“People with goals succeed because they know where they are going. It’s as simple as that.” - Earl Nightingale
What is the secret to success? Are you born a successful person? Is it an innate quality? Or is it something that can be learned over time? Not only do people still pose this question that philosophers have contemplated for thousands of years. Throughout history, there has been one dominating element that has always been at the crux of success...the mind.
Your mind is a powerful tool and when used effectively, it can unlock opportunities you never thought were possible. The secret to success in both personal development and business has always been linked to the mind. The universe conspires to bring people the things that they think about, ask for, and work towards.
Your definition of success and goal setting can impact your thoughts and outlook. You may wonder why some people work hard, but fail to achieve their goals, while others seem to achieve whatever they set their mind to. The secret has been around for years. After you truly understand this secret, you can unlock new possibilities for yourself.
We Become What We Think About
To understand the power of the mind and the secret to success, you need to know about The Strangest Secret. Earl Nightingale was an America radio speaker author back in the 50s. He mainly spoke about topics to do with human character development, meaningful existence, and motivation. The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale was a spoken book record in 1957. It sold over one million copies and helped to launch the fields of business motivation and audio publishing.
Before sharing his secret, however strange it may be, he sets the foundations of his principles. His principles stand on Isacc Newton’s third law which states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. So, what are the steps required for success according to Earl Nightingale?
“The mind is everything; what you think you become.” - Socrates
A statement that has been around for thousands of years and yet few people actually stop to think about what this secret phrase could mean for them. The Strangest Secret is based on the concept that you become what you think about. Your thoughts are powerful! This core principle is the understanding that you become what you think about. This means that you must control your thoughts or feed yourself new thoughts in order to control your life and open up doors you didn’t think were possible.
Nightingale puts it pretty simply; if you are always thinking negative thoughts, then your life will be filled with negative things. Whereas, you probably guessed it, if you allow positive thoughts in, your life will reflect these thoughts. This idea might seem too simplistic to work, but the sentiment is shared between the most successful people in history and leaders that we know today.
The idea that we become what we think about is key to both success and failure. Although Nightingale published his thoughts in the 50s, the concept has been used throughout time.
“A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it.” - Marcus Aurelius, the great Roman Emperor
As Ye Sow and So Ye Shall Reap
This saying is as old as they come. But the meaning is still true to this day. The human mind is similar to a fertile farmer’s field. There are certain things you need to do that will nourish success or cause failure.
It will grow whatever is planted. You need to decide what you want to plant in your mind because that is what you will reap. Choose a positive, worthwhile goal and plant it in your mind. Make daily goals that will help get you to your ultimate goal, and keep a positive attitude towards getting there.
Nightingale mentions that your goals will become a reality because of this universal law. What goes up must come down and what you plant in your mind must grow to bear fruit. Your mind is so powerful and has guided you to where you are today. Once you decide on a goal to work towards, in that moment, you are successful. According to Nightingale, this very simple decision already puts you in the top 5% of people.
It’s key to realize that simply thinking won’t change your life. These thoughts must turn into actions. Believing in these principles will help you take action and shape the life you want to make. That’s what moves a goal from a lofty idea to something tangible.
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” - Albert Einstein
You can put The Strangest Secret to action yourself with Nightingale’s 30-day plan to achieve your goal. Nightingale lists three steps that you need to take every day for 30 days. Follow the steps below to reach your goal.
Steps To Reach Your Goal:
Step 1: Write down on a card what it is you want more than anything else. Make sure it’s a single goal that is clearly defined. Carry the card around with you and look at it several times throughout the day. When you think about your goal, think about it in a positive and relaxed way. This will help keep your goal at the forefront of your mind and help keep you motivated throughout the day.
Step 2: Stop thinking about your fears. It’s often easier to think negatively so changing your inner dialogue that is negative the majority of the time can take a lot more effort. Have courage to take action and know that this time well spent will propel you towards your goal.
“Each time a fearful or negative thought comes into your mind, replace it with a mental picture of your positive and worthwhile goal” - Earl Nightingale
Step 3: Focus on providing a great service, not money. Your success will be measured by the quality of your service, not how much money you earn. Nightingale explains that we should focus on service before we expect to earn money.
If negativity starts to creep in, you can repeat the 30-day test again and again until your goal is firmly planted in your mind.
The Power of the Mind
“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” - William James
William James a philosopher and psychologist in the late nineteenth century is considered to be the “Father of American psychology.” He studied how your mind can be used as an extremely effective tool.
Every thought causes a reaction in your brain that influences your perception. Your mindset can impact your life. Positive people tend to create their own happiness and confidence. They harness the power of the mind by believing in their true self. The Strangest Secret focuses on becoming what you think about. If you think positively about yourself, you can change your perception and transform your life.
How Your Thoughts Change Your Brain and Genes
“There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man's lack of faith in his true Self.” - William James
How you see yourself or your memorized self is made up of a combination of thoughts, emotions, and experiences. This ever-changing perception is known as your implicit memory. It’s made up of thoughts and feelings from places you’re not even aware of. It’s what makes you feel like you even though it’s been learned unconsciously.
Implicit memory begins forming from a young age and forms the basis of your character. It can be influenced by early life experiences but with the right strategy, you can overcome your current thinking. By using tools like visualization and intention you can reprogram your brain to have a much more positive mindset.
The mind has been found to be not only useful in achieving goals but also for your health. Epigenetics is an emerging field of science that suggests you have the ability to change your body with your mind. It gives you a better understanding of how cells work and how self-perception can influence your cells.
Whether it’s setting a goal, visualizing success, or taking a 30-day challenge to think more positively, you can harness your way of thinking. The mind is a very powerful tool. It that has been proven time and time again throughout history. From Roman emperors to Greek philosophers, some of the most notable individuals, use the mind to achieve success and transform lives.