Stories I only tell my friends: The Power Of Belief-System

September 20, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — mylittleblackpen @ 9:20 am


The motivation to succeed comes from the burning desire to achieve a purpose. Napoleon Hill wrote, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”

A young man asked Socrates the secret to success. Socrates told the young man to meet him near the river the next morning. They met. Socrates asked the young man to walk with him toward the river. When the water got up to their neck, Socrates took the young man by surprise and ducked him into the water. The boy struggled to get out but Socrates was strong and kept him there until the boy started turning blue. Socrates pulled his head out of the water and the first thing the young man did was to gasp and take a deep breath of air. Socrates asked, “What did you want the most when you were there?” The boy replied, “Air”. Socrates said, “That is the secret to success. When you want success as badly as you wanted the air, then you will get it”. There is no other secret.

A burning desire is the starting point of all accomplishment. Just like a small fire cannot give much heat, a weak desire cannot produce great results.


INTEGRITY and WISDOM are the two pillars on which to build and keep commitments. This point is best illustrated by the manager who told one of his staff members, “Integrity is keeping your commitment even if you lose money and wisdom is not to make such foolish commitments”.

Prosperity and success are the result of our thoughts and decisions. It is our decision what thoughts will dominate our lives. Success is not an accident. It is the result of our attitude.

Playing to win requires commitment – There is a big difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. When we play to win, we play with enthusiasm and commitment; whereas when we play not to lose, we are playing from a position of weakness. When we play not to lose, we are plating to avoid failure. We all want to win, but very few are prepared to pay the price to prepare to win. Winners condition and commit themselves to winning. Playing to win comes out of inspiration, whereas playing not to lose comes out of desperation.

There are no ideal circumstances. There never will be. To reach anywhere we cannot just drift nor lie at anchor. We need to sometimes sail with the wind and sometimes against it, but sail we must. Ask any coach or athlete what the difference between the best and the worst team is. There would be very little difference in their physique, talent, and ability. The biggest difference you will find is emotional difference. The winning team has dedication and they make the extra effort. To a winner, the tougher the competition:

  • The greater the incentive
  • The more motivated he is
  • The better the performance
  • The sweeter the victory

New challenges develop new potential. Most athletes’ best performances have come when the odds are slightly against them. That is when they dig deeper into the reservoir.

When I’d get tired and want to stop, I’d wonder what my next opponent was doing. When I could see him still working, I’d start pushing myself. When I see him in the shower, I’d push myself harder.

                                                                   Dan Gable, Olympic gold medalist in wrestling

Success is not in the achievement but in the achieving. Some people never try because they are afraid to lose. At the same time, they don’t want to stay where they are because they are afraid to be left behind. There is a risk either way. Ships that go out into the open sea face risk from a storm. But if they sit in the harbor, they would rust and that is not what they were built for. That is the difference between playing to win and playing not to lose. One cannot be committed and not take risks. People who play to win thrive on pressure and those who play not to lose don’t know how to succeed.

Pressure makes people who play to win, prepare harder. For those who play not to lose, the pressure saps the energy. They want to win but are so afraid to lose that they can’t reach their full potential. They lose energy worrying about losing instead concentrating their efforts on winning. Losers want security, winners seek opportunity. Losers are more afraid of life than death. Failing is not a crime but lack of effort is.

The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.

                                                                                                                                Vince Lombardi

Conviction leads to commitment – There is a difference between preferences and conviction. Preferences are negotiable; convictions are not. Preferences give way under pressure; convictions become stronger. That is why it is important to have a good value system so that our convictions are worthy because convictions in turn lead to commitment.


A duty which becomes a desire will ultimately become a delight.

George Gritter

People with character accept responsibilities. They make decisions and determine their own destiny in life. Accepting responsibilities involves taking risks and being accountable which is sometimes uncomfortable. Most people would rather stay in their comfort zone and live passive lives without accepting responsibilities. They drift through life waiting for things to happen rather than making them happen. Accepting responsibilities involve taking calculated, not foolish, risks. It means evaluating all the pros and cons, then taking the most appropriate decision or action. Responsible people don’t think that the world owes them a living.

 You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong. You cannot enrich the poor by impoverishing the rich. You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money. You cannot the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer you cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence. You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred. You cannot keep out trouble by spending more than you ear. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.

                                                                                                                              Abraham Lincoln

Responsible people accept and learn from their mistakes. Some people never learn. We can do three things about mistakes:

  • Ignore them
  • Deny them
  • Accept and learn from them

The third alternative takes courage; it is risky but rewarding. If, instead, we defend our weaknesses, we actually start building our lives around them, making them a counterpoint, rather than overcoming them.


Success is not something that you run into by accident. It takes a lot of preparation and character. Everyone likes to win but how many are willing to put in the effort and time to prepare to win? It takes sacrifices and self-discipline. There is no substitute for hard work. Henry Ford said, “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. The world is full of willing workers, some willing to work, and the others willing to let them.

I like to work half a day. I don’t care if it is the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours.

                                                                                     Kammons Wilson, CEO of Holding Inn

One cannot develop a capacity to do anything without hard work, just as a person cannot learn how to spell by sitting on a dictionary. Professionals make things look easy because they have mastered the fundamentals of whatever they do.

If people knew how hard I had work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.


The average person puts only 25% of his energy and ability into his work. The world takes off its hat to those who put in more than 50% of their capacity, and stands on its head for those few and far between souls who devote 100%.

                                                                                                                              Andrew Carnegie

Success is the result of believing in asking how much work and not how little. How many hours not how few hours. The best musicians practice every day. Winners don’t need to apologize for winning because they work hard and long. It didn’t come easy. Everything that we enjoy is a result of someone’s hard work. Some work is visible and other work goes unseen, but both are equally important. Some people stop working as soon as they find a job. Regardless of the unemployment statistics, it is hard to find good people to work. Many people don’t understand the difference between idle time and leisure time. Idle time amounts to wasting or stealing time; leisure time is earned. Procrastinating amounts to not working.

Excellence is not luck; it is the result of a lot of hard work and practice. Hard work and practice make a person better at whatever he is doing.

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.

                                                                                                                              Abraham Lincoln

Hard work is both a beginning and an end in itself. The harder a person works, the better he feels; and the better he feels, the harder he works. The best ideas will not work unless you work the ideas. Great talent without will-power and hard work is a waste. We need to learn from nature. The duck keeps paddling relentlessly underneath but appears smooth and calm on top.

There is no magic wand for success. In the real world, success comes to doers, not observers. A horse that pulls cannot kick; a horse that kicks cannot pull. Let’s pull and stop kicking. Without hard work there is no success. Nature gives birds their food but does not put it in their nest. They have to work hard for it. Nothing comes easy. Even small accomplishments require hard work and are better than big talk.


Character is the sum total of a person’s values, beliefs and personality. It is reflected in our behavior, in our actions. It needs to be preserved more than the richest jewel in the world. To be a winner takes character. George Washington said, “I hope I shall always posses firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most valuable of all titles, the character of an honest man”.

It is not the polls or public opinions but the character of the leader that determines the course of history. There is no twilight zone in integrity. The road to success has many pitfalls. It takes a lot of character and effort not to fall into them. It also takes character not to be disheartened by critics.

How come most people love success but hate successful people? Whenever a person rises above average, there will always be someone trying to rip him apart. Chances are pretty good when you see a person on top of a hill, which he just didn’t get there, but had to endure a tough climb. It’s no different in life. In any profession, a successful person will be envied by those who are not. Don’t let criticism distract you from reaching your goal. Average people play it safe to avoid criticism, which can be easily avoided by saying, doing, or being nothing. The more you accomplish, the more you risk being criticized. It seems there is a relationship between success and criticism.

Critics have always been sitting at the sidelines. They are underachievers who shout at doers, telling them how to do it right. But remember, critics are not the leaders or doers and it is worthwhile asking them to come down to where the action is.

 The critic is one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

                                                                                                                                         Oscar Wilde

There is another breed of people who are willing to help others until the others are able to help themselves. But as soon as they are able to help themselves, this group of people make life as miserable and as uncomfortable as possible. This is part of life and if we had to succeed, we have to do it in spite of them. This kind of behavior is the result of jealously.

Character is a combination – Character is a combination of integrity, unselfishness, understanding, conviction, courage, loyalty, and respect. What is a pleasant personality with character?

  • It is a class by itself
  • It is composure
  • It is poise
  • It is surefootedness and confidence without arrogance
  • It is being considerate
  • It is never making excuses
  • More detail ref to page 52

More difficult than success itself is how we handle success. Many people know how to become successful but after they become successful, they don’t know how to handle it. That is why ability and character go hand in hand. Ability will get success, character will keep you successful. Character does not need success. It is success. Just like a gardener has to keep weeding to prevent weeds from eating the life of the garden, we need to keep building and developing our character by weeding out our faults.

Adversity builds and/or reveals character – Under adverse circumstances, some people break records and others break down. A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can you get the finest steel without putting it through fire. Similarly, adversity reveals a person’s character and introduces it to himself.

There is a saying that came from Russia: “A hammer shatters glass but forges steel”. There is a lot of truth in it. Are we made of glass or steel? It is the same hammer. Just like carbon determines the quality of steel, character determines the quality of man.


What is the difference between positive thinking and positive believing? What if you could actually listen to your thoughts? Are they positive or negative? How are you programming your mind, for success or failure? How you think has a profound effect on your performance.

Having a positive attitude and being motivated is a choice we make every morning. Living in positive is not easy; but then neither is negative living. Given a choice, I would go for positive living. Positive believing is a lot more than positive thinking. It is having a reason to believe that positive thinking will work. Positive believing is an attitude of confidence that comes with preparation. Having a positive attitude without making the effort is nothing more than having a wishful dream. The following illustrates positive believing.

Does Lockheed organization have a reason to believe positively? Several years ago Lockheed introduces the L-1011 Tristar plane. In order to ensure safety and test the strength of the jetliner, Lockheed exposed the plane to the roughest treatment for 18 months, costing $1.5 billion. Hydraulic jacks, electronic sensors, and computer put the airplane through its paces for more than 36,000 simulated flights, amounting to 100 years of airline service, without one single malfunction. Finally, after hundreds of tests the aircraft was given the seal of approval. There is every reason to believe that this plane would be safe to fly, because of all the effort put into preparation.

7.Give more than you get

It is easy to succeed today. We have no competition. If you want to get ahead in life, go the extra mile. There is no competition on the extra mile. Are you willing to do a little more than you get paid for? How many people you know are willing to do a little bit more than what they get paid for? Hardly any. Most people don’t want to do what they get paid for an there is a second category of people who only want to do what they can get by with. They fulfill their quota just to keep their jobs. There is a small fraction who are willing to do a little bit more than what they get paid for. Why do they do more? If you fall into the last category, then where is your competition? The advantages of doing more than you get paid for are:

  • You make yourself more valuable, regardless of what you do and where you work
  • It you more confidence
  • People start looking at you as a leader
  • Others start trusting you
  • Superiors start respecting you
  • It breeds loyalty both your subordinates and your superiors
  • It generate cooperation

If you work for a man, for heaven’s sake work for him.

                                                                                                                                      Kim Hubbard

These people are always wanted everywhere regardless of age, experience or academic qualifications: hard-working people who can work without supervision; people who are punctual and considerate; people who listen carefully and carry out instructions accurately; people who tell the truth; people who don’t sulk when called upon to pitch in at the time of emergency; people who are result-rather than task-oriented; people who are cheerful and courteous.

Always think in terms of giving value-added whether to customers, friends, your spouse, parents, or children. Whenever you do anything, ask yourself, “How can I add value to what I am doing?” or “How can I give added value to others?”

The key to success can be summed up in four words: “and then some more”. Winners do what they are supposed to – and then some more. Winners do their duty – and then some more. Winners are courteous and generous – and then some more. Winners can be counted on – and then some more. Winners put in 100% – and then some more. Ability without dependability, responsibility, and flexibility is a liability.

Why are some highly intelligent people, with impressive academic qualifications living failures, or at best practicing mediocrity? Because the y become experts at why things won’t work and build a reserve of negative energy.  They don’t want to do what they get paid for or they only want to do what they can get by with. No wonder they are living failures. When we give and do more than what we get paid for, we eliminate our competition. In fact, we become the competition. This attitude is much more important than intelligence or a degree.

 8.The power of persistence

Nothing will take the place of persistence, talent will not: Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not: Unrewarded genius is a proverb. Education will not: The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

                                                                                                                                  Calvin Coolidge

The journey to being your best is not easy. It is full of setbacks. Winners have the ability to overcome and bounce back with even greater resolve

Fritz Kreisler, the greatest violinist, was once asked, “How do you play so well? Are you lucky?” He replied, “It is practice. If I don’t practice for a month, the audience can tell the difference. If I don’t practice for a week, my wife can tell the difference. If I don’t practice for a day, I can tell the difference.

Persistence means commitment and determination. There is pleasure in endurance.  Commitment and persistence is a decision. Athletes put in years of practice for a few seconds or minutes of performance. Persistence is decision. It is a commitment to finish what you start. When we are exhausted, quitting looks good. But winners endure. Ask a winning athlete. He endures pain and finished what he started. Lots of failures have begun well but have not concluded anything. Persistence comes from purpose. Life without purpose is drifting. A person who has no purpose will never persevere and will never fulfilled.

9.Pride of performance

In today’s world, pride in performance has fallen by the wayside because it requires effort and hard work. However, nothing happens unless it is made to happen. When one is discouraged, it is easy to look for shortcuts. However these should be avoided no matter how great the temptation. Pride comes from within, which is what gives the winning edge.

Pride of performance does not represent ego. It represents pleasure with humility. The quality of the work and the quality of the worker are inseparable. Half-hearted effort does not produce half results; it produces no results.

Three people were lying bricks and a passerby asked them what they were doing. The first one replied, “Don’t you see I am making a living?” The second one said, “Don’t you see I am lying bricks?” The third one said, “I am building a beautiful monument”. Three people doing the same thing gave totally different replies. The question is: did they have different attitudes? And would their attitude affect their performance? The answer is a clear yes.

Excellence comes when the performer takes pride in doing his best. Every job is a self-portrait of the person who does it, regardless of what the job is, whether washing cars, sweeping the floor or painting a house. Do it right the first time, every time. The best insurance for tomorrow is a job well done today.

Michelangelo was working on a statue for several days and he was taking a long time to retouch every small detail which seemed rather insignificant to a bystander. When asked why he did it, Michelangelo replied, “Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle”. Most people forget how fast you did a job, but they remember how well it was done.

If a man is called to be street-sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well.

                                                                                                                    Martin Luther King, Jr

One cannot compromise on quality and service. It is said that Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, found a fly during one of his visits at a franchise. Two weeks later the franchisee lost his franchise. Ray Kroc said, “You should work for pride and accomplishment. I was brought up to understand that reward will come later”. The feeling of a job well done is a reward in itself. It is better to do small things well than do many things poorly.

10.Be willing to be a student – get a mentor

If God and teacher (guru) are standing together, who does the student salute first? According to Indian culture, the answer is the teacher, because without his direction and help, the student could not have met God.

A mentor or teacher is a person whose hindsight can become your foresight. Look for someone who can accept you as a mentee or a student. Choose your mentor carefully. A good one will guide and give direction; a bad one will misguide. Show respect. Be an interested student. Teachers like interested student.

The best teachers will not give you something to drink, they will make you thirsty. They will put you on a path to seek answers.

There is a story about a king in ancient times who wanted to honor a person that made the greatest contribution to society. All kinds of people came, including doctors and entrepreneurs, and they all presented their case for receiving the honor. The king wasn’t impressed. Finally an elderly person with a glow of his face walked in and said he was a teacher. The king came down from his throne and bowed to honor the teacher. It is the teacher who makes the highest contribution in shaping the future of society.

A Little Black Pen

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