How to be Successful (2019)

How to be Successful

Define Successful- How to be Successful in 2019

We each possess skills and abilities that nobody else possesses quite like we do. We are each gifted with unique strengths and talents, whether this is a talent for display on the world stage, or on a small stage as someone who makes a difference to just a few other people.


So how do we make the most of our personal potential? By creating the right mindset. Here are the key features for becoming Successful in life 2019.


Our Unique Talents


It is the mix of talents and other factors which produces potential. Potential can be regarded as the sum of talent, personality willpower, self-belief, drive and ambition, circumstances, opportunities and positive thinking.


The studies of self-development writers tell us that every single one of us possesses talents in some form or another. Our talents do not depend on background, upbringing, social class, job, ability or disability; hence the belief that they are divinely gifted.


None of us possesses a greater or lesser talent than any other person. It is their use and application which distinguishes the so-called “talented” from the so-called “less-talented”.


Our Own Special Genius


The word “genius” means innate talent. It derives from the Roman mythological belief that everyone had two guardian spirits which attended them from birth to death; “geno” is Latin for “to be born”. One of the spirits was a good genius and brought good fortune; the other was an “evil genius” and brought bad fortune.


More popularly, the name “genius” is given to people who have displayed outstanding human achievements, endurance or accomplishments. We think of people like Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci;


Shakespeare, Goethe, Newton, Napoleon, Mozart, Einstein, Churchill, and in our own times, Bill Gates. But these people were no different from us.


Their physiques, brain sizes, human strengths, and qualities were essentially no different from any other. What was possible for them is also possible for us.


But these people were no different from us. Their physiques, brain sizes, human strengths, and qualities were essentially no different from any other. What was possible for them is also possible for us.


The Qualities of Genius

Qualities of Genius

So just what are the characteristics of those who we regard as “geniuses”? Tony Buzan and Raymond Keene in their blog, “blog of Genius” define history’s geniuses as those displaying the following qualities:


  • 1. vision: the ability to see yourself succeeding in your goal
  • 2. desire: the passion or wish to accomplish the goal
  • 3. faith: the belief that you will succeed
  • 4. commitment: the willingness to act on the vision
  • 5. planning: the definition of how to realize the goal
  • 6. persistence: the dogged determination to reach the goal
  • 7. subject knowledge: a thirst to know about your subject
  • 8. mental literacy: an understanding of the brain’s  power
  • 9. a positive attitude: a belief that things will work out
  • 10. intuition: the ability to sense that something will work
  • 11. a master group: a team of others who support you
  • 12. an internal mastergroup: a mental image of  supporters
  • 13. truth: an awareness of what is true and real
  • 14. courage: the ability to face fear and go on.


Creating Your Destiny

strength destiny

Philosophers and thinkers have for centuries puzzled over the extent to which our lives are in our own hands and the extent to which they are pre-ordained. Some believe we are who we are because of our inherited characteristics.


Others believe we are the product of birth and upbringing. But all of us can set ourselves on the path we want by simply making our minds up to do it. Even in the most limiting society, we still have the free will to try. And that is the first step to creating our own destiny.


The Options of Change

So, if you are stuck in one of the survival or maintenance modes of development, ie just keeping your head above water, or just getting by, what are the options to take you to the state of development? There are usually 4 options:


  • do nothing. This may work but it also leaves you open to what others may do. It also may extend the unhappy situation that you don’t like.
  • change the situation. It is not always within our power to change the situation eg a job you need to keep.
  • leave the situation. This may not be possible either.
  • change yourself through personal development. This is always possible.


Self-Development for becoming Successful

Self-Development for become Successful

Everyone has it in them to develop themselves to their fullest potential, whether in work, relationships, family, endeavors, sport, whatever. It requires a mix of qualities, mindsets, and behaviors. Here are the most important of these qualities.



Attitude is the start and end point of all self-development work. Without the right positive attitude of self-belief, you will not achieve anything of importance in your life.


With it, everything is possible. As Charles Swindoll put it: “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”


Mike Pedler in his blog “Managing Yourself ” suggests that there are three key mental attitudes that self-managers require:


  • security based on your past experiences and an awareness of who you see yourself to be;
  • faith based on a belief in your talents, your opportunities, and your abilities;
  • hope based on a certainty that you can advance towards your goals.



You’ll have a tough time achieving your full potential in life if you try to do something you have no gift for. It is much easier to take the time to find out your own unique gifts and develop these.


Here’s what Quentin Crisp says: “It’s no good running a pig farm badly for thirty years while saying, “Really I was meant to be a ballet dancer.” By that time, pigs will have become your style.”



The one thing that distinguishes those who realize their full potential and those that don’t is Self-Belief. In fact, the strength of your self-belief is the one thing that determines whether you conquer mountains or conquer foothills.


But self-belief, or faith, is not easy. It means a belief in something that you can’t prove or be certain of. It means believing in life’s magic. Faith is like a bird that feels dawn breaking while it is still dark.” (Scandinavian proverb)


There are many inspiring stories of people in everyday situations who refuse to give in to received wisdom and limit their dreams. Chris Perrier for example. Chris was a 15-year-old looking for his first job on leaving school when he made up his mind that he would pursue his dream of becoming a professional football player.


On April 15th 1997, Chris achieved his dream by signing on for Second Division Walsall in front of a 6,000-plus crowd.


Nothing remarkable about that, you might think. But the photographs tell a different story: Chris was born with only one arm. Chris achieved the first step  in his dream by overcoming his own mental and physical limitations.




It is easy to start the process of self-development, much harder to keep it going, particularly when the score seems to be going against us. That’s when we need courage. Lots of it.


Sometimes we need a bold David versus Goliath kind of courage. At other times, we need a quieter courage, the kind described by Mary Radmacher-Hershey: “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying: “I will try again tomorrow”.”


In 1995 Norman Vaughan conquered his mountain at last. Norman Vaughan was one of the earliest explorers to map out the landmass of Antarctica. In 1925, he discovered an ice-capped mountain 10,000 feet high.


His fellow explorers named it Mt Vaughan after him. For over 60 years, Norman cherished the dream of actually climbing his mountain. The chance came when at the age of 88, he made an expedition to Antarctica. But it was a disaster.


The plane crashed, killing his dogs, injuring the pilot and scuppering the whole expedition. Norman determined to fulfill his dream. The next year he tried again. Despite serious arthritis in his legs and a dangerous icy climb that would have taxed a man a quarter his age, Norman eventually made it to the top of his mountain.

“It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” (Sir Edmund  Hilary)



The combination of all the factors of genuine self-development, such as ability, faith, self-belief, and awareness, are the factors that produce what we call “luck”. Quantum physicists tell us that there is no such thing in the universe as random accidents.


Everything that happens to us is a result of our mental self-belief and our physical action. In fact, we always get what we expect to get, no more, no less. Anatole France described it this way: “Chance is the pseudonym God uses when he doesn’t want to sign his name.”




All self-developers know the feeling of working hard to what they imagine is the finishing line only to find that the line has moved further on when they get there.


In truth, when we have big goals and many goals, there is no finishing line. But we still need to persevere. “All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours’ toil. In the fight to the finish, the spirit is the one characteristic we must possess if we are to face the future as finishers.” (Henry David Thoreau).


All personal growth follows a similar curve which has its own momentum and takes its own time. We can identify 7 stages on the route to achieving a goal:


  • 1. the initial blip on the growth curve is the initial excitement of new goals. Our motivation is high.
  • 2. disappointment sets in soon after the initial blip when we realize things aren’t going to be as easy as we thought.
  • 3. failures outstrip successes and we begin to wonder if we did the right thing. This is the time for strong self- belief.
  • 4. the arid plateau at the bottom of the trough is when we stabilize things. This is the time to invest in the future.
  • 5. dogged persistence accompanied by learning sends the curve upwards.
  • 6. the point of breakthrough occurs when we find the formula that works for us.
  • 7. we move comfortably to the goals we set and are able to think about setting new ones.


In the final analysis, it doesn’t much matter whether you become a champion on the world stage or a champion in your own little neck of the woods. The feeling you will have will be exactly the same: one of satisfaction, achievement, and triumph.


Key Points

  • 1. No matter how bad things seem, every situation in life has strengths which can be exploited.
  • 2. The limitations on what we can do in our lives are largely self-imposed.
  • 3. Sound values and character-building principles are the foundations of personal growth.
  • 4. When we use the principles of self-management, our growth towards a goal is teleological, like a missile.
  • 5. Just as individuals can develop themselves, given the right principles, so can organizations and teams.
  • 6. Organisations cannot develop the potential of their people unless they change their styles of managing from disempowering to empowering ones.


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Define Successful


In “Play to Your Strengths”, Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson suggest five ways we can discover our strengths.


1. Listen for yearnings. Yearnings are often triggered when we see someone doing something we’d like to do or feel we could do better.

2. Watch for satisfaction. When we get a glow of satisfaction from doing a job, even though we don’t know why, it’s likely to be a strength.

3. Watch for rapid learning. A strength is characterized by initial rapid learning that continues for a  lifetime.


4. Be aware of moments of excellence.

5. Watch for the total performance of excellence. Total performance of excellence is a flow of behavior when there are no conscious steps in evidence or in the mind of the performer.





The four senses of humor came to be associated with four personality types:

  • 1. blood = sanguine (quick, enthusiastic and changeable)
  • 2. phlegm = phlegmatic (slow, calm, lazy)
  • 3. yellow bile = choleric (excitable, proud, quick to react)
  • 4. black bile = melancholic (pessimistic, sad, slow to react)


Hans Eysenck in our own day has adapted the four senses of humor around scales of introversion and extroversion, stability and instability to create a personality typology.


Job Classifications

job type

Mumford and Salisbury asked a group of people to answer the question “Who am I?” twenty times. The work role featured prominently in every response. It seems that our identity is wrapped up in the job we do.


A. Maccoby suggested there were five different job classifications:

  • experts are driven by mastery, control, and autonomy
  • defenders, driven by protection, dignity and power
  • helpers, driven by caring, sociability and relating
  • innovators, driven by creating, competing, and glory
  • self-developers, driven by balancing, mastery and play, knowledge and fun.


B. Richard Bolles in “What Colour is your Parachute?” says that people are attracted to working with: things, data, ideas, knowledge or other people.


Jobs and Personalities


Key Points

  • 1. By getting to know ourselves better, we can discover our own strengths and potential.
  • 2. We can research ourselves by noticing how we perform in different life situations.
  • 3. When we see someone doing something that we feel we could do better, it is likely to be a strength.
  • 4. The Yin-Yang dichotomy offers us insight into the way we tend to behave normally or in certain circumstances.
  • 5. We invariably describe who we are by reference to the jobs we do.
  • 6. We each tend to prefer to work with one of the following: people, things, data, ideas, or knowledge.


Put Your Goals in Writing

Put Your Goals in Writing

Written goals have a way of transforming wishes into wants, can’ts into cans, dreams into plans and plans into reality. The act of writing clarifies your goals and provides you with a way to check your progress. You can even add reasons to give you more motivation. So don’t just think it - ink it!


In “Chicken Soup For The Soul”, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen told the story of a 15-year-old boy called John Goddard, who in the 1920’s wrote down a list of goals that he wanted to achieve in his lifetime.


They included: exploring the River Nile, climbing the world’s highest mountains, following a career in medicine, playing Clair de Lune on the piano, marrying and having children, owning a cheetah, learning 3 foreign languages, visiting the birthplaces of both   his grandfathers in Denmark and England, running a mile in 5 minutes, and riding a horse in a Rose Bowl Parade.


John wrote down 127 goals and when the 21st century dawned, he achieved his 109th goal – which was to live to see the 21st century. How did he achieve so many of his goals? By writing them down as a way of giving a commitment to his dreams.


Dream Big

There is nothing wrong in thinking big when you set your goals. But you need to remember that a goal and a dream are not always the same thing. In his blog, “Straight From the Gut”, Chairman and CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch recalls a meeting with the top people from his nuclear engineering division.


For over an hour, the executives laid out their goals to sell three nuclear reactors a year in the United States. At the end, Welch thanked his executives but said that,   no matter how well-intentioned, it was no more than a dream to expect the USA to buy nuclear reactors again.


A more realistic and pragmatic goal would be to perhaps service existing nuclear facilities. Today, GE are top in their category of servicing nuclear plants. They don’t invest in reactors anymore.


Imagine Yourself Succeeding


Mark Victor Hansen tells the story of the child who was frightened of monsters under her bed. To calm the little girl down, Hansen suggests it’s better to appeal to the little girl’s imagination than her reason.


So, instead of saying something like, “Don’t be silly, there are no monsters there”, say something like, “Don’t worry, sweetheart, our monsters are the kind that looks after kids”.


Jonny Wilkinson is one of the most prolific goal-scorers in rugby union. His tally for the England team is 1090 points more than anyone else has ever achieved. Wilkinson scored the winning drop-goal that secured England the World Cup in 2003 scoring in the last minute of extra time. When he takes a conversion kick, he uses his powers of visualization as much as his skill.


He says, “I use the seam of the ball as a target, the ball leaning slightly to the left. Then I go back and visualize the line of my kick, dead straight between the ball and the middle of the posts.


That line is fixed in my mind like concrete. Then a few steps to the side. I see the path of the ball in my mind, then a deep focus, imagining all the power going through my leg. You try to be in total control of the path of the ball, kick up and through   it.”


Express Them Right

Express Them Right

Set Goals In Terms of Behaviour

When we set goals for ourselves, they should be expressed in behavioral terms, rather than in terms of status, rewards or position. That’s because the behavior is something within our power, while status, rewards, and position are not.


Formulating goals in behavioral terms also mean we present a strong positive image of ourselves to our brains. The brain, not knowing the difference between a real or imagined experience, then seeks to act in accordance with the presented image.


Visualise It

Visualise It



The likelihood that we will reach our goals depends on our level of motivation. The word “motivation” comes from the Latin verb “move”, to move. Motivation is a drive that causes movement or a reason to move. Gestalt therapy argues that when we are content, with our needs satisfied and no goals to achieve, we are whole: “Gestalt” is German for “the whole structure”.


We are in a static state but going nowhere. When we present a new goal to our subconscious brain, we move out of the static state into a state of positive discontent. This state provides us with the motivation to move towards the goal.


When our goals depend on others, there are two main motivation techniques, push and pull. These are a matched pair. While pushing is shooting with a high-velocity rifle, pulling is fishing with a tempting bait.


By pushing you to create repulsion and fear often based on the loss of something desired; pulling you create desire and attraction, often with the promise of something desired.


Pushing is more difficult than pulling and may be far less effective. When you push, you’re like a sheepdog telling a flock of sheep where to go but sometimes they can scatter in all directions.


When you pull, you’re like a shepherd calling the flock towards you; they know there’s only one place to go. The best motivation is a mix of push and pull. You push to break people away from their current stupor, and you pull to see them come home to the goal.


De-Bug With Positive Self-Talk


Key Points

  • 1. Programming is a way to create a mental focus for our goals.
  • 2. The brain works best when it is left alone to find its way to a programming goal.
  • 3. Affirmations should confirm your self-image as an individual or team.
  • 4. Visualising yourself having reached your goal sends powerful images for your brain to work on.
  • 5. The best kind of motivation is an internal one driven by a desire to achieve a goal we want.
  • 6. We can motivate ourselves if we associate achieving our goals with thoughts of pleasure, and missing our goals with thoughts of pain.




Aerobic Exercise

  • Aerobic exercise can have beneficial effects on all parts of the body:
  • on the lungs. Aerobic exercise draws replenishing oxygen into the capillaries of the lungs and helps to eliminate waste
  • on the heart. A healthy heart beats less per minute than an unhealthy heart. This means that it has less work to do and so is more efficient.


  • on the brain. 40% of our blood supply goes to the brain and feeds it oxygen. The more blood we produce as a result of aerobic fitness, the more productive are our brains.


  • on the muscles. The muscles become leaner, finer and longer. When they are strong, they also act as mini- pumps for the heart.
  • other effects. Other effects of aerobic fitness are that the digestive system is massaged and cleansed; we sleep better, and we feel psychologically better.


Deep Breathing

deep breathing

Deep breathing is essential in creating a healthy bloodstream, the foundation of all good health. As well as filling you with fresh air, deep abdominal breathing relaxes the solar plexus, the source of much of our tension, and internally massages the stomach muscles. It also activates the lymph system to oxygenate each cell of your body and remove waste.


Breathing is life. When we think of life, we think of animation and the Latin root for animation, “anima”, means both “breath” and “soul”. Breathing is the soul of life. Yet many people do not breath properly. They breathe in shallow bursts, erratically and only with the lungs. The result is that they do not attain a state of relaxation or full energy.


There are two keys to deep breathing:

1. exhale all the air from your body before you breathe in

2. inhale using your abdominal muscles. As you fill your abdomen with air, your lungs also expand and gradually you fill with air up to your throat.


As well as filling you with fresh air, abdominal breathing relaxes the solar plexus, the source of much of our tension, and internally massages the stomach muscles.



The quality, quantity, and type of food you eat makes a significant difference to your health and fitness and so to your energy levels. Put simply, you are what you eat. A number of dietary principles have been established for years as being the basis of good health. These include...

  • eating fresh food
  • eating a varied diet
  • eating plenty of water-rich foods
  • eating less
  • listening to what your body needs.


The brain needs to be well-nourished to provide all the energy it is capable of. Foods that are good for the brain include: oils from fish such as mackerel and salmon; carrots which contain vitamin A, good for scavenging up free radicals that can attack the brain.


And vitamin B1, found in wholemeal bread, vegetables and cereals, which helps burn up the carbohydrates which provide the brain with its energy; iron in liver, eggs and leafy vegetables which assists in bringing oxygen to the brain; and linoleic acid, part of the make-up of brain membranes, which is found in polyunsaturated  fats.


Mental Chains

Earl Nightingale tells the story of the farmer who, early in the growing season, found a one-gallon jug beside his field of pumpkins and, for no particular reason, poked a small pumpkin into the jug without damaging the vine.


Later when the pumpkins were full grown and were being picked and stacked, he came across the jug again, this time completely filled with the pumpkin he’d poked inside. The pumpkin had filled the jug completely, and had stopped growing; it was the size and shape of the jug.


Earl realized that, just like the pumpkin in the jug, we often stop growing by accepting the chains of our past. If we wind up in spaces too small, it’s because we make the decision not to grow anymore.


We poke ourselves into a small space. However, just as we have the power to limit our growth, we also have the power to break through the limitations and become all we can be.


Give Spiritual Strength

Give Spiritual Strength

Giving spiritual strength to others is the last point on Lyndon Johnson’s Get-Along Guide. Mike George of says that you don’t need to be a religious person to give out spiritual strength to others. All it needs is an awareness of “God within us”.


Like the sun, such people have a great attraction about them. By demonstrating super-energy, they are natural leaders.



Various writers have alluded to a curious phenomenon that happens when you tune in to other people. Without exchanging words you can have the same thoughts. The psychologist, Carl Jung, called it “synchronicity” or a meaningful chance.


Others might call it coincidence or a synergistic response. What has been found is that when you tune in to others, you are able to tap into a collective consciousness as if all resources and knowledge came from a higher existence.


Scientists have discovered it when they produce similar work at the same time but with no contact. It has also been discovered in the natural world when animals in different parts of the globe adopt similar behaviors at the same time.


And in a mundane way, it is what happens when you and a colleague have the same thoughts, hum the same tune and do the same thing at the same time.


Super-energy is a mix of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. Physical energy is ours for the taking if we learn to stay fit and look after our bodies.


Mental energy is available if we learn how to turn negative into positive thinking. Emotional and spiritual energy is available if we connect with others in ways in which we can get along.


 Key Points

  • 1. Exercise is a reminder that we can act and not just be acted upon.
  • 2. To increase your energy, practice eating healthily and eating less.
  • 3. We deplete our mental energy when we allow doubts, excuses and limiting beliefs to creep into our thinking.
  • 4. It is how we deal with setbacks that determines whether we will win in the end.
  • 5. Put effort into getting to like others and removing those “scratchy” features of your own make-up.
  • 6. Tap into the combined energies of others who are working in the same fields as you.


Action and Progress

Although goal-setting, programming and energy sources are the fuel for achieving our potential, nothing happens until we take action. The action is the one thing that distinguishes high-achievers from dreamers and hopers. Here are the important features of the Action stage of goal achievement.



Time spent on preparation is an important prelude to effective action. Some of the best preparation techniques are those used by professional sports people. There are 5 techniques they often use to get themselves ready for a competition.


  • 1. preparation: of equipment, materials, and themselves
  • 2. attunement: switching on to time, place and mood
  • 3. warming-up: practicing some simple preliminary moves
  • 4. awareness: pinpointing outcomes for the task
  • 5. relaxed concentration: believing that your best work is done when you are relaxed and focused on zero-point arousal.




The word “focus” comes directly from the Latin word “focus” meaning a hearth or fire. In ancient times, the fire was in the center of the house. There are 2 types of focus. The hard focus is when we concentrate on our goal with all our attention.


We have tunnel vision. Nothing else matters. Soft focus is the opposite of hard focus and allows us to open up our awareness to include the whole environment connected with our goal. We are aware of all opportunities in a quiet way. We are even aware of being aware.


When we direct our thinking on a job in hand to the exclusion of all distractions and diversions, we gradually find ourselves in a state of single-minded immersion. Others use other terminology to describe this state of focusing.


For social scientist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, it is “flow”; for author Richard Carlson, it is free-flow thinking; for others, it is zero-point arousal, concentration, absorption. We can get to this point only by letting go of thoughts of the past and worries about the future.



If faith is a mental belief that we will achieve our goals, no matter what the evidence suggests, commitment is the physical act that confirms our faith. Many people get to faith - a belief they could do it - but hesitate when it comes to commitment.


They prefer to keep a way out in case it all goes wrong. When you truly commit yourself - possibly in money, materials, time, energy, and certainly yourself - you take a leap in the dark. It is only when you fully commit that you create powerful forces to help you.


Persistence: the Law of the Seed

 Persistence: the Law of the Seed


Somewhere on the route to your goals, after the initial blip of excitement, the disappointments of failure and the arid plateau of learning, comes breakthrough. The breakthrough point comes when more things are going right for you than wrong.


You still might face obstacles and setbacks but now they don’t bother you. You know how to deal with them. You no longer worry about whether you’ll make it. You know for sure you will.


Happy Chance Findings

Some people believe that the reason why human beings set themselves goals is not for the sake of the goal, but for the process, we go through while getting there. This process requires us to develop a range of qualities that are nearly always far more valuable than the prize at the end.


We may also stumble onto discoveries that are much more important and that we wouldn’t have found if we hadn’t set and pursued our original goal. These happy chance findings, also known as “serendipity”, are finally summed up in the Prayer of the Confederate Soldier.


Key Points

  • 1. The best work is done when you are in a relaxed state at zero-point arousal.
  • 2. Worries about the future or fears from the past get in the way of concentrating on the present.
  • 3. When we fully commit ourselves to a course of action, unexpected avenues open up to us.
  • 4. In moving towards our goals, we should work with the pace of things rather than force them.
  • 5. Research shows that high achievers are not quicker than the rest of us; they practice their art with patience.
  • 6. When you reach a point of breakthrough in your work, the obstacles no longer become a burden but simply situations to deal with.



The Conscious Brain

The conscious brain is that part of our brains that deal with what we call “reality”. It uses the senses to interpret and analyze information from the world around us. This is done through perception, association, evaluation, and decision- making.


However, the analytical conscious brain is very limited. Despite the power of the brain, we can only hold about 7 or 8 different thoughts in our head at any one time.


The Sub-Conscious Brain

The sub-conscious brain is the storehouse of all our past thoughts. This is the source of the most creative use of our brains.


For example, if we set goals for our brain, the sub-conscious part of our brain will supply us with information in line and will work by itself to find solutions as a way of restoring its balance. There are a number of ways to reach our subconscious creative selves...


1. Intuition: sensing when something is right shows up through your bodily sensations. Some people get gut feelings, others feel what’s right in their heart of hearts. Every time you need to make a decision, listen to your body.


2. Meditation: meditation allows you to put your brain into an alpha state, or, when you become proficient at it,  waking theta state. These states reduce your blood pressure and increase your immune system.


3. Soft Focus: soft focus allows your eyes to focus on a neutral area and become aware of everything around you. Immediately, you will increase your peripheral vision and your mind will be calmed. This is the focus of martial artists and athletes.


The Reticular Activating System

The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a group of cells in the brain which monitors sensory messages to the brain. It is a natural filtering device which allows only personally profitable data or threats to get through.


A simple analogy of how the RAS works is a busy airport terminal lounge where you may be waiting to board a plane. You are largely oblivious to the noise and sounds around you, but if you have programmed your brain to listen out for the name of your flight, you will hear it when it is called.

The RAS is the key reason why we need to feed in our goals to our brains and then leave the brain to work by itself.


It is like an evolutionary survival system, where only relevant information for our survival is allowed to get through while irrelevant information is left to die by the wayside.


The Supra-Conscious Brain

In recent years, there has become a growing realization that the functions of the conscious and sub-conscious brain are only a small part of what constitutes our mind’s functions. This is the realization that the mind is something bigger than the physical brain.


For example, you have over 200 trillion cells in your body all functioning in a healthy person in harmony and doing their own thing without any conscious input from you or your brain.


So what keeps these cells working? A super-conscious mind that links to a consciousness that extends beyond our brains, our bodies and our senses, what some people call the “supra-conscious” brain.


Maximising Our Brains

We maximize our potential when we maximize the power of our brains. We can do this in some of the following  ways:

  • use both left and right brains to dream new goals and plan the steps to reach   them
  • align the three evolutionary brains by thinking about your goals, feeling passionate about them, and taking appropriate  focused action
  • tap into the creative power of the brain to make better decisions and find better solutions to   problems
  • recognize the limitations of the analytical brain and tune in to what the brain is telling you through intuition and instinct
  • recognize that there is a powerful consciousness that extends beyond your brain but is accessed by your brain to things beyond normal thought.


Thought and the human brain are the defining features of human beings. But we now know that what we can do with our brains is not limited. Like our brains, our consciousness is infinite and so is our potential.


Key Points

  • 1. Although a lot still has to be discovered about the human brain, it is clear that most people vastly underuse the power of their brains.
  • 2. The human brain is a result of three evolutionary developments creating instinctive behavior, emotions and thought.
  • 3. When used together, the left and right functions of the brain bring together logical thinking and imaginative thinking.
  • 4. The sub-conscious brain is the seat of the self-image.
  • 5. When presented with a problem to solve, the subconscious brain is capable of finding its own ways to a solution.
  • 6. The brain works best when it is left to get on with its work.


Always Review Positively

Always Review Positively

Mix With Positive People

Allan Pease recalls how one of his colleagues, Alan, was conducting a seminar on communication. One student would make for him during each break and find any excuse to complain.


He would complain about the rain, about his football team, about how he was being treated by his ex-wife and so on and on. Alan decided that he would ignore every single negative comment.


He just looked elsewhere, picked at his lunch or read the newspaper. When however the odd positive comment cropped up, Alan’s face would light up and he would engage in normal conversation. After using this technique for a while, the student started to communicate good-naturedly with Alan while reverting back to pessimism with everyone else.


From Mastery to Mystery


There comes a time on the journey of self-development when we reach a level of working that is different from all the previous levels.


It is likely that the new experiences are no less challenging than before; it’s just that we see them in a different way, accomplish them with more ease and flow; and put them into new contexts and meanings. We have few words to describe this new state: “mastery” is one of them.


Up Your Game by Just 2%

The difference between mediocrity and superior performance can be attributed to as little as 1 or 2% more in terms of more planning, more study, more application, more interest, more attention, more positivity, more effort, and more determination.


Consider two professional golf players.

  • a) Bob earns £50,000 with an average of 70.9 around.
  • b) Jack earns £230,000 with an average of 70.3 around.


The slight edge difference is nothing more than one missed putt in every 18 holes but it is worth £180,000 in tournament winnings.

“The fact is, the difference between peak performers and everybody else is much smaller than “everybody else” thinks.” (Charles Garfield)


Love What You Do

Love What You Do

  • Love for one’s work is the simplest recipe for mastering one’s goals. It also makes the process of self-development one of joy.
  • love is self-acceptance and recognition, rather than the need for acceptance and recognition by others.
  • love has no boundaries as the action has. In the words of Mother Teresa: “We cannot do great things on this earth. We can only do small things with great love.”
  • love is emotional intelligence, which along with technical intelligence and intelligent action is the route to mastery.
  • love is doing difficult things simply.


“Work is love made visible and if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.” (Kahlil Gibran)


Become an Artist

When we grow and develop, we do not simply acquire new and improved skills. We gain a depth of understanding that changes who we are and how we see life: we reach artistry.


The apprentice knows the rules. The craftsman knows the rules and performs the skills. The master knows the rules, performs the skills, and sees the point. The artist knows the rules, performs the skills, sees the point and understands the deeper meaning.


We can all be artists. In “The Search for Meaning”, Charles Handy quotes a businessman who is awestruck by the performance of a group of “ordinary people” in the French circus troupe, Cirque Plume and wonders: “Why do we have to bribe our people with so much money to work as well as this? Are we missing something?”


Pursue Excellence Not Perfection

The difference between perfection and excellence is that perfection is a prize in the gift of others and nearly always impossible to achieve while excellence is a standard which we can work towards each day.

  • Perfection: completion, arriving, ending, reaching the peak, receiving the ultimate prize.
  • Excellence: a process, a journey, a quality standard, a way of life, relationships, attitudes, personal well-being, strategies for living, giving.


The Gratitude Attitude

The Gratitude Attitude


Identify Yourself with Your Work

The ultimate awareness is when your work is no longer apart from you but a part of you. The features of mastery as the ultimate awareness are that...

  • we feel whole; everything falls into place; layers of meaning make sense
  • work is simple if not always easy
  • our work is like a love affair
  • we are fully in the experience of our work, body, mind, and soul, the way children often are
  • there is no more tension or effort
  • doing is all that matters, not the rewards
  • we are what we do.


“Always you put more of yourself into your work, until one day, you never know exactly which day, it happens, you are your work.” (Pablo Picasso)


The Super-Senses

Rudolf Steiner has suggested that when we develop our work to levels of greater artistic awareness we become conscious of experiencing life on other levels not normally sensed. These are the levels of the twelve super-senses, which are:

  • 1. A sense of being alive
  • 2. A sense of being moved
  • 3. A sense of balance in things
  • 4. A sense of warmth
  • 5. A sense of speech
  • 6. A sense of thought
  • 7. A sense of personality
  • 8. A sense of vision
  • 9. A sense of being in touch
  • 10. A sense of being in tune
  • 11. A sense of a taste for life
  • 12. A sense of smelling the roses.


Peak Experiences

The ultimate stage of personal development of our skills is often glimpsed as a peak experience. This is when we do our work with a different feeling: confident and humble, invincible and connected, calm and at the highest level of awareness.


This is how the Brazilian footballer, Pele, - arguably the world’s greatest-ever player, - described a peak experience:


“I felt a strange calmness I hadn’t experienced in any other games. It was a type of euphoria. I felt I could run all day without tiring, that I could dribble through any of their team or all of them, that I could almost pass through them physically. I felt I could not be hurt. It was a very strange feeling and one I had not felt before.


Perhaps it was merely confidence but I have felt confident many times without that strange feeling of invincibility.” (Pele with Robert Fish: “My Life and the Beautiful Game”)


Celebrate and Give Thanks

Celebration of achieving our goals is right and proper. For hundreds of years, men and women have worked for six days and then stopped on the seventh to give thanks and celebrate.

  • celebration marks important milestones on the journey to our goals.
  • celebration marks life transitions, such as birth and beginning, endings and change.
  • the celebration is a sacred rite and ritual.
  • the celebration is a way of sharing goal achievement with those who have made it possible.
  • the celebration is where work meets fun.