“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot out‐perform our level of self‐esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.”—Iyanla Vanzant
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from Eat That Frog! for Students: 22 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Excel in School by international bestselling author Brian Tracy and former teacher Anna Leinberger.
The ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely, is the key to great success, achievement, respect, status, and happiness in life. This key insight is the heart and soul of Eat That Frog! for Students: 22 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Excel in School by international bestselling author Brian Tracy and former teacher Anna Leinberger. Tracy’s classic book on productivity, Eat That Frog!, has sold more than 2.5 million copies worldwide.
Tracy offers readers tips, tools, and techniques for structuring time, setting goals, staying on task (even when you’re not interested), dealing with stress, and developing the skills to achieve far more than you ever thought possible. Tracy shows students how to increase overall levels of productivity, performance, and output, using methods, techniques, and strategies that are practical, proven, and fast-acting. He shares his most powerful principles on personal effectiveness, outlining specific actions to take to immediately get better, faster results in your work, and to increase your happiness.
Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog! has helped millions around the world get more done in less time. Now this life-changing global bestseller has been adapted to give today’s stressed-out and overwhelmed students the tools for lifelong success.
Building Your Self-Esteem
No mindset is more important to your life and potential for success than unshakable confidence and self-esteem. When you have courage and determination, you approach life and your dreams convinced of your ability to achieve anything you put your mind to. Imagine the possibilities for your life once you develop the ability to face your greatest challenges unafraid, secure in your belief that you can overcome any challenge and make the most of every opportunity that you seek out.
The great news is that this level of self-confidence and self-esteem is completely possible for you! The only thing standing in your way is fear. This chapter will help you conquer all kinds of fear, freeing you to accomplish almost anything you could dream of. The marvelous thing about self-esteem is that it is learnable. Some people start out life with high levels of self-esteem, but the vast majority of us (myself included!) start out life with low levels of confidence, feelings of inferiority, and self-doubt. But these are not unchangeable, and it is possible to learn self-esteem with practice. If you systematically practice the tools in this book, day by day, your levels of self-esteem will rise.
Where Fear Comes From
Fear and low self-confidence come from many places. Perhaps a teacher or a parent criticized you and you internalized a feeling of failure. Perhaps you compared yourself to someone else and could only see yourself as inferior. Unfortunately, even these smallest moments can grow in influence. You start to believe, at a very young age, that you are not good enough, not smart enough to be truly successful in life. These beliefs live deep in your subconscious and sabotage you without your even knowing it. But there is a way to change even these deeply hidden beliefs.
“No Limits” Visualization
I have given thousands of seminars to people all over the world. This is one of my favorite exercises to do with the people who attend. I ask them to think about the following question, using the full power of their imagination: “What would you dare to dream if you knew that you could not fail?” This is not an easy question to answer! We are so conditioned to think of possible limitations and negatives that it may take time to truly allow yourself to answer the question.
Ask yourself this question over and over for the next few days. Allow your answer to change and grow as the true implications of “if you knew that you could not fail” sink into your mind. After thinking about this for days or even weeks, you will start to see options and opportunities open up in front of you that you never thought possible—and you will start to see how they can become a reality.
The truth is that if you do not believe something is possible, it never will be. You must change what you believe to achieve greatness. Once you allow yourself to dream big, you begin to see that your dreams really are possible after all!
Internal before External
One immutable fact of the universe is what I call the Law of Concentration. It states, “Anything you think about constantly becomes your reality”; in other words, what you think about all the time is what you will become. When you think constantly about something, it becomes established deep in your subconscious mind, where it influences your behavior, your thoughts, your choices, and your actions. If you think constantly that you are not good enough, this thought process starts to exert power over you, becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, another law, called the Law of Becoming, states that we are never static and unchanging: we are all always becoming, or evolving and growing. Every moment you have the ability to influence what you are becoming. Since you can control your thoughts, you can control what you become. In changing your thoughts, you have the power to control your future.
Resolve today to fill your mind with thoughts of the confident, happy, successful person you want to become. As you think these thoughts, they will begin to exert their subtle influence on your actions. You will begin to act in ways that are consistent with this powerful vision of yourself. One day you will wake up and realize you have become the confident, successful person you visualized today.
Decide on Your Values
Sometimes even visualizing the confident you might seem like a challenge. This is normal! Values are a very powerful tool that can help you to build this vision of yourself. Confidence comes from purpose and values. When you identify your values, you give yourself a clear road map to follow. Whenever you are faced with a choice, think over your values and use them as your guide. When you do this, you will always be assured that you are acting with purpose. The more you act in accordance with your values, the more confident you will become.
Right now, take a moment to identify your most important values. Values are things that you want to be known for what you want to stand for. They can be things such as “taking care of my family,” “getting good grades in school,” and “always being willing to help,” “always being transparent and honest.” If you are having trouble identifying your values, think about people you admire. Why do you admire them? What values and habits do they have that make you respect them? And what do you want people to say about you?
Your values must be absolute—things that you strive to never, ever compromise on. If you would compromise on something, it does not qualify as a value. Of course, no one is perfect, and at time you will struggle with sticking with your values. The important point is that you keep trying. Always return to these values and recommit to them and you will continue to make progress.
When you identify your values and continually choose to live in congruence with them, you will begin to feel a sense of purpose and pride that lifts you up. You will feel confidence and self-assurance like never before. The more you do this, the more powerful your self-esteem becomes.
Choose to Leave Your Comfort Zone
Now, while everything I’ve written about is possible, it isn’t always going to be easy. Humans have a tendency to slip into a comfort zone—doing only those things that they feel are easy, predictable, and safe. The comfort zone is the enemy of success. It is impossible to achieve greatness while staying in your comfort zone.
Getting out of your comfort zone is, in fact, uncomfortable! All of us have a tendency to become so addicted to our comfort zones that we will try to recreate them even when something forces us out of them. The reality is, though, that you will never grow if you stay inside this framework.
The answer is to never stop striving. Never shy away from an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone. Embrace challenge, and even seek it out! When you find yourself tempted to make the comfortable choice, to do what you have always done, stop, take a deep breath, and make a different choice. See where that new choice might take you—you will never cease to be amazed at what you can achieve when you choose growth over complacency.
Always Choose to Take the Next Step
The ultimate secret of self-esteem is that it is not something you have: self-esteem is something you do. To experience high levels of self-esteem, you must always choose to take positive, constructive action to move yourself and your dreams forward. Choose the challenge. Choose the option that aligns with your values. Always take decisive, determined action. In this way, self-esteem works in a cycle of reciprocity: the more you do, the better you will feel about yourself—and the better you feel about yourself, the more you will be both inclined to do and capable of doing.
When you always choose to take the next step, to move yourself forward, you will develop a sense of self-confidence and self-esteem that will be obvious to everyone around you. You will move ever closer to your goals and dreams, and eventually you will become an unstoppable force, capable of doing anything and everything you set your mind to.
Reprinted from Eat that Frog! For Students with the permission of Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Copyright © 2020 by Brian Tracy and Anna Leinberger.