After studying the research done in cognitive psychology over the last 25 years, I’ve come to a simple conclusion: The degree to which you feel in control of your life will largely determine your level of mental well-being, your peace of mind, your happiness and the quality of your interactions with people.
Cognitive psychologists call this a “sense of control.” It is the foundation of happiness and high achievement. And the only thing in the world over which you have complete control is the content of your conscious mind. If you decide to exert that control and keep your mind on what you want, even when you are surrounded by difficult circumstances, your future potential will be unlimited.
Your aim should be to work on yourself and your thinking until you reach the point where you absolutely, positively believe yourself to be a total winner in anything you sincerely want to accomplish. When you reach the point where you feel unshakable confidence in yourself and your abilities, nothing will be able to stop you. And this state of self-confidence comes from, first, understanding the functioning of your remarkable mind and, second, practicing the techniques of mental fitness over and over, until you become a completely optimistic, cheerful and positive person.
Italian psychologist Dr. Roberto Assagioli left us two remarkable pieces of writing, Psychosynthesis and The Act of Will. In those books, Assagioli brought his remarkable intelligence to bear on the entire subject of human potential and human happiness. He studied the mind and personality for his entire lifetime, and he came up with several ideas that are profoundly simple and powerfully effective in helping you and me to lead happier, more satisfying lives. In The Act of Will, he laid out a series of psychological principles, or laws, that can be very helpful to you in understanding the way your mind works and how you can take control of it.
The third of Assagioli’s laws is that images or pictures, either from within or from the outside, will trigger thoughts and feelings consistent with them. In turn, those thoughts and feelings will trigger behaviors that lead to the realization of the pictures. For example, when you become absolutely convinced that you are a total winner and you are meant to be a complete success in anything that you really want to do, every picture or image that you see that somehow represents winning to you will trigger thoughts of what you could do to achieve that same state. The picture will also trigger the feeling of excitement that will motivate you to take action.
A friend of mine who was a sales manager had a simple technique to make new salespeople successful, and it worked in more than 90 percent of cases. When he hired a salesperson, he would take that person to a nearby Cadillac dealership and force the person to trade in his current car on a new Cadillac. The payments on the Cadillac would be substantially more than the new salesperson had ever imagined paying, and he would strongly resist getting into the commitment. However, the sales manager would insist until, finally, the salesperson bought the new Cadillac and drove it home.
No matter how unsure or insecure the salesperson felt, when his spouse and friends saw the new Cadillac and he experienced the pleasure of driving it down the street, he began to think about himself and to see himself as a big success selling his product. And in almost all cases, it turned out to be true. Those salespeople went on to become great successes in their field.
Take every opportunity you can to surround yourself with images of what success means to you: Get brochures on new cars; get magazines containing pictures of beautiful homes, beautiful clothes and other things that you could obtain as a result of achieving the success that you are aiming for. Each time you see or visualize those images, you trigger the thoughts, feelings and actions that make them materialize in your life.
Assagioli’s fourth law is that thoughts, feelings and images trigger the words and actions consistent with them. This is another way of saying that your inner impressions will motivate you to pursue the outer activities that will move you toward the achievement of your goals.
Assagioli’s fifth law is that your actions will trigger thoughts, emotions and images consistent with them. That has been referred to as the Law of Reversibility. It is one of the most important success principles ever discovered.
Simply, that law says that you are more likely to act yourself into feeling than you are to feel yourself into acting. On many days, you wake up feeling not as positive and optimistic as you would like. However, if you act as if you already have the feeling that you desire, the action itself will trigger the feelings and the thoughts and mental pictures consistent with them.
In her book Wake Up and Live, Dorothea Brande said that the most important success secret she ever discovered was this: “Act as if it were impossible to fail, and it shall be.”
In the book, she goes on to explain that you need to be very clear about the success that you desire, and then simply act as if you already had it. Act as if your success were inevitable. Act as if your achievement were guaranteed. Act as if there were no possibility of failure.
The wonderful thing is this: You can control your actions easier than you can control your feelings. If you choose to exert control over your actions, those actions will have a “back flow” effect and trigger the feelings, thoughts and images that are consistent with those of the person you want to be, of the person who lives the life you want to live.
There is a principle called the Law of Expression, which says that whatever is expressed is impressed. This means that whatever you say, whatever you express to another in your conversation, is impressed into your subconscious mind.
The reverse of this law is that whatever is impressed will, in turn, be expressed. It will come out. Your conversation reveals an enormous amount about you, the kind of person you are and the things that you believe about yourself and others.
In identifying those laws, one of the most important facts I discovered is that your brain is a multisensory, multistimulated, extremely complex, interactive organ. Everything that you think, imagine, say, do or feel triggers everything else, like a chain reaction, or like a series of electrical impulses going out in all directions and turning on lights everywhere.
Let’s say that you are driving down the street, listening to the radio and thinking about a variety of things. Suddenly, you hear a song that you associate with an old romance that you had many years before. Instantaneously, your brain reacts and re-creates all the sensations that were present when you were with that person a long time ago. You instantly get a mental picture of the person. You see and remember where you were and what you were doing when the song was playing back then. You feel the emotion that you experienced at that time. You recall what was going on around you-the sounds, the season, the lights, the people and the activities. You temporarily forget whatever you were thinking about and are transported, in a split second, back across the years. Sometimes, the emotion that you recall is so intense that it brings you close to tears or fills you with happiness.
That is the way your mind works. By understanding that, you can make your mind work for you as a powerful engine of growth and development. You can consciously surround yourself with a series of sensory inputs that bombard you with messages and cause you to think and feel like a total winner.
Thinking like a winner is the first step to living like a winner. You do become what you think about most of the time. You are not what you think you are; but what you think, you are. In fact, you are what you most intensely believe. And if you think like a winner and do the things that winners do to keep their minds positive and optimistic, you will be a winner.
About Brian Tracy
Brian Tracy is a leading authority on personal and business success. As Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, he is the best-selling author of 17 books and over 300 audio and video learning programs. Copyright © 2001 Brian Tracy International. All Rights Reserved.
It will look like this: Thinking Like A Winner – A Chain Reaction