Whether You Think You Can…Or Whether You Think You Can’t…You’re Right!

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“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”
-Henry Ford

Self confidence is a powerful thing. When Henry Ford made this quote, he was saying just this. He was literally making a bold statement to let others around him know that one of the primary keys to getting what you want out of life is believing that you can have it.

As human beings, we are wired to follow in what we think and what we believe. If we believe in and think on the positive about ourselves, our actions will surely follow this route in life. On the other hand, thinking that we cannot do or achieve something also sets us on a course to fail and fall short. Despite what some may try to say, a person’s own mind is one of the strongest influences that will ever be present in their life.

I once read an article, published by The Wall Street Journal, which touched on this subject. The author recounted numerous interviews that had been done with psychologists, with each one agreeing that actions are a direct result of a person’s beliefs and thoughts. It went on to explain that the mental picture of oneself was of the utmost significance in determining a person’s success and life choices.

Why then, do people continue to look at themselves in a way that is less than successful? Why do people set goals and make plans, when they truly do not believe that they have the ability within themselves to accomplish them? While I cannot claim to have the answer to this question in all cases of life, I do know that many people do not set out believing that they will fail. Most begin with great intentions, and even a strong mindset to overcome, but they let circumstances and the passage of time (often without results or strong progress toward their goal) change their thinking. In a way, they think that they can at first, but then they eventually convince themselves that they cannot.

Take a New Year’s Resolution, for example. Many people set goals, whether they are to lose weight, save money, get out of debt, advance their career, start a business, etc. While they may believe that this is possible to accomplish, and truly want it to happen, there is usually not a strong enough mindset in place to see the goal through in its entirety. It is more of a “wish” or a “dream”, like winning the lottery, than a reality to them. In this, lies the problem.

So how does one overcome the back peddling of self confidence that seems so common in life? How does a person hold on to their thoughts of “I can,” even when reality would try to convince them otherwise? It happens only when we change our mindsets. It is only when the reality of what we think we CAN do becomes greater than the reality of what we cannot do that results begin to manifest.


This reality most often comes when we adamantly refuse to settle for anything less than what we want. When reaching the goal becomes so real to us that no obstacle can dissuade the path to our desire and no amount of work becomes too much. We literally become who we want to be in our own minds, long before we become it in life.

If weight loss is the goal, we begin to think like someone who successfully manages their body. This, in turn, causes us to eat, exercise, and take care of our bodies in a way that promotes losing weight. If becoming a successful entrepreneur and running your own business is the desire, then one must begin to think as an entrepreneur does. Once we can visualize ourselves at our goal, and fully believe that we are capable of reaching this, we begin to become the person that we have already thought ourselves to be.

The final thing to realize is in the timing of our thinking. Too many times people believe that they can do something, but they do not think that it can be done now. I often hear people who want to save money say things like, “When I pay off my car, I will be able to save money.” While paying off your car may indeed allow for more funds to be saved, this mindset will cause you to put off achieving your goal indefinitely. If we put conditions on reaching our goals, it seems that conditions will always exist. Maybe you do pay off the car, but before you can start saving, a need arises for a new appliance or some other unforeseen expense arises. You must think that you can, and you must think that you can NOW.

So as you sit there, reading this article, ask yourself what you think you can do. Once you have determined this, begin to take steps toward this right away. Being indecisive about your thoughts will simply waste time…something that is much too valuable to throw away. Another quote, by Henry Ford, sums this up quite nicely. He said, “It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.” Think that you can…for you are right.