There is so much written about success that it hardly seems possible someone could contribute another new idea about this topic. Yet as a mindset coach, I want you to realize the power of potential you hold every day, just by the thoughts you are thinking. I'm not advocating a ten-step program that involves buying into a philosophy or some radical new style of thinking about success. I want to remind you there is one element you have available right now, which can determine how successful today, tomorrow, and your future will be; and it's the power of your thoughts.

Whether or not you've taken time to consider this fully, it's your thoughts that control or dictate your life. Your thoughts project to you the essence of an inner voice, a powerful source that can be reasonable, unreasonable, believable, or seemingly unbelievable to others, depending upon your unique view of the world. This inner voice of yours will also remind you how many times you've succeeded or failed in the past. If you choose to harness its power for support, you'll become much stronger and prepared for the future.

What I want for you to learn about are the basics of the thoughts you rely upon, so you are able to tap into this power source to become successful in life; according to the measures of success you've defined for yourself. There are specific steps you can take to harness your thoughts for success, and with time, you'll find these can become very natural processes to use on a daily basis.

What is a Thought?

I want to begin with the very essence of thinking, which is a single thought. As an educator, I teach students about higher order thinking, or critical thinking, which is an advanced method or way of thinking. There are specific verbs you can associate with it, such as analyzing, synthesizing, and so on. But if I ask a student about a singular thought, I usually am given an answer related to, "something I'm thinking about".

The reason I'm beginning with a singular thought is simple, you have literally hundreds of thoughts going through your mind throughout the day. What helped me, as I studied adult education, was to think of the mind as a circuit board. Now I'm not a tech person; however, I do know there are electronic components on a circuit board, and through conductive pathways created, signals are enabled. That's how I envision the mind, with its neural pathways that create vital neurons. Some of those neurons are essential for information, i.e., data, knowledge, and ideas that are individual thoughts.

What are You Thinking?

Now you have a better understanding of an individual thought, which is a singular piece of data, knowledge, fact, information, or idea. Now when you begin to think of these thoughts as a series, or grouped together, you are thinking. Other words used in place of thinking may include daydreaming, formulating, planning, and so on. You are thinking when you are involved in a conversation, or you are considering the past, or you are evaluating the future. You are thinking even as you are reading these words now. Your mind is processing the information, and attempting to make a connection to the words and concepts being introduced.

There's an important reason why you need to know about thinking, especially related to success. A thought by itself isn't particularly helpful or hurtful. But a series of thoughts, or thinking about something, has the potential to be anything but helpful. Take for example a person who continually thinks about the past, and just cannot seem to let it go, always feeling a sense of remorse and guilt. That person is not going to be able to set new goals, if they are still re-living something from their past, and when you can't let go, you can't move forward. What you think has a direct impact upon your ability to succeed. Consider the converse, and a person who is always upbeat, and never feels defeated, no matter what life sends their way. Just imagine how successful this person will become.

3 Steps to Think Your Way to Success

Now that you understand the importance of thinking, and the potential power your thoughts can hold, you can learn steps to prepare for (and achieve) any goal you establish for yourself. At first you will likely need to follow all three steps, and in the order provided, but with time you may be able to set a goal and immediately harness your thoughts towards achieving a successful outcome. What these steps will do is empower you to feel in control of today, and your future.

Step One: Develop Heightened Awareness

There is without a doubt, more distractions than ever now, trying to catch (and hold onto) your attention. Between online sources, news, social media, online platforms to socialize, streaming, and television, your ability to remember what it is you want to achieve in life becomes much more challenging. If you go back to the analogy of a circuit board, the average person's circuit board is likely on overload each day, at full capacity with the sheer volume of sights and sounds coming in through the senses. Not only are a person's thoughts overwhelmed, so too are the senses and emotions.

If you are going to harness the power of your thoughts, you must become aware what you're thinking, for some part of the day. When I refer to a "heightened awareness", this means dedicating some time during the day, in which you think about your goals, well-being, and personal development. It can even mean dedicating some downtime for yourself, allowing yourself to unplug from technology, and breath, to regain a sense of balance. You are not going to be successful in meeting your goals, if your mind is always cluttered and overloaded with information. There needs to be an awareness at times, in which you perform maintenance and self-care.

Step Two: Devote Time to Focused Concentration

Once you've learned to take time to become aware of what it is you are thinking, then it's time to really concentrate on your goals, dreams, hopes, future, and whatever else it is you want to succeed at in time. This concentration time needs to become a matter of routine for you, something you allocate time for every week, even if it is just a few minutes to check in. But the more time you allow, the more in control your life will become. As you learn to concentrate, you can think through the details of each goal or dream, your progress, and what it is that needs to still be done.

One of the most important aspects of taking time to concentrate is the time you need to reaffirm your belief mindset. While you may have a set of goals or dreams to guide yourself into the future, you will also need a support belief system as well. If you do not believe it is possible to achieve what you have set out to do, then it is never going to happen. First and foremost, you must believe in yourself, and your capacity to learn and grow over time. Consider the alternative. If you do not believe in yourself, who else will? The answer is no one. It must come from you first and foremost, in order for changes to occur, and for you to find success.

You can use the practice of concentration any time throughout the day, when you feel your mind is becoming cluttered, you feel doubts or fears, or any other negative emotions come up. Stop and reset your mindset, by focusing on the best of who you are and what you are capable of achieving. Then think about the future and what you are working towards. This will help to keep you on a path towards success.

 Step Three: Be Prepared for Purposeful Action

The third step is one of being ready to act. Once you have developed an awareness of your thoughts and taken time to concentrate on your future goals, you can then consider what it might take to turn your goals and dreams into a reality. At first you may not know how this will occur. But the more you concentrate and focus your thinking, the more you will find ideas or new thoughts coming into your mind. This is all part of the creative process, and a benefit of clearing out the clutter of your mind's circuit board. Whenever someone allows their mind to be constantly filled with random thoughts and ideas, or even if they allow themselves to work non-stop, they are leaving their mind little time to do anything else but dwell on the current focus.

Another helpful idea is to keep pen or pencil and paper close by, as you may find yourself coming up with an idea (or thought) when you least expect it. That's a process of your mind, trying to interact in-between all the other pieces of information being processed throughout the day. I cannot begin to tell you how many ideas I've had at night, just before I'm about to go to sleep, and would have forgotten them the next morning. It's helpful to remember the mind is always active, and never shuts off, even when you are asleep. While you might be continually sending information through the senses, at various points throughout the day there will be times in which the mind will have a new thought or idea to contribute to you. That's when you may find yourself ready to act.

Step Four: Create Your Personal Mantra

The final step, to help think your way to success, is to develop your own personal mantra. This is especially useful if you want something that will allow you to concentrate and maintain a positive focus. I've developed the following mantra, which you may also find beneficial.


Success is Never Final, One Success is Never Enough

There isn't one definitive measure of success, simply because success is often tied to a goal, dream, or something sought. In other words, success can be very personal in nature, and mean something different from one person to the next. More importantly, having success today does not mean you are ever done, and that one success is enough. For example, I had many successes in my last job, and yet, when layoffs occurred my job was cut. That means those successes were relevant for the time, and now, I must look to the future and create new successes. This should be the same for you as well.

Never look at your goals as being the final outcomes that you will ever experience. Take a success, celebrate it, and use it to uplift and remind yourself that you are capable, you can succeed, and you should believe in yourself. Then use that success to plan another goal, dream, or desire. Make the next one as big as your imagination or beliefs will allow. Who you are is a direct result of the thoughts you maintain. Who you become will be determined by your ability, or inability, to control what you are thinking. Success in life is not a matter of luck, good fortune, or even wealth. Success comes to those who understand and harness what's available to them, through the power of their thoughts.

About Dr. Johnson

Dr. Bruce A. Johnson has been working in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005, with roles including Faculty Development Manager, Core Faculty, Doctoral Mentor and Committee Member, and Faculty Development Specialist. Dr. J's background also includes work as a Human Performance Improvement Consultant, and prior to 2005, he was a Manager of Training and Development.

Dr. Johnson is an inspirational author, writer, and educator. His life mission to teach, mentor, write, and inspire others. He has earned a PhD in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement (TPI), a Master's in Adult Education, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has published three books related to higher education, including two about online teaching.  Dr. J has also published over 230 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and mindset development.

Come join Dr. J's new group, Motivation for Transformation:

• Any time of the day, visit this group to find your source of motivation, to be inspired and more importantly, have your mindset transformed:

Dr. J offers the following transformative resource:

• New: Mindset Tune-Up Inspirational Card Deck. Start your morning or transform your day with words of encouragement. These are more than affirmations; these cards are personal self-empowerment statements. Mindset Tune-Up Inspirational Card Deck Set

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• Transform Online Teaching: Expert Strategies and Essential Resources Every Educator Needs

• Getting Down to Business: A Handbook for Adjunct Faculty Who Teach Business

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