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How Self-Talk Determines Your Destiny Discover the tips to positive self-talk that will help you control your inner dialogue – and determine whether you succeed or fail.

By Brian Tracy

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The following excerpt is from the Brian Tracy's book Million Dollar Habits. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | IndieBound

Each person is essentially self-made. The person you are may have been determined originally by your childhood experiences, but the person you could be is completely under your control. The great principle, "You become what you think about most of the time," refers to what you're thinking today, at this very moment. It is not your thinking of the past or your thinking in the future that determines the course of your destiny. Everything you are and everything you will be is determined by what you think at each moment. And you can take complete control of those thoughts at any time you decide to.

You become an optimist by taking control of your inner dialogue -- your self-talk. Resolve today to develop the habit of talking to yourself in a positive way. Say things to yourself such as "I like myself!" or "I can do it!" repeatedly. If someone asks you how you're feeling today, always reply "I feel terrific!" When you think about your job, repeat to yourself "I love my work! I love my work!"

Most psychologists agree that fully 95 percent of your emotions are determined by the things you think and the words you say to yourself as you go through your day. Use your self-discipline and self-control to think and talk about the things you want, rather than allowing your mind to become preoccupied with the things you don't want or that you doubt and fear.

Related: He Went From Dead Broke to Millionaire Because He Just Wouldn't Stop Trying

What you see is what you will be.

The most powerful affirmation or message you can send from your conscious mind to your subconscious mind is a visualization or mental image. Develop the habit of creating clear, positive, exciting pictures of yourself performing at your best and visions of your goals as if they were already achieved.

Each time you create a mental image in your conscious mind, you send a message that activates your subconscious mind, triggers the law of attraction, stimulates your creativity and moves you toward the realization of that mental picture in your external world.

Positive, successful people make a habit of continually visualizing the outcomes they desire, thereby programming their subconscious minds and shaping their self-image and external performance.

Best of all is when you combine positive self-talk with positive mental imaging. You talk about the things you want, and you create exciting mental pictures of your goals and desires as if they already existed. Positive thoughts and words make you more optimistic, give you more energy, enable you to bounce back faster from disappointment and keep you moving forward throughout the day.

Related: 11 Ways Successful People Deal With People They Don't Like

Feed your mind with mental protein.

Develop the habit of feeding your mind with positive mental food. Remember, you're very sensitive to the influences in your environment, whether they're radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards or conversations with other people. Your mind is your most important and precious asset. You must protect it and keep it clean, clear and focused on what you want, rather than allowing it to be polluted by the negative influences around you.

Refuse to watch terror or trash on television. Don't read about all the murders, robberies, rapes and tragedies in the newspapers. Turn off the endless hours of mindless radio commentary on all the problems in the world. Decline to engage in endless conversations with people about all the political and social problems in your nation or community. Keep your mind clean, clear, positive and free.

Not only do you become what you think about, but you also become what you feed into your mind on a regular basis. If you want to be positive, optimistic and happy, continually feed your mind with positive books and articles, positive audio learning programs, positive input and information from other experts in your field and positive conversations with other optimistic, goal-oriented people who are going somewhere with their lives.

Related: 11 Habits of Truly Happy People

Get around the right people.

Make it a habit to associate only with the kind of people you admire, respect and want to be like. Don't just drink coffee with whoever happens to be sitting in the break room. Don't go out for lunch with the person nearest the door. Don't socialize after work with anyone who invites you. Be thoughtful and clear about the kind of people you allow to influence your thinking and feelings with their conversations and opinions.

Dr. David McClelland of Harvard found that your "reference group" would determine as much as 95 percent of your success or failure in your career and personal life. Your reference group is defined as the people you habitually associate with and consider yourself to be one of. These can be members of your family; your coworkers; or members of your church or social organizations. The fact is, "Birds of a feather flock together." Or as motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, "You can't fly with the eagles if you continue to scratch with the turkeys."

Brian Tracy

Chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International, Speaker and Author

Brian Tracy is chairman and CEO of Brian Tracy International. He is the leading coach on the topics of leadership, self-esteem, goals and success psychology. Learn more at

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