In his book, The Inner Game of Tennis, T Gallwey made popular the concept that in sports, the game is first won on the inside before the victory is ever seen on the outside. But even before Mr Gallwey existed, Napoleon Hill had written about this same concept in his book Think and Grow Rich. It must be noted however, that he referred to the timeless classic written by James Allen and published in 1902 entitled As a Man Thinketh.   And yet the one who must be rightfully credited with this concept that has been proven from one generation to another is King Solomon as recorded in the Book of Proverbs which is one of the books of the Christian Bible.

The concept is simple, before anything can change on the outside, it must first change on the inside – in our thinking. During a period of discouragement a few months ago when circumstances appeared to be against me rather than for me, I started thinking about this concept. One thing immediately became obvious. I realised that the discouragement I felt inside showed in my whole demeanour, in the words that I spoke, the actions that I took and my general outlook on life. The result was that the despair that I felt inside increased and somehow my circumstances seemed to respond to my feelings and worsen. Therein began a vicious cycle that I was not even aware of! Clearly, the only way anything was going to change in my circumstances was if I changed my negative, defeatist thoughts to positive and esteem building ones.

Now before you dismiss this as psychological babble, read the next few statements. In a study of clinically depressed patients, it was discovered that 12 weeks of cognitive therapy (which involves reframing a person’s thought processes) worked better than drugs, as changes were more long-lasting than a temporary fix. Patients who had this training in optimism had the ability to more effectively handle future setbacks. Also in a retrospective study of 34 healthy Hall of Fame baseball players who played between 1900 and 1950, optimists lived significantly longer. Similarly, other studies have shown that optimistic breast cancer patients had better health outcomes than pessimistic and hopeless patients. Convinced? I hope you are.

Would you like to know what I did?   I changed my thinking. I started to listen to uplifting and motivating talks, and reminded myself why I was doing what I was doing. Yes, I admit it took a while, but eventually my mind began to respond, my outlook became more positive and things began to shift. It may seem like a tall order but I challenge you to give it a go. After all, what have you got to lose? Don’t expect things to change in a few seconds or minutes or even hours. Give it time and be consistent. Surround yourself with positive thinking people and feed off their optimism. Read books that encourage you rather than those that discourage. Try not to fill your day with listening to bad news that is filled with doom and gloom (a lot of the news in the media unfortunately qualifies). Then watch while your circumstances start changing. And if nothing else, you’ll be a happier person and people will love to be hang around you.


Need a bit more help? My mini book, 10 days to Raise Your Self-Esteem may help.


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