Release the Brakes

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Principle #10 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is “Release the Brakes.” Without thinking of it, many people constantly do things to slow themselves down.

As an example, when I was working as a sous chef in an upscale restaurant (many, many moons ago), a visiting French chef tried to take me under his wing. He had me assist him make some ice cream (it was awesome) and he told me that I could make it next time. I shook my head and said “No, no. I can’t make that.” He looked at me with a puzzled look, and apparently believed me. He found someone else to mentor.

A talented chef was ready to help me take my culinary abilities to a completely different level, but I hit the brakes by saying “I can’t.” In case you’re wondering, I am not a chef today.

Release the Brakes

It doesn’t matter what goal you’re pursuing, if you constantly carry a belief and an image of “I can’t,” you will be correct.

In contrast, in the Believe It’s Possible post, I mentioned how I increased sales of the first edition of the CompTIA Security+: Get Certified Get Ahead Study Guide from 25 a month to more than 1,000 books a month by December of that year. I believed it was possible, set a goal to do so, and used affirmations and visualizations to help.


About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.


Release the Brakes with Affirmations

We all have that voice in our head that adds what often seems like endless chatter. However, that little voice is the same for everyone. Some people have a little voice that constantly criticizes. Others have a little voice that says “look at that,” “maybe this is what you’re looking for,” or “here’s a great idea.”

I don’t what your voice is saying to you, but I do know that if you include the negative word “can’t” in your vocabulary, you are much more likely to have an inner voice that echoes negative thoughts. However, there’s a simple way to change that. Use affirmations related to your goals.

Your goal identifies something you expect to achieve in the future. In contrast, an affirmation is stated in the present tense.

A simple way to create an affirmation is to start with “I am so happy and grateful that I ___” and then state your goal in the present tense.

For example, when pursuing my goal of getting my Security+ book into the hands of 1,000 new readers a month, I used this affirmation: “I am so happy and grateful that I am selling more than 1,000 copies of my Security+ book and helping so many people pass the exam the first time they take it.”

I repeated the affirmation two or three times a day and it helped me keep the goal in my mind.

Release the Brakes with Visualizations

Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture.

– Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

Using visualizations has become very popular with athletes. They simply close their eyes and visualize performing a physical action. Combined with physically performing the action, it helps them improve their performance. You can also use visualizations to help yourself with any goal you’re pursuing.

As an example, I created a copy of the Excel worksheet that I used to track sales, but I filled in different numbers that added up to more than 1,000 books. At least once a day, I looked at it, closed my eyes and visualized calling my wife over to the computer saying “Look, we did it! We sold more than 1,000 copies of the book this month. Woo Hoo!”

When using visualizations, it’s best to bring in as many senses and emotions as possible. As an example, I didn’t just say “Woo Hoo!” Instead, I’d raise my arms as if signaling a touchdown and happily yell it out. Admittedly, I did startle my wife a few times, but she has become used to my eccentricities at this point.

Release the Brakes Summary

My goal combined with the affirmations and visualizations helped release the brakes for me and attracted a wealth of ideas and inspiration. I took action on these ideas and as mentioned “Believe it’s Possible” post, I exceeded my goal in August of that year.


Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.

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