Much has changed between 1956 and 2018. However, while everything has changed on the surface, at the core, we're still very much like the people who lived in 1956.
One big area of similarity is our thirst for self-improvement and becoming world class at our particular crafts. While there are numerous resources available these days from a tactical level, many on their attempts to become world-class fall short at the very beginning due to skipping a key step (I skipped this step as well).
I didn't find this key step until I discovered an old audio tape of Earl Nightingale's The Strangest Secret to Success.
Initially recorded in 1956, this book went on to sell more than one million copies and became the first spoken-word recording to attain Gold Record status.
Ever since finding this recording, I've listened to it every week at least once to remind myself that in order to become world class, I need to keep these six words in mind "we become what we think about."
Nightingale first heard this from Napoleon Hill. This seems like a no-brainer, but conceptually understanding something is different than adherence and taking action. Many people understand broccoli should be chosen more often compared to doughnuts, but actually doing it is another story.
"We become what we think about."
Often times, we'll look at star athletes and successful entrepreneurs along with anyone else doing remarkable work and simply write their accomplishments off from solely being talented.
This is missing the big picture. Becoming world-class does require talent, but it more importantly, requires developing an indomitable mindset.
Developing that indomitable mindset starts with realizing that "you become what you think about" because the thoughts that circulate in our head is essentially the captain who steers the direction of the ship on where you're going in life. Beliefs lead to actions which lead to results and outcomes.
Someone who consistently judges himself and thinks he can't do anything right will end not doing anything correctly and falling short because of that. With self-defeating thoughts, you're essentially self-sabotaging the operation to achieving your biggest goals before getting started.
I grew up in a judgmental and critical environment which led me by default, approaching life and business this way. Realizing this, I needed to create new loops and connections inside my brain when those type of comments arose. For example, "If I said "I'm too tired", "I'll do it tomorrow", or "maybe I should just be happy with what I have", I would repeat my goal and reasoning for wanting my goals.
Over time, this reprogrammed me to become more optimistic and developing a growth mindset, which is essential for becoming world class.
It's impossible to become world class if your mind is whispering nothing but judgmental and critical thoughts. It may sound extreme, but you must wage war against negativity and self-doubt when it starts to creep into your mind.
While "we become what we think about" is important, there's a critical part that needs to be accompanied to experience the full benefits.
Replace "how" with "what."
Language and the type of questions we ask ourselves matter more than we think.
"How will I accomplish my goal?" "How will I grow my business?" "How can I get healthy and boost my energy?" "How can I become world class?"
On the surface, these seem like great questions. But in actuality, these are poor questions that will end up in an "I don't know" which isn't helpful nor empowering. As I've learned, when people don't know how to do something, the likelihood of taking action is low.
When you ask "how", you're most often going to bring along a truckload of worry, fear, and frustration--none of which helps you. Instead of asking "how" when it comes to formulating a strategy, ask "what".
For example, replace "how can I become world class at speaking?" to "what's a good plan to start improving my speaking?"
On the path to mastery of a craft or growing a business, all the answers will never be clearly apparent. But through changing the type of questions you ask yourself, you're training your mind to become more creative and solution oriented.