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The 100 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws of Business Success

Brian Tracy

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Format: Paperback, 336pp.
ISBN: 9781576751268
Publisher: Barrett-Koehler
Pub. Date: January 9, 2002

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Item No: 9781576751268


Chapter 1: The Laws of Life

Why are some people and organizations more successful than others? Why do some people have wonderful careers, moving from position to position, onward and upward, earning far more money, being consistently paid more and promoted faster?

And why is it that others go from job to job, continually worrying about money and feeling that they are unappreciated for their hard work and their contributions? Why do so many people, as Thoreau once wrote, "live lives of quiet desperation?"

When I started my business career, I was so far behind, I thought I was first. I moved from job to job, seldom by choice, a bit bewildered by the swirl of events around me and the seemingly unreasonable and unpredictable behaviors of my bosses. I felt like a pawn, playing in a game, or being played in a game, in which I didnt clearly understand the rules.

Then I began asking, "Why are some people more successful than others?"

I noticed that the people around me who were doing better than me did not seem to be smarter than me or of better character. Sometimes, they had difficult personalities and questionable ethics. Often their ideas and opinions didnt make much sense. But they were doing well nonetheless.

The Great Discovery
The first big breakthrough for me was my discovery of the Aristotelian Principle of Causality, or what we today call the Law of Cause and Effect. At a time when most people believed in Gods on Mount Olympus who amused themselves by toying with human fate and destiny, Aristotle stated something completely different. It changed our view of the world forever.

1. The Law of Cause and Effect

Everything happens for a reason; for every effect there is a specific cause.

Aristotle asserted that we live in a world governed by law, not chance. He stated that everything happens for a reason, whether or not we know what it is. He said that every effect has a specific cause or causes. Every cause or action has an effect of some kind or another, whether we can see it, or whether we like it or not.

This is the granddaddy law, the "Iron Law" of Western thought, of Western philosophy. The relentless search for truth, for the causal relationships among events, has led to the rise of the West in science, technology, medicine, philosophy and even warfare for more than 2000 years. Today this focus is driving the technological advances that are changing our world so dramatically.

This law says that achievement, wealth, happiness, prosperity and business success are all the direct and indirect effects or results of specific causes or actions. This simply means that, if you can be clear about the effect or result you want, you can probably achieve it. You can study others who have achieved the same goal, and by doing what they did, you can get the same results.

Success Is Not An Accident
Success is not a miracle. Nor is it a matter of luck. Everything happens for a reason, good or bad, positive or negative. When you are absolutely clear about what you want, you only need to copy others who have achieved it before you, and you will eventually get the same results that they have.

This is referred to in the Bible as the Law of Sowing and Reaping which says that, "Whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap."

Sir Isaac Newton called it the third principle of motion. He said, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

For you and I, the most important expression of this universal law is that, "Thoughts are causes and conditions are effects."

Put another way, "Thought is creative." Your thoughts are the primary creative forces in your life. You create your entire world by the way you think. All the people and situations of your life have only the meaning you give them by the way you think about them. And when you change your thinking, you change your life, sometimes in seconds!

The most important principle of personal or business success is simply this: You become what you think about most of the time.

This is the great discovery upon which all religions, philosophies, metaphysics, schools of thought and psychology are based. This principle is as applicable to individuals as it is to groups of individuals and organizations. Whatever you see or experience is the expression of the thinking of the people behind the phenomenon. Ralph Waldo Emerson recognized this when he wrote, "Every great organization is merely the lengthened shadow of a single man."

It is not what happens to you but how you think about what happens to you that determines how you feel and react. It is not the world outside of you that dictates your circumstances or conditions. It is the world inside you that creates the conditions of your life.

Your Choice, Your Life
You are always free to choose. In the long run, no one forces you to think, feel or behave the way you do. Rather, you choose your emotions and your behaviors by the way you choose to think about the world around you and how you choose to think about what is happening to you.

Dr. Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania calls this way of reacting, your "explanatory style." It is the way that you interpret or explain things to yourself. It is the critical determinant of everything you are and everything you become.

The good news is that your explanatory style is learned. This means that it can be unlearned as well. Your way of explaining things to yourself is under your control. You can interpret your experiences in such a way that you feel happy and optimistic rather than angry or frustrated. You can decide to react in such a way that your responses are constructive and effective. You decide which it is to be. And you are always free to choose.

Your thoughts and feelings are continually changing. They are quickly affected by the events around you. For example, when you receive a piece of good news, your attitude immediately brightens and you feel more positive toward everyone and everything. If, on the other hand, you unexpectedly receive some bad news, you can immediately become upset, angry and short tempered, even if the news is inaccurate or untrue. It is the way you interpret the event to yourself that determines how you react.

How You can Apply this Law Immediately:
Examine the most important parts of your life - your family, your health, your work, your financial situation, and observe the cause-effect relationships between what you think, say, feel and the results you are getting. Be honest with yourself.

Be absolutely honest. Analyze how you really think about yourself in relationship to the kind of life you are living. Think about how your thoughts in each area are causing, creating and maintaining the situation around you. What changes could you make in your thinking to improve the quality of some part of your life?

Four Basic Laws
There are four fundamental laws that flow directly from the Law of Cause and Effect. These laws underlie all the laws you will learn in this book. They explain most of the human experience, for better and for worse. All happiness and success comes from living in harmony with these four laws.

The big four are the laws of Belief, Expectations, Attraction and Correspondence. These are sub-laws of the Law of Cause and Effect that explain most success and achievement, most happiness and unhappiness, most prosperity and poverty in life.

2. The Law of Belief

Whatever you truly believe, with feeling, becomes your reality.

You always act in a manner consistent with your beliefs, especially your beliefs about yourself. Your beliefs act like a set of filters that screen out information that is inconsistent with them. You do not necessarily believe what you see but rather you see what you already believe. You reject information that contradicts what you have already decided to believe, whether or not your beliefs, your prejudices, are based on fact or fantasy.

The word "prejudice" means to pre-judge, to reach a conclusion in advance of any information, or even in spite of information, to the contrary. One of the best success strategies of all is for you to refrain from judging other people or situations until you have enough information to make an informed decision. Especially, you must refrain from prejudging yourself and your possibilities. Your most deeply entrenched beliefs about yourself and your abilities may not be true at all.

The worst beliefs you can have are "Self limiting beliefs." These exist whenever you believe yourself to be limited in some way. For example, you may think yourself to be less talented or capable than others. You may think that others are superior to you in some way. You may have fallen into the common trap of selling yourself short and settling for far less than you are truly capable of.

These self-limiting beliefs act like brakes on your potential. They hold you back. They generate the two greatest enemies of personal success doubt and fear. They paralyze you and cause you to hesitate to take the intelligent risks that are necessary for you to fulfill your true potential.

For you to progress, to move onward and upward in your life and your business, you must continually challenge your self-limiting beliefs. You must reject any thought or suggestion that you are limited in any way. You must accept as a basic principle that you are a no-limit person, and that what others have done, you can do as well.

When I was a young man, coming from a difficult upbringing, I fell into the mental trap of concluding that because other people were doing better than I was, they must be better or smarter than I was. I accidentally concluded that they were worth more than I was. I must therefore be worth less. This false belief held me back for years.

The fact is that no one is better than you are and no one is smarter than you are. If they are doing better, it is largely because they have developed their natural talents and abilities more than you have. They have learned the laws of cause and effect that apply to their lives and work before you have. And anything anyone else has done, within reason, you can probably do as well. You just need to learn how.

How You can Apply this Law Immediately:
Free your mind from doubt and fear. Imagine you have no limitations. What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail? If you had all the time, money, talent, skills and contacts you could ever want, what would you decide to do or be or have in your life?

Challenge the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back? Most people are blind in this area. They need the honest feedback of someone who knows them and who will be honest with them. Go to someone you know and care about and ask him or her if he or she sees any beliefs that you might have that are causing you to perform below your potential.

3. The Law of Expectations

Whatever you expect, with confidence, becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy.

You are always acting as a fortune-teller in your own life by the way you think and talk about how things are going to turn out. When you confidently expect good things to happen, good things usually happen to you. If you expect something negative to happen, you are usually not disappointed.

Your expectations have an inordinate effect on the people around you as well. What you expect from people and situations determines your attitude toward them more than any other factor, and people reflect your attitude right back at you, like a mirror, whether positive or negative.

Dr Robert Rosenthal of Harvard conducted dozens of controlled experiments over the years to test the power of the expectations of teachers on student performance. In his landmark book, "Pygmalion in the Classroom," he tells of case after case where teachers were told that a student, or sometimes a whole class, was extremely bright and was predicted to make a quantum leap in academic performance in the coming year.

Even though the students were chosen from the school population at large, as long as the teacher believed that the student or students were exceptional, and the teacher expected the student to do well, the students performed vastly better than other students in the same or similar classes, and vastly better than could have been predicted by previous grades or behavior.

In your own personal life, your expectations of your staff, your boss, your customers and even of your own future tend to come true. Your expectations exert a powerful influence on people and events, for good or for ill, so be careful!

How You can Apply this Law Immediately:
Expect the best! Assume the very best of intentions on the part of your staff and coworkers. Assume from the start that they want to do a good job, make good decisions and get good results. When things go wrong, as they do continually, instead of over-reacting, sit down with the other person in a spirit of friendliness and ask questions to determine exactly what happened. There is usually a good reason for everything.

Start at home. Tell your spouse and children on a regular basis that you believe in them, that you think they are wonderful, that you love them and that you are proud of them. David McClelland of Harvard found that the very best and happiest families, the families that produced the highest achieving children, were characterized as "positive expectations" families.

The parents continually fed their children a stream of positive messages, reaffirming how much they loved them and believed in them. No matter what happened in the short term, the children always knew that their parents were behind them one hundred percent. And they didnt disappoint their parents.

Practice these same behaviors with your staff and coworkers. The very best managers, entrepreneurs, and salespeople are "high expectations" people, with everyone, and in everything they do.

Expect the best of yourself. Imagine that you have unlimited potential and that you can accomplish anything that you put your mind to. Imagine that your future is only limited by your own imagination, and that whatever you have accomplished up to now, it is only a small part of what you are truly capable of achieving. Imagine that your greatest moments lie ahead and that everything that has happened to you up to now has merely been a preparation for the great things that are yet to come.

4. The Law of Attraction

You are a living magnet; you invariably attract into your life the people, situations and circumstances that are in harmony with your dominant thoughts .

This is one of the great laws that explains much of success and failure in business and personal life. It has been written about as far back as the ancient Egyptian mystery schools, 3000 years before Christ. It is so powerful, pervasive and all encompassing that it affects everything you do or say, or even think or fee.

Everything you have in your life, you have attracted to yourself because of the way you think, because of the person you are. You can change your life because you can change the way you think. You can change the person you are.

You have heard it said, "Birds of a feather flock together." "Like attracts like." "Whatever you want, wants you." These are ways of expressing the Law of Attraction.

Your thoughts are extremely powerful. They are a form of mental energy that travels at the speed of light. They are so fine that they can go through any barrier. This is why, for example, you can think about a person, sometimes at a great distance, and in the next moment, the phone will ring and that person will be on the line. Your thoughts have connected with that person the moment you thought them.

Companies develop products, processes, services and ways of doing business that attract an entire constellation of customers, employees, suppliers, financiers and circumstances that are in harmony with the dominant thinking of the organization. It is as though every human ingredient inside and outside of the organization is a musical instrument. Together, they make up a great symphony. They are all playing together and creating a form of music that constitutes the activities of your business and your life.

Whenever things are not going well in any organization, the fastest way to bring about change is to bring in a new person who changes the way people think and feel about themselves and what they are doing. New values, new visions, new strategies and new policies toward customers and toward each other bring about rapid and often dramatic change.

How You can Apply this Law Immediately:
Engage in a rigorous process of self-analysis, self-examination. Look closely at the world around you and see how it harmonizes with your thinking. Take full credit for all the good things in your life. They are there because you have attracted them to yourself. Then, look around you at the things you dont like and take full responsibility for them, as well. They are there because of you, because of some flaw in your thinking. What is that flaw, and what are you going to do about it?

Look into yourself and ask, "What is it in me that is causing this situation?" Assume as a basic principle that you are the ongoing architect of your own life, your own destiny. You continually create what happens to you by the way you think. What changes do you need to make in your thinking if you want to change or improve some aspect of your life?

5. The Law of Correspondence

Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world; it corresponds with your dominant patterns of thinking.

This is an extraordinary principle. It explains most happiness and unhappiness, most success and failure, most greatness and meanness in life. After years of study in this area, I still stand in awe before this powerful law, like standing and looking out over the vastness of the Grand Canyon.

Just think! Your outer world reflects your inner world in every way. Nothing can happen to or for you in the long term until and unless it corresponds to something inside of you. If you want to change or improve anything in your life, you must begin by changing the inner aspects of your mind.

Sometimes this is called the "mental equivalent." Your greatest responsibility in life is to create within yourself the mental equivalent of what you want to experience on the outside. The fact is that you cannot achieve it on the outside until you have first created it on the inside.

It is as though your life is a 360-degree mirror. Wherever you look, there you are. Your relationships for example, always reflect back to you the kind of person you are on the inside. Your attitude, your health and your material conditions are a reflection of the way you think most of the time.

This is hard for most people to accept. Most people think that the problems in their lives are caused by other people and circumstances. They are shocked and angered to be told that they are the primary architects of everything that happens to them. They want others to change. They want the world to change. But they do not want to change themselves.

The Law of Correspondence is a foundation principle of virtually all religions and schools of thought. It is really great news. It is the key to personal freedom and happiness. It is the high road to great success and fulfillment.

There is only one thing in the world that you can control, and that is the way you think. However, when you take complete control over your thinking, you take control over all the other aspects of your life. By thinking and talking only about what you want, and by refusing to think or talk about what you dont want, you become the architect of your own destiny.

How You can Apply this Law Immediately:
Look around you for examples where your outer world of experience is a reflection of your inner world of thought, emotions and belief. How does your current situation in your business or career reflect your innermost attitudes and convictions toward your company, your coworkers, your products and services, your customers and your goals? Be honest.

Begin today to build the consciousness, the mental equivalent, on the inside, of the life you want to enjoy on the outside. Visualize and imagine that your business and career was perfect in every respect. What changes do you need to make in your thinking to create your inner world in such a way that it is consistent with what you want to experience on the outside?

All the laws you will learn in this book are logical extensions of the Law of Cause and Effect, combined with the Laws of Belief, Expectations, Attraction and Correspondence. They contain a single message: if you change the quality of your thinking, you change the quality of your life.

Since there is no limit to how much better you can think, there is no real limit to how much better your life can be. Its totally up to you.

Copyright 2000 by Brian Tracy. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.

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