By Paul Allen Powers
Many years ago, I read my first book on personal development. Chances are, anyone who has ever wanted to “be someone” has already read this book. The person who encouraged me to read this book was a very successful business man, a multi-millionaire many times over.
The book was Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. As a spirited fifteen year old with visions of living the American Dream, I collected the golden nuggets Hill had to offer.
Prior to reading this book, I was already an avid reader of many other works by and about successful entrepreneurs. I read about Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Howard Hughes, and many other entrepreneurs. I read as well about the new breed of entrepreneurs that has come to replace the greats of the past: Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few.
One common thread that I found in the lives of all these successful people is that they had mastered their mindset and the internal language in which they spoke to themselves on a daily basis. They thought and spoke to themselves in encouraging, successful ways.
What are you saying to yourself on a daily basis? Are you simply reacting to what you don’t want versus going after what you do want?
Many people have a habit of reacting to unwanted circumstances in their lives by stating out loud or internally what they don’t want. For example: “I don’t want to be broke anymore,” “I wish I wouldn’t have such poor health,” or “Why can’t my life be easier?” Far from bettering our situations, these little messages play little tricks on our subconscious mind and in fact bring us more of the same trouble. The mind is a very powerful thing, and by dwelling on such negative thoughts we attract more negativity towards ourselves.
Now imagine instead what might happen if, instead of concentrating on what you don’t want, you concentrate on what you do want. For example: “My finances are improving on a daily basis,” “My health is getting better and I feel great,” or “My life is so much fun! I am surrounded by many great people who are contributing to my life in a positive way, allowing me to in turn provide value to them.”
Now some of you reading this might say, “Oh this sounds like some of that mumbo-jumbo like ‘Positive Mental Attitude,’” referred to as “PMA” back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. So many people started talking about having a positive mental attitude that many people started to dismiss the entire concept as a joke. The “rational” thinkers started to treat those PMA-ers as dreamers. Rather than taking them seriously, they told these people that they needed to “get real” and “stop dreaming.” But having a positive mental attitude isn’t just about “dreaming”—it’s about focusing on what you want and making it happen.
I am coming from the place of someone who grew up in this country as an immigrant. Growing up, my mother told me that we were living in the greatest country on earth. She also taught me that what I say to myself on a daily basis is more important than the food I eat. To this end, everyday we would speak of what we wanted for our future. We were excited about the potential of what could be. We were thankful for everything we had, even though we didn’t have any material belongings that would classify us as affluent. We weren’t even middleclass; yet rather than telling myself all the things I didn’t have and thinking about that lack, I talked to myself about all the wonderful things that were mine to earn. My mother taught us to be thankful for what we did have and made sure we spoke and thought about what we wanted rather than about what we didn’t want or have.
Books have been written about the concept of a positive mindset. Movies have been made about it. I am sure many of you have watched or read The Secret. Many of the concepts in The Secret are applicable to what I am writing about in this blog. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you pick it up.
Now here are the hard facts. It doesn’t matter how many books you read about becoming successful. It doesn’t matter how many wealthy or affluent people you manage to temporarily surround yourself with. Unless you master your mindset and the language you use to speak to yourself on a daily basis, you will not be able achieve and maintain true success or meaningful relationships.
Here are a few action steps to take:
1) Put your affirmations in writing. Affirmations are anything you want to be saying to yourself on a daily basis. For example: “I am a leader of leaders. Every day in every way, I am getting stronger and healthier. I am providing value to others and in return I am receiving abundance and value from others.”
2) Print out your affirmations and laminate them. Put your affirmations everywhere! Put them in the bathroom, in your daily planner, in your car—anywhere that you can see them.
3) Most importantly, read your affirmations three to four times a day at minimum.
4) Update your affirmations as needed. Remember, you will be growing, and as a result your mindset will be in a constant state of renewal and change.
5) Read as many personal development books as possible, but also remember to read the most important book of all: the Bible. True enlightenment can only come to those who work on their spiritual growth as well as their mental growth.
6) Most importantly, have FAITH. The key to a positive mindset is having faith that the affirmations you are saying to yourself will come to pass.
Let me leave you with a quote from Margaret Thatcher: “Watch your thoughts because they become words. Watch your words because they become actions. Watch your actions because they become habits. Watch your habits because they become your character. Watch your character because it becomes your destiny!”