Brian Tracy is a self-help author and speaker.
I have listened to many of his courses and tapes over the years, and they’re great.
This post is a concentrated summary of all lessons learned from Brian Tracy books, talks, and courses.
There is much to learn from the man, so let’s get started:
- #1. Take Responsibility to Lead Your Life
- #2. Brian Tracy Seven Mental Laws
- #3. Tap Into your subconscious mind
- #4. Increase Self-Esteem By Living Your Ideal Self
- #5. Set Your Goals
- #5. Categorize Your Goals
- #6. Ask Yourself These Questions
- #7. Prioritize Ruthlessly
- #9. Follow These Rules of Goal-Setting
- #10. Motivate Yourself to Achieve Your Goals
- #11. Maximize Your Productivity
- #12. Develop The Psychology of Success
- #13. Develop The 6 Qualities of High Performers
- #14. Develop Mental Fitness
- #15. Apply The Law of Reversibility
- #16. Work On Your Subconscious
- # 17. Conquer Your Fears
- #18. Apply the Law of Practice
- #19. Face Problems Head On (& Avoid Stress)
- #20. Learn That Crisis Are A Sign of Achievement
- #21. Make People Feel Good
- #22. Leverage The Law of Reciprocity
- #23. Learn to Provide Constructive Criticism
- #24. Use The 7 Laws to Raise Self-Esteem:
#1. Take Responsibility to Lead Your Life
There is a strong relationship between the responsibility people take and their income.
Responsibility means always looking at your contribution and what you can do fix the problem, and not looking at people to blame.
And that includes you.
I love when Tracy says that you are not guilty, but you are responsible for the way you react to the situation and how you conduct yourself. Everything is contained in your response.
Tracy says that people who take responsibility for their own life are positive, confident and self-reliant.
Even psychologically they tend to be more optimistic, happier and mentally healthier.
As a matter of fact, psychology says that there’s a direct relationship between the amount of responsibility you take in a certain area of your life and how much you feel in control for that area.
And a direct relationship between how much you feel you control and how much freedom you have in that area.
Taking responsibility also makes you much less likely to hold negative emotions because you don’t have “brain capacity” to blame others.
Every time you’re getting negative, repeat to yourself that you are responsible.
#2. Brian Tracy Seven Mental Laws
Brian Tracy lists seven laws
- The law of internal locus of control
Internal locus of control means that you believe you are in control of your life.
If you have an external locus of control you feel helpless, are sadder, get angry easier, are more prone to depression. If you feel you are in control of your life and the master of your own faith you are energetic and optimistic.
- The Law of Cause and Effect
What you reap today is what you sowed yesterday.
For every effect in your life, there is a specific cause.
If you have an effect in your life that you do not enjoy, you need to trace it back to the causes and get rid of them.
The change of your outer experience is a consequence of the changes in your inner experience.
Change the quality of your thinking and you change the quality of your life.
Self-mastery, self-discipline starts with taking charge of your own thoughts. It begins with accepting that no situation can make you feel anything if you don’t allow. It is you thinking of a certain situation that makes you feel a certain way.
- The law of belief
What you believe, with annexed feelings, is what will manifest.
This is why you gotta overcome your limiting beliefs. This is similar to the law of manifestation from Think and Grow Rich.
- The law of expectation
Whatever you expect with confidence becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy.
A set of expectations with strong repercussions has been set for us by our parents, and we tend to live up or down to those expectations. Same for bosses.
BUT you can obliterate all past and current expectations if you decide to set for yourself a positive set of expectations.
You can become an inverse paranoid, and believe the universe is conspiring to make good things happen to you.
Expect the best of yourself in every situation, that you are going to gain and learn and become better from any situation.
- The Law of Attraction – (subset of law and effect)
You are a living magnet.
You invariably attract into your life people and situations in harmony with your dominant thoughts.
I don’t believe in this one bit. Brian Tracy law of attraction is no better than all the BS spewed by the “law of attraction crowd”. Also read my review of “The Secret“.
- The Law of Correspondence
It says, “As within, so without.” It says that your outer world is a reflection of your inner world.
- The Law of Mental Equivalency
Thoughts objectify themselves.
Your thoughts vividly imagined and repeated, charged with emotion, become your reality.
#3. Tap Into your subconscious mind
Brian Tracy says that your subconscious mind records all the past beliefs and behavior.
It records all of them and keeps you on track on those.
Importantly, it also records all the limits of your comfort zone and works to keep you within them.
Start seeing everything you do and everything happening to you as adding up one more block for you to becoming the great man you are destined to be.
- Law of Subconscious Activity – Any idea or thought that you accept as “true” in your conscious mind will be accepted unquestioningly by your sub-conscious mind and your sub-conscious will immediately begin work to bring it into your reality.
All your words, actions, and body language set a pattern consistent with your dominant thoughts and goals (law of attraction).
- Law of Concentration – Whatever you dwell upon, grows.
The more you think about something the more it becomes a part of your reality. Dwell on thoughts of love, courage, hope, confidence etc and meditate on these daily.
- Law of Substitution – Your conscious mind can only hold one thought at a time and you can substitute one thought for another.
This “crowding out” principle deliberately allows you to replace a negative thought with a positive thought.
This allows you control of your emotional life. Stop thinking about the problem and start thinking about the Solution.
- Law of habit – Mentally speaking, in the absence of affirmative decision and determined effort you’ll continue doing and thinking the same forever (earn the same, have same friends, drive the same).
Changing your habit is not easy but it’s key, the secret is to keep repeating what you want to become a habit.
Forming good habits is hard but makes for an easy life.
Forming good habits is hard but makes for an easy life
#4. Increase Self-Esteem By Living Your Ideal Self
How to increase your self-esteem?
Brian Tracy says you can make yourself into an extraordinary living being by setting high values and then disciplining yourself to live by them on each occasion
There are 3 pars of your personality and self-concept:
- Self-ideal, the person you most admire and wanna be like (future you);
- Self-image, the way you see yourself and think of yourself which guides your performance and behavior (your present you);
- Self-esteem, which is given by how you feel that your current behavior are consistent with the best person you could possibly be.
For most people, the self-ideal is an unconscious process.
You begin to improve yourself and your life once you bring this process to a conscious level and then do some thinking and auctioning on it.
#5. Set Your Goals
Brian Tracy hits you hard when he says:
Those without a goal end up working for those with a goal.
He who’s got the skills of goals setting down pat is either very rich or very happy or both
The law of concentration says whatever you dwell upon, grows.
Whatever you dwell upon continuously, will eventually come to fruition. Brian Tracy says that goals are even a way to happiness. When you’re sad: think about your goals.
People don’t set goals for the following reasons: they’re not serious and have no real desire; they’re talkers rather than does -but the actions count, not the words-; they haven’t accepted responsibility for their lives ; they are afraid of failure.
Those without a goal work for those with a goal
#5. Categorize Your Goals
Use these 5 categories to set goals imagining you have no limitations. You will only evaluate and set priorities later.
Physical health and longevity and things you’d like to do, like ride a boat, skydive, climb a mountain….
All the things you’d like to learn and understand ; skills you need.
Quality of relationships you wanna have with spouse, parents, friends, coworkers, self-esteem
Quality of your inner life and inner development, peace with the universe, peace of mind
- financial and career
Earn the money you need to do all the other things, how are the other people doing differently
Your goals for making a contribution. Superior men always feel a responsibility for the greater good
#6. Ask Yourself These Questions
- What are the 5 most important values for you (this reply comes before setting your goals)?
- What are your 3 most important goals right now (answer in 30 secs)
- How would you spend your time if you had only 6 months to live
- How would you change your life if you won 1 million dollars tomorrow
- What’s something you always wanted to do but were afraid to do
- What do you enjoy most do in life, what you love to do
- If you were guaranteed success, what exciting dream and goal would you set
#7. Prioritize Ruthlessly
Since you can end up with many goals, you should sort and prioritize.
You can use the ABC method: A for important and exciting; B you’d like but not as important; C least important.
You can then take all the As and move them to another list.
At that point, you can add another layer of “A1, A2.. “ to further sort out.
#8. Follow Your Natural Tendencies
Brian Tracy reminds us to keep in mind what you naturally do best and enjoy doing while prioritizing goals.
It is said that luck is when preparedness meets opportunity. Or when goals meet natural talent.
#9. Follow These Rules of Goal-Setting
- Keep it congruent
Your goals and your values must fit together like hand in a glove.
- Focus on area of excellence
it may change, but you should put your effort into what you love the most and possibly what you’re already good at
- Keep it balanced
make sure that the goals you set in different areas are complementary to each other and don’t work against one another
- Develop a mission statement
The N.1 goal which is the most important of all. To find our a possible mission statement ask yourself: which goal, if I will achieve it, will do the most to achieve all the other goals?
#10. Motivate Yourself to Achieve Your Goals
Brian Tracy says that the moment you realize you can achieve any goal, you become unstoppable.
- Desire – Burning, Intense, Desire. The motivational force of power to overcome the fear or inertia that holds most people back. Dwell on your desires till they override and push aside your fears. Desires are personal, decide what YOU really want
- Belief – Conviction! You must absolutely believe it is possible to achieve your goal. You must have complete faith that you desire the goal and it will come to you exactly when you are ready for it. Nurture your faith and beliefs until they deepen to an absolute conviction that your goal is attainable. Belief is the catalyst to activate your subconscious.
- Write It Down – Goals that are not in writing are not goals at all they are merely wishes. When you write a goal down you crystallize it and make it tangible.
- List all the ways you benefit from achieving the goal – Reasons why are forces that intensify your desire. Motivation depends on your motive and the more reasons you have the more motivated you will be. Your reasons why must be uplifting and inspiring, they must be big enough to drive you onward. It is when you have big reasons for achieving your goal that you develop the intensity and purpose that makes you irresistible. If your reasons are big enough, your beliefs solid enough and your desires intense enough nothing can stop you.
- Analyze your starting point – Determining your starting point gives you a baseline to measure your progress and lets you know exactly how much you have to do to achieve. The clearer you are about where you are coming from the more likely you will be to get where you want to go.
- Set a deadline – Set a deadline on all tangible goals. People resist setting deadlines for fear of not meeting them. Think about your goal by projecting forward till after you have completed it and imagine the steps you took to get there. Then think backward from the achievement to the goal.
- List all the obstacles to achieve your goals – If there are no obstacles it is probably not a goal and more likely an activity. Make a list of obstacles then arrange them in order of biggest to smallest. The biggest obstacle is your rock. You will need to remove this first. Obstacles are the flip side of success and achievement. Your rock may be internal or external – Be honest!
- Identify Additional information you need to achieve your goal – The most successful people have more essential information than others. Make a list of all the information, skills, talents, abilities and experience will need then make a plan to learn, buy, borrow or attain these as quick as possible.
- List all the people whose help and co-operation you will require – To accomplish anything worthwhile you will need other people, people will help you accomplish your goals once you have shown them a willingness to help achieve theirs. Make a list and order it!
- Make a plan – Write out in detail what you want, when you want it, why you want it then make a list of activities ordered by priority. Many activities can be worked on simultaneously or others have to be done in sequence. Once you have all the actions listed in value for the plan, then START! The more detailed and better organised your plans the more likely you are to reach your goals exactly as you have desired them.
- Visualisation -Create a clear mental picture of your goal as it would appear if it was already achieved. Project this picture over and over again in the screen of your mind, with emotion!
- Make the decision in advance that you will never give up ! – Back your goals and plans with persistence and determination. Never consider the possibility of failure. Never think about quitting, hold on no matter what happens. Of all qualities to develop your ability to persevere is the most important.
Check out my video of how I developed my burning desire for my goals:
Decide in advance that you will never give up
#11. Maximize Your Productivity
Brian Tracy says that good working habits can be summarized with two things: focus and concentration.
- Focus means clarity regarding the final result you want. It’s like a lens, and you need to continually adjust your lens to make sure that what you’re working on is the most important you could be doing.
- Concentration means the ability to stay with the task until it’s 100% complete.
Also read: Deep Work.
6 steps to creating the quality of concentration common to all successful people:
- Clear your workspace of everything except what you need for the highest priority at hand;
- Organize your work and day by creating chunks of time (and allow plenty of time: don’t rush things and just do the task at hand, nothing else) . keep in mind the last 20% is usually the most productive because your mind warmed up and is fully into the task
- Hard, sustained, concentrated effort is central to achieving
- Develop a compulsion to closure and completion. Refuse to give yourself a reward until the job is 100% complete. And give yourself a reward when you complete an important task.
- Program yourself with commands, use a trigger when your attention wanders: “back to work”.
- Discipline yourself to stay with the task until it’s done
#12. Develop The Psychology of Success
It’s not true that rich people are unhappy!
Overachievers enjoy more financial success and are happier with their money, enjoy more family success and take more joy out of family life, find more life success finding more meaning and contribution.
These are the characteristics of overachievers:
- Have a greater capacity of coping with disapproval, move ahead quickly and don’t worry as much
- Are more action oriented
- Use effective thoughts to cope with negative emotions (substitution: focus on what you can do something about)
- Engage in less superstitious thinking, don’t believe in good and bad omen
- Better mental skills to cope with failure: failure is part of learning and doesn’t lower self-esteem, so they take more risk and keep working even it can mean some more “failure”
- they don’t think in categorical terms
- practical optimism: positive but not naïve
- Think positively but prepare for other possibilities
- embrace new experiences and leave the comfort zone
#13. Develop The 6 Qualities of High Performers
These are the traits of high performers:
- See themselves as self-employed. They accept 100% responsibility, see whatever happens in the company as affecting themselves. Look for ways to improve their organization, are team players and results-focused. All good leaders were good followers. All opportunities will open up once you start taking full responsibility for your organization.
- They have a clear sense of direction: a career plan
- Unshakable level of optimism. They know that self-confidence, self-trust and self-esteem are key
- They are always self-teachable, andnever become impressed by their intelligence
- Mental resilience: it’s not how hard you fall, it’s how far you bounce. Successful people don’t allow external events to dictate their emotions
- High level of persistence in the face of adversity and disappointment
I particularly loved and made it my own, the idea that you never work for anyone else. You are always self-employed.
#14. Develop Mental Fitness
These 6 steps will help you keep a positive attitude:
- positive self talk and affirmation: use the law of substitution to tell yourself positive things. “I like myself” or “I’m the best” “I’m sexy”
- positive imaging: create mental pictures of the man you want to be. Or visualize yourself doing what you are about to do. Eventually your subconscious accepts those ideas as true and as who you are
- positive mental food: always feed your mind with positive books, movies, audiobooks..
- positive people: surround people you want to be like
- positive training and development
- positive health habits
- positive actions
#15. Apply The Law of Reversibility
In all mental work effort defeats itself.
If you wish to develop a new pattern of thoughts, the more you relax and “don’t try”, the faster the thought is accepted by the subconscious mind.
The Law of Reversibility says that feelings and actions interact with each other.
If you feel a certain way, you will act in a manner consistent you’re your feeling.
And the reverse is also true.
Just as the feelings create actions consistent with the feelings, the actions create feelings consistent with the actions.
Ie.: you can act your way into feelings and the feelings will then generate the actions consistent with it.
The second application of the law of reversibility is that just an object of state -an accomplishment or a success of some kind- generate a subject of state –a feeling of happiness and achievement-, a subject of state in reverse will also create an object of state.
ie.: if you arouse in yourself the emotions that you will get in the accomplishment of a goal or a solution of a problem and you can hold that emotion, the feeling will create in your outer world the result that goes with it.
#16. Work On Your Subconscious
Here’s a 5 step process to internalize in your subconscious the subject of state:
- verbalize and affirm your desired outcome
- visualize and see the outcome
- emotionalize your combine affirmation and visualization and create the feeling
- release the situation from your mind with complete faith (as if someone will take care of that)
Here’s some ways to when and how to use these steps best, use as many as you can and whichever is best for you:
Standard affirmation technique
Brian Tracy suggests to go in a quiet place.
Take 7 deep breaths and relax. Read your goals and repeat 5 times.
Visualize as if it were already achieved. Imagine how you’d walk, talk and act.
Emotionalize and create the feeling. Take another deep breath, exhale and release the goal.
If you do it in the morning you activate the law of attraction and alert reticular cortex to accomplish your goals.
If you do it in the evening your subconscious mind will work on the goals during the night bringing you ideas and solutions in the morning.
Quick affirmation technique
This technique is before non-recurring events like a sales call or a presentation or meeting.
Close your eyes, affirm, visualize, emotionalize and release. See and feel the even going well and then go to the meeting calm and confident.
Every time you think about the event use the law of substitution and use this technique rather than thinking about it with nervousness and anxiety.
It’s a process to systematically relax your body before you affirm, visualize, emotionalize and release.
In its simplest form lie down or sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes, breath deeply.
Now you can start talking to the six part of your body (arms, legs, chest and head) saying: “my left arm is becoming heavy and warm”… “my left arm is now heavy and warm”.
In 10 minutes you’ll be deeply relaxed and your mind will be in alpha state and ready for deep programming.
This technique is sometimes called auto hypnosis and it helps people overcome anxieties and helps improve physical skills by rehearing the moves.
What others say to you.
Think of what other people have told you. Or hear an audiobook saying the word “you” and saying what you desire to become.
If you enter a deep state of relaxation and then play classical music you will remember better.
You can use tapes with positive messages.
Make your own tapes!
# 17. Conquer Your Fears
Brian Tracy says that life is of the risk takers, not the security takers
Successful people base decisions on desires and dreams, underachievers on fear and worries.
The starting point to overcoming fear and developing courage is, first of all, to look at the fact that predisposes us and second to analyze our fear objectively.
We are all afraid, the question is how you deal with it. When you move towards what you’re afraid your fear diminishes and your self-confidence increases. When on the other hand you let fear dominate you, you are feeding the dragon until fear control all of your life.
Life belongs to the risk takers
#18. Apply the Law of Practice
Everything that you practice over and over again will eventually become a new habit.
This is the same for fear. If you practice doing the things you fear, fear will soon stop stopping you.
Make a habit to do the things you fear. If you do so, then the death of fear is certain.
Here are the key areas:
The courage to begin
The courage to lounge, to step out in faith, to move out of your comfort zone without guarantee of success.
A professor teaching entrepreneurship made a study, the only thing the successful ex-student had in common was that of willing to start a business.
The other who had done nothing was waiting for things to “be just right” and unwilling to launch themselves into the quarter of uncertainty.
Life belongs to risk takers, not security takers.
Life is perverse in the sense that the more security you see, the less you’ll have. The more chances you take, the more likely it’ll be you’ll have security.
The courage to endure
The second step after you begin is the courage to keep going and endure in the face of difficulties.
The courage to see yourself as you really are
The courage to accept as you are, being honest with yourself. The courage to give up all excuses and accept responsibility.
I prefer this one much more than the “self-lying” that are affirmations.
The courage of 100% commitment
Commit wholeheartedly to your job, your family, yourself.
Make a firm commitment that you will give all yourself in what you’re engaged in.
The courage to cut your losses
Brian Tracy recommends asking the following to know when it’s time to cut your losses:
knowing what I know… would I get involved with this person/relationship/business/investment… would I make this decision now again?
Admit if you’ve done a mistake
The courage to set big goals
Set big challenging goals and hold the dream of the life you want to have. You need big dreams to conquer your fears.
Crowd Out Fear
The mind can only hold one thought at a time. Have thoughts of courageousness.
Desire & believe
You have to desire to become courageous. And believe it’s possible.
Think and envision the new you
Think about how you will be, how you will act courageously. Recall all the times you were courageous.
Affirm the new you
“I am calm, in control and completely unafraid and genuine”
- define the problem you are worried about (often half the cure)
- Write the worst possible outcome
- resolve to accept the worst possible outcome (now you’re free)
- improve on that worst situation
Also read: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.
#19. Face Problems Head On (& Avoid Stress)
Brian Tracy says that are two kinds of people: those who try to forget the problems and pretend they don’t exist, and those who confront them head on and early on.
The “confronters” have lower levels of stress. People who confront problems are happier and healthier. By facing problems you will become stronger and more confident.
#20. Learn That Crisis Are A Sign of Achievement
If you push ahead for big goals, you’ll always have a crisis.
And that’s great.
The way you respond to the events in life builds upon themselves until you will steel yourself up and become unstoppable.
#21. Make People Feel Good
People will like you and help you in direct relation to the way you make them feel.
#22. Leverage The Law of Reciprocity
Brian Tracy says that whatever you do onto others, others will do onto you.
If you want others to respect you, you simply give them respect.
This is also true in the sense that we feel the same way we make other people feel.
A major area where people need help most of the times is in their self-esteem, so start by not lowering their self-esteem.
My Note: Don’t be naive and believe that doing good will get you good
This might be a good belief, unless you believe that by simply doing good, you will receive good.
If you take it to an extreme, then you, first of all, fail the law of balance, and second, you become naive You’re better off learning the law of reciprocity from the more scientifically sound social exchange theory:
#23. Learn to Provide Constructive Criticism
Not everyone can take criticism.
With weak-willed people, if you need to criticize their idea, say it in the third person: “what if that person would say so.. “.
Many people have a tendency to want to get even, even when it’s constructive criticism.
Eliminate destructive criticism
Completely, from your life. Don’t even dwell on it, don’t talk about other people negatively.
#24. Use The 7 Laws to Raise Self-Esteem:
- be agreeable, don’t focus on winning debates and fights, get along. If you really have to counter, then use the third party, put the words in someone’s else mouth, say: “what do you think our customers would say if they knew we were doing this” or “how do you think our investors would answer”
- acceptance : smile and accept people for who they are
- appreciation, say thank you
- approval, praise people as soon as they do something right, especially do so in front of others
The main cons for Brian Tracy’s teaching are:
- Lots of “self-help galore” that isn’t scientifically proven, or that’s been proven to be sup-optimal
- Sometimes naive
As Bel, a friend from the TPM’s community noted, Brian Tracy sometimes spreads some naive beliefs and notions. For example, that doing good will (necessarily) bring back good karma in your life, and that morals and ethics are crucial to personal success.
I wish that were true, but I’m afraid it might not be. Or, at least, you’re better off not banking your life on that notion that good deeds will necessarily get you back good karma and success.
I highly recommend you read the naive self-help article.
Brian Tracy is an awesome self-help author.
He is one of the self-help gurus I started with and I learned hugely from him.
As time went by and I grew my personal knowledge, I also got more and more into self-help with a critical mind.
And I realized that Brian Tracy also shares some naive advice and pop-psychology and self-help myths that aren’t always helpful for everyone.
However, Brian Tracy is still a man you can learn a lot from, and a wonderful role model.