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“He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.” – Confucius
Belief, Potential, Actions, Results
Where does success begin? It originates in the mind in the form of an idea. What happens next is influenced by our beliefs. If we are insecure, think of ourselves as insignificant, or play the role of victim our ‘potential’ will be reflective of such beliefs. We will see ourselves as the ‘outsider’, the person who cannot accomplish a major goal or task; that success is reserved for the ‘other’ people, the people who have the time, talent, or money necessary for achievement.
As a result, our actions become inaction. Worse, we will act but with timidity. As soon as we are faced with an obstacle or adversity, we will reinforce the idea that we are not destined for success and accept our current state. We blame outside forces for our own situation and avoid the deeper problem.
Conversely, a positive mindset can be transformational. It will ignite a fire that burns deep inside of us and allow us to see our future successes, even though they are not apparent to anyone else. These beliefs allow us to fail forward and remain persistent in the face of adversity.
Both mindsets are reinforcing. They contribute to why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, why the healthy get healthier and the unhealthy continue to deteriorate. A example of how large a role belief can play on potential is the case of Roger Bannister. In 1954 Bannister became the first human to ever run a sub 4-minute mile. Within 2 years his accomplishment, 37 other individuals achieved this feat.
Focus On What You Control
Where do you focus your attention? Is it focused on world politics, your personal health, problems at work, terrorism? When we look at these topics we should differentiate between where we can have an impact and where we have no control.
Proactive people focus on what they control. Their energy is centered on the things they can do something about. Reactive people spend their time focusing on problems they cannot solve. They are filled with negative energy, accusations, and victimization.
Is there something over which you do not have control but would like to see change? Then evaluate your response. Are you being proactive, as discussed in Part I, or reactive? As stated by Stephen Covey, the proactive approach is one where we focus on what we can control and “is filled with the be’s – I can be more patient, be wise, be loving. It’s the character focus. Anytime we think the problem is ‘out there’ that thought is the problem.”