Summary of The Power of Self-Confidence: Become Unstoppable, Irresistible, and Unafraid in Every Area of Your Life: Canadian speaker Brian Tracy offers a methodology for channeling one’s strengths, boosting one’s self-confidence, and achieving one’s life goals.
By Brian Tracy, 2015, 192 pages.
Review and summary of the book “The Power of Self-Confidence: Become Unstoppable, Irresistible, and Unafraid in Every Area of Your Life“
Brian Tracy is a Canadian-born speaker. On his website, he claims to speak to over 250,000 people each year. He is a prolific author who has written more than 70 books in fields as varied as economics, business, and psychology. His major works have been translated into several languages.
In The Power of Confidence, Brian Tracy tells his story of rags-to-riches. Yet this is not an autobiography, but a book of practical advice that lays out several strategies for dramatically increasing one’s self-confidence by acting in an increasingly positive way. The author cautions us that it is not necessarily an easy path, but one that is certainly worth taking!
The book consists of seven chapters, in addition to the introduction. Here is the structure:
- The foundation of self-confidence
- Purpose and personal power
- Achieving competence and personal mastery
- The inner game of self-confidence
- Capitalizing on your strengths
- Triumphing over adversity
- Self-confidence in action
For the author, there are many factors that contribute to a lack of self-confidence, all primarily rooted in personal experience. However, self-confidence is malleable and can be acquired. How so? First and foremost, by keeping in mind a series of mental laws, the first of which Brian Tracy mentions here.
Causality: for every given effect, there is an antecedent or simultaneous cause.
If you want to develop self-confidence, observe those who are already confident. If you learn from them and do the same, you will gain self-confidence like your role models. In short, self-confidence is a power that can be learned!
Chapter 1: The Foundations of Self-Confidence
Everything depends on thinking
Biologically, our body renews itself on average every seven years. The same is true for the mind! Like your cells, which make up you and change, the thoughts you hold make up who you are, and they too change.
Negative thoughts make you a sad, low-spirited person; positive thoughts shape you in opposite ways. They make you a happy person on whom life smiles. There is another law here, a first lesson to learn, according to Brian Tracy:
Concentration: any recurring thought has the potential to turn into reality.
Thoughts and reality are interdependent. Your thoughts generate reality. Conversely, reality confirms and reinforces your thoughts. Either you are in a virtuous circle (positive thoughts and reality), or you are in a vicious circle (negative thoughts and reality).
Personal growth is not easy
[You can’t have thoughts and lead a different kind of life], says Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Confidence. Of course, we all have a past. It may have placed us in a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
By acting on negative habits (thoughts that have become daily realities), you simply fail to see the path toward change, toward growth.
The only way to gain self-confidence is through discipline: you have to close your mind to the things you fear, to the negative thoughts. In order to be happy and successful in life, it is necessary to have solid principles. These will govern you as the law of gravity governs physical bodies. Here is a third:
Correspondence: your outer world reflects your inner world.
Start with your inner life by clearly identifying your values
People with good self-confidence live their lives according to their values: they are sure of what they think and how they act. Being true to oneself is crucial. This is also called integrity, which is the ability to stick to your values at all times. When you are dealing with a concern or a conflict, think about it. Do you maintain integrity? Do you respect your own values?
Determine your values: this is the first step. They must be very clearly identified and summarized in a few simple words. You can write them down on cards and have them laminated so that you have them in your wallet!
In business, companies that have their values very clearly identified allegedly have profits up to 700 times higher than those who do not, claims Brian Tracy.
What values would you work hard for? What would you devote yourself entirely to? To your health, to your career, to God, to freedom? The list goes on. How do you identify the ones that are important to you?
An exercise: write your obituary or eulogy. Imagine your friends and family recalling the person you were, and how you contributed to your community, and to the world. Identify a “self” that you would love to become, and that people could remember.
Prioritize and make choices
What value takes precedence over others? What would you sacrifice the rest for? There will always be a variety of things to prioritize, and therefore, a sacrifice to make. However, this is not negative: it allows you to structure your mind and your emotions. As a result, you also make better choices and act with better guidance.
An order that is often found, at least in the United States and Canada, is echoed in The Power of Self-Confidence:
It’s up to you to prioritize your values based on your aspirations and experience.
Integrity is a cross-cutting value
Integrity allows you to align your values and consider them non-negotiable. If you have integrity, you live by your values without compromising or deprioritizing them. In short, integrity means adhering to your own values.
It is integrity that forces you to act according to what you believe and to accept life as it is, rather than running away from it under false pretenses. Only then can you be at peace with yourself.
Your values are only expressed in your actions
In stressful situations, it is not always easy to act in accordance with one’s values. Yet it is essential. Adversity reveals your values and identifies your degree of integrity and mental strength.
You can find out what your values have been in the past by taking an honest look at how you have acted.
If your actions are consistent with your values, you feel good, and your self-confidence grows. If, on the other hand, you abandon your values to pursue other interests, then your self-confidence plummets. According to Brian Tracy, here’s another law you must heed in order to develop the power of self-confidence:
Reversibility: if you act as if you already have a value, that value will take root in you.
This is also reflected in the principle of “acting as if”: you can increase your level of self-confidence by convincing yourself, through a kind of role-playing, that you already possess certain qualities or values. By practicing these values in a game-like way, they will become ingrained in you “for real.”
The keys to self-confidence: self-control and self-discipline
Take advantage of every opportunity to build this self-confidence and act in accordance with your values. The more difficult the obstacle (a failure, a setback, a problem of any kind), the more strength and self-discipline you will need to act with integrity. However, the greater the joy of overcoming the obstacle will ingrain the value to which you aspire.
This is called the principle of resistance. The same goes for self-confidence as for weightlifting. The heavier the weights you work with, the bigger and stronger your muscles become. In this context, muscles are tantamount to your values!
Acquiring inner strength comes from feeling certain that you will be able to overcome the same type of obstacle you have already overcome. You have persevered and overcome the difficulty. You have to convince yourself of that. This is a key point that the author of The Power of Self-Confidence insists on.
An exercise: find the situations in your life where you have succeeded in overcoming an obstacle and cherish them, repeating to yourself that you have been strong in the past and that you can be strong again.
Actions to be carried out
- List the three most important values in your personal life.
- Find the three values that characterize you at work and in business.
- List three people you would like to spend an afternoon with.
- What would you ask them? Why do you want to meet them? And why would they also want to spend an afternoon with you?
- Give three examples in which you have lived in accordance with your most important values when you could have compromised.
- What could you specifically do to ensure that your values and actions are more aligned?
- Give your eulogy!
Chapter 2: Purpose and Personal Power
Gain confidence and competence
In The Power of Self-Confidence, the focus is on commitment to the things you do. You must know that you can accomplish what you set out to do. Start with small things, no matter how small, but be convinced of your ability to achieve them.
Gradually, set more ambitious goals, but always with that same mindset. From your past experiences, develop a strong belief in your ability to accomplish what you set out to do.
It is an attitude or a state of mind, more than just a positive thought. This attitude must be based on facts, namely on your past experiences and how you interpret them.
The mental laws of self-confidence
Throughout Chapter 2 of The Power of Self-Confidence, Brian Tracy gives a breakdown of the laws that help us understand the inner workings of self-confidence and success.
Here they are summarized:
Indirect effort: what we obtain in life happens indirectly, as the result of a process in which we had invested ourselves.
Cause and effect: everything that happens in life has a cause. If you repeat the cause, you will get the same effects.
Attraction: our thoughts attract the object of our desire. The more precise the thought, the more likely we are to get what we want.
Correspondence: the external world corresponds to the internal world that we have shaped for ourselves.
Seeding: everything you sow today will make up your future reality.
Concentration: a byproduct of the law of attraction – the more you concentrate on a goal, the more likely it is to become reality.
Substitution: one thought drives out another. The conscious mind holds only one thought at a time (either negative or positive).
Emotion: every thought conceived, every decision made, or every action generated is based on one emotion or another. The two main emotions are fear and desire.
The subconscious mind is more accepting of emotionally charged thoughts. The law of emotion, for example, predicts that the stronger the emotion, the quicker the change in state of mind. Extreme fear and extreme desire can cause you to act and think differently in a very short time. Weaker emotions generate slower changes.
The four Cs of self-confidence
To unlock the power of self-confidence from these principles, remember these four keywords:
- Clarity: be clear about what you want to achieve and what kind of person you want to be.
- Conviction: make sure that you are capable of accomplishing whatever you set out to do.
- Commitment:be resolute in doing what is necessary and sticking to it. Also, be willing to pay the price in advance for any success you aspire to.
- Consistency: decide to work on your goals every day, morning, noon, and night, until you achieve them.
When you have linked the four C’s together, you will be sure to move towards unwavering self-confidence. According to Brian Tracy, this is a basic recipe for becoming unstoppable and irresistible in all areas of life!
The importance of goals
Setting clear and specific goals is the first step in implementing the 4Cs. Make the mental laws work in your favor! Free yourself, once and for all, from luck and chance.
Give your life meaning and structure. You are able to decide for yourself the direction your life will take. Step by step, you will then be on your way to success.
This is probably the most important skill to acquire. It is simple to implement: write down the goals you set for yourself this year. Write them down clearly and precisely, believing that you can achieve them.
Your subconscious mind will best remember goals written in this way:
- In the first person singular (“I”)
- In the present tense (“I am successful”)
- With a positive manner (avoid “can’t” and ”won’t” constructions)
- As if the action has already been completed
Fear and the comfort zone: the enemies of change
Fear undermines your best intentions and your hopes. It trips you up in the real world despite it only being in your mind! Excuses, fallacious reasoning, anything to hold you back.
This is also why many people think that writing down their goals is useless. In fact, without a paper trail, it’s impossible to fail. Fear has won! It has kept you from the possibility of failure. Unfortunate consequence: you will procrastinate, you will find an excuse, etc.
Back in the vicious circle. Like 87% of the population, you will never take action.
The safety zone or comfort zone is where you settle down when you are sure that you have an acceptable level of aptitude in a given area. You relax, become complacent and establish a routine from which you don’t want to deviate.
These are the main areas in which we create comfort zones:
- Attitude and personality
- Reactions to people and unforeseen events
- Work-related income and standard of living
- Level of mental and physical fitness
Once you are stuck in a routine, you resist change: inertia absorbs you. The problem is that this often leads to boredom and frustration. A feeling of unfulfillment sets in.
You know you can do more and better, but you’ve become lazy. Think about it: you are gifted with amazing abilities! Unleash them! The famous psychologist Carl Roger said, [Every man has a burning and innate desire to fulfill his inherent possibilities.] (Quoted by Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Confidence).
Rise to personal greatness
The most successful people in life are those who believe they have something good or important to do in life. They have a keen sense of their destiny and the belief that they can act to fulfill it. They refuse to overlook their abilities and to give up on what they are capable of.
Goal setting is crucial because it commits your being to the path of improvement. Once you have clear and precise goals, you will want to tap into the best of yourself to achieve them.
[It all starts with a pen, a pad, and you.] (Brian Tracy, The Power of Self-Confidence).
Imagine no limits
Start by pushing the limits of your creativity. Travel the universe of possibilities in search of what you would like to achieve in the different aspects of your existence. Determine what is right for you before determining what is possible. To do so:
- Make a dream list of everything you would like, clearly laid out.
- Think about it vividly; put emotion and desire into it.
According to the law of attraction, writing your dreams on paper already makes them more accessible. The universe, from that moment on, is working alongside you. Your subconscious mind programs itself for their realization. Your self-confidence and your feeling of being capable become stronger.
Some mental exercises to set goals
- You have just won a million euros: what do you do with this new financial freedom?
- What is your ideal lifestyle (country, region, type of living, relationships, work, etc.)?
- You have six months left to live: whom/what are you spending them on?
- What are your main concerns and problems? What would you have to do to make them disappear? Imagine, for each of them, a goal that would perfectly resolve the situation.
- Think about your family and your relationships. How can we achieve greater harmony? Set clear and specific goals.
- How to achieve ideal physical and mental health?
- What kind of person do you want to become professionally and personally? What are some things you could put in place?
“Before you have something, you must first be something.” (Goethe, quoted by Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Confidence).
List your goals
This is the next logical step after brainstorming your goals. List them according to the areas of your life that matter to you. In general, people divide their lives into six areas, but you can of course develop your own method of ranking:
- Financial and material goals
- Family and personal goals
- Anything related to education and self-improvement
- Health and fitness goals
- Social and community goals
Prioritize your goals
Now that you have categorized the goals into areas of your daily life, move on to prioritizing. Which ones matter the most? The least? Identify your defined primary goal in each area.
What is the primary goal? It is the goal that, if achieved, will allow you to attain many other goals. This is where you should focus your mental energy. When you make progress in this direction, it will have the effect of boosting your self-confidence in a lasting way.
Focusing on this primary goal that you have defined is not easy, but it is essential.
Measure results, set deadlines, and reward yourself
Your goals should be measurable. “What gets measured gets done,” Tracy points out. Also, choose a deadline that is realistic, yet challenging. If the task is large, break it down into smaller, measurable tasks and set intermediate deadlines.
Reward yourself when if you reach an intermediate goal or an overall goal. Scale the reward according to the magnitude of the achievement or goal. It’s fun and motivating!
Once you have your goals broken down by area and level of importance, give yourself deadlines, and plan to accomplish them by making “to do”, “in progress” or “done” lists. What will you do first? And second?
[By making plans, you will join the 3% of people who succeed in life and your success will be all but certain.] (Brian Tracy, The Power of Self-Confidence).
A word of advice: keep your goals private. Talking about them often leads to a loss of motivation. It weakens your resolve: focus on your power and your ability to achieve the things you promised yourself you would!
A simple technique: some additional note-taking tips
For five minutes a day, write in a spiral notebook. Start your day by writing down the main goals you want to achieve, as discussed above. Also, consider:
- Using powerful words, such as, “win”, “accomplish”, “I am”
- Not going back to your goals from the day before
Writing is a psycho-neuromotor activity that implants words into your subconscious. You trigger the mental laws of attention, attraction and correspondence.
Here’s what Brian Tracy recommends doing in The Power of Self-Confidence:
- Decide today what you want out of life. Set goals as if you had nothing to live up to and anything was possible.
- Make a list of ten goals you’d like to achieve over the next twelve months or so.
- Write your goals in the form of an affirmation and in the first person. For example: “I will be making this much by this date”.
- Set deadlines for each goal and then give yourself sub-deadlines if necessary.
- Make a list of everything you will need to accomplish to reach the goal and organize the items in sequential order and priority. This list will become your action plan.
- Go through your list and ask yourself, “If I could achieve any one of these in less than 24 hours, which one would impact my life the most?”
- Place this goal at the top of your list (primary goal defined) and write it at the top of a new page in an affirmative voice and in a personal way. List everything you could do to achieve this goal and organize it into a plan and take action.
- Do something each day related to your primary goal. Commit to that goal until you can achieve it, even if it gets tough. (Power of self-confidence.)
Chapter 3: Achieving Competence and Personal Mastery
Self-confidence, self-esteem, and competence
There is no self-confidence without self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as [the reputation we have for ourselves.] (Raphael Brandon). It also differs from self-efficacy, which refers to what we think we can do in a given situation. With good self-esteem and self-efficacy, you become confident and unstoppable!
In Flow: The Psychology of Happiness, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi explains that the optimal experience of a self-efficient individual is a form of “natural high” that corresponds to a state of extreme pleasure. Self-confidence and competence feed off each other. The better you perform, the more fun you have, and the more confidence you gain.
Achieve a “natural high”
Only your beliefs determine your limits. If you believe you are capable of doing something (self-efficacy) and you have good self-esteem, you unleash your potential, and you can achieve that “natural high.”
- Loss of awareness of time and space
- Sense of expanding your horizon at every moment
- You don’t wonder when work stops by looking at your watch every five minutes: on the contrary, you are absorbed and want to work even harder to improve upon your abilities!
To reach such a state, it is of utmost importance to find the job that suits you in life. “What you’re made for,” as they say. This can happen at any age.
In The Power of Self-Confidence, Brian Tracy gives the example of Grandma Moses who started painting at age 75! Despite her age and as a result of her passion, she became one of the most respected naïve painters in the United States.
An exhibition in her honor was even held for her 101st birthday in a major New York gallery! Here is one of her works:
To find your way, you may need to ask yourself the following questions:
- What talents or skills come naturally to you these days?
- What have you been able to do with ease where others have struggled?
- Which school subjects and parts of your work do you like best or liked best?
- What was it that you did most often and enjoyed the most between the ages of 7 and 14?
- What areas of your work have you been known to have a particular talent for?
- Which activities give you that “natural high”?
Each person is a unique combination of talents, skills, and tendencies that make them special. By discovering where you are most comfortable, you will best develop your abilities and make the most valuable contribution to society as a whole.
The four quadrants of work
Here’s another self-discovery exercise suggested by Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Confidence. The task is simple: fill in each part of the chart after thinking through each option.
List all the tasks you do on a daily basis (driving, repairs, mental work, housework, etc.) and rank them according to this chart. The task you are best at will necessarily be in the quadrant of what is, for you, “easy to learn and easy to do.”
Examine your background, design your work life, and optimize your energy output
Two other questions may prove helpful:
- What activities and decisions have thus far contributed most to my success? This is probably less than 5% of your life!
- How do you see yourself professionally (tasks, salary, type of clients or colleagues)? Also, ask people you trust where they would see you working!
Once you have established this clearly, make sure you don’t waste your energy on anything else. Ask yourself again:
- What should I be doing to make the most of my potential?
Work should not have to be a pain. Life is too precious. Do what you enjoy and what interests you. Your self-confidence will soar!
Two questions that will determine if you are in the right job
You can also think in the negative by asking yourself:
- If I had won those million euros in the lottery, would I still be working in this company or in this sector?
- When I work, do I look at my watch regularly to see when I start and when I finish? This “clock test” lets you know whether you have a “natural high.”
Two mental laws that structure the process of excellence
In Chapter 3 of his book The Power of Self-Confidence, Tracy adds two more laws to know in order to excel.
Accumulation: every exceptional life depends on the addition of unnoticed and unappreciated efforts. Everything we do counts.
Gradual improvement: what we accomplish compounds and multiplies as we gain strength and power over the months and years (also called the cumulative effect by Darren Hardy).
Brian Tracy compares life and success in particular to a chart of accounts. Every action has a debit or credit on the chart. In this sense, nothing is neutral, and everything counts: either an action pushes you further from your goal (debit) or it brings you closer to it (credit).
The more positive experiences you have (to your credit), the more experience you have in your field. You become able to extract a wide variety of patterns that allow you to solve problems more easily or to act in given situations more effectively. You will also be able to predict more accurately what will happen.
In short, accumulated work “pays off”, as they say! This corresponds to the famous 80-20 rule: 80% of the income goes to 20% of the people who have put their efforts in the right place.
[Your goal should be to be the best. To become a leader in your field. You have to pay the price and overcome the obstacles to excel in your chosen career.] (Brian Tracy, The Power of Self-Confidence).
Reach the top by determining your key skills
Again, a good deal of introspection is required. Normally, you have five to seven core skills; the skills with which you feel most comfortable.
Beware, you also need to identify your ‘low’ skills. This is very important because a low skill can often determine your level of success in your job.
Divide your work into basic components. Then, evaluate yourself honestly. Rate yourself from 1 to 10 for each skill.
Determine which skill is the most important to develop/learn at this point in your career. Take it step by step, one skill at a time. Progressively work on the ones you may have trouble with as well as the ones you are already proficient in, with the aim of perfecting them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my limiting skill?
- Which are the things am I doing or not doing that determine success and keep me moving forward in my work?
- What is the bottleneck in my work? What is limiting or preventing me from going where I want to go?
Three simple rules for excellence
Remember that skills can be worked on and that you are capable of achieving a good or even excellent level of mastery in the skills you choose to acquire or improve upon.
- Reinvest 3% of your income in yourself.
- Read for an hour or more in the area of your choice, taking notes (read, underline, transcribe the underlined passages into a notebook, and memorize).
- Take advantage of downtime such as traffic jams to listen to audio recordings on topics you are passionate about.
Focus on the skill that is likely to be the most profitable for you! According to the law of indirect effort, this investment will also boost your self-esteem and personal confidence.
Some actionable exercises
- Make the decision to excel at what you do. Build an action plan and work on it every day.
- Find out what tasks you enjoy most and find a way to focus on them more and more.
- Determine which tasks in your career are the easiest to learn and the easiest to do. Then figure out how to do them more and more often.
- Distinguish the key areas of your work and assess your skills in each area. The ‘lowest’ key skill will determine the extent of success.
- Find the one particular skill that would most positively influence your career.
- Develop a continuous learning plan for yourself: commit to getting better at what you do.
Chapter 4: The Inner Game of Self-Confidence
The power of belief
Self-confidence is the result of days, weeks, months of work. The more confident and satisfied you are with what you have achieved, the more confident and happier you are. A firm belief in your values enables you to act in the face of uncertainty. It’s ideal for gaining confidence; now you can deal with change, unexpected setbacks, and possible failure.
Law of belief: You see what you believe. The outside world conforms to your beliefs.
Whatever the belief (even if it’s wrong), it can get you back on track in times of peril. That’s why the first person to convince to adopt a belief is yourself. Convince yourself that your position is correct. Train your mind like a muscle: if you are well prepared, it will come to your aid at the right moment.
The powers of suggestion and self-suggestion
Suggestion or suggestive influence is the attempt, from outside, to make you integrate beliefs. There is a host of different sources that try to tell you or make you believe certain things, from family to television to colleagues.
Ask yourself: are these influences in line with who I want to be?
If not, then learn to control your suggestive environment. Prevent unwanted beliefs from entering your subconscious. Otherwise, you are simply reacting to stimuli, and you are “ingesting” a large number of beliefs that are potentially harmful to your plans.
The same is true for emotions. You have acquired conditioned reflexes since your childhood: certain situations inevitably affect you in one way or another. Others can play with these emotions; for example, in a relationship, the other person knows which “buttons” to press.
Identify the things that upset you (these can range from traffic jams to more serious things). Make a list of them. Make a conscious decision to believe that you won’t react so strongly to them next time. Decide for yourself to react positively.
This is also a form of suggestion since you are voluntarily programming yourself to act in a certain way. It is related to the law of substitution (one positive or negative thought at a time in the mind). You can use it as a game and every time you are challenged, say to yourself at least twice:
[Any situation is positive if you see it as an opportunity to grow and gain self-control.] (Brian Tracy, The Power of Self-Confidence).
Take control of your life
The author addresses a key point in the book: to be confident and successful in life, no matter what field you choose, it is essential to accept responsibility for what you think, say and do. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” Theodore Roosevelt said. Nor will anyone come to your rescue.
[Accepting full responsibility for yourself is the basis for beginning to act on your own.] (The Power of Self-Confidence).
Becoming mature entails this acceptance, which also involves being fully aware that each action has a series of direct and indirect consequences. This is why caution is important. It has nothing to do with inaction. On the contrary, inaction itself has consequences that can turn out very unfortunate!
Talk to yourself in a positive way
Once you understand that it is possible to self-influence and accept the idea of being the only one responsible for your existence, then you can become a master in the art of cognitive control.
Cognitive control consists of talking to oneself in such a way as to manage one’s emotions. To do this, you must start by interpreting correctly – that is, positively – the events that occur in your life.
Become a “reverse paranoid“: imagine that everything that happens to you is conspiring to bring you valuable insights!
Law of expectations: what you confidently expect produces a self-fulfilling prophecy, i.e., a self-fulfilling improvement.
Napoleon Hill is the epitome of such thinking and is quoted extensively by Brian Tracy.
Repeat to yourself, for example, “I can do it” several times a day (you can do it up to 100 times). Play with substitution: for every negative thought, a positive thought: “I can do it”, “I love myself”, or “I am confident”.
Or, “I believe in the perfect outcome to every situation in my life” (Stone and Hill’s Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude, quoted by Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Confidence).
Similar to writing your goals, these thoughts should meet the following characteristics, which Tracy summarizes as the “three P’s rule“:
- Present tense
You can also write these thoughts down on index cards, as you did with your values and goals.
Visualization and mental rehearse
In addition to saying or writing positive sentences to yourself, you can use visualization. This consists of picturing yourself very clearly becoming what you want to become (or doing what you want to do). The subconscious mind associates these images with something real and elicits the corresponding emotions within you.
Think of a potentially stressful event by having it play out as if it were going perfectly. An important phone call, an appointment, an important assignment due or to be presented; whatever it is. Mentally picture the task being very well done and take a little time, with your eyes closed, to imagine yourself excelling at the task with complete peace of mind.
You can even take it a step further. Flood your mind with feelings related to your goals. You want that car? Take it for a test drive at the dealership. Imagine yourself driving it, feel the thrill of its handling and speed. It should be noted this is what advertising is designed to do as well!
Another exercise mentioned by Brian Tracy in The Power of Confidence is called “the end of the movie“: imagine that you know for sure how a situation will unfold. You have an “end of the movie” feeling, and therefore, no more fear about how it unfolds.
Feed your mind
There are other mental reinforcement techniques that can be used. You can choose the suggestive influences you decide to let sink in. Choose your audio recordings, your books, your type of training course, your magazines, etc.
Choose the people you associate with as well. Learn to attract people you like, positive people into your life. The law of attraction will work in your favor: the more positive you are, the more positive people will come your way.
Conversely, negative people will turn their backs on you, and that will be better. Your human environment will progressively reshape itself according to the positive thoughts and actions you implement. Here we find the virtuous circle, linked to the laws of accumulation and reversibility.
Take constant action
Do not be among the far-too-many “talkers.” Successful people are those who take action. It’s not enough to put your plans on paper, you have to work on them and jump at opportunities when they arise.
The clarified and planned project is already action, but you have to do everything to make it happen. It is only by doing this that the power of self-confidence will ignite and fuel your life.
Some exercises (reminders) to take action
- Create a clear and inspiring picture of your most important goal as if you had already achieved it, down to the smallest detail.
- Act every day as if you are already the positive and successful person that you will be.
- Practice mental rehearsal before each important event. Close your eyes, breathe in and visualize complete success and summon the sense of calm and confidence you long for.
- Resolve to take full responsibility for your life immediately: for all that you are today and all that you will become in the future.
- Write your goals on cards and go over them twice a day until you have a complete mental program.
- Decide to associate yourself with positive people and rid yourself of the negative ones.
- Feed your mind daily with positive conversations, audio recordings, books (Brian Tracy, The Power of Self-Confidence).
Chapter 5: Capitalizing on Your Strengths
Your area of excellence
You know the saying, “practice makes perfect”. Well, that’s pretty much what Brian Tracy also advocates in his book on self-confidence: practice in order to excel. Don’t be afraid of obstacles and difficulties: on the contrary, you will learn more from them.
Of course, you should not linger in the wrong place. Finding your area of excellence is essential in order to avoid long-drawn-out efforts. What are the people, the things, the events that capture your attention? This will tell you a lot about your mental makeup and the areas you enjoy.
You need to make efforts in the areas that interest you the most. This is especially true of your work. This will require you to practice two virtues: integrity (honesty with yourself) and courage (strength of mind to go where you want).
So, follow your heart no matter what; along the way, compensate for your weaknesses and maximize your strengths. Do not give in to any inferiority complex, fear, or pessimism. Instead, ask yourself: what is it that only you can do to improve your situation, if you do it right?
It is perfectly normal to go through long, dull phases during which you find yourself, and others where you are extremely focused on your work. These phases are necessary and are part of the process of boosting your well-being and self-confidence.
Act like a business
“You are the president of You Incorporated,” says Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Confidence.
He gives some tips on how to act like a company. Imagine yourself in a competitive environment:
- What are you currently doing well?
- Where can you focus your resources to make a difference?
- How will you use your assets in a purposeful manner?
- What is your area of competitive advantage?
These are questions to ask yourself throughout your career. Why? Because skills become obsolete quickly. You have to adapt, find new avenues, or you will be outdone by a competitor.
To take responsibility for your career and move up the ladder, you need to know exactly what you’re good at and where to turn. If you don’t know, don’t hesitate to do some tests and eventually consult an industrial psychologist. He or she will help you examine the dimensions of your personality and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
Among others, the DISC method, which is a famous recruiting method, will help you identify what you like to do, what your values are, and what work to do in areas that appeal to you.
For Brian Tracy, the easiest way is to answer a few questions with a pen and paper. In The Power of Self-Confidence, he proposes a three-step exercise.
Self-analysis and self-disclosure
The first part of the exercise is to analyze what you have already achieved and what responsibilities you have already assumed. Don’t look for major things: just list all the tasks that come to mind. You will become aware of how much you already know how to do!
Include all of your current functions from the time you get up until you go to bed: parent, lover, reader, salesperson, etc. Make your list as comprehensive as possible by completing it on a daily, monthly and yearly basis.
List your roles and activities
The second part of the exercise consists of listing the functions performed based on the category under which you fall. For the parenting role, for example: picking up the children from school, cooking for them, helping them with their homework, etc.
What are the priorities in each category? Which function is more important? What’s the second most important? If you were to go to a desert island, what functions and roles would you take with you? What if you could only choose one? This will paint a clear picture of who you are right now.
Ask yourself all the following questions:
- What do I need to do in each area to get more satisfaction and enjoyment from it?
- Which things do I need to do more often or less often?
- What do I need to get into or out of?
- What is most and least important in each category?
- If I had to choose between the different things I do, what would I base my choice on?
To complete this part of the exercise, don’t be afraid to ask people you trust in what area they would see you doing well. Sometimes they can see our strengths and weaknesses better than we can.
Determine what motivates you
This is the third and final part of the exercise to complete. According to Harvard psychologist David McClelland, quoted by Brian Tracy in The Power of Self-Reliance, there are three major motivational profiles:
- Achievement: this type of person gets satisfaction from an individual activity (sports, studies, art, self-entrepreneurship, etc.).
- Power:this person enjoys getting others to do things and influencing them (sports training, business management, etc.).
- Affiliation: this person likes to collaborate in harmony with others in a team, to get and give support to others (associative, teamwork).
To find out what motivates you above all else and to find your profile, answer these questions:
- What activity do I enjoy most right now?
- What have I done in the past that made me feel good about myself?
- And what have been the most exhilarating experiences of my life?
Accept your weaknesses
The reality is that nobody is perfect! To learn to identify and accept your weaknesses, tell yourself:
- Perhaps my weakness is a result of a situation that doesn’t suit me (one of my skills has turned into an incompetence).
- Perhaps criticism is an integral part of my work, and I should logically expect to receive feedback that will help me improve even more.
- Maybe I am a hypersensitive person. This is due to my harmful experiences in the past, but I am able to let it go.
- I may need to brush up on some subjects that I have had little or no formal education in.
Another thing to consider is that some skills just don’t matter to you. If you don’t need to know how to speak in public, don’t get upset if someone complains about it! On the other hand, if you correctly identify certain weaknesses, it will indicate which areas you should not pursue.
The most important thing to remember is that everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Play down the latter and maximize the former. That’s all that matters and that’s the way to the top!
As in every chapter, Brian Tracy summarizes the exercises you can do to unleash the power of self-confidence:
- Decide today to become excellent at what you do and be in the top ten percent of your field.
- Determine the most important skills you possess, the ones that contribute the most to your excelling at what you do.
- Determine your natural strengths and abilities. What are the jobs and tasks you do well and what do you enjoy the most?
- Which is your competitive advantage? What do you do better than everyone else? What might that be in the future?
- Which kind of work motivates you the most, what activity gives you the most satisfaction?
- In what area do you invest your energy the most? What are you doing to make things better for yourself and your business?
- Take the time to do one or more of the exercises in this chapter: prove to yourself that you are putting in the effort!
Chapter 6: Triumphing over Adversity
The habit of reality
Successful people do not escape from the world: they acknowledge reality and face adversity with bravery. They have positive self-awareness. In The Power of Self-Confidence, Brian Tracy prefers to talk about positive self-knowledge rather than positive thinking, and it is for this very reason.
As Robert Anger said in Million Dollar Habits, the most important of all habits is the habit of reality. In other words, you have to know that problems are inevitable. You have to accept them from the start. There is only one solution: work and plan.
Perseverance is the key word here. As Stanford researchers have shown, climbing the ladder of success requires not only the ability to be a team player, but also the ability to handle crises, waking up at 4 a.m. if necessary.
This is true of companies; it is true of you as an individual as well. Successful people have their share of problems like anybody else; however, they solve them more effectively.
The challenge-response theory
Arnold Toynbee wrote about the life cycles of civilizations. He studied how 26 great civilizations developed and then declined. He noticed one constant: small groups develop from challenges that they manage to overcome.
The bigger the challenges overcome, the bigger and stronger the group becomes. In reality, the challenges are also the creations of the group itself, which, as it grows, is able to “tackle” new problems. This continues until the day when the group – now a country or a civilization – begins to succumb to the challenges that it has itself partly created.
Adversity and character development
This theory applies to your life. Expect crises, prepare for them, and even see them as opportunities to grow. This perspective keeps you motivated. You are willing to face problems and solve them.
You have developed ways of reacting during your experience. Some of these are positive and some are negative. Harmful habits can be transformed: your character can change over time through hard work.
Of course, the most normal reaction is to minimize the unexpected, to avoid adversity. And that is a good thing. However, be careful: foresight should not become an illusion (“Nothing bad will ever happen”, etc.).
Anticipating setbacks will prevent you from losing your footing emotionally. You must convince yourself that failures and disappointments are part of life (reality principle) and that they do not fundamentally affect who you are, your skills, or your self-confidence.
Double your failure rate
Since we succeed by failing, learn to fail more and more often!
Brian Tracy reminds us in The Power of Self-Confidence: you can fail ten times and succeed on the eleventh. The ten previous times will then be considered as preparations, as successful failures that enabled you to learn everything you needed to know to finally get where you want to be.
Thomas Edison is a typical example of this type of process: before he put his first light bulb on sale that worked perfectly, he made countless tests. Failures are like building blocks that allow you to climb higher. Be bold enough to take intelligent risks!
Planning your future
Some useful questions to ask yourself:
- Look at the road ahead and ask yourself what could go wrong in the next six or twelve months. List these likely contingencies for each area under consideration.
- Expect to have some dips in productivity and be prepared to handle it. How will you do this?
- What or whom do you depend on too much? How do you safeguard against something or someone that might be a problem for you?
- What are the solutions to the problems you have in mind?
Don’t waste time blaming others, look for solutions! And above all, never entertain the possibility of definitive failure! Only perseverance and confidence in your ability to succeed will enable you to overcome the setbacks that are bound to occur.
- Identify one major setback that you have dealt with and recovered from. Learn from it: how did it make you a better person?
- What is the worst that could happen to you or your business? What can you do to minimize the effects right now if this were to happen?
- Count the four biggest mistakes you have made; what have you learned from them?
- Which are the three worst things that could happen in your personal and family life? What can you do to prepare?
- What would be your way of responding to your greatest problem today?
- In what area should you be prepared to act and stop taking risks?
- What action would you take to overcome your fears and move forward?
Chapter 7: Self-Confidence in Action
Intelligence and competence
Intelligence is the ability to determine what limits you and to set goals for moving forward. Competence is the means by which you eliminate limitation. Aim for a simple, legitimate, and useful goal and devote your time to achieving it. Try, retry, and don’t be afraid to fail.
The more you commit, the more you try, the more your chances of success will grow exponentially. This is the power of self-confidence.
Often, lack of self-confidence is the main limitation. We feel inferior and incapable. However, all these limitations are mental. To win your battle with yourself, build up your mind, become proficient in mental exercises!
Once the problem of self-limitation has been solved, other problems will seem to solve themselves or, at least, will no longer pose as major and insurmountable difficulties.
In this concluding chapter of The Power of Self-Reliance, Brian Tracy develops his own storytelling: he tells his story of how many failures he has been able to overcome and how he got to where he is today. It’s a classic American self-made man story. I won’t go into it here.
Three main ideas
The author comes up with three main ideas that run through the whole book:
- Responsibility for your whole person and for everything you will become
- The belief that you can change your situation by working on yourself and learning
- The determination and achievement of your goals and deadlines
These ideas form the central axis of the book. Together with the laws mentioned in the first chapters, they enable you to structure your life according to precise rules for boosting your self-confidence.
Don’t leave your life to chance! Choose the life you deserve. To achieve it, convince yourself of these rules and do the exercises. Above all, start by ingraining self-confidence in your subconscious mind through the methods explored in this book.
The four Ds of success
You have for more qualities than you may realize. Go on an adventure; explore them! As a mnemonic, Brian Tracy also provides this list of four terms to remember:
- Desire: you want to be sure of yourself and to work, to talk, to intensify your desire to overcome the fear of failure. This is the dominant emotion that governs your conduct.
- Decision: you practice decisively until you get what you want. You act instead of talking. You are committed to taking action.
- Determination: you persevere by refusing to retreat to your comfort zone. You gradually adopt all the positive and constructive behaviors that are useful to you.
- Discipline: you do what you must when you must; you are self-disciplined to achieve your goals.
Positive knowledge vs. positive thinking
Self-confidence refers to the deep sense that you are capable of doing something. It is built on experience and not only on ideas. This is why we talk about positive knowledge, rather than thinking: “I know I can do it” because I have analyzed myself, and I know my abilities.
The Power of Self-Confidence concludes by listing the five qualities that are essential for success in the United States. These overlap with everything else discussed in the book.
- Common sense: the accumulated experience of your life, which involves regularly reflecting on the good and bad things that happen to you.
- Expertise: the feeling, acquired through effort, of being one of the best or the best at what you do.
- Self-reliance: i.e., the responsibility and the capacity to find by yourself the answer to the questions you ask yourself or to the issues you face.
- Intelligence: it is not about IQ, but the determination of objectives and the setting up of means to attain them.
- Result orientation: the drive for performance and the sense of urgency for action.
Some actionable exercises
- Resolve to act as if you have all the knowledge you can possibly have. Say what you mean and stick with it.
- Write down your three most important goals, then the steps to achieve those goals and take immediate action on at least one of the steps.
- Identify your most important work tasks and work on those activities most of the time.
- Imagine yourself at the top of your game, calm, confident, and optimistic. Run this image through your mind a few times throughout the day.
- Commit to continuous personal and professional development.
- Accept full responsibility for who you are and what you will become. Refuse to blame anyone for anything.
- Decide never to give up. Persevere until you overcome all obstacles.
Conclusion of The Power of Self-Confidence: Become Unstoppable, Irresistible, and Unafraid in Every Area of Your Life
What to take away from “The Power of Self-Confidence”
The main takeaway is the idea that you must take care of your mind like you take care of your body, as well as the principle that you can change, even if you’ve been through difficult experiences and have developed bad habits.
Many of the examples are highly material in nature, such as getting a new car, becoming a billionaire, etc. Fortunately, there are also a few examples of artistic and intellectual successes.
Readers will be able to pick up a few helpful mnemonics from this book (the four D’s of success, for example) and, above all, they will be able to do the many exercises offered, adapting them to their own situation.
All it takes is a little time, some thought, a notebook, and a pencil to get you started!
- A host of exercises that anyone can do with little means.
- Mnemonic aid to memorize certain essential rules.
- Clear and instructive language.
- A focus on entrepreneurship and the American way of life.
- Repetitions of the same ideas.
My rating :
Have you read “The Power of Self-Confidence”? How do you rate it?
A handy little guide to The Power of Self-Confidence
The 7 main parts of the book The Power of Self-Confidence:
- The foundations of self-confidence
- Purpose and personal power
- Achieving competence and personal mastery
- The inner game of self-confidence
- Capitalizing on your strengths
- Triumphing over adversity
- Self-confidence in action
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about The Power of Self-Confidence by Brian Tracy.
1. What made Brian Tracy’s book The Power of Self-Confidence so successful when it came out?
The success of The Power of Self-Confidence lies in Canadian speaker Bryan Tracy’s captivating storytelling to impart methods on how to channel our strengths, develop our self-confidence and achieve our life goals.
2. What kind of impact has Brian Tracy’s book The Power of Self-Confidence had?
This book has inspired many people to take action, accept their weaknesses and build on their strengths.
3. For whom is The Power of Self-Confidence intended?
This book is for everyone, especially for those who want to start a business or wish to overcome their fear and move forward.
4. What is self-confidence according to Brian Tracy?
According to Brian Tracy, self-confidence refers to the deep sense that one is capable of doing something. It is built on experience and not only on ideas.
5. What are the four D’s of success according to Brian Tracy?
The four Ds of success are:
Self-confidence versus lack of self-confidence
|Believes in own ability
|Doubts owns ability
|Devoid of ‘intelligence’
|Immediately takes action
|Slow to take action
Who is Brian Tracy?
Born on January 5, 1944, in Charlottetown, Canada, Brian Tracy became an American citizen and lives in San Diego. Born into a poor family with an inquisitive mind, Brian Tracy soon dropped out of school to work as a laborer on a ship, which allowed him to visit over eighty countries on five continents.
A renowned speaker and personal development specialist, Brian Tracy believes that success does not necessarily require extensive study and is within everyone’s reach. He is the author of more than fifty books, including “The Power of Self-Confidence“, which is the subject of this review, in which the author addresses those who wish to overcome their difficulties and make their dreams come true, “Sales Success”, a compilation of advice collected by top sellers, and “Eat that Frog”, his best-known book, which outlines ways to focus all of your efforts on time management in order to eliminate procrastination.
Have you read The Power of Self-Confidence by Brian Tracy? If so, how do you rate it?