I believe I can fly. I believe I can touch the sky. I think about it every night and day, spread my wings and fly away. I believe I can soar, I see me running through that open door. I believe I can fly…. This is the well-known words of the song by R. Kelly. Without a healthy belief in your own ability there is just no way that you will be able to be a real success in life. You have to believe that you are capable and that you have what it takes.

I believe that you have the ability to be better than you ever thought possible. I believe you were born to win. I believe you were born with the seed of greatness inside you, and you have to believe it as well. If you apply the following eight principles on a daily basis, it will help you to get to the top of your mountain that you were made to ascend. I used the acronym “I Believe” to make it easy to remember.

I = Improvement

Improvement starts with I. If you are not happy with where you are in life at the moment you have to start developing yourself. The primary reason why people fail in the endeavours they undertake is a lack of preparation. You have to invest in yourself to be able to achieve your goals in life. Brian Tracy teaches the 3% rule. The 3% rule states that you should invest 3% of your income in developing yourself. It doesn’t matter how much you earn, as your income increases so should the amount of money you spend on improving yourself by buying and reading books and audio programs and attending seminars in your field. You never waste money on personal development. Benjamin Franklin said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

The best way to secure your own and your family’s future is to develop yourself as a person. The greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. As Jim Rohn put it: “I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me.”

B = Belief in yourself

You must have faith and confidence in yourself and your abilities. As someone said: “Think highly of yourself, because the world takes you at your own estimate of yourself.” You have to belief that you are capable and worthy of accomplishing whatever you set yourself to achieve. As you improve yourself and work on developing yourself as a person your confidence and self-image will grow. You will feel more confident about your abilities as your knowledge and skills expand.

The other important thing that develops a belief in yourself is hard work. Michael Johnson, the Olympic Gold Medal sprinter said: “I have been described as confident or cocky or arrogant. I’ll take the first one. My confidence comes from knowing that I have probably trained harder than anyone I am going to run against. And that is because of discipline. This brings me to the next point.

E = Extra

John Maxwell says in his book Talent is never enough that four little words is the difference between really successful people and the rest of the crowd: a little bit more; and as I have said so many times before, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is extra. If you really want to rise above the crowd you have to be willing to work harder than the rest of them.

I remember listening to Heineke Meyer, the current South-African National rugby coach. He was talking about Braam van Straaten who at the time when he made the speech, was the Springbok flyhalf. He said that years ago when he was the coach at the North-West University, van Straaten was only the third best flyhalf at the University, but he kept on working every single day, much longer and much harder than all his competitors. Eventually he became the number one flyhalf in the country.

L = Limiting beliefs

By the time you are eighteen you have a set of believes that you have acquired through the years about every possible thing. Most of us do not consciously decide what to believe, we are influenced by mainly our parents and teachers and friends. You have beliefs about yourself, about other people, about the world. Many of those believes are not the truth, it is just the way you perceive it, but if you believe it that is the way it is going to be.

Henry Ford said: “Whether you think you can, or think you cannot, either way you are right.” Your beliefs become limitations for your future decisions about who you are and what you’re capable of. You have to challenge your limiting beliefs and replace them with more empowering ones.

I = Integrity

The single most important character trait people want in other people is integrity. People want someone they can trust, maybe because there are so few trust-worthy people around. Integrity start with yourself, you have to be able to trust yourself before anybody else will trust you. You have to keep the promises you make to yourself. If you make a commitment to start a specific habit or discipline yourself to do something, you have to honour that commitment. From there your integrity will grow and you will be a man of honour in every part of your life. You cannot be a success for a long-time without being a man of solid character and integrity.

E = Excellence

People are not interested in mediocrity. They are only interested in something that is excellent. If you are just mediocre in life you will be disappointed, but if you do your very best every day you will become exceptional. That is why Aristotle said: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

I had a brother-in-law who is an exceptional craftsman, he is committed to excellence. He is always so proud of his handiwork. He delights in the inspection of his work, he invites people to look at the finest details. Why? Because he prides himself in the knowledge that it was excellently done, nobody could do it better. People will always be willing to pay for excellence.

V = Vigorously Passionate

You will never be successful with anything if you are not really passionate about it. The amount of work that is needed to become the best in anything that you do is much more than you will willingly do if you are not really passionate about what you are doing. You have to find out what really excites you in life, what makes you tick, and makes you feel truly alive. You have to find and pursue that passion. If you are just chasing a pension you will not have enough drive to be willing to do the amount of work needed to be at the top.

When you love what you are doing it doesn’t feel like working anyway. It was told that Thomas Edison was advised by his wife to take a day of because he was very tired. She told him to go to the one place where he was happiest of all. About ten o’clock the next morning she found him in his office behind his desk, when asked what he was doing there he replied that he was at the place where he wanted to be most of all, doing what he loved most. No wonder he is one of the most successful people in history.

E = Endurance

There are many different ideas and opinions as to what would guarantee success. Although there are many ingredients in the recipe for success the one that is most important, is perseverance. The ability to persist and endure until you succeed, more than anything else, will guarantee you success. As Les Brown said: “It is not over until I win.” You must develop the tenacity of a bulldog and keep on until you win.

Most people quit because of setbacks and obstacles, those who decide not to quit are the ones who win. Randy Pausch in his book The Last Lecture said the brick walls are there for a reason, they are there to keep those out who don’t want it bad enough. That is why Napoleon Hill many years ago said: “Winners never quit, and quitters never win”. One of the most important things you can teach your children is to, never give up, and always finish what they start. If you apply these principles to your life “I Believe” I will see you at the top.

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For more articles by Arnold Groenewald please visit his website at www.maximumliving.co.za