Positive Thoughts for the Day

Since ancient times, philosophers, soothsayers, and shamans have been telling us that the thoughts we cultivate and focus on can have a profound effect on the quality and circumstances of our lives. The vast majority of books, recordings, and seminars on positive thinking or personal development emphasize this principle. Many of the major religions also emphasize the power of faith, free will, gratitude, and belief.

Why, then, are so many people plagued by negativity — both in their thoughts and the conditions of their lives?

I only know what I personally experience, read about, reflect on, and observe in others… which actually encompasses quite a bit of information!

Can Positive Thinking Change Your Life? (Spoiler Alert: “Absolutely!”)

The concept of positive thinking is well rooted in spiritual traditions, ancient and contemporary philosophy, physiology, neurology, and just plain common sense. Why, then, do so many of us dismiss and discount the immense power residing within our own brains and spirit?

The answer is simple and can be explained by one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”


So what that means, in terms of self determination, is that people tend to be captivated, controlled, and directed by what they see, rather than what they would like to see. The old cliche of “what you see is what you get” is the guiding principle in the minds of most people. The ‘only’ problem with that mindset is that it’s severely limiting and is invariably going to bring you more of what you already have. Sometimes that’s good, other times, not so much! If you’re looking for changes or improvement in the circumstances of your life, then focusing on your external world is not going to help attract things you want. Change always comes from within!

As the ancient Law of Attraction teaches us, what we focus on and repeatedly think about expands, gets reinforced, and translates itself into external conditions — either new conditions or more of the same. By making a conscious effort to program your mind, amplify positive thoughts, and extinguish negative, self-defeating thoughts, you can create new and better circumstances and propel your life in a much more positive direction.

Everyone is the product of their experiences, their environment, and their genetic predisposition. There’s no question that human psychology can be a tangled web — one that can take a lifetime to unravel — sometimes requiring the help of a spiritual guide or mental health professional(s).

There’s no “quick fix” or guaranteed panacea which will transform your life. Upgrading the quality and quantity of your positive thought is the first, second, and third steps to achieving a greater measure of happiness and success. Clarifying your goals, learning to belief in yourself, and cultivating positive thoughts is the starting point to bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be a year from now.

I will end this blog post with a hackneyed old joke, which never ceases to amuse me:

Question: “How many psychotherapists does it take to change a light bulb?”

Answer: “Only one, but the light bulb has to really want to change!”

I don’t know how well that joke is going to translate into other languages (besides English), but my point is that change and personal development requires a high level of commitment, persistence, and internal fortitude. Without it, the influences of negativity in the world and in your own mind will always prevail.

Thanks for reading my latest blog post on personal development and human potential. I invite you to follow this blog (“Thoughts That Work”) to receive email updates on future posts and upcoming topics.

Have a great day!


Keys to Manifesting Success

If you’re interested in manifesting success — and who isn’t — your first task is to define what success means to you. While some people may define success as acquiring sports cars, vacation homes, and expensive jewelry, other people may define success as achieving happiness, financial security, and a fulfilling lifestyle. Since it’s your life, it doesn’t make sense to pursue someone else’s idea of success, achievement, and fulfillment. Everyone’s interests, strengths, and passions are unique, and, as transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau famously said, it’s okay, if not desirable, to follow the beat of a different drummer.

If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.

Henry David Thoreau

When it comes to choosing “thoughts that work” for achieving happiness, financial security, and meaning in life, here are a few ideas to consider:

  • If you derive meaning from nature, as Thoreau did, then a logical conclusion is that growth, expansion, and renewal are among the cornerstones of a meaningful life. Being stagnant generally feels frustrating and unfulfilling, while developing yourself, connecting with other like-minded people, and being action oriented feels good.
  • We are all “creatures of habit,” a fact that can either work to your benefit or your detriment. While I’m reasonably sure that Sir Isaac Newton’s laws of motion were meant to apply only to physical objects, I believe they can also be used to explain human behavior and motivation. Newton’s first law of motion states that every object either remains at rest or moves at a consistent speed in a straight line UNLESS it’s compelled to change its direction or speed by the impact of an external force. So to simplify further: An object that is in motion tends to stay in motion, and an object that’s at rest, tends to stay at rest. One of the big differences between human beings and physical objects is that people can compel themselves to take action through a variety of means, including self discipline and developing mental toughness. External “forces” (such as a demanding parent or boss) can compel us to spring into action and complete a task, but self-motivation is a more powerful, effective, and creative force. When you can inspire and motivate yourself to pursue a goals or overcome obstacles, then your chances for long-term growth, achievement, and personal satisfaction are much greater.

So what does it take manifest your desires and propel yourself forward toward the attainment of your goals? In a nutshell, it comes down to three things: knowing what you want, cultivating the ability to believe in yourself, and developing a realistic plan of action self motivation.

Sounds simple, but it actually takes a tremendous amount of mental focus, persistence, and tenacity. Fortunately, there are plenty of books, videos, seminars, and inspirational websites to help you get moving in the right direction!

Einstein Unravels Life’s Big Mysteries

Image by Jackie Ramirez from Pixabay 

Albert Einstein was one of the most fascinating minds of the twentieth century — not only because he was a brilliant physicist, but because he seemed to have a profound understanding of people, life, and the nature of the universe.

He said a lot of insightful things in his life, but my favorite Einstein quote is this one:

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

–Albert Einstein

There are a lot of ways to interpret that, but here are some possibilities to consider:

  • There really IS no objective reality, because everyone views the world through the lens of their own personal experiences, self perception, and ever-changing mood.
  • Our reality is pretty much what we make it.
  • Since what we focus on tends to expand, we have the ability to mold, shape, and create your own reality.
  • Our reality is basically a reflection of our expectations, self image, and attitude.
  • Don’t believe everything you hear, read, and think. Distortions of truth are everywhere — on the Internet, in social media, and in our own minds.
  • Our subconscious mind, along with the thousands of beliefs we’ve adopted during our lives, is our ever-present advisor — for better or worse.

Good News about Reality

The good news is that you can reprogram your subconscious to do a better job of serving your needs, your goals, and your best interest. You can accomplish that through the use of a number of techniques including the following:

  • positive affirmations
  • visualization
  • meditation
  • present moment awareness
  • journaling
  • practicing gratitude
  • setting daily intentions
  • immersing yourself in positive thoughts, ideas, books, videos, seminars, podcasts, groups, relationships, and discussions

We are the Product of Our Thoughts and Habits

I believe that part of the illusion Einstein was referring to is the fact that our thoughts seem to reflect reality. As most philosophers and spiritual thinkers will tell you, the reverse is actually true:

Reality is a reflection of your thoughts, beliefs, expectations, life experiences, habits, self perception, the way other people treat you, AND the way you treat yourself.

Two authors and thought-leaders who first changed my perspective on reality were Napoleon Hill and Wayne Dyer. Through his classic personal development book “Think and Grow Rich,” Napoleon Hill introduced me to the concept that “Thoughts are things.”

Through his various writings, author and psychologist Wayne Dyer helped me realize two important things about reality:

  • You don’t get what you want, you get what you ARE.
  • When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sometimes it almost seems like magic, but we can change the way our reality feels and manifests by paying attention to and regulating our thoughts.

Stay tuned to this blog for more motivational quotes, ideas, and strategies.


Positive Thoughts are Life Changing

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

When U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated in 1933, the Great Depression was loosening its grip on businesses, global economies, and families struggling to put food on the table. Things were pretty rough, back then, as they are for a lot of people, today.

In his inaugural address to the nation and the world, Roosevelt sought to restore people’s confidence in the economy and themselves by uttering these simple but profound words that were heard by millions of people on their living room radios:

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

Franklin D. Roosevelt

With those reassuring words, he reminded a battered nation that better days were ahead and the power to rebound rested squarely in the strength of their thoughts.

Why would fear be a thing to be afraid of? Simply put: Fear robs people of confidence, initiative, and faith in their ability to prevail in the face of difficult circumstances. The global pandemic that confronts us today is having that kind of effect on people that are out of work, struggling to keep their businesses afloat, or simply afraid to leave the house or send their kids to school.

Understanding the Real Enemy: FEAR

The nature of fear, however, is that it tends to grow and expand in direct proportion to how much attention is given to it. The more attention you give to something that scares you, the more threatening, imminent, and powerful it becomes… at least in your mind. People who “catastrophize” imagine and focus on the worst possible outcomes, and often undermine their own chances to solve a problem or make the best of a situation. The ability to handle challenges, deal with a crisis, or even take advantage of opportunities is thwarted by negative feelings like fear, discouragement, and self doubt.

As Roosevelt and many others have said throughout the ages, fear — and our negative thoughts and attitudes — can be our worst enemy. On the other hand, courage, faith, and initiative can open up doors of opportunity, security, and abundance that might otherwise have been closed tight and inaccessible. I like the quote by writer Anais Nin:

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage

Anais Nin

Iconic British Prime Minister Winston Churchill also was ffered so we wise words about fear, courage, failure, and success:

Fear is a reaction; courage is a decision.

Winston Churchill
Image by skeeze from Pixabay 

Churchill is also known to have uttered these timeless words:

Success consists of going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.

That positive way of perceiving “failure” makes it much less discouraging, and focuses on the fact that failure is often a stepping stone to success, goal accomplishment, and achievement.

Thanks for checking out my blog post on dismantling fear, motivating yourself to overcome discouragement, and strengthening your ability to think positively.

Hope to have you on board for future blog posts!


Confidence is a Super Power

I believe that most people are confident sometimes and insecure at other times. Wouldn’t it be nice to feel confident in all situations and with all people? Think back to a time or a moment when you felt supremely confident or even moderately confident. Confidence is one of the best feelings you can conjure up and it can make you more effective, resourceful, and persuasive. Best of all, it feels really good!

If you’re already consistently confident most (or all) of the time, then I would characterize you as a “rare breed.” I’d guess that one out of a hundred people fall into that category.

If — on the other hand — you’re among the 99% of the population that lacks confidence, here are some tips, reminders, and strategies that may help:

  • The development and maintenance of confidence is an ongoing process, and it’s one that you can control from the “command center” of your mind.
  • The way you carry yourself, speak, and make eye contact with people has a direct effect on your self esteem.
  • You’re willingness to regularly go outside your comfort zone to try new things, accept new challenges, and learn new skills can help you strengthen your confidence.
  • Pay attention to the way you treat yourself — both verbally and nonShould -verbally — because that has a direct impact on your self esteem. It also sets an example for other people of how they should regard you and think of you. All things being equal, people tend to respect, like, and be attracted to others who are self assured.
  • Setting intentions and then following through with them can be a confidence-building daily exercise. Setting goals (even small ones) and achieving them can have a similar effect. By demonstrating to yourself (and others) that you “can do it,” you’ll be laying the groundwork for raising your confidence level to the highest it’s ever been.

The cornerstones of building your confidence are as follows:

  1. A strong desire to be the most confident version of yourself that you can possibly be. Everyone may have a different potential for “winning friends and influencing people (as Dale Carnegie might have phrased it), but there’s always room in people’s lives for personal growth, self improvement, and the pursuit of happiness!
  2. Self awareness is a crucial component of building your confidence and realizing your potential. Self awareness can reveal ways in which you’re undermining your confidence and sabotaging your own success. Once you see where you’re going wrong, you’re in a much stronger position to correct it.
  3. Inspiration is also part of the equation, and it can come in the form of the repetition of positive affirmations, watching motivational videos, reading confidence-building books, and surrounded yourself — to the extent possible — with supportive friends, associates, family, and partners.
  4. Determination and commitment: Positive thinking doesn’t work for most people because they don’t take it seriously and apply it to their lives consistently. As I mentioned in a previous blog post: “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing!” (Source: A Course in Miracles) The first step to personal growth is to plant positive thoughts, ideas, hopes, dreams, and plans in your mind. Like a backyard garden, however, if you don’t nurture those positive thoughts every day, their growth will be stunted or those once-lofty intentions will wither and day. While it’s beneficial to surround yourself with people who support and encourage you, it’s necessary to be your own best friend, life coach, and “cheerleader.”

In these trying times, we all need An extra measure of hope, encouragement, and inspiration. Hopefully, you’ve derived a little bit of each from this blog. Stay tuned for more good ideas in the near future intended to motivate, inspire, and bring out the limitless potential that lies dormant within us all.

You Are the Product of Your Beliefs

Image by stokpic from Pixabay 

Actually, I wanted to title this blog post “You are the product of your beliefs, habits, environment, and genetic makeup,” but that would have been way too long for a headline! All those influences make us what we are today, but — if I had to designate one as the most important, beliefs would be it. What you believe about yourself, your abilities, the nature of the world, and your value as a human being creates the framework of your reality.

Negative beliefs are often the result of focusing your attention on one or two failures, rejections, or disappointments that may have had little or nothing to do with your value as person. Whether your quest is for a high paying job, a satisfying career, a lucrative business opportunity, “fame and fortune,” or the woman or man of your dreams, those goals are rarely handed to you on a “silver platter.”

I love the saying that crops up quite a bit on Instagram and other branches of social media. It says “The only difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner tried one more time!” That does not mean that halfhearted attempts at anything are going to get you very far — no matter how many times you try! However, if you can infuse all your efforts with a little enthusiasm, preparation, and belief in yourself, then power of persistence has to work in your favor.

Although positive thinking is a fantastic, potentially life-changing concept, I believe it’s misunderstood by most people. It’s like exercising, living a healthy lifestyle, or being a good person. If you don’t do it on a consistent, daily basis, then it’s probably not going to produce positive, lasting changes.

7 Positive Affirmations and Mantras

Here are a few positive thoughts worth dwelling on that can help motivate, inspire, and propel you forward:

  • “An untrained mind can accomplish nothing.” (A Course in Miracles)
  • “KNOW your outcome!” (Tony Robbins)
  • “Failure is not an option.” (Tag line from the movie Apollo 13.)
  • “Persistence breaks down resistance.” (My father’s favorite mantra)
  • “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” (Attributed to televangelist Robert Schuller)
  • “You don’t get what you want, you get what you ARE.” (Wayne Dyer)
  • “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!” (Wayne Dyer)

Why Practice Gratitude?

The practice of gratitude — sometimes referred to as “counting your blessings” — is universally considered one of the most effective ways to condition your mind to receive and attract happiness and success. Appreciating the good things that you have and the advantages you enjoy tends to improve your attitude, upgrade your overall outlook, and infuse positive energy into every aspect of your life.

With that positive energy as the backdrop to your everyday activities, you’ll tend to be happier, more likable, more effective, and more enthusiastic. When you radiate those positive qualities on a consistent basis, you tend to attract people, circumstances, and conditions that enable you to realize more of your potential and create a more satisfying life. That being said, it’s best not to “overthink” it. Just have trust in the process.

Practicing gratitude is a topic that deserves much more attention than I can give it in two paragraphs, but, rest assured, that important theme will be reemerging in many of my future blog posts. Follow this blog so I can continue sharing positive ideas, insights, and strategies with you in coming months!

Thanks for checking out my blog on “Thoughts that Work!”

How to Take Charge of Your Life

Beliefs are incredibly powerful because they control your thoughts, your actions, and the effectiveness of those actions.

If you believe you’re not capable, important, or attractive, then everything about you will radiate that message — and other people’s opinions of you will be influenced by those verbal and non-verbal messages.

When your beliefs are negative about vital things like your value, your intelligence, or your appearance, you’ll find yourself sabotaging yourself at every turn.

Self-limiting beliefs are pretty rampant among humanity because — for some reason — many people exhibit what’s called a “negativity bias.” In other words, they find it easier or more natural to think of the negative possibility or explanation, rather than responding to situations with an optimistic and resourceful state of mind. The reason failure is so common among people who are trying to adopt a positive state of mind is lack of consistency.

Believing in yourself, making a conscious decision to pursue your goals, and then following up that decision with definitive action needs to be habitual; it’s not something you can do on a sporadic basis — at least not effectively. Having a winning personality, a positive attitude, and the ability to produce positive results requires mental focus and daily effort— but it’s worth it!

One strategy for gaining access to that resourceful part of your mind is to start writing down and reflecting on motivational quotes from thought leaders like Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Napoleon Hill, and Wayne Dyer.

Two my favorite motivational quotes from (the late) Dr. Dyer are as follows:

“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

…and the quote which relates directly to the theme of today’s blog post:

“You don’t get what you want… you get what you ARE!”

… Think about it!

In closing… here are a few thoughts to ponder:

What are your dominant thoughts (and are they positive)?

What are your personal values … and do you live by them?

What are your goals and how committed are you to them?

Your Thoughts are Building Blocks

Do thoughts just randomly happens to us, or do we have control over them? Can we choose the quality and content of our thoughts and, by doing so, can we be happier and function at a higher level? Whether or not that’s possible depends on your personal belief system. If you believe that you’re at the mercy of random and negative thoughts which seem to just descend on you and force you down a path that’s not of your choosing, then your options and potential for growth will be limited.

If, on the other hand, you choose to believe that your life is based on freedom of thought and the ability to improve your circumstances by making plans and taking action, then that will be true for you.

It seems simple, but it’s not easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it — and that’s clearly not the case.

So what does it take to change your life for the better? Primarily three things:

Self Awareness: Cultivating the ability to pay attention to the quality of your thoughts gives you the chance to seize opportunities, revise self-defeating behavior patterns, and upgrade the way you communicate with yourself.

Self Discipline: Procrastination is one of the biggest self-imposed obstacles to success. When you delay taking action until you feel like it, “later” turns into “never” (or “too late.”) If you don’t develop the ability to force yourself to take action immediately, and do that on a regular basis, then opportunities will pass you by. Waiting until you’re “in the mood” to exercise, get started on a project, make an appointment, or initiate a relationship gets you nowhere, fast!

Positive Self Talk: Whether you call them positive affirmations, mantras, or positive thinking, the words you say and think to yourself have an impact on your self esteem, your resourcefulness, and your ability to take effective action. Negative thinking invariable produces negative results, so it pays to choose your words, thoughts, and expectations carefully!

Boost Your Motivation and Self Belief

To the extent that it’s possible, surround yourself with positive people and inspirational ideas. By keeping a positive journal, posting motivational quotes in your living space and work area, and following inspirational accounts on social media (I follow several motivational Instagram feeds), you can keep your attitudes positive and and your motivation high.

Thanks for checking out my latest post on positive thinking, the power of habits, and the value of learning to motivate yourself to take action on a consistent basis. Everyone has way more potential than they’re living up to, and it is my intention to offer ideas, strategies, and resources that will help you reach more of your potential!

As part of your plan to surround yourself with more positive ideas, people, and inspiration, consider following this blog!

Image by Angela Yuriko Smith from Pixabay

How Thoughts Can Empower You

Thoughts are a hard thing to understand because they’re invisible and we don’t always know where they come from. Have you ever had the experience where you’re just minding your own business when, all of a sudden, a memory from 20 years ago just pops into your head? Another time, you might be driving to work or walking in the neighborhood when an incredible feeling of well-being just washes over you. Although you can sometimes figure out where a particular thought or feeling originated, many times they just seem random and inexplicable.

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

Your ability to create goals, develop plans, selectively observe your environment, and learn from your mistakes are four inborn talents that enable you to grow, advance in life, acquire things you want, and derive satisfaction from being a human being.

Like a computer, your brain is constantly trying to gather and make sense out of all the information that it’s exposed to on a continual basis. One thing that sets people apart from each other is the way everyone processes information differently. Everyone filters information in their own unique way because of their experiences, personality, and their state of mind.

Another huge factor that your attitude, your level of confidence, and your resourcefulness is the way you communicate with yourself — both silently and out loud. You also send a strong message to your brain every time you put yourself down, act shy or unassertive, or maintain poor posture.

Developing confidence and creating plans for getting what you want out of life begins with a self analysis. First of all, you need to identify and prioritize you personal values, your goals, and your talents. It’s a little bit like developing a marketing plan in which you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Once you’ve clarified those four areas of your life, you can begin developing a series of strategies to capitalize on your strengths, eliminate or compensate for your weaknesses, take advantage of opportunities, and be prepared to manage or avoid problems or threats.

Once you know what you want, what you have to offer, and where you hope to be six months from now, you’re immediately in a stronger position to people, opportunities, and circumstances that will help make your life more rewarding. The foundation of that entire process, though, is the strength of your self esteem and your beliefs about your value, your capability as a person, and worthiness as an individual.

That’s why the building blocks of your future success consist of your own thoughts, intentions, personal values, and degree of motivation. The good news is that those elements of happiness and success can be consciously controlled, cultivated, and shaped to conform with your vision of an ideal lifestyle.

Stay tuned to this blog for more strategies, insights, and ideas for becoming the best possible version of yourself — THAT’S what it’s all about!

Thanks for checking out my blog!

–Joel S

The Power of Focused Thoughts

The problem with “positive thinking” is that it doesn’t work — at least not for 90% of the people that try it.

Does that mean that it’s a flawed approach to attaining success and happiness? No, far from it! Focused and sustained positive thinking is the secret to inner peace, getting what you want out of life, and having the ability to surmount most problems.

The only way you can truly tap in to the immense power of your thoughts is to do it deliberately, methodically, and persistently.

Whenever you attempt anything haphazardly or halfheartedly, you’re setting yourself up for failure. If you every find yourself falling into that mental trap — and we’ve all been there — the solution is to STOP and REALIGN yourself into a more positive direction. Well-established habits can be very strong — whether they’re productive or self-defeating — but they can be changed, upgraded, or eliminated with focused attention, deliberate action, and mental resolve.

There are thoughts that work in your favor and thoughts that act as stumbling blocks. Regardless of the quality of your thoughts at any point in time, you have the ability to monitor them, dismiss them, and replace negative thoughts with ones that are more motivating, inspiring, and self affirming.

By recognizing that you have direct access to the “control panel” of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, you’ll be in a stronger position to be the best version of yourself.

Since perfection is generally unattainable (and often unnecessary) simply aiming for the best you’re capable of doing at that particular point in time can produce progress without imposing too much pressure on you. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with operating under pressure, but some people have more of a tolerance for it than others.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Bottom line is this: Everyone has a different path in life and we all proceed at a different pace. When you develop a plan and take inspired action, however, your chances of achieving goals and enhancing your life are greatly improved — especially when you stay focused on your intended outcome and give yourself a reasonable chance to “make it to the finish line.”

Since so many people get discouraged and give up after one or two tries, a good saying to keep in mind is “Three times is the charm.” While there’s probably no mystical truths wrapped up in that age-old saying, you will be mathematically improving your chances of success in almost any endeavor if you attempt something one more time! That one extra effort can not only make all the difference, but it can change the course of your entire life.

It’s up to each individual to gather information, weigh the risks versus benefits, and prepare for whatever challenge they’re pursuing, but after all is said and done, sometimes you just have to take the plunge!

Thanks for checking out my new blog on self improvement, goal achievement, and positive thinking! Hope you decide to follow this blog for future posts on personal development strategies.