif Khan
Author, The Hero Soul

P.S. Due to the circumstances, I will not be able to answer all my emails and return all calls. Any of you who have scheduled time with me, please understand it will have to be temporarily postponed. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this may cause.

As I lay awake in bed late into the night and early morning with news of my brother’s condition, I debated whether or not I should still write my regular newsletter edition for this month. I decided I will because my calling and purpose in life is to write; and I feel it’s my duty to provide value to my readers. However, the difference is that the tone is more urgent. I asked myself,
if I knew I was going to die by noon today, what advice on success and life would I share with my readers? Here is my unedited response, so please forgive any typos, spelling, and grammatical errors:

First off, I would echo the voice of 18th century French philosopher Voltaire, made popular and relevant in today’s leadership lexicon by “Good to Great” author Jim Collins, who said, “Good is the Enemy of Great.”

1. “Good is the Enemy of Great.” Get rid of the good to make room for the great in your life. Instead of keeping the main thing the main thing, we major in too many minor things. In other words, many people do a few things that are good, a lot of things that are mediocre, but nothing that is GREAT.

Find the ONE thing you can be the best in the world at and focus unrelentingly on improving that one thing, polishing it to perfection.

Choose great over good in ALL areas of your life! It is far better to have a few great things than a lot of good or mediocre things. Instead of having six cheap shirts that you don’t feel so great in, have one fine quality shirt that you can feel proud to wear and that makes you feel like a million bucks! Instead of having five or six ho-hum paintings to decorate your walls, invest in ONE
magnificent masterpiece that leaves you breathless and enriches your soul every time you look at it! Instead of going to the usual cottage retreat every long-weekend, save up your money and go on one GREAT vacation that you’ve always dreamed of like going on a European boat-cruise, snorkeling in the Red Sea, or taking an art class in Paris. Instead of many mediocre friendships, have a few great friendships that energize and inspire you and that you can spend quality time fostering deeper relationships. You get the point.

Greatness is a choice! And choice is the democratic equalizer of all people. Everyone, regardless of their rank, social status or income level has the power to choose great over good.

2. Commit to an annual theme. Instead of making and breaking a number of well-wished but half-hearted New Year’s Resolutions, commit to an annual or lifetime theme. Pick a theme that defines your singular life purpose or what you are most passionate about and stick to it.

For example, my theme is: “Write First!” I have this theme posted right in front of me above my computer. My purpose is to write. I write first and ask questions later. I focus on writing (or things related to developing my writing) first and then worry about the urgent but non-important interruptions (paying bills, answering calls and emails, responding to invitations, etc.) that plague everyone. This theme takes precedence over everything else except my spiritual relationship with my Creator. The only exception to this rule would be a genuinely important priority that falls in one of my top values in life or attending to a family emergency
such as the one I’m facing at this time.

Your main theme for 2006 could be “Family First!” or “Health First!” or “Listen First!” or “Service Above Self.” Just pick one and commit to it.

Beside your main theme, make a list of your top values such as love, health, giving, peace, wealth, etc. to ground yourself and distinguish between important and non-important but urgent matters. In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin listed thirteen virtues (Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility) to which he governed his life and gave a week’s strict attention to mastering one virtue at a time repeating the list in order every thirteen weeks.

3. Practice a policy of planned neglect. In other words, once you have established your theme or singular purpose (the one thing you can be the best in the world at) get into the habit of practicing your main habit FIRST before anything else. Everything else that’s non-important can get neglected and keep getting put-off. In other words, your daily to-do list will keep changing around your main theme which will remain constant – with very few exceptions.

4. Make a stop doing list. I’m not sure where I first heard this idea, but I borrowed it most recently from Jim Collin’s book, “Good to Great.” Too many people have important to-do lists that keep getting longer and longer. But very few people have ‘stop-doing’ lists. Make a list of everything you are doing that is not contributing to your core genius or main purpose and
core values – and stop doing it! Forget about your image and what other people will think, and STOP doing what’s not great in your life.

5. Be Simple. Get rid of the good to make room for the great. Literally! Get rid of the junk in your basement and file folders! Anything you haven’t touched or looked at in a year you probably need to get rid of it. Donate books and magazines you haven’t read and clothes you know you’re never going to wear. Empty your mind and physical space of unnecessary clutter
and make room for abundance! (Daily meditation is a great way to empty the mind and allow new inspiration).

6. Make HEALTH a priority NOW! Get a full physical check-up at least once a year. If something’s bothering you or you don’t feel right about something, get it checked out IMMEDIATELY! Don’t wait, until it’s too late. Take a proactive approach to your
health by taking preventative measures, eating healthy and exercising regularly. And make LOVE a top priority. If you haven’t taken the time to tell your loved ones how deeply you value and love them, then make time for it now.

Are you still reading this newsletter? WHY? Pick-up your phone, right now, and call your doctor to make that appointment! Call your loved ones now and book some real quality time together. Life is short and fragile. You may never get the chance

7. Dreams. The dream is a window into your soul, a gateway into the unseen world, giving access to the unknown and revealing the invisible behind all that is visible. In my book, “Psychology of the Hero Soul,” (; Chapter 14; pg. 77) I mention the importance of dreams and how to harness your dreams to awaken your creative potential. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get into the habit of jotting down your dreams and making an effort to interpret them. It is a great way to develop self-awareness and self-understanding and will enrich your life in many, many unforeseen ways.

Self-awareness and self-acceptance is so important in developing your self-esteem. Take the time to seriously ask yourself, “Who am I and what’s my purpose in life?” Write down your strengths and weakness, your highest ambitions and deepest fears, and make a list of everything you enjoy doing and all your hobbies. Take some personality tests to gain deeper understanding of who you are.

8. Face the brutal facts! Never hide from reality. Always get the hard facts about any situation you are facing. It doesn’t matter if you have a Harvard MBA and are the world’s greatest optimist if you pick the wrong location to open up a retail business! Likewise, face the brutal facts about yourself. If you haven’t even come close to achieving your dreams and goals, you need to honestly ask yourself why you haven’t reached your goals and figure out what has been preventing you. A great way to accomplish this is to ask a few friends you trust and who know you the following question: “How do you see me limiting myself?” (I have Jack Canfield to thank for this great question). Once you have the facts and fully understand the problem, spend over eighty percent of your time focusing on the solution.

9. ASK for help! If you need help, ask for it. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. Ask for the sale, ask for the date, ask for support. Stop worrying about your image, reject the rejection, and ASK!

But don’t just be a taker. Please also give. Earn the right to ask by being a giver. Be a generous giver because whatever you put out into the world will return multiplied. The hero’s journey is about following your bliss, and doing what you love to do in service to others. “Service above self,” is a great motto to adopt.

10. Take Action! In my Hero Soul book, I have dedicated an entire chapter on taking action. The great succeed by taking continuous and concerted action toward a singular objective. And they continue to take unrelenting, consistent action for a period of years before becoming overnight successes. If you do just five new things every day towards achieving your biggest dream, you will one day be living your dream and as Thoreau once said, ‘meet with a success unexpected in common hours.’ But if you aren’t going to take action on the advice in this newsletter, why the heck are you reading it? Just hit the delete button!

One of my favorite movies is “The Shawshank Redemption” (based on Stephen King’s short story, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption) about a successful banker, Andy Dufresne, who is convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his wife. I’m sure many of you have seen it.

For nineteen years Dufresne quietly chips away at his goal to escape by literally chipping the wall in his cell – a little bit every day – until one day he reaches his goal and escapes. His jail buddy, Red, comments that all it took “was pressure and time.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen any movie replayed so many times on TV. It really intrigued me. So I did some research and found out that according to IMDB, The Shawshank Redemption is the second most popular movie of all time with The Godfather taking first place! That’s quite the accomplishment given how long The Godfather has been out.

Why is this movie so popular? I don’t really know the answer. But I think it’s because many people feel like they’re living in a prison and have been given a life sentence to doing work they really hate. They want to break free from their shackles. More than anything else, they want FREEDOM! And Shawshank delivers that moment of freedom. It’s a beautiful story that makes
the soul weep with joy and provides the hope and promise of being human.

The great thing about Shawshank is that it also provides a solution: by quietly chipping away at your main goal and consistently taking action everyday, you will achieve the success and freedom you have been longing for. With ‘pressure and time’ you can take the darkest coal and turn it into the most brilliant, most magnificent diamond the world has ever seen.

I hope this newsletter has been of value to you. In closing, I’d like to ask again that you please pray for healing in my brother and mentally send him your thoughts of love. Contributions on behalf of my brother, Junaid, are also welcome to help assist in treatment, care, and recovery.

Thank you so much for your continued support and loyalty.

Sharif Khan
Author of “Psychology of the Hero Soul”