Jerry Bruckner, the author of The Success Formula For Personal Growth, once said, “High expectations lead to high achievement.” In honor of International Expect Success Month, I thought I’d devote this post to the idea that by expecting success you will eventually see success in your life.
Do you wish for success? Then keep on wishing, because you probably won’t get there. There is a lot of evidence showing that expectation or anticipation is much more powerful at creating results than simply wishing and hoping. That said, you don’t want to give up on hope – it actually helps your expectations be stronger.
But before I go into what this all means and how you can apply it to your life, I want to make sure we’re coming to this topic with the same definitions and base understandings.
How do you define success?
At its most basic level, success is simply achieving desired visions and planned goals. This makes success very subjective. What I consider successful may be completely different than what you consider successful. The only commonality is that in order to be successful, you need to have a vision or goal you aim to achieve, and you then achieve it to some degree or another.
And here’s where expectation and hope fit in.
Once you have a vision or goal in mind, you are much more likely to achieve it if you at least hope to succeed. If you have no hope of obtaining your goal, you won’t do anything to move you toward it. It becomes an empty objective.
But hope only gets you so far. It primes your mindset for success, but it won’t necessarily motivate you to move toward it. Expectation does that. When you expect success, you act as if everything is going to work out, and this tends to magnetize your desired results toward you.
Expecting Success and the Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction is the idea that like energies attract like energies. In other words, when you have a positive mindset, positive experiences are magnetized toward you. And, if you have a negative mindset, negative experiences are magnetized toward you. In other words, what you think about expands – if you think about how successful you will be, the odds are that you will be successful. Or, as Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.”
This may sound like a bunch of woo woo mumbo jumbo, but there is actually brain science to back it up. There is a part of the brain called the reticular activating system (RAS) and its job is to filter the information you take in and let you focus on what you believe (often subconsciously) is important. This is why when you buy a new blue car, suddenly everyone else seems to have blue cars! They were there all along, however you didn’t think it was important to notice until you had one, too.
How to Make the RAS Help You Achieve Success
The RAS is an excellent tool for creating success in your life. In fact, you are using it all the time — just not consciously, which is why you may not always like your results.
So how do make the RAS work for you? As I alluded earlier in this post, you start with a vision or goal you want to achieve. This goal needs to be something that you can at least hope to reach. And the, to supercharge your odd, you need to expect to be successful.
One tool that is really good at aiding this process is visualization – and research backs this up. One study found that people who imagined practicing making baskets with a basketball were just as likely to be successful at making baskets when on the court as those who actually practiced on the court. Another study of the brain patterns of weightlifters found that the same area of the brain was activated when imagining lifting weights as when actually lifting weights. And yet another study found that people increase muscle strength simply by imagining weight training. Not by as much as actual lifting weights, but it was still a significant and surprising result.
How to Use Visualization to Expect Success and Achieve It
Here is a suggested step-by-step process you can follow to use visualization to help you achieve success:
Step 1: Get very clear on your goal
- Make the goal S.M.A.R.T.: Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.
- Understand the benefits you’ll gain by achieving this goal
Step 2: Create a mental picture of you achieving the goal
- What does it look like when you achieve the goal?
- What sounds will you hear when you achieve the goal?
- What can you smell once you achieve the goal?
- What will you taste as you achieve your goal?
- What does it feel like — both physically and emotionally — to achieve your goal?
Step 3: Spend time experiencing that three-dimensional visualization
- If you can, spend about 15 minutes a day going through this visualization
Step 4: Create aids that will help you keep your visualization alive
- Create a vision board
- Create an audio recording of you reading aloud the mental picture you created in step 2 and listen to it while you sleep
- Post affirmations where you’ll see them regularly
The goal here is to keep your expectation of success alive and continuously motivating you to move forward and helping you notice when opportunities arise that move you toward your goal.
Expecting success is not a passive “think about it and it will happen” proposition. It is action-oriented and can have a lot of benefits for you in all eight facets of your life. So go forth and expect success!