With Believe It to Achieve It: Overcome Your Doubts, Let Go of the Past, and Unlock Your Full Potential, prolific author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy returns with another wide-ranging self-help book packed with inspirational and affirming advice, supported by lists, exercises and, as a bonus for this book, case studies from his co-author, psychotherapist Christina Stein.
Mental Laws and Principles
The authors begin with a chapter on “why people get stuck,” which includes descriptions of mental laws and principles that, Tracy writes, “largely explain who you are and everything that happens to you.”
For example, the first of these mental laws is the Law of Cause and Effect. According to Tracy, this law states that “for every effect or result in your life, there is a cause or causes. Nothing happens by chance.” For Tracy, this is an opening: If you want a certain result — happiness, wealth, prosperity, success — then create the causes that lead to such results. One way to do this is to emulate what happy, successful people do, over and over again. You must also continuously think about what you want and how to get it.
Stein’s take on the Law of Cause and Effect is her exploration of what she calls her patients’ “gardens,” which consist of the positive and negative thoughts, ideas and beliefs that have been planted in a patient’s mind throughout his or her lifetime. The challenge, she writes, is to work with the patient in determining which plants should remain in the “mental garden” and which should be removed to allow progress.
Letting Go and Reframing
After exploring why people get stuck and what holds them back, the authors help readers reach for success by letting go of the past, becoming masters of change and strengthening their relationships. Letting go of the past is the first step, and for Tracy, that first step depends a great deal on forgiveness. “If you cannot forgive, you are locked in place,” Tracy writes. “You cannot make any progress. You are held back year after year by your refusal or unwillingness to let go of a previous hurt.” Tracy urges his readers to forgive four people: “your parents, your past relationships, everyone else, and most important, yourself.”
Once you let go of the past, the next step is to reframe your thinking, the authors write. See problems as challenges (even just changing the terminology will help reframe the issue). See setbacks as learning opportunities. Stein describes one of her patients whose view on life was unrelentingly pessimistic. Everything bad that happened was because of him, because he wasn’t smart enough, because he was a bad person. Stein worked with him in reframing his experiences, helping him to recognize that some things just happen. Eventually, “he became a happier person by learning to interpret what happened to him in a positive way,” she writes. “And you can do the same.”
In the same section, Tracy offers an effective process for dealing with worries that is typical of the straightforward but effective advice that fills this book. First, he writes, define exactly what you are worrying about. Next, imagine the worst possible outcome related to this worry situation. The next step is to resolve to accept the worst. Once you can accept the worst, he writes, your stress evaporates. Now, you are in position for the final step: to improve the worst, as he writes, “to minimize the damage, control the costs and cut your losses.”
The Power of Belief
Tracy has written previously of success habits such as goal-setting and time management. In this book, with the valuable collaboration of Stein, Tracy focuses on the mindset of success and achievement, how to “fill your mind with what you want to be.” Of course, unloading the negative thoughts that clutter most of our minds is easier said than done — but the inspirational roadmap in Believe It to Achieve It will help readers develop the positive beliefs that, the authors compellingly argue, lay the foundation for achievement.