Research by leading universities in the field of cognitive and behavioral science proves the existence of so called “automatic thoughts”, i.e. thoughts that come to mind involuntarily and effortlessly as an automatic response to certain stimuli. These are the thoughts that ultimately determine whether you'll fail or succeed.

The average person processes over 60'000 separate thoughts per day, of which 90% occur subconsciously. Automatic thoughts are produced by our subconscious mind and continue to execute without the involvement of our conscious mind. Think about how many things you just do day in day out without even consciously thinking about it. These automatic thoughts are like mini computer programs in our subconscious minds. They automatically come into action as a response to stimuli in our environment.

While many automatic thoughts are positive, some of them can create undesirable limitations in terms of our ability to evolve and progress – you could call them “success blockers”. They simply prevent us from progressing or being successful in certain areas. Automatic thoughts determine your thought patterns, attitudes and behaviors. The reactions we then observe from your environment validate your thoughts.

Certain negative “automatic thoughts” are triggered by common negative deeply rooted belief and thought patterns with groups of people who experience the same or similar challenges and limitations. Conversely, observations of successful people reveal that many of their successes can be attributed to a distinct set of positive cognitive patterns in their belief system.

Thanks to continued research, we now have much more accurate insight into positive as well as negative cognitive patterns. Identifying and recognizing these very patterns forms the foundation of effective cognitive conditioning. Let's have a look at some success enabling patterns:

Success Enabling Thought Patterns

• Believing in your Unique Skills, Talents and Capabilities - Believing in our own innate skills, talents and capabilities is not only important from a professional development perspective; it also enables you to align your uniqueness in its entirety with your potential. Several studies reveal that we are the happiest and most effective when we can utilize our individual abilities to the highest degree possible. The objective is to allow you to raise beyond your current limitations and maximize your personal potential.

• Viewing Life as a “Platform” for Opportunities- Viewing life as a big platform of opportunities opens doors for opportunities to materialize. It focuses our minds on the possibilities rather than the limitations. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have a disproportionate amount of luck? They seem to be at the right place at the right time or meet the right people at the right time. The truth is that it isn’t mere luck, most of these people consciously as well as unconsciously look for opportunities and find them, because their mind is open and receptive to opportunities.

• Accepting and Expecting Positive Change - Change has a tendency to reward people who embrace it. Welcoming change also means having the courage to explore new areas of potential success. An open attitude toward change is essential for positive change to take place.

• Feeling Empowered and in Charge - Accepting responsibility for your own destiny and feeling empowered to shape your destiny according to your ideas is a key success factor. Successful people don’t look for other people or circumstances to shape their destiny. They actively take control and create their destiny.

• Self Confidence and Self Esteem - A healthy level of self confidence and self esteem is not only necessary, it is essential for any kind of success we seek achieve. Only when you’re comfortable with who you are and confident in what you can do, will other people believe in you and your abilities. This applies both to your personal as well as your professional life.

• Living with Purpose - All successful and generally happy people display high levels of purpose and action orientation. They keep their goals in mind, act on their ideas, follow through with their plans and stay the course until they achieve what they want.

• Accepting and Offering Help - Many people have a hard time asking others for help. They confuse accepting help from others with weakness. This couldn’t be farther from reality. Most successful people know about the importance of seeking and accepting help. They achieve their goals by leveraging other people’s skills and strengths that they themselves lack. At the same time they offer their help to others and create mutually beneficial relationships.

• Seeing Setbacks as Opportunities for Progression - Most successful people will tell you that they have had their share of setbacks. What sets them them apart is that they accept setbacks as a natural phenomenon and have the ability to stay focused on their long term goals. Setbacks are often accompanied by opportunities and it is key that you continue to look for these opportunities while you experience setbacks.

Do you "own" all these success enablers? If not, focus on adopting the ones you don't own and continue to build on the others.

While adopting positive success enabling cognitive patterns is extremely important in terms of reaching your goals, it is of equal importance to eliminate limiting thought patterns (“success blockers”) that continue to stand in the way of personal growth, progress and success. The following is only a partial list of typical “success blockers":
Negative Thought Patterns

• Feeling "not good enough" - One of the key reasons why most people never reach their full potential is rooted in various forms of mostly unconscious beliefs of not being good enough. Although most people don’t like to admit it, it continues to lead the charts of top “success blockers”.

• Resistance to Change - Resisting change is mostly coupled with fear of the unknown. It is often evidenced by people who despite their unhappiness with their situation experience resistance to exploring opportunities for change. This resistance to change often leads to missed opportunities for advancement.

• Dependencies or Co-dependencies - Perceptions of dependencies and co-dependencies come in many forms. The result, however, is mostly the erroneous belief that our happiness and success is dependent on certain people, actions or circumstances outside of our control.

• Blaming Others for Missed Opportunities - We’ve all experienced instances where we thought other people stood in the way of our success. If these experiences turn into core beliefs that we carry with us, consciously or unconsciously, we not only create excuses for not progressing, but also obstacles to recognize ways to work around them and achieve our goals.

• Negative Expectations - The are multiple roots causing attitudes of negative expectations. Negative expectations in life tend to create self fulfilling prophesies. If our mindset reflects an attitude of “I can’t possibly do or achieve that”, chances are that these predictions will become a reality. People with generally negative expectations often feel that life is a constant struggle and the next negative event is just around the corner. Imagine an athlete going into the Olympic games thinking “I’m can’t possibly win”, or a CEO of a company thinking “I don’t believe we’ll ever succeed here”. Releasing negative expectations is key to any form of success you may want to achieve.

• I-don’t-deserve Attitudes - I-don’t-deserve attitudes are often deeply rooted beliefs connected with beliefs of inferiority. Because we unconsciously believe that we don’t deserve to strive for or achieve certain things, we either “go into the game” with low expectations for success, or often don’t even try. The result is often that we simply miss out.

• Being a Victim of Circumstances - Victims of circumstances tend to accept unhappiness, mediocrity or failure as part of their destiny. Victims of circumstances often feel helpless, they think cannot or don’t know how to do or achieve certain things. They often miss to realize that they have the power to change their circumstances. Therefore, they don’t empower themselves to take control in shaping their circumstances according to their wishes.

• Procrastination and Passivity - Positive change always requires an orientation toward action. The best objectives and plans don’t mean much if there’s lack of action and follow-through. And yet, one of the top reasons most people don’t progress or fail to achieve their goals is because they don’t follow through.

• Earning Approval or Love of Others - Cognitive patterns reflecting the necessity to earn the approval or love of other people can create serious limitations on many fronts. These attitudes divert our thoughts, behaviors and actions from our own individual needs and goals to doing to what’s good for someone else. We can be supportive and helpful to others while staying true to ourselves.

• Rational Excuses for Irrational Behavior - Rational excuses for irrational behavior come to light when we find “good reasons” for why certain things can’t be done, or why we do things that shouldn't be done. Excuses, even if packaged in rational sounding reasons, can’t hide the fact that we’re still looking at excuses. As long as we believe these “good excuses” positive change cannot be initiated.

Do any of the above patterns sound familiar to you? If you’re like most people, chances are that at least some of the above “success blockers” are currently preventing you from advancing. Make a conscious effort to address them.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change", Wayne Dyer

Published with permission - ©2009 Inspirized ®,

Author's Bio: 

Marc Frey has published several articles on how our thoughts affect our behavior. He and his team at Inspirized have spent years on researching both positive and negative cognitive and behavioral patterns and developed a unique and effective mind training approach. To learn more about the effects of positive thinking patterns on our behavior and how to train your mind to succeed visit