The Actual And The Ideal

You change your life when you change your mind.

Last week I talked about the fact that so many people fail to reach their full potential. They don’t achieve the goals they’d like to achieve, and they don’t live the life they’d like to live.

The reason is simple. People are exposed to negatives, and they adopt the negatives. They end being who they are, what they are, and where they are because of what’s gone into their minds.

Much of that can be changed. That’s why I wrote about affirmations. You can reprogram yourself for success. And many of you purchased my new CD that addressed the topic in great detail. If you’d like a copy of this CD, it’s called, “GOALS: Good Intentions Are Never Good Enough.”

To tap into the power of affirmations, DEFINE YOUR GOALS FIRST. Decide what you want to add to your life or subtract from it.

Your goals might include improvements in certain areas of your life. You may want to improve your golf score or increase the number of sales you close.

Or you may want to modify your behavior in certain situations. You may want to be more assertive with your coworkers or more open with your family members. You may want to change a personality characteristic or drop a bad habit. Define your goals first.

And you’ve got to be very clear about your goals. You’ve got to be very sure you want those things. If you’re not, you’re doomed to fail before you even start.

Such was the case with the man who suddenly came out of a coma after twenty-two years of sleep. When he awoke, he immediately called his stock broker and demanded, “What are my investments worth now?” The broker replied, “Your Exxon stock is worth $5 million. Your IBM stock is worth $4 million.”

“I’m rich. I’m rich,” shouted the man joyously. But then the operator interrupted, “Your three minutes are up. Please deposit $1 million.”

You’ve got to be very clear about your goals, and you’ve got to be very sure they’re what you really want. That poor man’s definition of “rich” didn’t quite work.


Write down each goal as a separate sentence. And use a present verb tense in your sentence. Say, “I am filled with energy and vitality,” rather than “I will be energetic.” And say, “I am confident in my telephone sales,” rather than “I will be confident.” Your mind will do its best to fulfill a present verb statement, but it will ignore future “will” statements.

Third, USE THE WORD “I.” Personalize your affirmations. Write something like, “I am the top sales person in my region,” or “I weigh a slim, trim 150 pounds.”

Remember, affirmations are used for your goal accomplishment, not somebody else’s. You can’t have an affirmation for somebody else. You can’t say, “The children will behave” and expect it to work. You have to put the focus on what you are going to do.

Fourth, STATE YOUR AFFIRMATIONS POSITIVELY. In other words, avoid words like “no, not, never.” Write down what you want instead of what you don’t want. Rather than tell yourself, “I don’t lose my temper,” say, “I am cool and calm in difficult situations.” It simply works a great deal better to focus on what you’re going to do.

By focusing on the positive, you’re instilling the power of belief. That’s what one newspaper reporter discovered. He was interviewing a noted scientist who had been assigned to the Atomic Energy Commission. He noticed that the great scientist had a rabbit’s foot on his key chain.

“You don’t mean to tell me,” the reporter said, “that a scientific man like you believes in that old superstition?”

“Certainly not,” said the scientist. “But a friend of mine tells me it’s supposed to bring you luck whether you believe it or not.”

Fifth, BE SPECIFIC. Your mind does not relate to vague goals or generalized hopes. If you want to improve your memory, for example, affirm, “I have an excellent memory with clear and easy recall.” That’s specific. If you want to earn more money, tell yourself, “I am earning X-amount of money this year,” and fill in the exact amount you want to make. That works an awful lot better than telling yourself, “I’m making more money.”

The more specific your affirmations, the quicker you will reach your goal. Specificity gives you focus. It clarifies the target. It points you towards the bull’s eye.

There’s an old saying, “When a ship misses the harbor, it is seldom the harbor’s fault.” And when your mind fails to achieve a goal, it is seldom your mind’s fault. It’s the vagueness of your target that causes the problem.

Once you’ve written your affirmations, you need to MOVE THEM INTO YOUR SUBCONSCIOUS. Ninety percent of your power is in the subconscious; only 10% of your strength resides in the conscious mind. To work on your goals on a purely conscious level, using only your willpower, is exhausting and less than totally effective.

The way you move your affirmations into your subconscious is through the repetition process. You repeat your affirmations to yourself over and over again. Three times a day, either silently or out loud, say each of your affirmations four or five times.

Don’t skip the saying of your affirmations. It’s absolutely critical that you be persistent in saying them if they are to work.

After you’ve said your affirmations, take a few seconds to visualize each of them. Just imagine each of them as having come true. There is a strange but powerful force that works to create what you affirm and what you imagine.

It may sound too good to be true. But the evidence is quite clear. A thought or a goal held firmly, repeatedly, in the conscious mind will eventually seep into the subconscious and become a part of your operating system.

Follow these steps. Say your affirmations every day for at least 21 days, and you will begin to release and use more of your potential. You will see significant change in your behavior and in your results.

Again, if you’ve not gotten a copy of my CD on this topic, you really should. It doesn’t make any sense to keep on struggling to reach your goals when there’s a proven way to do it. You can spend your whole life struggling, or you can spend a few dollars and a few minutes listening to this CD and learn how to do it right.

Or you may be interested in my entire series, a 6-pack CD album entitled “TAKE CHARGE: Motivating Yourself to Achieve More Than Ever.  You’ll learn an exciting process that will change your life, and you’ll be amazed at the success you’ll have on and off the job.

Of course some people may pooh-pooh this “mental programming stuff.” They may say, “Get real.” But personally, I’d rather go for the ideal, and I suspect you would too.

So let me leave you with this thought.


There are two things, The Actual and The Ideal.

To be mature is to see The Ideal and live with The Actual.

To fail is to accept The Actual and reject The Ideal.

To accept only that which is Ideal and refuse The Actual is to be immature.

Do not criticize The Actual because you have seen The Ideal.

Do not reject The Ideal because you see The Actual.

Maturity is to live with The Actual but hold on to The Ideal.

Action:  Study this “Tuesday Tip.” Take time to really learn all the steps in writing and using affirmations. Then start out with five affirmations that you will repeat and visualize every day for the next 21 days. Keep track of the subtle and not-so subtle changes you begin to see. And if you keep at it, you will achieve more than you ever thought possible.