In 1957, Earl Nightingale, speaker, author and cofounder of the Nightingale-Conant Corporation, recorded his classic motivational record, “The Strangest Secret.”

The recording sold over one million copies and made history in the recording industry by being honored as the first Gold Record for the spoken word. Nightingale concluded that life’s “strangest secret” is that we become what we think about all day long.

Your belief system, like your computer, doesn’t judge or even question what you input; it merely accepts your thoughts as the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Think thoughts of defeat or failure and you are bound to feel discouraged. Continuous thoughts of worry, anxiety and fear are unhealthy and often manifest as stress, panic attacks and depression.

At the core of Earl’s message, he reveals the incredible power of positive self-talk, belief and expectation. What you vividly imagine and hold in your subconscious mind begins to out picture as your reality. Your belief system not only defines your reality, but it also shapes your character and determines your potential.

The placebo effect

The ability of the mind to cure a disease even when the medicine is known to be worthless is known as the “placebo effect.” This occurs in medical trials where doctors give patients sugar pills, but tell them they will cure their illness. Often it does, even though the pills contain nothing of medical benefit. The only thing of value in these medical trials is the patient’s own belief that the sugar pills will cure them. It’s the power of the patient’s belief and expectation alone that produces the improvement in his or her health.

I recently read a remarkable story about a group of cancer patients who thought they were being treated with chemotherapy, but were actually given a placebo. Before their treatment began, the patients were informed about the complications associated with undergoing chemotherapy treatment, such as fatigue and loss of hair. Amazingly, based on nothing more than their belief and expectation, nearly one third of the patients who were given the placebo reported feeling fatigued and actually experienced hair loss!

The power of affirmation and positive self-talk

A good way to create positive self-talk is through affirmations. An affirmation is a positive statement that represents your desired condition or outcome. Interesting enough, your subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between a real experience and a vividly imagined “mental” experience. To be effective your affirmation must be repeatedly stated aloud, in a positive manner, and with conviction.

When he was a struggling young comedian, late at night Jim Carrey would drive into the hills overlooking Hollywood and yell at the top of his lungs, “I will earn 10 million dollars a year by 1995.” When 1995 finally arrived, Jim was the star of the movie “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls,” for which he was paid $20 million.

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
– Anonymous

Show me a salesperson with high self-esteem, a positive attitude and a healthy work ethic and I’ll be able to predict his or her success in advance — I guarantee it.

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