Mental Pushups Article by: Jim Rohrbach

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” Proverbs 23:7

“Repetition of affirmations of orders to your subconscious mind is the only known method of voluntary development of the emotion of faith.” Why did Napoleon Hill make this powerful statement early in his classic 1937 book Think and Grow Rich? Hill was the first author to introduce “the science of personal achievement” to the business world. He studied over 500 highly successful entrepreneurs in the early 1900s (including Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and John D. Rockefeller … these were no flash-in-the-pan characters!) and concluded that each had what he called a “success consciousness” — they literally thought their way to riches.

I believe Hill was aware that most ordinary people did not possess this mind set, but he insisted a person could develop it through the use of “autosuggestion” — the daily repetition of powerful positive statements to program the mind for achieving desired outcomes. Thus, he was an early advocate of daily affirmations.

Many of you may recall a bit from the TV show Saturday Night Live called “Daily Affirmations,” in which comedian Al Franken assumed a character named Stuart Smalley and made a mockery of affirmations by repeatedly using the phrase, “I’m smart enough, I’m good enough, and gosh darn it, people like me!” While I personally found this sketch hilarious, I’m afraid it may have turned a lot of people off to this fundamental success technique. No less of an authority than Brian Tracy states, “My favorite combination of affirmations, which I’ve used for years, is, “I like myself and I love my work!’ ” Tracy goes on to say, “Controlling your inner dialogue, the way you talk to yourself, is a key to peak performance. It is the way you overcome difficulties and keep yourself feeling positive most of the time.” (I like that he uses the phrase “most of the time” — it indicates that no one, not even Mr. Tracy, walks on water.) So who are you going to believe about using daily affirmations — a fictional comedy character, or one of the world’s greatest success teachers?

Here’s a definition of affirmations: Positive statements, used in the present tense as if they’re already a fact, which you consciously repeat to yourself on a daily basis to redefine your personal belief system. Thus, you create new positive self-fulfilling prophecies. Just think of them as mental pushups.

Affirmations are by no means anything new. They have been referred to as “positive thinking,” “positive selftalk,” or even prayer — all religions appear to have affirmations in their scripture. The Old and New Testaments are chock full of them — “As thou thinkest, so thou art,” “Ask, and ye shall receive,” etc. I like to refer to affirmations as “attitudinal pushups” — when used consistently they will create an unstoppable positive mental attitude (“attitudinal fitness,” if you will) that is essential for your success. Repetition is the key to allowing these positive statements to reprogram your mind, just as you learned your multiplication tables in grade school.

Here’s the recipe for creating “custommade” affirmations for yourself:
On a piece of paper, write down your biggest self-limiting beliefs — negative thoughts you seem to repeat over and over in your mind.
Now write THE EXACT POSITIVE OPPOSITE of these beliefs,
a. using an “I” statement (“I am,” “I have,” or “I can”), and
b. putting the sentence in THE PRESENT TENSE, as if it’s already a fact.

Some examples:
Self-Limiting Belief: “I’m doing great in my job and I’m making great money, but it is not my passion. I can’t just quit, and if I do quit, who is to say that my passion will make me as successful as I desire?”

Pushup: “I am now attracting a job/career/business situation that perfectly matches my passion and ambitions!” Notice how this statement positively contradicts the selflimiting belief. This creates a choice of which thought you want to believe, the first step in creating the possibility of success. In the words of Henry Ford, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right!” And, yes — you cynics out there — this is just like the story of The Little Engine That Could! (If you happen to be cynical, you have already created a selffulfilling prophecy that says, “I’m The Little Engine That Can’t,” haven’t you?)

Self-Limiting Belief: “I’m going nowhere in my job. There doesn’t seem to be a next step. I’m not growing my skills, and I’m not utilizing my talents. And, I’m not getting paid what I could be if I could contribute at the level I know I’m capable of.”

Pushup: “I am now manifesting my ideal job situation in which I am paid according to my many skills, talents, and contributions!” Just the willingness to give up your negative selfassessment is an important first step in developing attitudinal fitness.

Self-Limiting Belief: “My company is struggling. If I knew it would be this hard to start a company, I never would have started it. When are things going to turn the corner to make this venture lucrative and exciting?”

Pushup: “I have the vision, the strength, and the courage to take my company to great success!” You’ve heard the old cliché “water seeks its own level.” As you upgrade the quality of thoughts you hold about yourself, you will begin to draw winners to you. And as you become more positive, some of the “negative” people you know (if they stick around at all) will soon become more positive. And you’ll realize that ALL relationships are mirrors, reflecting back what you are putting out. (Notice I include exclamation points at the end of each affirmation for emphasis. The idea is for you to literally FEEL and BELIEVE each affirmation is true for you NOW, in the present time — regardless of your current situation. In other words, “You’ll see it when you believe it!” Not the other way around, as you may have been erroneously taught.)

The Final Step: Begin to repeat these positive statements at least 10 times each and every day. By working with your custom affirmations in this manner, I guarantee you’ll change your thoughts about yourself, and thus change your life. I’ve personally experienced the beneficial results of this daily exercise, and I’ve come to believe: The most basic “secret” to success is to LITERALLY raise the quality of the conversation you hold with yourself.

Success Skills Coach Jim Rohrbach, “The Personal Fitness Trainer for Your Business,” coaches business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professionals on growing their clientele. He has helped hundreds of individuals to achieve their goals since he developed his first coaching program in 1982. To arrange a Free Consultation with Jim, go to