Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by Brian Stacy -Book Review

How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievement

Although a bit cliche, the power of positive thinking is highly touted in both personal growth and business management circles. However, we must acknowledge that mental images do have the potential power to shape the physical world. Hence, change your thinking thus change your life.



Mental images are powerful. An example, the fate of a 30-year-old amnesia patient. The young wife and mother matured with criticism as her constant companion, these negative comments beat her into a graveyard of self-defeat! However, after a horrible car crash, she recovered from her physical wounds with any memories of her emotional scars.

Her amnesia turned out to be a blessing. As she was reborn-ed, her negative self-image had disappeared from her memory and she became a blank page and ready to start over. Liberated from her past, she developed into a confident woman, a public speaker and a medical expert. Her altered mental landscape dramatically changed her life. From her experience, the following lessons are clear:

  • Your self-concept of who you shape your interactions with the world.
  • Your self-imposed belief shapes your worldview.
  • Rejection and criticism damage your self-esteem.


Positive thoughts can be your life raft in turbulent currents of everyday living. Positive favourable thoughts boost your energy, creativity, health and ultimately your happiness. In contrast, negative mental images destabilize you. They diminish your confidence and energy. By shedding negative “self-talk”, you loosen the tight grip of failure and despair.
These tools can help derail your negative thoughts:

  • Embrace the ‘Law of Substitution’
    you cannot retain two competing thoughts simultaneously. Like a sports coach, you have the power to yank your negative and poorly performing ‘players’ from the field and insert positive thinkers. Change your lineup and watch your score skyrocket. Pick your player (thoughts) and lineup well!
  • Use the ‘Law of Habit’
    When you consistently repeat a deed or a thought, that image or action forms a self-fulling habit. Therefore, a consistent diet of positive thinking feeds on itself.
  • Eliminate the cause of bad feelings
    Avoid rationalizing negative emotions. Ditch over-dependence on other’s opinions. Move on from past setbacks and failures. And never say ‘if only’, never good ever come from ‘if only’ excuses other than shifting blame and responsibility to others. Stop making excuses.
  • Relinquish anger
    Forgive those who have mistreated you in the past. Stop picking at scabs which prevents you from completely healing.


According to legend, Michelangelo’s David – his sculptural masterpiece – began when the artist repeatedly stared at and studied a large marble slab. He developed a detailed vision of how the statue should look and chiselled the stone until his vision emerged from within it. As such, the story of David’s creations is a lesson in goal-setting, visualization and required hard work.

Here is a short summary of that three-step process:

  1. Success demands commitment and hard work
    There is no such thing as an overnight success, Michelangelo worked for two years just to produce a rough form of his masterpiece. He laboured another 24 months polishing the marble.
  2. Use visualization exercise and dreams
    Big dreams are often the things that keep successful people going. Those who succeed continually visualize their goals in full colour and minute details.
  3. Reach for the ideals
    Define your ideal version for your career and personal life.


  1. Identify your target!
    Create well-defined goals that actualize your dream. Set specific milestones and deadlines.
  2. Commit your dreams on Paper. 
    Never trust your brain to remember everything. Always keep a journal.
  3. Pay your fare
    You must put in the required hard work.
  4. Create a written ‘action plan’
    Organize and write a ‘to-do’ list for your goals, make sure the list reflect your order of priorities and urgency.
  5. Begin the project!
    Execute your plan
  6. Make a daily commitment
    Commit to your plan on a daily basis. Daily action creates momentum.
  7. Persevere
    The result will take time. Don’t be haste and keep on keeping on!


You can acquire all of the tools and knowledge you need to succeed.
Here is a road map as guidance:

  1. Don’t be complacent
  2. Don’t be ignorant or fearful – always look forward to upgrading your skills and knowledge base.
  3. Accept responsibility for everything that happens – your choices, growth and failures are up to you. Don’t make excuses for your shortcomings. Don’t be a victim – be victorious.
  4. Expect the best – life is a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’. Through positive thinking, you have the power to write your own script and take centre stage.


A mental commitment to excellence can change your life. Build a solid foundation by doing the following;

  • Take small steps – minor changes yield major changes over the long term. A 3% improvement in your professional performance will catapult you to the upper echelon of the office pool.
  • Concentrate on ‘ key result areas’ – These are the major functions of your work assignment. Every job has mandatory tasks and absolute requirements. Identify and target those chores.
  • Establish your benchmarks – Find and use a measuring stick with which you can assess your progress.
  • Take stock of your talents – in what areas do you excel? where is your performance edge? how are you unique? identify and optimize your strengths.
  • Find your passion – Increase your chances of success by selecting assignments, industries and tasks that tap into your deepest interest and let you use your skills.


Develop connections and learn to work with others. Your network is one of the most important assets in both business and life. Your connections mirror your inner world; carefully select and cultivate friends and associates who reflect your highest aspirations and potential.
Try these:

  • Target new peer groups – as your inner world shifts and improves, select peers who reflect your new code of behaviour and ethics.
  • Get involved – Join community groups. Write down the names of the top players in your region. Collect names from the media, conversations and committee meetings. Try to build a list of 100 leaders and patiently set out to meet those individuals. Seeks mentors!
  • Hit the non-profit community service – This is an ideal forum for networking. When you donate time to a non-profit organization, you will work closely with major leaders and local decision-makers. Hence, improving your network connection.


Everyone has more than 18 billion brain cells, hence the potential brainpower of a genius. You have the potential to acquire and retain a vast amount of information – and the facts and ideas in your brain are valuable. Innovators like Bill Gates have created multi-billion dollar companies fueled by ideas. Generate wealth with your brain by following these suggestions;

  • Constantly upgrade your performance and education – focus on small changes with a huge dividend.
  • Don’t be a know-it-all – The ‘intellectual trap’ is a dangerous one. If you think you know it all and have ‘been there, done that’, you most likely to be clueless about the gaps in your knowledge. Be willing to learn more in your area of expertise.
  • Start a daily reading program – avoid the ‘know-it-all’ trap by constantly reading journals, books and other information in your field. Set aside a minimum of 30-minutes on a daily basis to read more on your field.


Problems aren’t barriers but usually come as growth opportunities for experience and knowledge. In fact, you gain a competitive edge when you view problems as gateways to greater opportunities.

There are the 3 questions which can help you convert any hurdles you faced into stepladders:

  1. What kind of problem do you face? – Take time to explore the problem in writing. Be specific and include important details.
  2. What secondary or related problem is attached to the main challenge? – the old wives tales are true, ‘Difficulties rarely arrive alone’. Identify ‘cluster problems’.
  3. What is the cause and where is the cure? – After you have located a problem’s core, begin looking for the most straightforward solution. Strive for a simple solution that works.


Cheerleaders and fans are major boosters in any sports. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from the cheer-leading squad. Every moment of your life can be a pep rally if you were to use these simple steps:

  1. Imagine – create a mental image of your ideal self in term of health, wealth, emotional well-being and careers.
  2. Write a mission statement – state your goals and describe yourself as if you were writing your own autobiography. Use present tense! This will have a great impact on your subconscious mind.
  3. Use ‘ personal, positive and present tense’ statement in written affirmations. – for example, tell yourself, ‘i am outstanding sales executive. i enjoy my job.’. This will boost your confidence and enthusiasm.
  4. Seek the good in every situation – No matter how grim the loss or defeat might be, look for it positive side. A valuable insight, a new business contact or a solid foundation for future endeavours are some of the hidden bonuses in professional setbacks.

Every line in this book is bursting with truth, wisdom, and power. Brian Tracy is the preeminent authority on showing you how to dramatically improve your life. Let him be your guide. I’ve learned so much from Brian myself that I can’t thank him enough

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Author: Muhamad Aarif

A notorious book addict by night and an oil and gas executive by day. As Mark Twain said, "The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them." So, read, read, and read some more.

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