One of the world's foremost authorities on motivation, Schwartz shows how thinking big can bring big results. Learn how to set high goals and exceed them in a big way with this easy, step-by-step approach.
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Dr. David J. Schwartz was a professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the president of Creative Educational Services, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in leadership development.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Believe You Can Succeed and You Will
Success means many wonderful, positive things. Success means personal prosperity: a fine home, vacations, travel, new things, financial security, giving your children maximum advantages. Success means winning admiration, leadership, being looked up to by people in your business and social life. Success means freedom: freedom from worries, fears, frustrations, and failure. Success means self-respect, continually finding more real happiness and satisfaction from life, being able to do more for those who depend on you.
Success means winning.
Success -- achievement -- is the goal of life!
Every human being wants success. Everybody wants the best this life can deliver. Nobody enjoys crawling, living in mediocrity. No one likes feeling second-class and feeling forced to go that way.
Some of the most practical success-building wisdom is found in that Biblical quotation stating that faith can move mountains.
Believe, really believe, you can move a mountain and you can. Not many people believe that they can move mountains. So, as a result, not many people do.
On some occasion you've probably heard someone say something like, "It's nonsense to think you can make a mountain move away just by saying 'Mountain, move away.' It's simply impossible."
People who think this way have belief confused with wishful thinking. And true enough, you can't wish away a mountain. You can't wish yourself into an executive suite. Nor can you wish yourself into a five-bedroom, three-bath house or the high-income brackets. You can't wish yourself into a position of leadership.
But you can move a mountain with belief. You can win success by believing you can succeed.
There is nothing magical nor mystical about the power of belief.
Belief works this way. Belief, the "I'm-positive-I-can" attitude, generates the power, skill, and energy needed to do. When you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops.
Every day all over the nation young people start working in new jobs. Each of them "wishes" that someday he could enjoy the success that goes with reaching the top. But the majority of these young people simply don't have the belief that it takes to reach the top rungs. And they don't reach the top. Believing it's impossible to climb high, they do not discover the steps that lead to great heights. Their behavior remains that of the "average" person.
But a small number of these young people really believe they will succeed. They approach their work with the "I'm-going-to-the-top" attitude. And with substantial belief they reach the top. Believing they will succeed -- and that it's not impossible -- these folks study and observe the behavior of senior executives. They learn how successful people approach problems and make decisions. They observe the attitudes of successful people.
The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it.
A young woman I'm acquainted with decided two years ago that she was going to establish a sales agency to sell mobile homes. She was advised by many that she shouldn't -- and couldn't do it.
She had less than $3,000 in savings, and was advised the minimum capital investment required was many times that.
"Look how competitive it is," she was advised. "And besides, what practical experience have you had in selling mobile homes, let alone managing a business?" her advisors asked.
But this young lady had belief in herself and her ability to succeed. She quickly admitted she lacked capital, that the business was very competitive, and that she lacked experience.
"But," she said, "all the evidence I can gather shows that the mobile home industry is going to expand. On top of that, I've studied my competition. I know I can do a better job of merchandising trailers than anybody else in this town. I expect to make some mistakes, but I'm going to be on top in a hurry."
And she was. She had little trouble getting capital. Her absolutely unquestioned belief that she could succeed with this business won her the confidence of two investors. And armed with complete belief, she did the "impossible" -- she got a trailer manufacturer to advance her a limited inventory with no money down.
Last year she sold over $1,000,000 worth of trailers.
"Next year," she says, "I expect to gross over $2,000,000."
Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figuring ways and means and how-to. And believing you can succeed makes others place confidence in you.
Most people do not put much stock in belief. But some, the residents of Successfulville, USA, do! Just a few weeks ago a friend who is an official with a state highway department in a Midwestern state related a "mountain-moving" experience to me.
"Last month," my friend began, "our department sent notices to a number of engineering companies that we were authorized to retain some firm to design eight bridges as part of our highway building program. The bridges were to be built at a cost of $5,000,000. The engineering firm selected would get a 4 per cent commission, or $200,000, for its design work.
"I talked with 21 engineering firms about this. The four largest decided right away to submit proposals. The other 17 companies were small, having only 3 to 7 engineers each. The size of the project scared off 16 of these 17. They went over the project, shook their heads, and said in effect, 'It's too big for us. I wish I thought we could handle it, but it's no use even trying.'
"But one of these small firms, a company with only three engineers, studied the plans and said, 'We can do it. We'll submit a proposal.' They did, and they got the job."
Those who believe they can move mountains, do. Those who believe they can't, cannot. Belief triggers the power to do.
Actually, in these modem times belief is doing much bigger things than moving mountains. The most essential element -- in fact, the essential element -- in our space explorations today is belief that space can be mastered. Without firm, unwavering belief that man can travel in space, our scientists would not have the courage, interest, and enthusiasm to proceed. Belief that cancer can be cured will ultimately produce cures for cancer. Currently; there is some talk of building a tunnel under the English Channel to connect England with the Continent. Whether this tunnel is ever built depends on whether responsible people believe it can be built.
Belief in great results is the driving force, the power behind all great books, plays, scientific discoveries. Belief in success is behind every successful business, church, and political organization. Belief in success is the one basic, absolutely essential ingredient in successful people.
Believe, really believe, you can succeed and you will.
Over the years I've talked with many people who have failed in business ventures and in various careers. I've heard a lot of reasons and excuses for failure. Something especially significant unfolds as conversations with failures develop. In a casual sort of way the failure drops a remark like "To tell the truth, I didn't think it would work" or "I had my misgivings before I even started out" or "Actually, I wasn't too surprised that it didn't work out."
The "Okay-I'll-give-it-a-try-but-I-don't-think-it-will-work" attitude produces failures.
Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts "reasons" to support the disbelief. Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will to fail, the not really wanting to succeed, is responsible for most failures.
Think doubt and fail.
Think victory and succeed.
A young fiction writer talked with me recently about her writing ambitions. The name of one of the top writers in her field came up.
"Oh," she said, "Mr. X is a wonderful writer, but of course, I can't be nearly as successful as he is."
Her attitude disappointed me very much because I know the writer mentioned. He is not super-intelligent nor super-perceptive, nor super-anything else except super-confident. He believes he is among the best and so he acts and performs the best.
It is well to respect the leader. Learn from him. Observe him. Study him. But don't worship him. Believe you can surpass. Believe you can go beyond. Those who harbor the second-best attitude are invariably second-best doers.
Look at it this way. Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life. Study the fellow who is shuffling down there in mediocrity. He believes he is worth little, so he receives little. He believes he can't do big things, and he doesn't. He believes he is unimportant, so everything he does has an unimportant mark. As times goes by, lack of belief in himself shows through in the way the fellow talks, walks, acts. Unless he readjusts his thermostat forward, he shrinks, grows smaller and smaller in his own estimation. And, since others see in us what we see in ourselves, he grows smaller in the estimation of the people around him.
Now look across the way at the person who is advancing forward. He believes he is worth much, and he receives much. He believes he can handle big, difficult assignments -- and he does. Everything he does, the way he handles himself with people, his character, his thoughts, his viewpoints, all say, "Here is a professional. He is an important person."
A person is a product of his own thoughts. Believe Big. Adjust your thermostat forward. Launch your success offensive with honest, sincere belief that you can succeed. Believe big and grow big.
Several years ago after addressing a group of business men in Detroit, I talked with one of the gentlemen who approached me, introduced himself, and said, "I really enjoyed your talk. Can you spare a few minutes? I'd like very much to discuss a personal experience with you."
In a few minutes we were comfortably seated in a coffee shop, waiting for some refreshments.
"I have a personal experience," he began, "that ties in perfectly with what you said this evening about making your mind work for you instead of letting it work against you. I've never explained to anyone how I lifted myself out of the world of mediocrity; but I'd like to tell you about it."
"And I'd like to hear it," I said.
"Well, just five years ago I was plodding along, just another guy working in the tool-and-die trade. I made a decent living by average standards. But it was far from ideal. Our home was much too small and there was no money for those many things we wanted. My wife, bless her, didn't complain much, but it was written all over her that she was more resigned to her fate than she was happy. Inside I grew more and more dissatisfied. When I let myself see how I was failing my good wife and two children, I really hurt inside.
"But today things are really different," my friend continued. "Today we have a beautiful new home on a two-acre lot and a year-round cabin a couple hundred miles north of here. There's no more worry about whether we can send the kids to a good college and my wife no longer has to feel guilty every time she spends money for some new clothes. Next summer the whole family is flying to Europe to spend a month's holiday. We're really living."
"How did this all happen?" I asked.
"It all happened," he continued, "when to use the phrase you used tonight, 'I harnessed the power of belief.' Five years ago I learned about a job with a tool-and-die company here in Detroit. We were living in Cleveland at the time. I decided to look into it, hoping I could make a little more money. I got here early on Sunday evening, but the interview was not until Monday.
"After dinner I sat down in my hotel room and for some reason, I got really disgusted with myself. 'Why,' I asked myself, 'am I just a middle class failure? Why am I trying to get a job that represents such a small step forward?'
"I don't know to this day what prompted me to do it, but I took a sheet of hotel stationery and wrote down the names of five people I've known well for several years who had far surpassed me in earning power and job responsibility. Two were former neighbors who had moved away to fine subdivisions. Two others were fellows I had worked for, and the third was a brother-in-law.
"Next -- again I don't know what made me do this -- I asked myself what do my five friends have that I don't have, besides better jobs. I compared myself with them on intelligence, but I honestly couldn't see that they excelled in the brains department. Nor could I truthfully say they had me beat on education, integrity; or personal habits.
"Finally I got down to another success quality one hears a lot about. Initiative. Here I hated to admit it, but I had to. On this point my record showed I was far below that of my successful friends.
"It was now about 3:00 A.M., but my mind was astonishingly clear. I was seeing my weak point for the first time. I discovered that I had held back. I had always carried a little stick. I dug into myself deeper and deeper and found the reason I lacked initiative was because I didn't believe inside that I was worth very much.
"I sat there the rest of the night just reviewing how lack of faith in myself had dominated me ever since I could remember, how I had used my mind to work against myself. I found I had been preaching to myself why I couldn't get ahead instead of why I could. I had been selling myself short. I found this streak of self-depreciation showed through in everything I did. Then it dawned on me that no one else was going to believe in me until I believed in myself.
"Right then I decided, 'I'm through feeling second-class. From here on in I'm not going to sell myself short.'
"Next morning I still had that confidence. During the job interview I gave my new found confidence its first test. Before coming for the interview I'd hoped I would have courage to ask for $750 or maybe even $1000 more than my present job was paying. But now, after realizing I was a valuable man, I upped it to $3,500. And I got it. I sold myself because after that one long night of self-analysis I found things in myself that made me a lot more saleable.
"Within two years after I took that job I had established a reputation as the fellow who can get business. Then we went into a recession. This made me still more valuable because I was one of the best business-getters in the industry. The company was reorganized and I was given a substantial amount of stock plus a lot more pay."
Believe in yourself and good things do start happening.
Your mind is a "thought factory." It's a busy factory; producing countless thoughts in one day.
Production in your thought factory is under the charge of two foremen, one of whom we will call Mr. Triumph and the other Mr. Defeat. Mr. Triumph is in charge of manufacturing positive thoughts. He specializes in producing reasons why you can, why you're qualified, why you will.
The other foreman, Mr. Defeat, produces negative, depreciating thoughts. He is your expert ...
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