Instant Confidence: The Power to Go for Anything You Want by Paul McKenna PH.D. (2016)
MOTIVATE YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS
Don’t Take “No” for an Answer
Joanna, Kelly, and James
Joanna was a single mother living on social security, struggling to make ends meet on $106 a week. She had just split up with her partner, and decided to fill her time by working on an idea she’d had for a book for children. Every morning she sat in her local café and wrote; every afternoon she went home to look after her daughter Jessica.
“Failure is an attitude, not an outcome.”
When she’d finally finished her manuscript, she sent it out into the world—where it was rejected by every major publisher in the U.K., often with disparaging comments like “too long for children.”
Finally, one publisher agreed to pay her a tiny advance and put the book out. Today, Harry Potter is one of the greatest literary success stories of all time, and Joanna “J. K.” Rowling is one of the most widely read authors on the planet, worth an estimated $1 billion!
James, on the other hand, was an inventor. He had an idea for a new kind of product which he felt would change many housewives’ lives for the better—only he couldn’t get it to work. Five years and 5,127 attempts after he began, he had a working prototype—but still couldn’t get anyone interested. Despite facing one rejection after another, he kept his dream alive. Finally, after ten years of determination and tenacious daily action, James Dyson launched what soon became the world’s best-selling vacuum cleaner into the world.
Kelly was born to a mother of only 18, but her athletic prowess brought her national attention at an early age. Despite her potential, she gave up competition to serve her country in the army. Inspired by the sight of one of her former classmates competing at world-class level, she returned to Great Britain and began to prepare for the Olympics.
And then tragedy struck. On top of some minor injuries, she was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed that once again her dreams would have to be put on the back burner, this time forever. Yet Kelly Holmes sprinted to victory twice at the Athens Olympics in 2004, only the third woman in history to win the double. Despite having to overcome an impoverished background, continual injuries, and even life-threatening illness, Dame Kelly Holmes is an inspiration to millions.
What is it that allows a J. K. Rowling, James Dyson, or Kelly Holmes to keep going in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds?
Their refusal to take “no” for an answer from life or anyone else.
“If you’re going through hell—keep going.”
In some primitive tribes, the Shaman could only become the keeper of wisdom and magic and healing after he or she had been wounded in battle. It was believed that it was through the Shaman’s wounds that powerful wisdom would enter. This is in line with nature’s wisdom, which forms our scars out of the strongest tissue in the body, even though they might be the result of deep injury.
Yet most of us think of failure as a reason to give up, treating each adversity as another excuse for not getting where we really want to go. The truth is, failure is simply a matter of perception.
Over the years a number of people have said to me, “I tried hypnosis to quit smoking and it didn’t work.” When I ask them if it was really true that they hadn’t stopped smoking even for a single day, they always reply with something like “Well, I stopped for a few months, but then I started again. It’s a shame it didn’t work.”
“What do you mean, it didn’t work?” I tell them. “Of course it worked!”
If you can stop for a month, you can stop for two, or six or a year or forever. But not if you stop yourself first.
Can you imagine if parents treated their children like that when they were learning to walk? Every time the child fell over, they would tell him to give up. “Oh, well, Sonny—I guess you’ll never be a walker.”
So let’s look at that. Think about something you think you failed at in your own life. Did you really “fail?”
Remember, not winning is not the same as failure. Neither is things not turning out exactly the way you wanted, or getting turned down by someone you wanted something from.
The first question you need to ask yourself is this:
So you didn’t win. So it didn’t turn out exactly like you wanted. So you got turned down. So what?
You’re still alive—and tomorrow you’ve got another chance to make something even more wonderful happen. Not only that, you have learned lessons that will help you to succeed in the future.
High achievers see what other people call “failure” as no more than a temporary setback and get excited about finding new ways to overcome the challenge and get back on track for success.
After accepting that things didn’t work out the way they’d hoped, they ask themselves questions like:
What’s unique about this problem?
How can I use this to my advantage?
What do I need to do to succeed?
In my training seminars, we take the participants through an exercise in taking back control over their perceptions of the events of their lives.
“I pay too much tax.”
“You must make a lot of money.”
“My wife is always criticizing me.”
“She must really care about you to tell you what she thinks.”
At the extreme end of the scale, a participant once said in a sorrowful voice, “My wife left me for another man.” Everyone went quiet for a few moments, until one of the women in the group said quietly, “Well, I guess now he’s stuck with her!” Laughter broke out around the group, and the man was able to shift into a more resourceful state.
It is important to remember that this is not meant as a therapeutic intervention or a suggestion that we should not treat the significant events in our lives with the seriousness they merit; it is a training exercise in creating greater flexibility in our thinking.
Do this now …
ON THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET
1. Think of something “bad” that happened to you.
2. Now, come up with at least five ways in which it could be perceived as a positive—the more ridiculous, the better!
Bouncing Back from Adversity
When I ask people what stops them from achieving their goals, they will often recall times from the past when they failed at something similar and then watch internal movies of themselves reliving those failures again and again. Thinking about past failures over and over is a sure way to re-create them, because we always get more of what we focus on. That’s why it’s important to recode any past negative experiences that still cause us stress in the present.
“Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity.”
It’s fine to remember that something bad happened and learn from it, but any experiences that still carry a heavy emotional charge can act as obstacles to your success and slow you down.
One American research study showed that people who bounce back quickly following challenges and setbacks have an unconscious habit of perceiving delays, mistakes, and even the motives of other people in the best possible light.
Here is a wonderful technique you can use to take away the negative charge of any bad experience and leave yourself feeling stronger than before …
Read through the exercise before you do it for the first time …
1. Imagine you are sitting in a cinema, with a tiny screen some distance from you.
2. Make a black-and-white still picture on the screen of a past mistake or failure that you think means something about your ability to succeed in the future.
3. Watch the movie of that event backwards as if it was happening to someone else. Keep running it backwards faster and faster until when you think of the event it doesn’t stress you anymore.
4. Now make the screen much bigger and a movie of yourself succeeding in the future. Make it big, bold, and beautiful, in full color with a thumping soundtrack.
5. Step into the movie and feel the feelings of confidence, motivation, and success as you imagine everything going perfectly the way you want!