Successful Thinking 101…

It was April 15, 2011.  I was in line at the pharmacy at my local super market, waiting to put in a prescription for pain killers.  Why do I remember this day so vividly you ask?  Whelp, that was the day that I had my first (and hopefully my last) root canal!  I stood there with my jaw throbbing, scanning the rows of medications, syrups and pills in a variety of colors and sorts behind the counter.  I then turned slowly to take a panoramic view of the other parts of the store around me and after observing the floral department and the in-store bank, my eyes eventually made their way back around and landed on a rack of books close to the check out counter.  I decided that I would explore the collection of books once I turned in my prescription.

Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

So while waiting for my prescription to be filled,  I made my way over to the books I saw just moments earlier.  For some reason, before I was even half way to the rack, a small book with a blue and white cover caught my eye.  I decided to pick it up and thumb through it.  As it turns out, that book was one that would cause a paradigm shift for me from that moment forward.  It wasHow Successful People Think” by John Maxwell. For those of you reading this who may not know who John Maxwell is, he is a Christian author, speaker, and pastor who has written over 60 books that primarily focus on leadership totaling over 19 million copies sold worldwide!

After scanning much of the books content, I decided to purchase it.  And because I wasn’t working for the next few days to recover from my root canal, I was actually able to sit and finish the book in a day and a half!

The concepts of this book served as a catalyst to change my way of thinking!  And for that reason, it has become habitual for me to read this book in its entirety at least once every 6 months as a refresher course and a motivational tool for my endeavors.

One of my favorite chapters deals with Exploring Possibility Thinking.  Allow me to share the six steps that Maxwell outlines to help you become a “possibility thinker”:

  • Stop Focusing on the Impossibilities – The first step to becoming a possibility thinker is to stop yourself from searching for and dwelling on whats wrong with any given situation.  You have to eliminate the negative self-talk you hear in your head.  If negative talk is a really big issue for you, you may need to enlist the aid of a friend or family member to alert you every time you utter a negative thought.
  • Stay Away From the “Experts” – Sometimes the so-called experts can do more damage than good when it comes to shooting down people’s dreams.  If you want to achieve something, give yourself permission to believe it is possible – no matter what the experts may say!
  • Look for Possibilities in Every Situation – Becoming a possibility thinker is more than just refusing to be negative.  It means you must look for possibilities despite your circumstances – period!
  • Dream One Size Bigger – Maxwell believes that most people just don’t dream big enough.  So he recommends to push yourself to dream more expansively and take at least half a step beyond what makes you comfortable.  It will help you believe in greater possibilities.
  • Question the Status Quo – He reminds us that you can’t improve and stay still at the same time.  GROWTH means change and change requires challenging the status quo.  Achievers refuse to accept the status quo!
  • Find Inspiration From Great Achievers – Maxwell states that you can learn a lot about possibility thinking by studying great achievers.  Find some great achievers you admire and study them.

“Some men see things as they are and they say, ‘Why?’  I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why NOT?'”  –  George Bernard Shaw

I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of John Maxwell’s book, “How Successful People Think”.  I’m sure you will find it just as impactful as I did!

QUESTION: What is your favorite “take away” from the six points outlined in Successful Thinking 101? Share your choice in the comments below!

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About The Author

Rachel L. Proctor

Rachel Proctor is a productivity coach for multi-passionate entrepreneurs who struggle with taking their business ideas from the starting block to across the finish line. Through her inspiring blog posts + videos, on-demand training products and one-on-one coaching, she’s here to challenge you to take purpose-driven risks and shake up your approach to goal setting. She will show you how to turn your ideas + passions into purposeful actions to create a business that will change the world - while making every step seem effortless! And when she’s not coaching, you can find her indulging in (and highlighting) the latest John Maxwell book, watching anything on Food Network or shopping for fabulous shoes. Meet Rachel and get ready to turn your passions into to a business that will change the world at