Realizing Your Potential

By: Brian Tracy

One of the most wonderful and exciting facts about your life is that you already know a lot of the things you need to know to become the person you want to be. You have your heart’s desire deep inside of you. There’s something that you were put on this earth uniquely to accomplish. There’s something that you, and only you, can do. And when you find your heart’s desire, you’ll have the key to unlocking your potential in every other part of your life. You’ll have the key to happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment and the joy that’s your natural birthright.

You can unlock your inner potential only when you’re doing something that you really love to do. You can fulfill your innermost aspirations only when you’re doing something that interests you, something that holds your attention, something in which you can become completely absorbed.

And this is the key to unlocking the giant within. You must dream big dreams and do what you love to do. You must decide what’s right for you, what will make you happiest, before you decide what’s possible. You must set ideal standards and goals and results as your aim and then determine how to accomplish them.

In his book The Act of Will, Roberto Assagioli, the Italian psychiatrist, said that the starting point of great individual achievement is the definition, by yourself, of the ideal result that you wish to accomplish.

Take some time to determine your ideal lifestyle. Take some time to determine the kind of person you’d like to be, and the kind of person you’d have to become in order to live the kind of life that you’d like to live. Remember, you can’t accomplish it on the outside until you become it on the inside.

I recently read a beautiful line in a book: In order to achieve things you’ve never achieved before, you must be willing to do things you’ve never done before.

To unlock your inner potential, you must set very clear, challenging and, yet, realistic goals and then make plans to accomplish them. You need to work, step-by-step, every day, in the direction of your dominant aspirations. You need to develop an unshakable level of self-confidence that makes you virtually unstoppable.

Momentum is the key to long-term success. The momentum theory of success simply says that while it may take 10 units of energy to get you moving in a particular direction, it takes only one unit of energy to keep you moving once you’re in motion. You have the principle of momentum working in your favor.

For example, if you’ve come back from a vacation of a week or two weeks, you’ll notice that it takes you several days to start working at peak efficiency again. This is part of the momentum principle. When you stop, it’s hard to get started again. But once you’re moving forward, it’s easy to continue moving forward.

How do you use the momentum principle in your life? Well, it’s simple. You decide upon one key quality that you need to develop in order to accomplish one key goal that you want to accomplish. Then every single day, you work simultaneously on developing that quality and on taking steps toward the accomplishment of that goal. Once you put the ball into play, you keep the game going, every single day, without stopping.

Let’s say that your goal is to become financially independent. To do this, you have to pay off all of your existing debts and build up a cash reserve of three to six months of living expenses. When you reach that point, your entire personality will change. You’ll be more clearheaded, you’ll be more positive, you’ll be more determined, you’ll be more optimistic, you’ll be a finer and better human being when you absolutely know that you’re not dependent upon anyone for your living expenses. You’ll be able to choose the job you want to do and go to the places you want to go. You won’t have to tolerate any situation that you do not enjoy or that you feel isn’t the best use of your personal potential.

If you simultaneously work on strengthening your self-discipline and using it to achieve the goal of financial independence, you’ll become a better, stronger and more powerful human being. You’ll cast off the bonds of helplessness and begin to feel that there’s nothing in the world that you can’t do or be or have.

When you set clear goals or objectives for yourself, when you dream big dreams and then determine to become the kind of person who’s capable of achieving the kind of goals that you want to achieve, you convince yourself, at a deep, subconscious level, that you’re absolutely unstoppable. You realize at last that nothing in the world can hold you back except your own thinking, and you don’t even let your own thinking limit your potential.

If you learn to be powerful and develop self-confidence by working progressively, every day, toward becoming the kind of person you want to be, and toward living the kind of life you want to live, you’ll unlock the giant within you, and it will never go back inside.

Believing in Yourself

In her wonderful book You Can Heal Your Life, Louise Hay says that each one of us has feelings of inferiority that are manifested in the conclusion that we are not good enough. We think that we are not as good as other people, and we feel that we are not good enough to acquire and enjoy the things that we want in life. Very often, we feel that we don’t deserve good things. Even if we do work hard and achieve some worthwhile objectives, we believe that we are not really entitled to our successes, and we often engage in behaviors that sabotage our successes.

The fact is that you deserve every good thing that you are capable of acquiring as the result of the application of your talents. The only real limitation on what you can be and have is your absence of desire. If you want something badly enough, nothing in the world can stop you from getting it, if you are willing to persist long enough and hard enough. Over and over, we find that our beliefs, more than anything else, act as the brakes on our capacities. We have high hopes and dreams and aspirations, but we let doubts creep in and undermine our competence and effectiveness.

You need to develop your beliefs about yourself to the point where they serve you every day in every way. Men and women who accomplish extraordinary things are just ordinary people who developed themselves mentally to the point where they were able to overcome the obstacles that stood in their way, and they kept on keeping on until the goal was attained.

Psychologist William James of Harvard University said that beliefs create the actual fact. The reason for this is because we always act in a manner consistent with our innermost beliefs and convictions. If you believe yourself capable of accomplishing good things, you will walk and talk and act like it. Your behaviors will actually make your beliefs a reality.

The most harmful beliefs that you can have are what we call self-limiting beliefs. These are beliefs about yourself, most of which are not true; but they hold you back nonetheless. Sometimes you, or others, will say that you cannot achieve certain goals because you did not get enough education. Sometimes you will say that it is because of your gender or race or age or the state of the economy. Many people blame their parents or their bosses or their families or their current relationships for their failure to make progress in life. Others say that there is no opportunity in their particular area or their particular field. Some complain because they have no money. Others complain because they received poor grades in school or did not go to, or finish, college. Still others say that they have never had a natural talent or ability for a particular field.

The humorist Josh Billings once said, It ain’t what a man knows what hurts him. It’s what a man knows what ain’t true. It isn’t the actual truth about yourself and your abilities that hurts you; it’s the things that you consider to be true and that have no basis in truth.

The starting point to change your beliefs is to get up the courage to question them seriously. Question your basic premises. Check your assumptions. Ask yourself, What assumptions am I making about myself or my situation that might not be true?

It’s a fact that we fall in love with our excuses and our assumptions. We fall in love with our reasons for not moving ahead. Even if someone comes along and challenges those reasons, even if someone tells you that you have the capacity to accomplish marvelous things, you will argue with him. If someone tells you that you can do far better than you’re doing right now, you will come up with reasons to dispute this person’s greater belief in your potential.

The author Richard Bach wrote this beautiful line: Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours. Very often, we become the prosecuting attorney in the case against ourselves. We dispute and argue and attempt to prove to ourselves and others that our limitations are real. And the less justification these ideas or beliefs have, the more adamant we become in attempting to prove them to others.

What beliefs might you have that are holding you back right now? Think about them. Remember, most of our self-limiting beliefs have no basis whatsoever in fact. They are based on information and ideas that we have accepted as true, sometimes in early childhood, and to the degree to which we accept them as true, they become true for us.

Your beliefs about reality are based on a thousand influences, many of which began even before you were aware of what was going on. You have beliefs that are deep and beliefs that are shallow. Deep beliefs, with regard to your religion or your political party or your family, or especially yourself, are very hard to change. Shallow beliefs are easily changed. And many of your beliefs are in fact very shallow. They have no substance to them whatsoever. If you challenge them hard enough, you’ll find that they are made of tissue paper. They’ll simply blow away.

You can always tell what your true values and beliefs are by looking at your actions. It isn’t what you say or wish or hope or intend that demonstrates what you really believe. It’s only what you do. It’s only the behaviors that you engage in. It’s only the actions that you choose to undertake. Your values and beliefs are always expressed in your actions and behaviors.

And out of your actions come all of the elements of your life. You are where you are what you are because of what you’ve said and done in the past.

The wonderful thing is this. Each of us is in a state of becoming. Many years ago, a great teacher of mine said that each human being is a becomingness. You are constantly evolving toward the fulfillment of your individual possibilities. You can become anything you want by sitting down at the keyboard of your own mental computer and beginning the process of programming in new beliefs.

To develop beliefs that serve your life better than your current beliefs, decide exactly where you want to end up sometime in the future. Dr. Roberto Assagioli calls this you ideal result. Robert Fritz, in his book The Path of Least Resistance, calls this your future vision. The clearer you are about your ideal result or future vision, the easier it is for you to alter your actions and behaviors in the short term to assure that you get where you want to be in the long term.

Once you’ve clearly decided on the person you would like to become, you are on the path toward developing new beliefs. You then discipline yourself each day to behave exactly as you would if you were already that person.

That simple technique, the act as if technique, is extraordinarily powerful. The more you act like the person you want to be, the more consistent your attitude will be with that person’s. Your attitude will have the back-flow effect of affecting your expectations. Positive expectations will have the back-flow effect of building beliefs that are consistent with them. And your beliefs will exert an influence on your values.

You have no limitations on your potential except for those that you believe you have. Remember this wonderful little poem: If you think you’re beaten, you are. If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you would like to win, but think you can’t, It’s almost certain you won’t. Life’s battles don’t always go To the stronger or faster man, But sooner or later the man who wins Is the man who thinks he can.

People succeed not because they have remarkable characteristics or qualities. The most successful people are quite ordinary, just like you and me. Most of us start off poor and confused. We spend many years getting some sort of direction in our lives. But the turning point comes when we begin to believe that we have within us that divine spark that can lead us onward and upward to the accomplishment of anything that we really want in life.