One thing that completely separates successful people and sets them apart from the masses of mediocrity is the way they think. Successful people react differently to their environment than most folks in a way that gives them a distinct advantage. And the reason they react differently is because they think different thoughts.
And I’m not simply talking here about the “power of positive thinking” or some such. Though much has been said on that subject, to describe successful thought patterns as “positive” is overly simplistic and fails to capture the real difference that gives successful folks such a complete advantage.
Unfortunately for many, the idea of positive thinking is simple and appears to make sense. “If you think only positive thoughts,” this line of success coaching goes, “and push out all thoughts of negative possibilities, then you will achieve success.” And it is a good system for the folks who push this line of reasoning. Because whenever someone doesn’t actually achieve the success they anticipated with their positive thinking the coaches can always say they must have let some negative thought enter their minds. Then they can point at that as “proof” positive thinking works.
The trouble is the ways our brains work is still very much a mystery and has to date failed to be unlocked by even the most expensive technology science has yet been able to bring to bear on the challenge. The reality is our minds are much more complicated and resist being controlled by some simplistic positive thinking formula.
And that is not to say that positive thinking is at all bad. That’s not my point at all. Please don’t consider me a “positive thinking basher” or some such. All I am saying is that most of what is out there on the subject of success as it relates to positive thinking is overly simplistic and incomplete.
The reality is that there are some people who achieve tremendous amounts of success who are more negative than Eeyore ever could dream of being. If success was all about positive thinking then how could that ever happen?
The difference is these highly successful but negative (or even nasty mean) people probably have areas in their lives that are complete disasters. Many folks who achieve high success professionally, whether they are movie actors, corporate executives, politicians, or even preachers, find nothing but disaster in their personal lives. Along their way to achieving great success in their careers they leave behind a trail of destroyed relationships in their wake. Often their families are extreme examples of dysfunction, they find themselves embroiled in law suits, or maybe they struggle with severe depression or addiction.
And that is not our goal here at SuccessCREEations. We want to achieve balanced success across the board. As far as I am concerned if the price tag of financial success is a destroyed marriage, then I’d rather be mostly broke. If that were the case, the cost for me would be too high and I wouldn’t want it.
Fortunately however it doesn’t have to be that way. Unfortunately there is no simple “get successful quick” formula when it comes to our thoughts. Therefore my list of things to think about will necessarily cover ideas that are a little more difficult to define than a simplistic banner like “positive thinking.”
However, thinking on these things is sure to lead us to that broad based, whole life success that we truly crave.
So without further ado, here’s the list. If you want more success in your life then you would do well to think about things that are
- True – We will never achieve success if we allow things that are not true to dominate our thinking. And of all the items on this list, this first one is probably the hardest one to get right. The problem is that so many of the lies that we think all day long are so deeply ingrained into us that it seems nonsense to think they might not be true.
- For example someone may think, “I can’t remember names.” That is a lie. The truth is they don’t remember names. They could. But they have to work at it somehow. Maybe what they have to do is come up with some sort of seemingly silly word association thing to do with each person they meet to help them remember. Or maybe they need to take some nutritional supplement to help improve their memory. I have no idea what it will take to overcome that personal challenge.But I do know this. The moment they believe the lie that they can’t do it is the moment they have lost all hope of ever seeing it done in their lives. It is not until they start making the truth that it can be done, and done by them, that they will begin know hope of success.
And there are lies that we subscribe to all over our lives that keep us from the success we were meant to attain. Think about the folks who suffer from horrible addictions. “I can’t quit smoking” is a huge lie that is literally destroying the health of millions. I’m not going to pretend that there is anything easy about breaking free from an addiction. I know about it first hand as I was a drunk for many years.
But the truth is we can break free. And until we make that first step of discarding the lie that says we can’t we will never be able to more forward.
- Honorable – Honor is an idea which has lost its luster in our modern society. But it is something that will propel us forward toward success. By thinking about honorable things I mean this. Think about things that promote fairness. Think of ways that can build integrity in our lives so that our actions match our words, and our actions in one area are consistent with our actions in other areas of our lives. Think about things that are or would be a source of credit or distinction in our lives. Think about what that respect being manifested in our lives would look like.
- Right – Most of us have a sense of justice hard wired into our consciousness. There are things that our conscious tells us are just not right. Well if we want to see success we must push those thoughts aside. Instead we should dwell on thoughts about things that are right. If we see a situation in our lives that we know isn’t right, how can we make it right? If we are honest, most of us already know what the right thing to do in a given situation is. The trouble is we believe the lie that the right thing will cost more than it is worth so we take the easy way out by not doing it. If we want to see success we need to focus instead on what we know to be right.
- Pure – This one is so critical, and yet so hard to talk about. Purity involves keeping our thoughts from wandering all through the gutters of anything that debases, contaminates, or otherwise pollutes our minds. In our culture we are so steeped in selfish nastiness that people who prefer to work at keeping their minds pure are often quite brutally mocked. However one of the ways to really see a holistic success in our lives is to keep our thoughts pure from all that other junk which drags us down. Most folks are far too quick to disregard how destructive a lack of purity is to their success. It is more comfortable to believe the lie that this area doesn’t really matter.
- Lovable – What are some things that you love? If we want to see success then we need to spend more time thinking about these things. The things we love are the things that will power us through the difficult times that defeat the masses of mediocrity. When you read about folks that have endured tremendous troubles and survived horrible circumstances (POW’s and hostages, for example) one of the things you will quickly see is that most of them credit their survival to their ability to keep remembering something or someone they loved. Love is a tremendously powerful thing and it can power us through any obstacle or set back. Take time to think about the people and the things you love and you will see more success in your life.
- Admirable – What do you see around you that is admirable? Do you look for those things in others? Or do you only see their faults? If you want to see success then start overlooking everything that is wrong around you. Spend more time thinking about the things that are right and admirable. This one is simple to implement. In my case I make it a game to see what good I can find in even the most unpleasant situations and people. I don’t always get it right. But one way to see success in our own lives is to look for and think about the best in others.
- Excellent – Excellence is tremendously underrated in our society today. Today we value so many things over excellence. For example Wal-Mart has grown to a huge company by valuing low price over excellence. The fast food industry is booming because they have put a higher value on convenience over excellence in food quality. However if we want to see that holistic success that permeates our entire lives we need to spend some time thinking about what is excellent and how we can promote more excellence in our lives.
The bottom line is this. In order to achieve success we need to change the way we think. If we set aside so much of the junk that we think about today and put concentrated effort into thinking about the areas listed above we will have a much better opportunity to see success ultimately come our way.