Let’s cut to the chase today. What you ultimately do in life comes out of who you believe you are. You have to practice believing in yourself and ignoring the naysayers. And while you may not be able to control the impolite things some people say and do, you can press forward and decide not to be endlessly distracted by them.
I know that’s all much easier said than done of course, but you must remind yourself that it can be done!
Start by leveraging the right daily affirmations. Because it’s not what others say about you, and it’s not what you broadcast to everyone else that determines the trajectory of your life. It’s what you whisper to yourself behind closed doors that has the greatest power and influence.
A good friend of mine, who graduated with honors from Cal Berkley several years ago, is now the co-founder and CEO of a successful start-up in Silicon Valley. Throughout grade school she struggled with reading and writing disabilities. She spent kindergarten all the way through 12th grade in English “special education” classes. During a parent-teacher conference when she was a freshman in high school, two teachers collectively informed her mom that it was highly unlikely she would ever graduate.
So how did she do it? How did she push through and overcome the odds? “Affirmations,” she told me with a serious smile when I interviewed her recently for a side-project I’m working on. “I literally told myself that they were wrong about me. I told myself exactly what I needed to hear, every single day, to move my life forward. It may sound like a cliché to some people, but it’s not. It’s powerful stuff!”
I love her sentiment and I agree with her 100%. In fact, there’s a good reason why training our minds with positive affirmations works wonders like this.
Just like every muscle in the body, the mind needs to be exercised to gain strength. It needs to be worked consistently to grow and develop over time. If you haven’t pushed your mind in thousands of little ways over time, of course it’ll crumble on the one day that things get really challenging.
A mind well trained with positive affirmations has the right thoughts queued up and ready for retrieval at a moment’s notice.
If you’d like to begin (or enhance) this practice in your own life, here’s a selection of affirmations I often suggest to our course students and live event attendees as starting point:
- “I cannot control everything that happens; I can only control the way I respond to what happens. In my response is my power.”
- “I will not get caught up in what could’ve been or should’ve been. I will look instead at the power and possibility of what is, right now.”
- “I have to accept whatever comes my way, and the only important thing is that I meet it with the best I have to give.”
- “Making mistakes is always better than faking perfections.” (Read The Gifts of Imperfection.)
- “I will never be as good as everyone tells me when I win, and I will never be as bad as I think when I lose.”
- “I will think less about managing my problems and more about managing my mindset. I will keep it positively focused.”
- “A challenge only becomes an obstacle if I bow to it.”
- “I will get back up. Again, and again. The faster I recover from setbacks, the faster I’ll get where I’m going in life.”
- “I will not try to hide from my fears, because I know they are not there to scare me. They are there to let me know that something is worth it.”
- “There is a big difference between empty fatigue and gratifying exhaustion. Life is too short. I will invest in the activities that deeply move me.”
- “If I don’t have time for what matters, I will stop doing things that don’t.”
- “I cannot build a reputation and legacy for myself based on what I am going to (maybe) do someday.”
- “The future can be different than the present, and I have the power to make it so, right now.”
- “Peace will come to me when it comes from me.”
- “Getting ahead is essential, and I will never get ahead of anyone (including my past self) as long as I try to get even with them.”
- “I will focus on making myself better, not on thinking that I am better.”
- “I will be too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.”
- “I will eat like I love myself. Move like I love myself. Speak like I love myself. Live like I love myself. Today. (Angel and I discuss this process in more detail in the “Self-Love” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- “My next step in the right direction doesn’t have to be a big one.”
- “All the small victories are worth celebrating. Because it’s the small things done well that makes a difference in the end.”
And remember, one of life’s seemingly counterproductive gifts is the fact that it is often difficult. In dealing with life’s difficulties we build invaluable strength. This strength enables us to successfully fulfill many of our deepest, most meaningful purposes. It is precisely because life is difficult that we are able to exercise our creativity and wisdom. It is because life is difficult that we are able to rise above the difficulties. We are able to make a difference and we are able to leave our mark on the world.
What’s one of your go-to affirmations? What do you tell yourself when you need to hear it? Please share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below.
Photo by: Peeratam Tangtua
Again you guys have opened the window of opportunity for me to tell you that I love your 1,000 Little Things book and that I use it as my primary source of positive affirmations. Here’s one quote (a longer affirmation) I have enlarged and hanging on my bulletin board in my home office:
“Not until you are lost in this world can you begin to find your true self. Realizing you are lost is the first step to living the life you want. The second step is leaving the life you don’t want. Making a big life change is pretty scary. But you know what’s even scarier? Regret. Vision without action is a daydream, and action without vision is a nightmare. Your heart is free, have the courage to follow it.”
There’s just something about these words that always helps me think differently when I’m feeling lost and stuck.
And another (shorter) one I learned from you:
“You can have all the knowledge in the world, but it means nothing without building up the confidence to do something with it.”
Jeff Ray says
Love this post M&A! Great daily “calming” affirmations for self reflection this time of year.
Also, I’ve always loved this quote/affirmation from Peter Pan that I’m pretty sure I picked up from one of your blog posts or emails a few years ago:
“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
“Thank You for another day!” (Well, I may have to work more on my affirmations.) But in some situations, I also ironically say “Thank You.”
I say it every time I wake up. It does remind me that the problems I struggle with every day are only small compared to what I actually accomplish.
Also a reminder to keep doing the right things.
If something’s done wrong, simply fix it or apologize if you’ve hurt someone. Easier said than done, but peace comes tenfold when you keep things in the right place.
Linda Kay Meyers says
Love yourself first and everything else will fall into place.
Thanks marcandangel – you are truly a blessing from God.
Neeta Bhardwaj says
Very good article
All the best says
Thank you for all the encouraging words. May our God bless each and everyone of you and fulfill the desires of your hearts and continue to strengthen and encourage you through the love he shows us which is found in places like these and in the faces of our loved ones may you all continue to shine as you are guided by that internal light which was given to us through the gift of the ransom..Jesus Christ and the immense love of his father . No love is greater than this. John 316. Isaiah 43:4 and Jeremiah 31:3 .
Janice Mathur says
Yes, first of all, A very big Thank you to you and Al who help in bringing all this information to us. I appreciate it very much and enjoy reading every bit of your messages. It really helps people like me who are very sensitive by nature and look forward to these boosting messages which helps us to move forward in our lives in a more positive way. N
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very positive but at times people you are with and people you meet tend to make you feel otherwise. Thank you so much for all that you do. Have an awesome day and keep doing what you do. You all are great!
David Monaghan says
I look back on times in my life when i have said to myself just jump in and deal with what may come my way. I calculate the outcomes to the best of my ability. I am fascinated as to how the journey and the result have been exhilarating. I love the following quote from you and Angel in your 1000 Things book:
“If you wait around until everything makes perfect sense and you feel 100% safe and ready, you will be waiting the rest of your life.
Sometimes you just have to get up and go for it…
Sometimes you’ve got to jump off a cliff and build your wings on the way down.”
Ruth Holewinski says
This is exactly what my daughter needs to read… today. Two weeks ago, she started on a new career path that hasn’t been easy but is right for her. You’ve put into words what I want her to feel in her heart. My favorite affirmation: If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re right.
Elizabeth Brice says
This to shall pass