What does it take to be successful?
Yes, it takes hard work. Yes, it takes knowledge of your industry and the ability to connect with the right customers.
But there’s something even more foundational than these things – something that can make or break you.
The right mindset.
A success mindset can help you overcome even the most stubborn obstacles, while a negative mindset can create huge setbacks even if you work hard and have industry knowledge.
I Think, Therefore I Am
Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Blah, blah, blah. I’m too busy doing to spare any time for thinking.”
Sure, we get it, building a business is hard work, and when you’re pouring so much time and effort into taking the next step, you probably don’t want to hear about the virtues of the power of positive thinking.
Trust us, that’s not what we’re talking about here.
Having the mindset to succeed goes well beyond keeping your chin up. It’s more than thinking happy thoughts.
This is about resetting your brain not just to believe you want to be successful, but to know that you will be successful, and to set you on a path where you are always pushing towards that success.
Rewiring your brain for success doesn’t require a well-rehearsed pep talk. It’s not about pumping yourself up and saying things like, “I’m the best, I’m the best, I’m the best.”
Rather, it’s about training your brain to think in fundamentally different ways.
The brain’s ability to rewire itself is called “plasticity”, and it focuses explicitly on your brain’s Reticular Activating System (RAS).
Relatively speaking, the RAS is a small part of your brain. However, it is an extremely powerful set of nuclei that keeps you focused and on point.
Its function is to act as a filter, or gatekeeper for what finds its way into your conscious mind.
Think for a second about everything you see and hear and generally sense around you every day. With the exception of smell, which feeds the emotional portions of your brain, the RAS helps decide what’s important and what’s not so your mind doesn’t become overwhelmed.
Let’s use an example that plenty of people experience to highlight the RAS in action.
When couples start wanting children, their minds understandably begin to focus almost non-stop on everything they must do to plan for their child.
From crib to car seat to the doctor’s visits and everything else in between, the baby is on their mind 24/7. In fact, the mindset runs so deep, their focus on their future offspring manifests itself in incredible ways.
When they are out in public, children or women who are pregnant, appear to be everywhere.
When they are at home, every commercial on TV seems to feature parenthood prominently.
And it’s not just significant, life-altering events. Perhaps you’re itching to see the latest blockbuster movie.
When you’re out and about you spot numerous billboards advertising the movie that you didn’t notice before. Alternatively, you take greater notice of magazine articles or peoples discussions about the film.
Even when you’re surfing Netflix, your queue is full of movies that happen to feature the lead actor and actress from the current flick you want to see.
So what’s going on here?
Don’t worry. You’re not going crazy, and these occurrences are not magically springing to life.
You informed your RAS that these things are important to you, and your brain begins strongly focusing on them. It’s not that these elements were not present in the world before, you’re just more aware of their existence and are taking greater notice.
And the beauty of all this is that you can train your RAS to work for your success.
It’s Good to Have Goals
With a better idea of the vital role your RAS plays in your everyday life, it should be very apparent to you how this will impact your success.
It starts with setting goals.
Aside from the timeless benefit of having something to aim for, laying out a set of clearly defined goals will refocus and target your efforts in a positive direction.
However, it’s more than just writing them down.
You must write them down and review them.
Post them somewhere you can see them on a daily basis.
Repeat them to yourself over and over to where they become your business ABC’s.
By doing so, you’ll trigger your RAS to recognize, “Okay, these are important. We aren’t joking around about this. It’s time to focus all our attention on these things.”
Suddenly, your heightened awareness of your goals will kick into overdrive.
For example, let’s assume one of your objectives is to double sales in an upcoming quarter versus the same quarter last year.
If you didn’t have this as a goal your RAS could focus on, you might repeat much of your sales approach from the previous year.
But with your goals front and center and your RAS on overdrive, you’ll start to see opportunities you previously overlooked. Suddenly, ways to increase sales will start popping up all around you.
You may even recognize new approaches that you failed to consider or that didn’t occur to you the year before.
Powerful stuff, isn’t it?
Though if you are to be truly successful, and fully develop a success mindset, there is one final step to ensure you find ultimate success.
The Meaning of Life (and Goals)
Goals are good, and it’s important to have them, but make sure the ones you set mean something and are tangible enough to turn into concrete plans.
Vague, generic goals about things you hope to achieve won’t get you anywhere. You need concrete objectives that your RAS can latch onto.
So think solid, time-sensitive, and specific.
Instead of merely wanting to increase revenue, look to improve by an exact amount by an exact date.
Don’t just try to reach new customers, line up a plan to increase your lead capture rate week over week.
People who succeed don’t simply believe they can. They are the ones who know they can.
They know their success is inevitable because they have set the right goals, laid out the proper plans and trained themselves not to hope for greater achievement, but to expect it.