Messages from the Masters
Believe It - Achieve It! by Mark Victor Hansen

Great Achievers Believe They Are Great

Muhammad Ali was one of the finest boxers in history.  But before he received his acclaim, before his name and face became known around the world, he was just another struggling fighter trying to break into the big time.  Perhaps you can remember the day, as I do, when we read the headline on the sports page. There were only three words: "I'm the greatest!" 

They were said to the press by a young man named Cassius Clay before his first great match with Sonny Liston.  Yes, he'd been great at the Olympics, but he seemed pretentious.  At first, the press scoffed at him. But when he won, they took notice.  Not only had he won, but he had predicted it.  Cassius Clay — who later changed his name to Muhammad Ali — subsequently went on a world tour constantly reiterating his motto, "I'm the greatest!" He also began predicting the round in which he would knock out his opponent. In all but one or two cases, he was right!  He affirmed, I dance like a butterfly and I sting like a bee...I'll knock you out in round three.

How could he do that? Had Muhammad Ali tied into some mysterious force that gave him the power to see into the future? Was there something he understood that we didn't?  The answer is yes! 

That mysterious force Ali tapped into is called affirmation.  Affirmations are the words you say to yourself or that others say to you that you believe, think about, act on, and that come about. 

Understanding Affirmation

Notice that when Ali spoke, he never said, I'm great or I'm almost the greatest or even, Next year I'll be the greatest.  When he said, simply and clearly, I'm the greatest! he was accomplishing three things simultaneously: 

First, he was letting his own subconscious know what it had to work with. For the subconscious there is only the present — the eternal present — so he was defining himself right then and there. In effect, he was telling his subconscious what it was supposed to believe in the here and now. 

Second, by speaking his affirmation out loud and in front of others, he was putting his subconscious on notice that there was no backing down. He had declared it. Now he had to live up to it. 

Third, once he had lived up to what he had said by becoming world champion, he got others to believe it, as well. Thus, when he said he would knock out another fighter in the third round, he made sure that other fighter heard the declaration. It was psychological warfare at its best.  When the third round came, the other fighter was waiting to be knocked out.  Such was Ali's strength of affirmation that even his opponents believed it was going to happen.  Consequently it did. 

While Ali's boxing skills were indeed significant, even greater were his psychological skills.  As with Muhammad Ali, all your triumphs must first be won in the mind before they're ever attempted in the ring.

The Importance of Not Making Negative Statements

If you keep believing what you've been believing, you'll keep achieving what you've been achieving.

An affirmation is a statement of belief.  Without it, the subconscious is free to be programmed by others beliefs.  Since the subconscious is untrained, we know that it believes whatever happens to be poured into it.  If it's told that it is withdrawn, unsure, self-conscious, inferior, helpless or suffers from low self-esteem, it believes that and acts accordingly. 

In other words, negative input from the conscious mind results in negative output from the subconscious mind.  Likewise, positive thinking and believing causes positive believing and results.

Believe You Can Do It

Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.  — DR. NAPOLEON HILL 

In order to achieve your goals, you've got to believe you can do it.  Your beliefs determine your actions, and your actions determine your results.  If you take substantial right action, you'll obtain substantial right results. 

But consciously believing is the key! 

How can you arrive at these positive beliefs?  First put your goal in writing.  Then visualize the goal.  Finally, use affirmations to drive home your belief in your abilities to achieve that goal. Affirmation is the key that unlocks the door to belief. 

The truth is, we all tend to believe things that are written down.  Another truth is that we all tend to believe something when it's affirmed.  Repeated affirmation lends credibility.  When we say it out loud, we always have an audience of at least one — our own subconscious mind.  And when our subconscious hears us affirming, it at least gives us the benefit of the doubt.  It says, Well, he could be right.

When we affirm in front of someone else, we really put the squeeze on our subconscious.  It's forced to say, Wow, you really did it! You committed yourself. If you don't follow through, you'll look the fool and be embarrassed. Now I have to get off my behind and save you on this. I guess I'll have to go to work!

Can you see the power of affirmation? It forces our subconscious to believe that we really can.  What are your goals?  What would you like your subconscious mind to begin believing about you? Take some time now to complete these thoughts:

I am going to achieve... I am going to own... 
I am going to enjoy... I am going to believe...
I am going to attract... I am going to empower...

How to Affirm

Once we understand the vital importance of affirmations in the achievement of our future greatness and development of our optimal potential, our next question must be: How do we affirm?  At first you may want to do it alone until you get the hang of it. Later on, you'll probably feel comfortable doing it in public. 

1. The first thing you must do is stand. Standing brings your full consciousness to attention.

2.  Make your statement of affirmation.  Make it loud and clear and be sure that your voice isn't quivering. Furthermore, never say you'll try to accomplish something.  When you say I'm going to try to be the greatest or I'm going to try to be beautiful or I'm going to try to succeed, remember that it doesn't cost any more to affirm greatness than it does to affirm mediocrity.  So why affirm anything less? 

Do It Often

The more you affirm, the sooner you'll put your obedient subconscious mind to work and get results. You must master your mind; don't let it master you. 

What to Affirm

Thus far I've talked about how and when to affirm.  The next logical step is to ask ourselves, What should I affirm?  This is, of course, a personal choice.  It really depends on your purpose and your goals. 

I suggest that you have a main affirmation that you constantly repeat as well as other affirmations that you use as needed.  Go for something that's simple, positive, succinct and constructive.  It should be easy to repeat, so that it becomes like a perpetual continuous-loop tape recording in the mind.  It's a good idea to create your own main self-affirmation that you feel comfortable stating first thing in the morning. 

Start by smiling at yourself in the mirror. Say, Good morning. We're going to have a great day today.  Then follow through. Go forward into your day with the knowledge and belief that you are going to produce great results. 

Be your own best cheerleader.  If you're impressed with you, the world will be impressed with you.

Affirmations don't have to be fancy, long or drawn-out.  Simplicity is the key.  And they should be in the present, not the future tense (remember, the subconscious doesn't operate in the future, it only understands now). 

Your affirmation should be spoken with as much conviction as you can give it.  If you find yourself stumbling over the words, start over.  A hint here is that if you just can't make yourself say it, shout it 

Affirm Others

When you affirm another human being, you raise his or her self-esteem. It costs nothing to do, yet it pays dividends that are profound.  The other person, in turn, will reciprocate, and you will receive bountiful rewards, maybe not directly from the person your affirming.

There are three kinds of affirmations or compliments that we can give to others:

(1) The first is to affirm someone's physical attributes.  This is historically how most men have complimented women.  (I always ask: May I pay you a compliment? It allows the receiver to be in a space of accepting it.)

(2) The second way is to affirm mental virtues.  These affirmations go to the intellectual giant in our class, to someone who has done well academically or in business.  These two ways are generally limited. 

(3) We can't compliment everyone on their mental virtues or their physical attributes; or else we would rightly be accused of being insincere.  But there is a third way we can affirm others, and that is for their qualities, their achievements and their actions.  Everyone has a set of core qualities and beliefs that they express. They are funny, sincere, courageous, disciplined, well organized, loving, compassionate, dedicated, or persistent.  Perhaps they demonstrate high levels of integrity, morality, ethics or honesty. Maybe they are straightforward, a risk taker or someone who cares deeply about animals or children.  When we affirm these qualities and beliefs in someone, we are acknowledging them at a core level.  This is the deepest and most powerful kind of affirmation you can give another person, and it will come back to you in many positive and often unseen ways. 

How can you affirm others?  How can you touch others on a core level and affirm their greatness?

Expect Results

Through affirmation — and, of course, writing down our goals and using the power of visualization — we can achieve amazing results.  Just how amazing really depends on each of us individually.  Affirmations and the other techniques I've mentioned allow you to change your beliefs, assumptions and opinions about that most important person — yourself.  They allow us to harness those 18 billion brain cells and get them all going in a singular and purposeful direction. 

The subconscious is engaged in a process that transforms us.  It's invisible. It doesn't hurt. It doesn't take a long time. It just happens.  Once you become accustomed to the process and its elementary mechanics, you'll be able to do it with increasing frequency and facility. 

Key #1 Start the change process by setting a goal.  Write down your goals, making them as clear as you can — both in your mind and in your written expression of them. 

Key #2 Visualize the goal as completed. Use the power of your mind to "see" yourself as the person you want to be. 

Key #3 Affirm the desired results. Before you go to sleep, "playback" your series of affirmations: I am lively. I am outgoing. I am friendly. I am poised. I am charming. I am meeting people who are attracted to me. I am lovely. 

Repeat these affirmations every night for a month until they become automatic, until you've woven them into the fabric of your being.  Soon, they'll automatically repeat themselves to you throughout the day.  By the time this happens, you'll be far along the path to becoming the person you want to be. Your subconscious will get the message, and it will be reflected in every action you take, producing the desired response and change in yourself and others. 

To learn more about Mark Victor Hansen and to receive 20% off Mark's best-selling audio programs Sell Yourself Rich, How To Think Bigger, The Aladdin Factor and How to Build Your Speaking and Writing Empire, visit

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International