After studying the research done in cognitive psychology over the last 25 years, I’ve come to a simple conclusion: The degree to which you feel in control of your life will largely determine your level of mental well-being, your peace of mind, and the quality of your interactions with people.

What cognitive psychologists call a “sense of control” is the foundation of happiness and high achievement. And the only thing in the world over which you have complete control is the content of your conscious mind. If you decide to exert that control, even when you are surrounded by difficult circumstances, your future potential will be unlimited.

Your aim should be to work on yourself and your thinking until you reach the point where you absolutely, positively believe yourself to be a total winner in anything you sincerely want to accomplish. When you feel unshakable confidence in yourself and your abilities, nothing will be able to stop you. This state of self-confidence comes from (1) understanding the functioning of your remarkable mind, and (2) practicing the techniques of mental fitness over and over, until you become a completely optimistic, cheerful, and positive person.

In his book “The  Act of Will”, Italian psychologist Dr. Roberto Assagioli laid out a series of psychological principles that can help you understand the way your mind works and how you can take control of it. One of his principles is that images or pictures, either from within or from the outside, will trigger thoughts and feelings that are consistent with them. In turn, those thoughts and feelings will trigger behaviors that lead to the realization of the pictures.

This has been referred to as the Law of Reversibility, and is one of the most important success principles ever discovered. Simply put, you are more likely to act yourself into feeling than you are to feel yourself into acting.

For example, when you become absolutely convinced that you are a total winner and you are meant to be a complete success in anything that you really want to do, every picture or image that somehow represents winning to you will trigger thoughts of what you could do to achieve that same state. The picture will also trigger the feeling of excitement that will motivate you to take action.

A friend of mine who was a sales manager had a simple technique to make new salespeople successful, and it worked more than 90% percent of the time. When he hired a salesperson, he would take that person to a nearby Cadillac dealership and force him to trade in his current car for a new Cadillac. The payments on the Cadillac were substantially more than the new salesperson had ever imagined himself making, so he would strongly resist getting into the commitment. However, the sales manager would insist until, finally, the salesperson bought the new Cadillac and drove it home.

No matter how unsure or insecure the salesperson felt, when his spouse and friends saw the new Cadillac and he experienced the pleasure of driving it down the street, he began to think about himself and to see himself as a big success. And in almost every case, it turned out to be true. Those people went on to become great successes at selling their products.

Take every opportunity you can to surround yourself with images of what success means to you. Get brochures on new cars. Get magazines with pictures of beautiful homes, beautiful clothes, and other things that you could own as a result of achieving the success that you are aiming for. Each time you see or visualize those images, you trigger the thoughts, feelings, and actions that make them materialize in your life.

In her book “Wake  Up and Live”, Dorothea Brande said that the most important success secret she ever discovered was this: “Act as if it were impossible to fail, and it shall be.” She goes on to explain that you need to be very clear about the success that you desire, and then simply act as if you already had it. Act as if your success were inevitable. Act as if your achievement were guaranteed. Act as if there were no possibility of failure.

You can control your actions easier than you can control your feelings. So if you choose to exert control over your actions, those actions will have a “back flow” effect and trigger the feelings, thoughts, and images that are consistent with those of the person you want to be, of the person who lives the life you want to live.

Your brain is a multi-sensory, multi-stimulated, extremely complex, interactive organ. Everything that you think, imagine, say, do, or feel triggers something else. It’s like a series of electrical impulses going out in all directions and turning on lights everywhere.

By understanding the way your mind works, you can make your mind work for you as a powerful engine of growth and development. You can consciously surround yourself with a series of sensory inputs that bombard you with messages and cause you to think and feel like a total winner.

And if you think like a winner and do the things that winners do to keep their minds positive and optimistic, you will be a winner.

[Ed. Note: Brian Tracy will be a featured speaker at ETR’s  2nd Annual Wealth Building Bootcamp this October. Brian is the best-selling author of more than 36 books. He has written and produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs, including the worldwide best-seller “Psychology of Achievement.” He addresses more than 250,000 people each year – audiences as large as 20,000 people – on the subjects of Personal and Professional Development, Leadership, Selling, Self-Esteem, Goals, Strategy, Creativity, and Success Psychology.]

Brian Tracy

Brian Tracy has accumulated over four decades of studying the success habits of successful people. He has then taken these practices to train groups, both individual and large corporations what is necessary to make personal success simple. Find out about Brian Tracy and his expertise here