Huffpost Healthy Living

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Noah St. John Headshot

The Most Annoying Success Cliche of All Time

Posted: Updated:

"Whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. Believe in yourself enough to accept the idea that you have an equal right to it." - Diane Sawyer

Back when I was struggling to get ahead in life, I spent much of my hard-earned money on books, audios and seminars that claimed to hold the "secrets of success".

And the one cliche I heard over and over again from the people who had "made it" was that the secret to success is to "believe in yourself."

But the sucky thing was that they never told us HOW to believe in ourselves. So it was basically like saying to us, "Well, if you don't already believe in yourself, you're screwed!"

Yet, the more I thought about it (and started writing books on the subject), we all already believe in ourselves.

Right now, you believe SOMETHING about yourself.

The problem is, most people think they CAN'T do it, are NOT good enough, or are NOT capable of handling the problems they face.

So, the problem is NOT that we don't believe in ourselves. The problem is that we believe LOUSY things about ourselves!

For example, let's take someone with a very low opinion of themselves. Okay, like, let's look at ME as I was during all those long, lean years.

I believed in myself all right. The problem was that I believed I couldn't do it... that I would never make it... that everyone else was better, smarter, and more capable than me.

We all believe in something about ourselves. It's just that most of us have a terrifically negative self-belief.

So when all those "gurus" told us that the secret of success is to "believe in yourself", once again they were spouting half-truths.

Of course there's nothing wrong with believing in yourself. It's just that there's nothing helpful contained in that sentence!

It would be like you coming up to me and saying, "I want to get a house." And I said to you, "Okay, go get one."

You'd be left there thinking, "Well, what do you want me to DO?"

That's why the statement "believe in yourself" has to be the most annoying success cliche of all time.

In an earlier article, I talked about the four main reasons people develop a negative self-belief:

1. Lack of positive mirroring.

2. Lack of experience.

3. Lack of self-confidence.

4. Lack of empowering daily habits.

It stands to reason that in order to build strong, positive self-belief, you'd have to counteract those things. And you'd be right.

So here are four things you can do starting right now, to build positive self-belief:

1. Find your Loving Mirrors.

A Loving Mirror is someone who believes in you before you believe in yourself.

Every one of the Naturals of Success had a Loving Mirror who believed in them first. Whether or not you grew up with positive mirroring, you can still have it now.

Make a list of 5-10 people you would like to mirror you. Then, contact them and ask how you can support one another to reach your individual goals.

2. Fail faster.

You've heard the cliche, "If something's worth doing, it's worth doing right the first time." Wrong!

I've interviewed dozens of multi-millionaires, and every one of them - by their own admission - has had many more failures than successes.

So if you're afraid you're going to fail, realize that you are going to fail. And just get over it. That's the best way to get experience under your belt.

3. Trust your gut.

Are you in the habit of trusting your intuition? Or do you discount it and then kick yourself for not listening?

We all have intuition, just like we all have muscles. But just like a muscle, your intution will only get stronger as you use it.

Keep ignoring your gut and you'll find that it gets weaker and weaker. But keep trusting and acting on your gut - even when it doesn't make "logical" sense" - and you'll find things often work out in amazing ways.

4. Document your Successes.

Just like we have to give ourselves permission to fail, we also must give ourselves Permission to Succeed.

For example, every night before going to bed, write down 5 things you accomplished that day.

Keep a Success Journal and write down what you did. This will focus your mind on what you've done - and the more you focus on that, the more you'll realize you can do what you set out to do.

Put Positive Mirroring with Experience, add Self-Confidence plus Empowering Daily Habits... and you've got a powerful recipe for Unstoppable Self-Belief.

So the next time you hear one of the "gurus" say, "You've got to believe in yourself!", you can say to them...

"Ha! I already do!"

* * *
Noah St. John, Ph.D. is the #1 bestselling author of The Secret Code of Success: 7 Hidden Steps to More Wealth and Happiness (HarperCollins).

Stephen Covey says, "Noah's Secret Code of Success is about discovering within ourselves what we should have known all along - we are truly powerful beings with unlimited potential."

Noah is the world's most-quoted expert on how to annihilate your head trash. Get the first 3 chapters (FREE) at

From Our Partners