Success Programming

Affirming Your Successful Future

Create a clear picture of your future success.

© iStockphoto/StudioThreeDots

Take a moment to imagine yourself five years from now. Where do you see yourself? What does your life look like? Is anything different, or is it more of the same? What kind of images wander through your mind as you project yourself into the future? What stories do you tell yourself about the future you?

Your future success is closely related to the hopes, dreams and images that you create in your mind now. If you believe in a successful future and create a clear picture of what you want, you're much more likely to succeed.

That's not to say that envisioning your success is a magic potion – being successful takes a lot of hard work too. However, that work is much more effective when it starts with a vision, and the process of envisioning your future success is known as 'success programming.' Henry Ford gave us a famous quote that sums up the concept of success programming perfectly: "Whether you think you can, or you think you can't... you're right."

This is why goal setting is so important. When you set concrete goals for yourself, and discuss them with your manager, supervisor, partner, parents or mentor, you are creating your image of the future. The images you hold about the future serve to guide and inspire you. They influence your present actions and decisions. This is why the power to create your future success comes from within.


Some people believe that if you envision success strongly enough, it will automatically come to be. At Mind Tools, we think that's a bit simplistic – after all, we all have the real world to contend with.

What we do believe, though, is that if you build a compelling, exciting, rationally based vision of the future, work in a determined and intelligent way to realize this vision, and react flexibly and intelligently to changing circumstances, you're likely either to realize your dream, or realize another goal at least as satisfying as the one you started out with. This isn't quite so simple, but the effect is much the same.

How to Program Yourself for Success

The term 'success programming' is used to describe a variety of activities and approaches, but most of these involve three main steps:

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