What I’ve Learned From Brian Tracy
At a time when I was burnt out, tired, hopeless, and ready to give up, I sought books to help. Brian Tracy was one of the first authors I came across that really made an impact. Tracy’s Reinvention was a game changer for me. It was prescriptive, simple, and straightforward. I have consumed several of Tracy’s works, but none was as powerful as Reinvention.
If there were a summary of what I’ve learned from Tracy, it really could be summed up in his discussion of the Seven Mental Laws.
The Law of Control
You feel positive about yourself to the degree that you feel in control of your life. Conversely, you feel negative about yourself to the degree that you feel not in control of your life.
Locus of control is a relatively simple concept in psychology. It refers to the degree to which people perceive their impact on their life’s outcome. If you are more likely to believe that life happens to you – not by you – then you are thought to have an external locus of control. The goal is to have an internal locus of control. In other words, to feel like you have control over your life.
The reason many people don’t feel this way is that it takes more mental energy to own it. Our brains are always looking for ways to conserve energy, and this is one of those ways. We just blame life on something outside of ourselves. We experience some relief when we do this, reinforcing this behavior even more.
So what can you do??
Change your thinking.
Read books that change your perspective and challenge you. Get a coach to open your mind to new possibilities for your life.
Even if it doesn’t feel entirely right, consider what you could take responsibility for that you have not before. Just try it on, explore this idea.
This is no easy task. We think the way we do for a reason. One of those reasons is that it is reinforced somehow. That means that the current structure of your life is part of this reinforcement. It will feel like you’re going “against the grain” or fighting an uphill battle.
The Law of Cause and Effect
There are specific causes for success and specific causes for failure.
As human beings, we have biases and perception issues that make it extremely difficult to see the world around us for what it is. Actually, it’s more than that. There is no way for us to indeed view reality objectively. If we aren’t sure of a detail, we make it up. Often we aren’t even aware we do this. People confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Others tell lies so many times they begin to believe them themselves.
Due to our linearity bias, we often miss the true nature of growth and change in the world around us. We don’t invest because we can’t quite intuit that the money we save now will have grown exponentially in the future. We stop our workout plan because although we lost five pounds right away, the progress slowed to a halt. These are examples of growth and change patterns that are not understood through the lens of our linearity bias.
The truth of the matter is there is a cause for why we are at the ‘place’ we currently exist. You’re just not aware of it.
What is success to you? What could you do to cause that success? (Consider things that perhaps you’ve considered impossible in the past.)
The Law of Belief
Whatever you become with feeling becomes your reality.
Who you believe you are, you are. If you believe that you are going to be successful, you will be. If you believe you will fail, you will. If you believe you are lucky, you will be. If you believe you will be a millionaire (most of us don’t), you are much more likely to become one.
The trick is you really have to believe it. Sometimes we haven’t even put language to what we believe about our lives. Once we do, we can clearly see it is us that is holding us back. To have a deep understanding of this is perhaps the most potent experience one can truly have.
The Law of Expectations
Whatever you expect with confidence becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you expect great things to happen, they most likely will. But if you are preparing for the worst – well, you are almost manifesting it to happen. I’m not advising you to be reckless, but to expect your dreams to come true confidently.
When you wake up and think about the day ahead, what do you expect? Does it work out that way?
Most likely, yes. If you expect it to be a wonderful day, you’ll find a way to perceive it that way. On the other hand, if you believe everything will go wrong, you will only see the things that go wrong. You will fulfill your expectations.
What you are actually doing in these scenarios is training your brain (reticular activation system) to see the positive. This impacts your mood, your behavior, and, eventually, your outcomes. Our natural state is to scan our environment for danger. Often this comes in the form of preparing for the worst. This has served the human race well for many thousands of years. However, it no longer serves the purpose for humanity it once did. Historically, it kept us alive and out of danger. Now, in modern times, it keeps us afraid to take action to achieve our dreams.
The Law of Attraction
You are a magnet attracting into your life that which is associated with your dominant thoughts.
What do you think most of the time? This is bound to show up in your life. This is where affirmations and declarations get their power. If you think about something so much, you are bound to notice it in your environment or attract it to you. Again, often this is simply a trick of perception. These things have always been there. You were just thinking about something else. Now, once you focus on it, you can see it.
Tracy tells a story of a man who sold his farm and all his possessions to go abroad and dig for diamonds. He died without ever finding anything. The man he sold the farm to happen come across a huge depository of diamonds on the farm property. It was right there all along! The previous owner just couldn’t see it. It couldn’t be where he was. It had to be far, far away!
What is it that you so desire that is already before you?
The Law of Correspondence
As within, so without. Your outer world is reflective of your inner world.
Do you see a theme here? It all starts with what’s inside of you. Who are you? What is it you believe? What do you hold dear? These thoughts and the behaviors that follow are why we have the life we have. This is true when we blame others for something. The behavior or actions that concern us in others, we often find in us.
The example I love to discuss is aggressive drivers. There is nothing that triggers me more that the way people drive. I am also an aggressive driver. Many people have told me this throughout my life. It is a tendency I’m not proud of. So when I see if outside of myself, I just let it irritate me.
To best learn about yourself, notice what you like and dislike in others. The law of correspondence requires that these likes and dislikes are also the things you like and dislike about yourself.
The Law of Mental Equivalency
Your thoughts become your reality.
And this last law sums up all the other laws. What we think about is our reality. If we think we are supposed to work all the time, we will see life as one big long work day. If we think that evil people are out to get us and ruin our lives, we will most likely encounter people who don’t seem to want to help us. “They are ruining our lives!” we’ll think.
What we think about is our reality. With this in mind, we must learn to direct our thoughts to where we desire them to go. Otherwise, the mind will just continually throw up ideas and thoughts at us and most of us will simply identify with them. We will believe that we are the thought. But that’s not the way it has to work.
We aren’t in control of what thought will come up next.
Don’t believe me? Let’s try an experiment….
Don’t think about a pink elephant.
No, I said don’t think about it.
It is almost impossible not to think of a pink elephant if someone brings it up. We are not naturally endowed to control our own thoughts. That is why we have the issues we do. But we can learn to have more control over our thoughts and how we relate to them. This is what therapy, life coaching, and meditation can help you with.
In sum, start with changing you on the inside. Then, watch your world completely change on the outside.
Ready to take control?
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