Few of us realise that our thoughts have power. This implies that your habits and patterns of thinking shape your personality, drive your behaviour and define your level of performance.

Effectively, how successful you are in your career is very much within your control. If you want to be a better leader, professional or executive, you have to change the way you think. Your thoughts and feelings can impact your life.

This is not a new idea. Many writers and motivational speakers expound this theory in one way or another.

If you accept this premise, then you have two choices: Either you can control your thoughts or you can let them control you.

For example, if you are someone who easily succumbs to negativity, it should be no surprise that your negative thoughts produce negative behaviours.

If you are prone to thinking about worst-case scenarios, you can become fearful, timid and indecisive — qualities that will hinder your career from moving forward.

Change your thought process

It does not cost any more to think positively and optimistically than to think negatively and pessimistically — and the payoff is so much better. Positive thinking produces positive results.

Thinking constructively and confidently can excite, energise and embolden you to act resolutely, take risks, try the untried and set goals beyond the ordinary and the comfortable.

It helps you step outside your comfort zone. It also promotes resiliency when problems arise.

Positive-thinking individuals take the lead and do not wait to be told what to do.

Consequently, successful lives and careers are largely self-fulfilling prophecies.

Expectations are a compelling force that transform reality and make things happen. Your thoughts are the building blocks of your future.

The law of attraction

Think about problems all the time and you will attract more problems.

Think about winning, however, and you will attract victories. The more you concentrate on how to achieve success, the greater your chances of success.

This means that you, your life and your career are not accidents, but rather the results of conscious thought and faith, or lack of it.

All the world’s great tightrope artists understand that as long as they are positively focused on successfully walking the wire, they are fine. But if they begin to think negatively by concentrating on not falling, they are much more likely to have an accident.

In sports, there are many stories of Olympic athletes who won gold medals when no one but themselves thought they could.

The same principle applies in the working world.

How Roger Bannister ran

Everybody thought it was impossible at the time, but through his athletic ability and technical know-how, British athlete Roger Bannister was able to smash the four-minute mile barrier 57 years ago.

In 1946, Bannister went to Oxford University to study medicine. He devoted all his spare time to the track and became an accomplished middle distance runner.

The fascination for all middle distance runners then was the four-minute mile.

At that time, it was widely assumed that to run a mile (1.6km) in under four minutes was humanly and medically impossible.

The four-minute mile was considered not merely unreachable but, according to physiologists of the time, dangerous to the health of any athlete who attempted to reach it.

Bannister painstakingly researched the mechanical aspects of running and developed scientific training methods to help himself run faster.

He complemented this with his knowledge of medicine and the working of the human body, especially the heart and arteries.

On May 6, 1954 at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, Bannister ran the first sub-four-minute mile in 3min 59.4sec.

You can make it happen

Thoughts do not come to life by themselves. It takes purposeful action as well.

Like Bannister, you need to believe in the possible and apply technical know-how relevant to your vocation.

Success requires more than wishful thinking. Just as plans without proactive action remain only dreams, thoughts without action are merely unfulfilled promises.

Thinking positively and acting with tenacity can make you a better individual and boost your career success.

As Banister said: “The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win.”