One of the important ways in which successful people differ from unsuccessful people is that successful people tend to know who they are and what they believe in. Their clarity with regard to their goals, values, and ideals allows them to achieve success where others—including other people endowed with no greater assets or opportunities—fail.

Author Brian Tracy describes a person’s personality as being constructed of five concentric rings. Each ring is associated with an attribute that leads to the next. Values constitute the first ring.

Tracy helps readers identify their values by instructing them to:

1. Make a list of the three to five most important values, in order to identify what they really believe in and stand for.

2. List the qualities and values other people associate with them.

3. Identify the most important values guiding their relationships with other people in their lives.

4. Identify their values regarding money and financial success, and think about whether they practice those values daily.

5. Describe their picture of the ideal person.

6. Write an obituary as they would like others to think of them after their death.

7. Identify the changes they could make in their behavior that would help them live in greater harmony with their values.

Values determine beliefs. As Tracy puts it, “You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.”

Beliefs form a person’s self-concept, the basic operating system of that person’s being. Every thought, feeling, and action a person has—and everything a person achieves in life—can be tied to his or her self-concept.

Beliefs determine expectations. Negative people have negative expectations. Rather than expect success, they expect failure and disappointment.

In contrast, people with positive values believe that they are good people. They therefore expect good things to happen to them. This expectation gives them a positive, future-oriented attitude that endows them with the ability to see the good in people and situations.

Expectations determine attitude. Positive people have a positive attitude because they have positive expectations. They expect things to go their way—and they generally do.

People with a positive attitude are people whom others want to do business with, which partly explains why a positive attitude is so important to success. In contrast, the negative expectations that negative people have create negative attitudes. Negative people expect things not to work out. They anticipate failure and defeat—and they are generally right.

Attitude determines the actions a person takes. Positive people are doers. In contrast, negative people have plans that somehow never take shape. They see obstacles where others see opportunities.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Johnson is a co-editor and online content manager of Every week, it sends out to subscribers a summary of a book chosen from among the hundreds of new books released in the United States. Simply go to for more details.