Beliefs, Intentions & Imagination

I had the most interesting friend when I lived in Dayton, Ohio. As a former Navy SEAL, he’d curse like a sailor and always claim he spoke “American,” and never apologized for any non-PC opinions. He spoke as if he knew all the answers of the world. At times of self-doubt, he was always a great sounding board for my concerns or problems.  He was huge on the following system for achievement:  mastering your beliefs, intentions and imagination.


As soon as I’d begin to whine, he’d smack me upside the head with a dose of “you are CREATING your own problems and worries.” I always knew he was right, but it’s hard to wrap your head around that your own “beliefs” are what causing pain in your life. If you believe you’re not going to find a job, you’re not going to find a job. If you believe you’re not going to find a woman, you’re not going to find a woman. If you believe the world is going to end and resources are scarce, your potential to reap opportunities the earth has to offer is going to be diminished.

When you lie in bed at night, begin to think about your beliefs about yourself, others in your life, and your situation. You may be shocked at some of the things you uncover. Things that were wholly untrue that are restricting your trust in yourself and others.

I’m not advocating “a fake it until you make it” attitude. I’m advocating a “I’m as smart and resourceful as anyone else who has been successful” attitude. If you’re stuck, action is the antidote. Start trying things. Start meeting new people. Start investing in yourself, your future, and others. Life is abundant. To build courage, start doing courageous things – stand up for yourself. Introduce yourself to people that intimidate you, and look them in the eye.


However, embracing a mindset with little direction is like “having the right to vote with no one to vote for in an election.” Immortal Technique. That’s why your intentions become important. For most men, they are pretty typical: aggregate resources, procreate, protect and serve family. This is not to say they are not going to be different for you.

You must be honest with yourself – don’t assume you’re chasing money when you’re really chasing fame, women or respect amongst your peers. And vice versa for all those situations. Different motivators, different people. This allows you to determine the path of least resistance. Lots of people struggle doing things they don’t want to do deep down because they think that it is the path to get what they don’t really want. As the old axiom goes, “Be careful what you wish for.” Make sure you know what your wishes actually are.


Creativity, or lack thereof, can be a very limiting factor in success. Because there are many paths to fame, money, power, love, one’s imagination becomes crucial for formulating paths and even seeing yourself as a famous, rich, powerful or loving person.  You will have cognitive dissonance if you attempt to achieve things or do things that your mind CANNOT see you doing.  This will make it difficult for you to truly perform at those things.  While action is the antidote to problems, your mind needs to be on board.

Eventually your envisioned self will match your actions and your actions will match your envisioned self, but this takes work and practice.  You must go out and do the things you imagine yourself doing…standing up for yourself, doing the right thing, and so on.

Productive achievement is a consequence and an expression of health and self-esteem, not its cause.

-Nathaniel Branden