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In this article we explore the mental journey required to transform a simple idea to grand success. (This article is the second in a three-part series that will help you attain success in your life.)

The schematic below follows a big idea from inception through to either failure or success.


PoB02 Idea to Succes


A big idea is generated in the cognitive brain. You now want something. When coupled with emotion, you transform want into a colorful, three-dimensional desire. But desire alone is not enough to overcome the retarding influence of the primitive brain that drives doubt, undermining our thoughts and hopes directly.

The top half of the above diagram shows how too many good ideas die at this stage.

Even if we engage in activities towards our goal, doubt sabotages our efforts. More likely, we kill the big idea before we start to work on it.

As can be seen in the lower panel of the diagram, only when the desire becomes so strong that we call it BELIEF, do we have the power to overcome the primitive brain and its accomplice FEAR, and the result is always SUCCESS.

The bigger the idea, the more powerfully you need to evoke the brain’s pathway to BELIEF. Once you achieve BELIEF, success is largely inevitable. If you don’t think this is true, then I invite you to study any person that has achieved grand success. Once they believed, truly believed, plans became actions, hopes became expectations, obstacles became challenges, and success followed.

Several aspects of this process require clarification:

First, although we represent the process as a linear journey from left to right in the diagram, this is not entirely true in life. The interactions between the three levels in the brain are more iterative, more dynamic. This is not an instantaneous chemical reaction. Big ideas can take time as we wrestle with our primitive brain, before we finally overcome doubt with belief.

Second, belief and success can be situational. We can be more proficient in developing belief in some domains of our life (perhaps our professional life), while being less confident in others (like our love life, for example).

Third, as you can see in the graphic below, the number of people that are hugely successful is tiny. Similarly, the proportion of people that are hugely unsuccessful, who never achieve belief, and ultimately auto-destruct is tiny. Larger numbers are moderately successful at triggering belief, with a similar proportion at the bottom end of the scale, wallowing in self-reinforcing doubt.

The vast majority of us wrestle every day with doubt. On some days, we enable belief to get the upper hand and drive success, while on other days we live under the defensive cloud of our primitive brains.


PoB03 Distribution

If we understand the roles of the three layers in our human brain and the relationships between them, and we fully appreciate the evolutionary power of the cognitive brain, and we closely observe highly successful people, we should be filled with optimism.

We can directly influence the cognitive brain, and we can influence the emotional brain indirectly through the cognitive brain. If we can learn to do this with sufficient strength and consistency, we can drive BELIEF and enjoy success. We will explore this in depth in the final article in this trilogy, Activate Belief.

Have fun,



This article is the second in a three-part series that will help you attain success in your life.

In The Anatomy of Belief we examine the three main sections of the human brain and their critical interactions. In Activate Belief we explore the actions you can take to drive your own success using your understanding of the brain and its three magnificent parts.