Before you can achieve, you must first believe. It’s an important message, but it’s not as simple as some would tell you, “All I have to do is believe and I can achieve anything I want.” Of course you’re not sure – you have doubts. I know exactly how you feel. I was a kid with asthma whose doctor said I should learn to play chess, and I couldn’t even play checkers all that well. Later on, as an entrepreneur, I learned one million four hundred seventy five thousand dollars worth of ways not to launch a product; and some of my investors told me it was time to stop embarrassing myself and go get a job. In order to I had to find my reason to believe.
The trick is separating the beliefs that help you from those that hinder you. And, taking action – relentless action – which is the direct result of your beliefs. You don’t lose twenty-five pounds in a day, and you may have failed to sustain relentless action in the past. The key is to recognize and focus on the beliefs that will help you accomplish the goal you’ve chosen. It’s easier said than done; but, every time I believed I couldn’t do something, I was right. But, it was only because I hadn’t taken action!
First, you recognize a reason to believe, and that will come from the small successes in your life. The power of a river isn’t created in an instant; it builds as it continues to flow. This makes a river unstoppable, and your ability to believe in yourself must do the same thing over time. It must keep flowing – and you must always believe in yourself. Like the river, as you continue to believe in yourself, you will be able to conquer all obstacles in your path. Every time I believed I could do something, I made progress in the direction of my course. Sometimes it didn’t feel like progress, as I only learned a few ways not to do something, but it was still progress because I didn’t give up believing I could do it!
Your beliefs power your actions or your inactions – depending on what you believe you can or can’t do. What you believe decides what you can or can’t do! “The key is all about instilling habits that help you succeed at the things you can control. You can’t control What others say, What others do, What others think, What others feel; but you can control how you will handle things you can’t control. You can control the course you take and most importantly, you can control your actions and your ability to believe.
Once you truly understand this, you will succeed at anything you decide to focus on. Trust me: If you follow this tenet, and never stop believing in yourself and your goals, you will become unstoppable at living your dreams.” It is so powerful, yet very simple: Start with small successes, build a reason to believe, and never stop believing. This will make anything possible.
One of my greatest joys is helping others go after their own goals. Recognize Your Reason to Believe. Remember the power of a river and how it succeeds. It doesn’t do it all at once. To achieve, you must believe, and believing comes from succeeding, and succeeding starts with small successes. Small successes grow to become bigger successes. The more you succeed, the more you will believe in yourself, and the more you believe, the more you’ll be unstoppable. Believing leads to achieving because it keeps you going when others give up. It’s like confidence fuel to power you through rough waters when the course gets tough.
Success comes from building habits that enable you to take the correct actions toward fulfilling your dream. I wasn’t the best student in school, nor was I the best athlete; heck I wasn’t even the best Navy SEAL. But I made it my goal to be the best at never giving up – at dreaming big and being personally accountable for making my dreams come true.
Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. – Calvin Coolidge
How to Get Started – Recognize Your Reason to Believe
I wasn’t particularly good at traditional sports such as football, soccer, basketball, and baseball. This made me an easy target for getting picked on. As I moved on to high school, however, my athletic situation changed. My new school had a sport that didn’t require me to pitch, dribble, or catch, and it was done on water: rowing. I’ll never forget my first day of club rowing. Our coach, Professor Johnson, picked me out of the lineup of freshmen and said, “Mills, you’ve got the legs of an oarsman, big and strong.” That statement changed my view of my thunder thighs. Now they were something to be proud of, not embarrassed about, and they became my reason to believe in myself when I tried out for the varsity rowing team a year later.
The origin of your reason to believe doesn’t matter; what matters is that you recognize your reason to believe in whatever you’re going after. Your reason to believe in yourself is your secret weapon for success no matter how big the odds are against you. Your reason to believe can come from anything, but without a reason, you won’t accomplish much of anything. In Navy SEAL training, my reason to believe came from lots of different things. Since the training involved so many challenges, I looked for a reason to believe in everything I did. When it came to diving tests, my reason to believe came from getting my scuba certification with my dad at the age of twelve; when it came to shooting, my reason to believe came from winning rifle competitions at summer camp; when it came to rope climbs and pull-up competitions, my reason to believe came from rowing; when it came to surf torture (enduring cold water), my reason to believe came from winter rowing on the Severn River at the Naval Academy; when it came to running long distances, my reason to believe came from rowing – in fact, most of my reasons for believing in my ability to make it through SEAL training came from rowing.
The key to recognizing your reason to believe is to focus on something you know is true. In ninth grade, I was absolutely certain I had big legs. Then a teacher told me big legs were great for rowing. That simple link gave me a reason to believe that I could make the rowing team as a sophomore. From there, I built on my reason to believe in being a good rower and became a Navy SEAL. Each one of these successes reinforced my reason to believe that I could handle even harder challenges, such as starting a business. When faced with bankruptcy, I didn’t think about going bankrupt; I immediately thought of my reason to believe in NOT going bankrupt.
What’s great about recognizing a reason to believe is that it will not only power you during your darkest, most trying times, it will also inspire others to stick with you. Believing in something can be contagious, and when you infect others with a similar reason to believe, you improve your chances of success exponentially. We all want to believe in something, and there’s no better person to believe in than yourself. Believe to achieve! If you are having a hard time believing, be aware of who you’re hanging out with. I can tell you if you are hanging out with people are saying, “you can’t do that because we couldn’t do that,” then that’s not healthy. Start finding people that can start to believe in you, and then you’ll start believing in yourself.