The Importance Of Belief

In the book, The Magic of Thinking Big, David Schwartz goes over several practical actions and behaviors that can help a person achieve their goals. One such action is the importance of belief and a positive mind.

The power belief is a very cliche thing to say because it’s often misused or perhaps overused. The difference is that most people simply daydream and hope that someday their dreams come true. However, with true belief, it’s a more concrete approach to life. You don’t believe that someday it’ll happen but rather in the next 2 months or 6 months or 2 years or 10 years you’ll achieve your goals. And thus, with deadlines comes action. You have to act in order for the belief to be fulfilled. But at the very beginning, the initial action, the foundational step is belief.

Belief works this way. Belief, the “I’m-positive-I-can” attitude, generates the power, skill and energy needed to do. When you believe I-can-do-it, the how-to-do-it develops.

When you believe that you can be successful then you see that end goal and with it, you see the certain attributes and skills which are required. If you wish to run your own business but lack the ability to lead, then that’s a clear attribute that you need to work on. You may need to take classes, read books and be more conscious of your behaviors and the words you use. You can then objectively see the person you are presently and view the tools that you are missing, the skills that you need to acquire and create a plausible plan that can slowly get you towards your goals.

Believing they will succeed–and that it’s not impossible–these folks study and observe the behavior of senior executives. They learn how successful people approach problems and make decisions. They observe the attitudes of successful people.

The how-to-do-it always comes to the person who believes he can do it.

But if the belief isn’t there, then the goal isn’t there and without that, you can’t see the missing parts of yourself.

Belief is what starts the chain reaction of growth. It’s like visualization. If you don’t visualize where you are going, where you want to end up and what you want to be, then you’re blindly walking around. Similarly, if you don’t believe that you are capable of achieving your goals, then you’re simply shortchanging yourself. Limiting your own potential.

Belief in great results is the driving force, the power behind all great books, plays, scientific discoveries.

On the other hand, disbelief is an obstacle that can obstruct your momentum before it can even build.

Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts “reasons” to support the disbelief. Doubt, disbelief, the subconscious will to fail, the not really wanting to succeed, is responsible for most failures.

It is always easier to come up with a list of things that can potentially go wrong. Reasons why you should stay safe and comfortable rather than take a risk. Failure and humiliation are real and many believers have experienced them. But the point, at least to me, isn’t about a 100% success rate. Rather it’s to act with a belief that you can get from A to Z and even if you fail in that belief and perhaps land somewhere around M, you can then plan once more and take action which allows you to inch your way towards your goals.

But someone with disbelief sees that potential failure as crippling and stays safe which also limits the experience and potentialities of life.

Look at it this way. Belief is the thermostat that regulates what we accomplish in life. Study the fellow who is shuffling down there in mediocrity. He believes he is worth little, so he receives little. He believes he can’t do big things, and he doesn’t. He believes he is unimportant, so everything he does has an unimportant mark. As time goes by, lack of belief in himself shows through in the way the fellow talks, walks, acts. Unless he readjusts his thermostat forward, he shrinks, grows smaller and smaller in his own estimation. And, since others see in us what we see in ourselves, he grows smaller in the estimation of the people around him.

The three ways to develop the power of belief are:

  1. Think success, don’t think failure. Positive thoughts lead to positive actions which bring you closer to your goal. Negative thoughts lead to negative actions which make the goal seem impossible.
  2. Remind yourself regularly that you are better than you think you are. It’s only by believing that you are capable of doing great things that you can achieve them.
  3. Believe Big. The size of your success is determined by the size of your belief. It’s extremely rare that people stumble into great success. Rather, it’s a calculated and measured approach that builds one towards that success.

Once more, it’s hard to separate cliche from a statement like ‘the power of belief’. There are aspects of life that are unknown or out of your control. So, there is always a degree of uncertainty that accompanies each action. Belief is there in order to overcome this uncertainty and allow you to act. In some ways, it’s similar to faith but faith which is backed by action because you believe that your goals are real and that you have the capability to attain them. Without belief, you stall out before you even get started in the race.

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right. (Henry Ford)

Youtube: Learned Living


Poem: Electric Self-Help

Article: Stoic Lesson: Aim For Internal Growth

Short Story: Everything Work’s Itself Out

Importance of Long Term Goal Setting

The important thing is not where you were or where you are but where you want to get.

Without knowledge of your destination, you are bound to waste your time, driving aimlessly. Even if you know where you wish to go but don’t plan on how you’ll get there then you’re bound to get lost.

In life, there is a default position where people aimlessly wander, simply hoping that someday their dreams come true. But no one ever stumbles upon success. No one accidentally achieves their dreams.

Rather, the achievement of one’s dreams requires concentrated and focused effort. As David J. Schwartz puts it in his book The Magic of Thinking Big:

A goal is an objective, a purpose. A goal is more than a dream; it’s a dream being acted upon. A goal is more than a hazy “Oh, I wish I could.” A goal is a clear “This is what I’m working toward.”

The importance of goal setting is common knowledge. So common that we often underestimate its importance of it and overlook the benefits we can derive from it. Many times we set big goals that we hope to achieve someday without giving thought to the smaller steps that will get us to our goal. Or, we may figure out the small things that we need to do but don’t know to what end we are aiming for.

Either way, you’ll have a hard time reaching your goals.

Instead of vague wishes, goal setting should be used not only to accomplish certain actions but also to improve yourself and improve the conditions of your life. To this point, David Schwartz encourages people to create a 10-year plan. This sounds like a daunting task because many of us don’t even know exactly what we want for dinner, how then can we create goals for ourselves for the next 10 years?

First, you have to understand the importance of such action. Schwartz uses the analogy of a forward-looking business, which would be business’ which plan for the future in order to keep growing, as a blueprint for individual growth.

Each of us can learn a precious lesson from the forward-looking business. We can and should plan at least 10 years ahead. You must form an image now of the person you want to be 10 years from now if you are to become that image. This is a critical thought. Just as the business that neglects to plan ahead will be just another business (if it even survives), the individual that fails to set long-range goals will most certainly be just another person lost in life’s shuffle. Without goals, we cannot grow.

In recent times I’ve started to think more about the kind of person I want to be as much as the things I want to accomplish. I look for the characteristic that I wish to have and those characteristics I wish to get rid of such as browsing car ad’s or looking for some new gadget that would be nice to own for the time being. Not that there is anything wrong with material possessions, but those things come and go and only bring me short term satisfaction but there is a nagging voice in my head that keeps me from being satisfied with the person that I am because I know that I am not who I wish to be.

This is where goals like the 10-year plan. Such plans can allow you to aim at an ideal version of you and can help you outline steps to get there. In order to create your own long term plan, you have to focus on two things.

First, visualize your future in terms of three departments: work, home and social. Dividing your life this way keeps you from becoming confused prevents conflicts, helps you look at the whole picture.

Second, demand of yourself clear, precise answers to these questions: what do I want to accomplish with my life? What do I want to be? and What does it take to satisfy me?

A more detailed plan would look somewhat like this:

Work department: 10 years from now:

  1. What income level do I want to attain?
  2. What level of responsibility do I seek?
  3. How much authority do I want to command?
  4. WHat prestige do I expect to gain from my work?

Home Department: 10 years from now:

  1. What kind of standard of living do I want to provide for my family and myself?
  2. What kind of house do I want to live in?
  3. What kind of vacations do I want to take?
  4. What financial support do I want to give my children in their early adult years?

Social department: 10 years from now:

  1. What kinds of friends do I want to have?
  2. What social groups do I want to join?
  3. What community leadership positions would I like to hold?
  4. What worthwhile cause do I want to champion?

I would personally add a self department which would be to work on your own health and habits, including attitudes and behaviors.

All of this planning and goal setting is done because, in order to get somewhere, you must know first where you are going. Once you have an aim then you can take action. Once your long term goals are set then you can break them down into smaller steps which would include the things you need to accomplish this year which would get you closer to your overarching goal and then, what you need to accomplish within the next 6 months, 3 months, month, weeks, and days.

In this manner, you live your life actively with each day being of use. You wake up with a purpose and plan and go to sleep knowing that you did what you were supposed to do and over time you will be able to recognize the progress you have made.

This is ultimately the point of goal setting: To make incremental progress. Such progress brings meaning to one’s life and leads to a more fulfilled life.

Use goals to live longer. No medicine in the world–and your physician will bear this out–is as powerful in bringing about long life as is the desire to do something.