A practical method for psychological development. Drawing on personal experiences of successful, highly motivated individuals, this programme should inspire anyone to make a positive change in all aspects of life.
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Brian Tracy is Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, a company specializing in the training and development of individuals and organizations. He is the top selling author of over forty-five books that have been translated into dozens of languages. Brian is happily married and has four children. He is active in community and national affairs, and is the President of three companies headquartered in Solana Beach, California.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Make Your Life a Masterpiece
This is the age of achievement. Never have more people accomplished more things in more different fields than they are accomplishing today. More people are becoming successful at a faster rate than at any other time in history. There have never been more opportunities for you to turn your dreams into realities than there are right now.
Leading futurists and prominent businesspeople are predicting that mankind is entering a Golden Age. The Western ideals of democracy, individual liberty and free enterprise are sweeping the globe and bringing prosperity, growth and human freedom wherever they are seriously tried. There has probably never been a better time for you to achieve greater success, freedom, happiness and financial independence than at this very moment.
This book will show you how to improve your life, achieve your goals and realize your full potential for success and happiness. No matter who you are or what your situation, you have within you, right now, the ability to accomplish more than you ever have before. You have the potential to exceed all your previous levels of accomplishment. You can be, have and do more than perhaps you have ever imagined. All you need to do is to learn how, and then put what you learn into action.
Everything in this book has been tested and proven in the crucible of real life. My own experience has made me a sort of guinea pig for these ideas. If I had designed my early life as an ideal test case, I probably couldn't have done better. I started so far behind that no one could have blamed me for not amounting to anything.
MY OWN STORY
I was born in Canada in 1944. My parents were good people and hard-working but we never seemed to have enough money. I still remember my parents saying over and over as I was growing up, "We can't afford it, we can't afford it, we can't afford it." No matter what it was, we couldn't afford it. They had been through the Great Depression and they had never fully recovered from the experience of worrying about money all the time.
When I entered my teens, I became aware for the first time that many other families seemed to be doing far better than we were. They had nicer homes, newer clothes and better cars. They seemed not to worry as much about money as we did, and they seemed to be able to afford a lot of things that our family couldn't even dream of. It was about this time that I began asking the question, "Why is it that some people are more successful than others?"
I began wondering why it was that some people seemed to earn more money, have happier relationships and families, live in more beautiful homes and generally get much more joy and satisfaction out of life than others did.
As it happened, I had a lot of time to think about this question, because I spent a lot of time by myself. I was what was called a "loser." I fooled around in class. I ran around with a bad bunch of kids. I was always shooting my mouth off trying to get attention, and I eventually became very unpopular.
It's said that everyone is good for something, even if it's just to set a bad example. That was me. I was the kid that parents and teachers pointed to as a warning. "If you don't straighten up,' they said, "you'll end up like Tracy."
When I was sixteen, I had the first revelation that led to changing the course of my life. It dawned on me one day that if I ever wanted things to change for me, then it was up to me to change. If I didn't like being unhappy and unpopular, and in trouble all the time, then it was up to me to do something about it. This began in earnest my lifelong search for the answer to the question, "Why are some people more successful than others?"
After dropping out of high school and working as a laborer for a couple of years, I finally saved a little money and went off to see the world.
I have since traveled or worked in more than eighty countries on six continents. I have been in situations and had experiences that most people could not imagine. I have been dirt poor, going without food and sleeping on the ground countless times in far and foreign lands.
I have also stayed in beautiful hotels and dined in fine restaurants in the great cities of the world. In time, I became a senior executive of a $265 million development company. I've met four presidents and three prime ministers. My wife and I even had dinner with the president of the United States less than six months after setting it as a goal.
Over the years, mostly in retrospect, I learned a variety of lessons, and one of the most important is this: You can't hit a target you can't see. You can't accomplish wonderful things with your life if you have no idea of what they are. You must first become absolutely clear about what you want if you are serious about unlocking the extraordinary power that lies within you.
Every success I've ever enjoyed came after I had taken the time to think through what my goal would look like when it was accomplished. I have since met and spoken with many men and women who have achieved great success and they all had that one trait in common. They knew exactly what they wanted. They all had a clear picture of what their ideal lives and accomplishments would look like. This vision of the kind of future they wanted to create for themselves became a powerful motivator that drove them onward. The realization of their goals seemed to flow from the exercise of establishing them in the first place.
Goal setting is an important element of this system, and I'll be explaining it in detail in Chapter Five. But well before you do that, you have to do something that very few people ever do. It is absolutely essential to making this system work, and it is this: You have to decide exactly what "success" means to you. You have to decide what your life would look like if you made it into a masterpiece.
Here's how you begin. Use "zero-based thinking." Imagine you could go back to the beginning in every situation in your life and start over. Like holding up a picture frame and viewing different parts of your life and relationships through it, ask this question: "If I had this decision to make today, knowing what I now know, what would I do?"
Refuse to compromise on your answers. Be perfectly honest with yourself. Define your ideal in each situation before you allow yourself to get bogged down with all the reasons it isn't possible for you. All great achievement begins with your deciding what it is you really want and then dedicating yourself wholeheartedly to attaining it.
THE SEVEN INGREDIENTS OF SUCCESS
Anything that you could ever want more of, or any factor that you would consider important to your happiness, can be placed in one of seven categories. These Seven Ingredients of Success are consistent with everything ever written or discovered on success and happiness. They characterize the life and accomplishments of all high-performing men and women. They include everything you could ever want.
Your ideal life is a blending of these seven ingredients in exactly the combination that makes you the happiest at any particular moment. By defining your success and happiness in terms of one or more of these seven ingredients, you create a clear target to aim it. You can then measure how well you're doing. You can identify the areas where you need to make changes if you want your life to improve.
You must start with your ideal, your vision of a perfect future. You begin unlocking your inner powers by lifting up your eyes and "seeing" your life exactly as if it were already perfect in every respect. Your first job is to create a blueprint, a clear picture of where you are going and what it will look like when you get there. This image will then serve as an organizing principle, a guide, a benchmark, against which you can measure and compare everything you do in the process of turning it into your reality.
PEACE OF MIND
The first of these seven ingredients of success, and easily the most important, is peace of mind. It is the highest human good. Without it, nothing else has much value. Because of this, you strive for it all your life. You usually evaluate how well you are doing at any given time by how much inner peace you enjoy.
Peace of mind is your internal gyroscope. When you are living in harmony with your highest values and your innermost convictions -- when you are perfectly balanced in life -- then you enjoy peace of mind. If, for any reason, you compromise your values, or go against your inner guidance, your peace of mind is the first thing to suffer.
Peace of mind, or harmony, is essential for the optimal performance of all human groupings, from your relationships with your Mends and family members to the businesses and organizations in which you work. All interactions among people thrive on harmonious relationships. All manners, morals, etiquette and diplomacy are organized around the desire each person has to assure his or her peace of mind by not disrupting the peace of mind of others.
In corporations, peace of mind can be measured in terms of the amount of harmony that exists among coworkers. Productive, profitable companies are those in which people feel good about themselves. They feel safe and happy at work. They may be busy, even frantic with activity, but they are at peace inside.
The wonderful truth about peace of mind is that it is your normal, natural condition. Happiness is your birthright. It belongs to you. It is not something you experience occasionally if you're lucky. Peace of mind is central to your very existence. It is the basic precondition for enjoying everything else.
Achieving inner peace must be a central organizing principle of your life. It must become the overarching goal to which all your other goals are subservient. In fact, you are only successful as a person to the degree to which you can achieve your own happiness, your own contentment, your own sense of personal well-being -- in short, your own peace of mind.
The very idea of specifically aiming at the achievement of my own happiness caused me a good deal of confusion and anxiety at one time. My religious background had drummed into me the idea that my own personal happiness was not a valid consideration for my choices and behaviors.
If anything, I was told that happiness was merely a by-product of living my life to make others happy. If I got any happiness, I was informed, I was just lucky. And if I didn't, then that was my lot in life. The very idea of setting happiness as a specific goal for myself was described as selfish and uncaring.
A major turning point came for me when I learned two things. First, I learned that if I didn't commit to achieving my own happiness, no one else would. If my aim in life was only to make others happy, I would always be at the mercy of the feelings of others, whoever they might be. And I found that trying to organize my life around making others happy was an unending exercise in frustration and disappointment, because it just wasn't possible.
Second, I discovered that I couldn't give away what I didn't have. I couldn't make someone else happy by being miserable myself. As Abraham Lincoln once said, "You can't help the poor by becoming one of them." I found that I couldn't make others happy unless I could make myself happy first.
Peace of mind is so important to everything else you accomplish that it must be subjected to rigorous analysis. Where does it come from? Under what conditions does it exist for you? How can you get more of it?
In the simplest terms, you experience happiness and peace of mind whenever you are completely free from the destructive emotions of fear, anger, doubt, guilt, resentment and worry. In the absence of negative emotions, you enjoy peace of mind naturally, effortlessly. The key to happiness then is to systematically eliminate, or at least minimize, the parts of your life that cause you negativity or stress of any kind.
This idea bowled me over when I first came across it many years ago. Imagine! The way to live a happy, productive life is to achieve your own peace of mind by systematically eliminating the negative people, situations and emotions that make you unhappy.
Wow! Could happiness in life be that simple? And herein lies the rub. The major obstacle to eliminating the negativity that interferes with your happiness is your attachment to the negative people and situations that cause it. Your rational mind comes up with all kinds of clever reasons why you must continue in your existing situation. Instead of working for you, instead of providing you with solutions to your problems, your amazing brain works frantically to keep you mired in them.
Later in this book, I'll show you a variety of ways to control, and eventually eliminate, your negative emotions. I'll show you powerful techniques you can use to neutralize anger and worry in moments. I'll show you how to take complete control of your emotions and how to keep them positive most of the time.
For the moment, though, your job is to engage in what is called "mountaintop thinking." Project forward in thought and imagine your ideal life. What combination of ingredients would have to exist for you to be perfectly happy? Don't worry about what's possible or not possible for you at the moment. Free your mind from all limitations and be perfectly selfish. Just define your life exactly as it would have to be for you to enjoy the peace of mind you desire.
What would you be doing? Where would you be living? Who would be there with you? How would you spend your time, day in and day out? Remember, you can't hit a target you can't see. But if you can envision it clearly, there's a very good likelihood that you can achieve it!
If you're in business, create this ideal future vision of what your job or work would look like if it was absolutely excellent in every respect. What would you do more of (or less of) to achieve higher levels of harmony and cooperation in your work environment?
In your family, what would your life look like if you and the people you care about were living in a state of complete peace and contentment? What sort of things would you do to help others to be happy in the process of achieving your own happiness?
When you set peace of mind as your goal and plan everything you do in terms of whether it helps or hinders your attainment of that goal, you'll probably never make another mistake. You'll do and say the right things. You'll find yourself operating from a higher set of principles. You'll feel wonderful about yourself. Peace of mind is the key.
HEALTH AND ENERGY
The second ingredient of success is health and energy. Just as peace of mind is your normal and natural mental state, health and energy is your normal and natural physical state.
Your body has a natural bias toward health. It produces energy easily and in abundance in the absence of mental or physical interference. And radiant health exists in the absence of any pain, illness or disease. Wonderfully enough, your body is constructed in such a way that if y...
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