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Have you taken a big hit and abruptly found yourself down and out? Or perhaps you have slipped gradually downward until one day you woke up to the fact that you were in really bad shape.

I know I have!

Regardless of how you got there, a successful recovery always starts in the same way: Deep inside your brain, you have to decide where you’re going.

Although he didn’t describe the underlying neuroscience, legendary leadership guru Stephen Covey knew this when he outlined his principles for effective living in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. His second habit is captured in the title of this article: “Begin with the end in mind.” He goes on to explain that we need to “envision in our minds what we cannot at present see with our eyes.”

A steady conversation takes place inside our heads. Each positive intention that originates in our cognitive brain has to fight its way past the protective instincts of our primitive reptilian brain. Only when the clarity, power, and durability of the positive intention overcomes the undermining questions of our protective brain is success possible.

We call this state belief. When you nourish belief, it becomes hope. When you nurture hope, it becomes reality. And so, systematically, you real-ize success from the inside out.

The neuroscience is simple, although not always easy. The more accurately we visualize our desired future state in our mind’s eye, the better our chances are of getting there. So, if you’re starting a recovery or beginning a new journey, take the time to picture your success in exquisite detail. Suffuse your cognitive brain, the only part of your brain that is under your voluntary control, with complete images. Co-opt every sense as you imagine the sight, sound, smell, feel, and taste of victory.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is the source of greatness. A quick look at the speeches and writings of the world’s great achievers reveals the same fundamental truth:

When we describe and defend a non-negotiable image of success in our mind, we manifest it in our lives.

One of the great American scholars of the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson, implicitly understood our cerebral wiring when he penned the famous inspirational statement:

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

Infuse your life with greatness. The journey to abundance starts in your own mind. As always, your destiny is within your reach.