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The Key that Unlocks the Path to All Achievements


Believe It's Possible and Believe in Yourself

Photo is by Dee@Cooper and Wild on Unsplash

NapoleonHill planted the germ of this belief in the minds of the millions of people who bought his books or who were exposed to his ideas in ten words; “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”  The verse is short. It is simple. It has rhythm.

While your reading life is splattered, commonly with hard to remember axioms. This one is hard to forget.

Science is backing Hill’s enlightening discovery. Your brain will make you believe what it wants you to believe. Its decision is based on your past experiences. [And the “as if” principle put forward by the eminent William James and the British professor and prolific author of psychology books, Richard Wiseman. Simply put, whatever you want to be, you’ll be more successful if you act as if you are.]

Jack Canfield, in his bestseller, " How to Get from Where You are to Where You Want to Be," uses one of the numerous placebo effect case studies as illustration. In Texas, doctors were asked to perform surgery on a group of people who had sore and worn out knees. Unknowingly, some patients were given pretend surgery. Doctors acted as if they had performed surgery on their knees but did not carry out the usual procedures. Two years later they found that those who had the pretend surgery felt as well as those who had been professionally treated. The conclusion; the brain expected the “surgery” to improve the knee and it did.

[Great result but…

1.   Is this ‘act’ too risky?

2.   Is this ‘deception’ legal?

3.   Will it work for everybody?

Taking sugar pills is alright. Pretend treatment when you need a surgery? I think it's a tad reckless.

This type of experiment falls into the study of the expectancy theory. It is said, “when you believe what you want is possible-your brain will actually take over the job of accomplishing that possibility for you.” [My rational brain keeps telling me there must be more to this. My other brain throws up pictures of people piercing their check with spears, when in trance.]

Phillies pitcher, Tug McGraw hardwired his brain for the triumph of the 1980 World Series through consistent, disciplined training. He conditioned his brain to believe that he could struck out the batter Willie Wilson and he did.

Another example used to illustrate the power of belief is a feat by modern day Superman, Tim Ferriss. He won a national kickboxing competition six weeks after being introduced to the sport. Ferriss, it seems credited his success to the power of belief. In the final match, he closed his eyes and visualized defeating the opponent in the first round.

Believe It's Possible and Believe in Yourself
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The opening quote of Principle 5 in Canfield's book, by Max Lucado, will make any human being proud to be a human being. Specifically, it makes you proud to be you. Lucado is an author and pastor. His books will wrap you in hope and encouragement. A sense of comfort/worthiness is raised just by reading the titles of his books. I bet you would want to read this quote again and again; “You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on Earth by the Master Craftsman.”

Believe It's Possible and Believe in Yourself
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These are inspiring stories. I think belief is a good start. When Ferriss said that most people fail because they don’t believe they can reach it, He probably meant that

1.   The people who failed did not do enough to support their belief

2.   They did not believe long enough to carry them through

It takes extraordinary self-discipline to keep on keeping on. We have varying level of self-discipline and tolerance for hardship, physically and mentally. The idea is not to break down struggling for a breakthrough. Belief is a good thing. Believe and as long as you are moving forward, it’s good enough. You would be encouraged to pursue better. It was six weeks for Ferriss, for that specific goal, but it need not be six weeks for you. Go for it at your pace.

The story told of Ruben Gonzalez is also a story of belief. It’s a little stronger than self-belief. Gonzalez had someone who believed in him to make him believe in himself when his spirit sagged. This is a powerful concept.

Gonzalez wanted to be an Olympian. He did become one and went on to race in a few Olympics. You might just want to qualify for the Million Dollar Round Table. Or strive to be the department head. Or create a fruitful fruit garden. Whatever makes you happy and well.


“You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on Earth by the Master Craftsman.”

The feeling you get reading is the same like when you see the photo of a professionally taken portrait of you for the first time. Wow!

This chapter is simply highlighting the truth that before you can achieve what you want, you must believe you can.

[I am trying to think of moments when I wanted to achieve something that I was sure that I can’t. I think the key is that the goal must be indelible, deeply etched  on your mind. Everything is in your mind at this stage. It must be a laser focused goal.]

[My experience is that if you start thinking with, “If I could…” Don’t waste time anymore. Like, “If I could I want that top of the range model…” or “If I could, I want to mingle with CEOs and celebrities.”  My chances had been better if I just know there is a next level of achievement to strive for, and if I feel it’s a natural progression. I know that I would be laser focused on the goal when I start to figure out what it would take for me to get there and when I develop a detailed action plan for the mission.]

Canfield misses a small big deal when he summarizes what it takes; “Whether you call it self-esteem, self-confidence, or self- assurance, it is a deep-seated belief that you have what it takes-the abilities, inner resources, talents and skills to create the desired results.” [ And I want to add the one thing that frequently fails in my system: self-discipline. With not enough self-discipline, you can’t follow through. I would like to blame the myriad distractions and the digital lures but it is the weakness in self-discipline that is my bottle cap.

I like it when Canfield says that believing in yourself is a choice. I don’t like it when Canfield suggests that you blame your parents for limiting beliefs. [A real problem is that sometimes we are not mindful about our ability to choose. Parental influence  started to wane with television, and with the infectious digital swamp, it is the shortest bar on the bar chart of influence.]

I like it when the author redeems himself; “But remember, the past it the past. There is no payoff for blaming them for your current level of self-confidence. It is now your responsibility to take charge of your own self-concept and your beliefs.” [Great stuff.] He continues, “You must choose to believe that you can do anything you set your mind to-anything at all-because, in fact, you can.” [Not totally convinced.]

The next bit of information is from Science, so it’s hard to argue. “It might help you to know that the latest brain research now indicates that with enough positive self-talk and positive visualization combined with proper training, coaching and practice, and one can learn to do almost anything.” [But, “learn to do almost anything” is “do almost anything?” My point is when you choose the anything, tamper with reality. Mindfulness?]

Canfield has interviewed hundreds of supersuccessful [my Word keeps telling me to break up the word; not a chance because supersuccessful looks more super successful than super successful] people. Almost every one of them told him, “I was not the most gifted or talented person in my field, but I chose to believe anything was possible. [Did Elon Musk believe than he could be richer than Jeff Bezos when Bezos became the richest man in the world? Or before? Or even bothered?] I studied. Practiced, and worked harder than others, and that’s how I got to where I am.” [Studied. Practiced. Worked Harder. This is the engineering part.]

The result you produce is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think it is achievable you will work to get it. If you think it is impossible, you will not work towards it. [Sounds about right.]

Never knew that Stephen Cannell was blessed by football. Could not imagine he was that bad at school. Football built his self- esteem and that fueled him to producing hard punching TV series and writing books. The moral of the story?  “…it is not what life hands you but how you respond to it, mentally and physically, that matters most.

True. The words  "I can’t" actually dis-empower you. [You can’t say “I can’t” and surge forward to do something. Except to give the other guy a punch on the nose as with, “I can’t take it anymore.”]

Now, a physical challenge. The simple proof of that you are physically as tough as your brain allows you. A kinesiology exercise recommended in the book. Ask your friend to raise a left arm. Push it down to test its normal strength. Ask your friend to think what he or she can’t do and say it out loud. Push the arm down. You are supposed to find it weaker [offering less resistance.] Test the left arm again when he or she thinks and says something “I can.” The arm should feel stronger. [Try this.]

An experience Canfield had with Tony Robbins was that if you throw away all your “I can’ts,“ you can walk on burning coals. [Don’t try this. Unless you are with Tony Robbins.] It’s easy to believe that, “every other limiting belief about our abilities was also a lie” once you have walked over burning coals. No tricks.

The next story, you’ve probably heard before. It may be true, but you will not use it as a possibility thinking example casually. It takes a lot of convincing that the event is not one off.

Probably, Laura Shultz, 63, at the time when she picked up the back end of a Buick to get it off her grandson’s arm wasn’t even thinking. The other part where she took up a geology degree and went on to teach at a community college is to be appreciated. Once in a while you do see a story of an 84 who clinched his MBA because he had long wanted an MBA. The point of the story is, “Don’t wait until 63 to decide you can do anything you want. Don’t waste the years of your life. Decide that you are capable of doing anything you want and start working toward it now.” [Good point. But life is never wasted. You’re always dreaming and doing. What you’ve done, if you are still here and happy, is good enough. If you are chronically discontent, find out the why or ask the question, “What must I do to be a little happier?”  Explore. Think deep. Start working your own recommendations. Caveat; don’t rate your life in the past based on your current dreams.]

[Zig Ziglar has many sayings that will roll off your tongue. A

 relevant one here is “It’s your attitude that determines your altitude.” Something like that. Pardon if I did not get the exact phrase.]

The next idea with this principle is that a formal education is not needed to be successful. Larry Ellison, Bill Gates and Dick Cheney were offered as examples. They are all dropouts from somewhere. [But, don’t leave school because you want to be successful. What is meant here is that if you are already a dropout, it’s not the end of the world. You can still better your life.]

[Ellison, Gates and Cheney are not successful because they are dropouts. They are successful because they had the ideas, the opportunities and the support. And, oh of course, the believe in themselves, the system and other resources. I am sure there is the strong self-discipline factor in there.]

The last portion of this principle is not to think about what others think of you. Just focus on achieving what you want to achieve. Nobody [except those who have a vested interest in you?] is thinking about you. You think they are thinking about [includes judging?] you, and they think you are thinking about [judging?] them. The final take-away is that nobody is thinking about anybody except about themselves. What does that do for our need to engage?

Believe, believe, believe. Believe it can be done, believe you can do it, have others believe in you. Get your brain to buy in to what you want to achieve. Then study, practice like mad and work harder like crazy. Practice until what you want to do becomes second nature, like “you’ve been there a thousand times.” Whether you believe you can or you can’t, do it long enough and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. [Get real. Belief must be backed by hard work, looking out for opportunity and support. It’s not real to want to play for Liverpool FC when you are 43 unless it is on the computer. For the fun and proof, try out the kinesiology exercise. I may be wrong but don’t walk over burning coal just because you believe you can, or inject commercial cleaner into your blood stream or try to overturn an election you’ve obviously lost or try to get a lot of people to die for you, hoping that you can reverse an obvious result. These are dangerous stuff.] Lastly, don’t think that people are thinking about you because people are too busy thinking about themselves to think about you. Just go about doing your business of focusing on your business and you will be alright.

Do you believe enough?

Believe It's Possible and Believe in Yourself
Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

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