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Jack Canfield
A best-selling author and leading expert in the development of human potential, Jack Canfield is a dynamic, entertaining speaker who addresses thousands of people each year on personal and professional development, inspiring them to pursue their dreams.

He has authored a number of best-selling audio- and videocassette programs, including "Self Esteem" and "Peak Performance," and has coauthored numerous books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Dare to Win and The Aladdin Factor (all with Mark Victor Hansen). His corporate clients include Northrup and Unitax.
  Focus on Your Successes   #852
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Your past largely determines your future. You can increase the quality of your future by recalling the large and small successes you have accomplished in life so far. Here is Jack Canfield with a couple of wonderful techniques you can use to improve the quality of your life inmediately.

Here are a couple of techniques you can use. One is called the Success Review. What I'd like you to do is to divide your life into thirds. Let's say you're 45 years old — it would be 0 to 15, 16 to 30 and 31 to 45. What you do is you write down three successes you've had in each period of your life. In my advance seminar I ask people to make a list of 100 successes they've had. Sometimes you get down to: I learned to walk. I learned to ride a bicycle. I got my driver's license. All those are important, but now we take them for granted. Then I ask, at the end of that, that you list three successes you'd like to have in the next five years — three goals you have that you'd like to complete.

Another technique is called the Success Recall. You simply think of a success, you close your eyes and you see yourself reliving a success you had. What that does is that it brings into the body the same sensations. Your biochemistry shifts and you get a more positive flooding of emotion in your body. It literally can propel you into more success as well as just feeling good. And when you do that, you want to see what you saw, hear what you heard and feel what you felt. So it's auditory, visual and kinesthetic input.

Now a lot of people I've done this in workshops with will say to me, "You know Mr. Canfield, I ain't got no successes. I don't have any." I remember here in Chicago I was working with a school system and we were going around a circle and there were kids — sophomores in high school, I think, about 16 years old — and it was a young girl's turn. She said, "Mr. Canfield, I ain't got no successes." I said, "That's not possible. You're a sophomore in high school. That means you passed first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade. Those are all successes." She said, "No, they're not. Everybody did that." I noticed she was wearing a beautiful jumper, like a plaid jumper. I said, "Did you pick that out?" thinking she'd say yes, but she said, "No." I thought, hmm. Then she said, "I made it."

Now I don't know how many of you have ever tried to sew with plaid. You get little darts in there and you try to get those lines to match up. It's hard. But this looked, as we said in West Virginia, store bought. It was beautiful. But she "ain't got no successes." I said, "Honey, that's a great success." She said, "No, it's not." I said, "Why not?" She said, "Because it's what I have to do." "What do you mean?" I asked.

It turns out that her mother was an alcoholic on welfare. The girl worked at McDonald's after school. With whatever money she got she bought material, and then she'd take it home, borrow her aunt's sewing machine and make her own clothes. I said, "What else do you have to do?" "I have to get my brothers and sisters up in the morning because my mom's always hung over. Make sure they eat breakfast; make sure they get to school on time." Wow! But "I ain't got no successes." I said, "Young lady, you're more successful than half the 30-year-old mothers I know, because you're raising your family."

And so in terms of building up your self-esteem, you have to acknowledge all of the things you've done and reframe the way you hold it. I used to teach school and 35 kids would be in my class. I'd teach a lesson. Thirty kids would get it; five kids wouldn't. Who would I think about all the way home? The five kids who didn't get it.

When I was a salesperson in the summers, I'd go out and make six sales calls a day perhaps and I'd make one sale. Now, if I made the sale at the end of the day, I'd think, "Wow, I made a sale." But if I made a sale early in the day, and then I had five people who didn't buy, whom did I think about all that night? The five people who didn't buy. I was focusing on the negative instead of on the positive.

Now, here are two things you can do immediately to improve your future and increase your success.

First, take a sheet of paper and make a list of all the small and large successes you have enjoyed in the last 10 years. Write down a minimum of 20. You may be amazed at how much you have already accomplished.

Second, keep your attention focused on the good things that you have done and that you are doing today. Refuse to think about the problems and difficulties. Take complete control over your thinking and keep your thoughts on what you want, not on what you don't want.

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