I’ve learned about the success principles from Jack Canfield. In his book “The Success Principles”, Jack Canfield presents the sixty-four principles which, if learned and practiced, can help everyone to realize their goals. The principles that he teaches are timeless. He did not invent them, but collected them from many successful people. He has learned and practiced them himself, and has presented them in his excellent book. He was able to present the great knowledge in a clear and easy to understand way.
I’ve chosen and briefly described the ten principles from Canfield’s book which I think are most important.
1) Take100% Responsibility for Your Life
The first principle states that there is only one person who is 100% responsible for my life-it is me.
This is the first principle of success. If we want to be successful in life, we first have to take total responsibility for our lives. We’re responsible for all our successes and failures, health, relationships, financial situation, our feelings and everything else.
It is me who has created the life I am living now so I must take full responsibility for it. If I don’t take full responsibility, I can’t achieve things which are important to me and I can’t re-make my life.
To really take 100% responsibility for our lives, we must stop blaming others for our problems and failures. We have created our current situations by our thoughts and activities so there is no reason to blame anybody. We can blame only ourselves, but that is also useless because the past is the past; we can’t change it. But now we can create our future. We have always had the power to do it, but for different reasons we haven’t. Now we can do things differently and get the results we want. This is because of the rule: E+R=0(Event +Response=Outcome). The rule says that every outcome we experience in life (good or bad) is the result of how we responded to the previous events in our lives.
We can see that in the same situations people react differently. Some are successful, some are not. We can see that, by responding in a different way, we can get different results. That is why blaming events for our failures are pointless. We must change our responses to the events and then we can get the results we want. We don’t have control over a lot of the events in our lives, but we have control over our responses. We can change our thinking, our behavior, and our communication. We can also change our old habits into the new, better ones.
Jack Canfield states that “Everything you experience in life – both internally and externally – is the result of how you have responded to a previous event”. Everything I experience today is the result of the choices I have made in the past. I have control over three things in my life: my thoughts, my visualizations and my actions. So to change my life I need to change my thoughts, my visualizations and my actions to positive ones. If I keep my negative responses from the past I will keep getting the same negative results, so now is the time to stop complaining and blaming others for my bad results and take full responsibility for my life.
This principle is the prerequisite to a successful life. It is the basic principle. I personally started with this principle because without this principle I wouldn’t be able to implement the other principles.
2) Principle Believe it’s Possible
According to this principle, we are able to achieve whatever our minds can conceive and believe. Jack Canfield explains why our brains work this way and gives some examples but the important conclusion for us is that we must replace all our negative expectations with positive ones, and then our minds will start working to accomplish the outcome we want.
People often do not reach their goals, not because they lack required skills, but because they don’t believe they can reach them.
3) Believe In Yourself
This principle is connected with the previous one. I am able to achieve whatever my mind can conceive and believe, so I must believe in myself. If I want to create the great and successful life I desire, I must believe that I can make it happen. I have to believe that I have all the abilities, skills and inner resources to do it.
I need to choose to believe that I can achieve whatever I set my mind on. If I think that something is impossible to achieve, I will not do everything necessary to achieve it. If I believe that it is possible for me to achieve something, I will do everything necessary to achieve it.
To be successful I need to give up “I can’t”. My brain is able to solve any problems I give it and reach any goals I have, but my negative words and thoughts have a negative and limiting influence on my mind, so I give up all my negative thoughts and words.
Jack Canfield gives some examples which prove that belief in you is more important than knowledge, training or schooling. Quite a few very successful people dropped out of college.
4) Release the Brakes
According to this principle, most people drive through life with their psychological brakes on. The brakes are negative images about themselves, inaccurate beliefs about reality, guilt and self-doubt.
These brakes cancel out people’s good intentions, no matter how hard they try.
Successful people release the brakes
All our unfounded beliefs are like prison. They don’t allow us to go out and reach our goals, so first we must get out of our self-imposed prisons. The author presents three methods for doing it. They are: a) affirmations and positive self-talk b) creating powerful and compelling new internal images of having, doing and creating what we want c) changing our behavior.
5) See What You Want, Get What You See
This principle is about visualization. Visualization is the act of creating compelling and vivid pictures in your mind.
Jack Canfield gives a scientific explanation for why visualization works. What is important for me: “Visualization simply makes the brain achieve more”. When I visualize my goals in my mind as already achieved, my subconscious mind will work to turn my visualizations into reality.
The author explains the process of visualization and gives a few examples to prove that visualization works. The process is quite simple. I need to close my eyes and see my goals as already achieved. To make the process more powerful I should add sounds, feelings and emotions to my pictures.
The emotions are the most important ingredient of visualization. We must enjoy the visualization. It can’t be a chore. Doing visualizations properly we feel happy doing it, and we are creating happy future.
6) Take Action
Many people spend time analyzing, planning and organizing but they fail to take action. Successful people also do these things, but they always take action. They are very eager to take action.
When I take action things start happen. I have observed that I learn much more quickly while I am in action. Things become clear. The next steps become obvious.
The point is: “To be successful, you have to do what successful people do, and successful people are highly action-oriented”.
There is no point in being too cautious, because even if I make some mistakes I can learn from them, and can still achieve my goals. If I do not take action because I am too careful or afraid, I will not reach my goals anyway. Taking action brings satisfaction, too.
7) Commit to Constant and Never-Ending Improvement
This principle says that if I want to be successful, I must always try to do things better. I must always try to improve, so I need to look at my goals, and I need to find out what I need to improve to achieve them better and faster.
Canfield advises making small, achievable steps which we can easily improve. In this way we will not become overwhelmed and discouraged because something seems too difficult to achieve or do.
To improve takes time. It does not happen overnight, but if I improve and learn a little bit every day, one day my skills and knowledge will be very useful in my life.
8) Practice Persistence
Persistence is one of the most important qualities of successful people. There are always a lot of obstacles in life, so without persistence it is impossible to achieve much.
People often quit just before reaching their goals, because they lack persistence. But “If you hang in there long enough, you will eventually reach your goal.”
9) Learn More to Earn More
This principle is about learning. The more I learn and the more knowledge I acquire, the more successful I can be.
Canfield recommends reducing the time I spend on watching television and using this time for reading. He suggests reading inspirational books, books on psychology, finance, sales, health etc. He also recommends reading biographies of great people.
Another way to learn is to attend success rallies, conferences and retreats. To learn from other people I must be teachable. That means that when I have the opportunity to listen or learn something from people who know more than I do, I should listen and try to learn from them and not try to impress them. Some humility is required.
10) Start Now! … Just Do It!
According to this principle, “There is no perfect time to start” so let me start now. As Canfield says, “Once you start moving and producing results, all manner of things begin to happen that will take you further and faster than you ever imagined”.