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The Key to Success. Is It Time to Reverse Conventional Thinking?

Updated on August 2, 2016

Do you measure success (yours or someone else's) in a particular way? By how much stuff they have/how slim they have become/what brands they have in their homes?

This way of looking at things is all about 'have'. There’s no problem with that, but there are 2 ways of getting to ‘have’.

In our goal-oriented society, the traditional way of thinking about success, happiness or fulfilment is to put the goal first - eg 'when I have the job of my dreams...'. Then we work backwards to what we imagine success will bring – in the example ‘...I’ll be happy’.

At school we’re taught about all the studying we must do in order to have ‘the job of our dreams’. Having, doing and being or doing, having, being are not bad ways of thinking, and they serve a purpose, but what if there was another, perhaps better way?

Charles Haanel took these traditional ideas and turned them upside-down. In the early 20th century, this businessman wrote about his ideas in his book 'The Master Key System'. The concept of Be-Do-Have was one of the secrets.

It's a concept that has inspired 100s of famously successful people, including Bill Gates.

A different way of thinking

When we learn a new way of thinking about a familiar concept, we need to unlearn the old way. So open your mind and take any ifs, buts and what-ifs and put them away for the moment. Now think of a challenge or problem you have at the moment. The one that makes you think 'if only -' or 'when I/we -'.

The reverse of conventional Have-Do-Be is Be-Do-Have.

This means, as you've probably guessed, we need to think first about who we need to be in order to do the things we need to do so that we can have the result we want.

For example, conventional thinking is that if you want to lose weight you need to diet and do more exercise so that you'll have a slimmer/healthier body.

Well that's fine but it's often a long haul. If you think of yourself as BEING a slim/healthier person right now you take on the mindset of that person and do the things they do. What do they eat? What exercise do they take? And this leads you to the slim/healthy body you're after.

If you need to ask slim friends about their relationships with food and exercise then do that research.

The same is true in career and business. Who do you need to be in order to easily do the things you need to do so that you can have the success you want to have? Do you need to be more focused, more determined, a better negotiator, a better public speaker? Do the research and find a mentor who will help and whose behaviour you can model: if you want success, be a successful person right now.

How does a smoker stop smoking? Celebrated author Alan Carr says you think of yourself as a non-smoker and therefore follow the non-smoker's behaviour.

Does Be-Do-Have always work?

Bad things happen to good people. Unruly hormones get in the way of weight loss, an addictive personality makes you smoke and your company doesn't recognise your hard work.

Be-Do-Have isn't a quick fix - it takes time to change a life-long pattern of thinking - and sometimes the gods laugh at our attempts by putting hurdles in our paths.

But consider if you're being patient enough with yourself, whether you're missing opportunities that you should be more open to or if you need to go back to the beginning and stop kidding yourself over who you need to be or who you think you're being.

Are you realistic with your 'have' outcomes? Do you need to modify your goal or be more flexible?

Act 'as if'

The 'act as if' principle is at the heart of the Be-Do-Have theory. Be the person you need to be so that you act as if you already have success, because that person will make the right decisions and take the right actions.


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    • Temirah profile image

      Temirah 6 years ago

      Thanks again for your comments Bud. We're fans of Napolean Hill in our house too. He has a lot to offer - there's so much to learn in life so every day's a school day!

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 6 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Very cool. I've scanned through that book, but haven't fully read it yet. It's certainly interesting reading, though. I also really like Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

      This is a very good hub. I think that formula is really essential, and understanding that be comes before do and before have really helps people sort out confusion on how to go about obtaining something.

    • Temirah profile image

      Temirah 6 years ago

      I'm glad you liked it Alladream (like your new avatar too). Thanks for your comment.

    • Alladream74 profile image

      Victor Mavedzenge 6 years ago from Oakland, California

      A good hub Temirah. I like the concept of Be-Do-Have. Thanks

    • Temirah profile image

      Temirah 6 years ago

      Oohh no, nothing that's worthwhile is ever easy - you're so right!

    • profile image

      Logicool 6 years ago

      I like it, but as I always say, Just because something is simple it doesn't mean it's easy.