To achieve success, we must achieve peak performance. The most predictable enabler of peak performance is the power of belief. You can read entire volumes of research on the neuroscience of belief—and I hope that you will—but here are the essential steps for you to take every day to accelerate your journey.
Only a tiny proportion of the world’s people achieve extraordinary success. Throughout history, the single common feature characterizing the performance of each of these rare human beings is a profound belief in their mission.
It might be that very few people are born with the innate ability to use their powers of belief. Certainly, most of us have to learn how to do this. The beauty of this natural power is that, with diligence and perseverance, we can all learn to master it. We can earn the right to peak performance.
I define belief as, “the deep faith in a current or future state that compels appropriate action and makes success inevitable.” Did you raise your eyes at the final word? Yes, I truly believe that this power makes success inevitable. Many of the world’s most renowned people have identified the power of belief—they’ve said so publicly!
I challenged myself to distill belief down to its simplest components, a list of actions that you can take that will help you to master the power of belief. Here it is:
- Be grateful. Start every day with three simple gratitudes, thoughts about things for which you are thankful. This is the positive foundation on which you’ll build the massive engine of success. Be thankful for your desire, for your dream, for the arms and legs you have to build it with, and for the people in your life that will help you. Be thankful for big things and small things. Start every day by listing your three gratitudes. They can be different every day, although you will find that over a year you will revisit your favorites regularly. Hold them in your mind throughout the day. Revisit them at breaks and during meals, and again before you go to sleep. A mindset of gratitude generates the hormonal food for a positive disposition, which is a fertile breeding ground for belief.
- See it. Describe your dream. Use detailed, precise words to draw a picture of your desired future. Capture it in writing or in a drawing. Use photographs of other similar outcomes if that helps you, but make sure that you have defined a very precise image of your success. Speak it our loud. Don’t spend any mental energy on what you do not want. If you allow your cognitive brain to be preoccupied with talk about failure, or doubts, or fears, these will become your reality. Your vision must be pure and positive. Work to control the conversation in your mind, so this picture dominates.
- Be it. Be the success you want to become. Once you have the clear image of the person you want to be, in the words of the famous athletic marketing slogan: “Just do it!” I wish my advice were more intellectually elegant, but the road to success is that simple. Wear the clothes that the “future you” wears. Speak the way she speaks. Do what he does. In the beginning, this may be hard. It may even feel ridiculous. But here is the truth: When you fake it, you make it. And I don’t use the word “fake” in a superficial or devious sense. You’re simply adopting the mantle of the future you. In a penetrating and enduring fashion, embracing the future in this way modifies your prevailing mindset. Belief ensues, followed by success.
If you’ve tried all this but haven’t succeeded, you can delve deeper into the complexities of this natural power.
You may have limiting beliefs that are hard to dislodge. There are specific strategies for handling these. Once you identify and understand them, you can ignore them, challenge them, distract your brain from focusing on them, or even overwhelm them with more positive messages.
You can also consult with a performance coach to help you. But honestly, even successful coaches wrestle with doubts and fears. And when they step back to find a path forward, most of them will remember the fundamental skills of thanking, thinking, and acting. These are the same three simple steps to belief and success for all of us.
I have one additional recommendation with far-reaching impact: stand tall. Practice your success posture. Seriously, stand in front of the mirror every day. Raise your arms into a V for victory. Your brain reads these somatic messages. They become imprinted in your thoughts and actions. You can posture your way to peak performance.
With every ounce of matter in my body, I believe the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
It’s in your hands!