I’m an admirer of the Mr. Seth Godin principles. No one has ever defined with such perfection all that I stand for.

I’m an honest and genuine follower of someone who, among many fascinating ideas, shares that our actual public education still resonates immensely with the industrial revolution paradigm, which is the same as saying that our whole society is studying to serve others, instead of thinking, innovating, and creating breakthroughs.

You see, that’s the type of education you needed in the beginning of the 20th Century when Mr. Frederik Winslow Taylor introduced the principles of Scientific Management and the Taylorism.

Now, one of the things I’ve learned with Seth Godin was how to define “Positioning”.

I’ve studied two management degrees – a bachelor and a master. And it is curious to remember how all my teachers used to struggle in explaining what “Positioning” is, in a marketing context.

Positioning is one of the most important concepts in marketing strategy. As a matter of fact, it is likely the most important criterion in understanding a company’ success. It is inherently related to a firm’s core strategy, and its importance surpasses any product this entity might offer.

But teachers used to present the concept in ways that people wouldn’t easily understand.
Here are some examples:

1. “Positioning is the value your customers perceive from your product”
2. “Positioning is the image your brand represents to your customers”
3. And even Wikipedia mentions “Positioning is the place a product occupies in consumers’ minds relative to competing products”

To be honest, I think we can grasp what positioning is with all these ideas, but it isn’t crystal-clear.

And, then, I find Seth Godin, who simply says:

What’s the story that you want to tell with your product?

And specifically, “What’s the story you want your customers to tell their friendsabout your product?”

You see, I’m not sure if he describes this sentence as the definition of positioning. I’m even inclined to think that he would never say such thing. But in many podcasts and books, you can find this question – “What’s the story?“. And, when you give it a thought, that’s precisely what Positioning is all about.

The way you position your product in the market should be defined according to the way you imagine your customers talking about it.

It also happens in a personal perspective. Your personal positioning – or brand – is precisely what someone says about you. Imagine that a friend of your friend asks him who you are.

What will your friend say? That is your positioning.

And here are the really interesting points:

1. The way people perceive you never aligns with the way you see yourself. No one will ever be absolutely fair with you. No one knows you as well as you do, no one is with you 100% of the time, but you.

2. Also, a study has shown (I actually don’t remember where I found it) that the people that are happier are the ones who can have a more correlated alignment between the story they tell themselves and what others perceive.

And if you ask me, the best and most genuine way to find happiness is to tell yourself great stories every single day, independently of others noticing it or not.

That’s what entrepreneurs do, by the way.

We tell ourselves stories that the large majority of the society don’t want to hear. Unique stories that lead us to see the world in a different angle. While the vast majority of people will tend to think that when you achieve greatness, happiness, or the so-called “success”, it derives from being at the right place and at the right time, having a “caring friend” who opened some doors, or simply luck, we understand there’s a world of hard-work and great mindset beneath those achievements.

They will never see the stories that you’ve been telling yourself all your life and that shaped you into a solid, hopeful, dreamer, and believer. While they were thinking about what their boss likes and avoiding getting fired, you’ve been thinking of how to create something unique, how to add value to people’s lives, how to have an impact in the world.

So, what stories are these?

What are the stories that you ought to tell yourself every single day, so you’ll never quit in your journey for a better and more fulfilling life?

For years, I’ve been studying success, entrepreneurship, self-development, and strategy. And I thought it would be of great value to you if I could sum up the best four mental hacks I’ve ever studied, and that ultimately changed the entire course of my life.

They don’t matter because they changed my life. They matter because they can change yours.

#1: The Rule of 5 by John C. Maxwell

One of the best pieces of advice came from John Maxwell. And I’m sure this is unjust to hundreds or even thousands of great advice this man has to offer you. But if there’s one I will always keep close to me, it is the power of Momentum – The Rule of 5.

Mr. John Maxwell starts by asking you the following questions – slightly adapted version from what I recall.

“If you have an ax and your goal is to cut a tree, can you be sure that by the end of the day, that tree will fall?”

Nope. Especially if it is a big tree, it might take years to cut. You cannot do it in one day.

“What if every single day you pick up your ax and you hit five times the tree? What do you think will eventually happen?”

The tree will fall.

The difference between the forever-wannabes (or as Brian Tracy says “The SomedayIsland”) and those who actually achieve things is created through consistency and momentum, and does not rely on ephemeral impetus.

#2: Locus of Control

There are two types of people: those who have internal locus of control and those who have external locus of control.

By itself, the locus of control means the degree to which people believe that they have control over the outcome of events in their lives, as opposed to external forces beyond their control.

The big chunk of society will always find an excuse for anything that happens with them. If they aren’t promoted, it is certainly because of the supervisor’s shortsightedness. If their son has a terrible attitude at school, undoubtedly it is because of the teachers’ poor education standards. If they don’t feel as accomplished as they should be, it is because of external forces that limit their time and choices.

You can easily identify this tendency in a normal chat with someone, by paying close attention to the way they speak. Even if they aren’t excusing themselves, you will see that people with external locus of control tend to externalize the responsibility, even in what concerns to other people.

If you’re speaking about someone who is really “successful” – whatever that means – the person with lack of internal control can easily find a reason to the other’s success: it can be richness, abnormal lifestyle conditions, or luck, but the reason is always related to something that this person cannot have. Because if he had the same conditions, obviously, he would do exactly the same or even better.

The entrepreneurs see the world differently.

They pull toward themselves the responsibility for everything that happens in their life. From the good to the bad stuff, everything is on us. Even if ultimately there’s an outcome that doesn’t have a direct correlation to this kind of person, an individual with internal locus of control will quickly think on what he could have done better.

You see, the biggest story that any entrepreneur will ever tell to himself is that he can achieve anything, but it will mostly depend on his own capability to make things happen, and not on external and unpredictable events.

#3: Reap What You Sow

This is an old one.

Many times related to “God’s Justice”, the reap what you sow principle illustrates an astonishing truth about how why “what goes around comes around” exist.

Some say “You can’t litter negativity everywhere and then wonder why you’ve got a trashy life”.

Others say “Life is an ECHO. What you send out comes back. What you sow, you will reap. What you give, you get. What you see in others exist in you.”

Now, even though I’m aware this principle can easily sound cliché, the fact is that it has really changed my perspective toward life, as I think it can also change yours.

It is a principle that not only provides the basis for delaying gratification and developing long-term perspective, but it also relates to the Law of Attraction – what you see is what you get.

If I may tell you my personal experience, prior to 2014 I used to be quite negative and critical. I used to think that I could spend all my day expressing my criticism for everything around me, from people’s behaviors, to the politics corruption, to the type of conversations we have, etc., etc.

However, what I didn’t know is that as long as I had that angle, that was what I was planting. So, “life” – if there’s such thing – was only bringing me more of the things I was constantly looking for: more things to criticize, dumber behaviors around me to comment, more corruption news to piss me off, and so on.

So, from the moment I started studying these concepts, namely the reap what you sow principle, everything changed in my life. I am suddenly capable of achieving my goals – and I started failing a lot more often too. Go figure. 😉

I’m a much more confident and positive person, which naturally reflects on the way other people treat and offer to help me. Obviously, this is a mere consequence of my initial predisposition to create a better world and to solve some of the problems people have.

I’ve changed my perspective from a “smart yet salty guy” to a wannabe leader who does not embrace and resign with the current status quo, and who wants to inspire people and drive change in the world.

If you are turned toward failures, concerns, and excuses, it is only natural that you won’t see the opportunities passing by on your back.

But if you turn around and become receptive to those opportunities, then, my friend, great things will happen to you.

#4: Theory of Chaos

Finally, I’d like to share with you the true meaning of the Chaos Theory.

Some call it the “Butterfly effect” because it is based on this idea that a single flap of butterfly wings would be enough to raise a storm at the other side of the globe.

So, let’s understand what is the Theory of Chaos, how can you easily find it in your day-to-day, and what does it mean when we put your entire life in perspective.

This theory was first studied in the field of weather. Now, I won’t pretend to be a theoretical expert, so please pardon my lack of scientific knowledge. For our purpose, the important is that you understand that a minimal, tiny and minuscule difference in the calculation of weather was leading to two radically opposite scenarios: a beautiful sunny day or a terrible storm.

And why does this happen? Well, because the tiniest of the events causes a chain of reactions in hundreds, thousands, and millions of other events that eventually lead to something huge.

You see, in life, we are all connected, even if you don’t think so. Everything you do in life, and everyone with whom you interact play a role in a big plan for your life. Every single event is connected.

It is because of an advice your parents gave you when you couldn’t even understand it, that you later in life develop the right mindset to achieve what others can’t. And this might happen 20, 30, 40 years later.

This is the reason why some of the best and the worst things on earth happen. Everything and everyone has a starting point. And all we make from the starting point leads us to where we are today.

Now, think about your life. I know it is not an easy task, but can you think back on when you were a child and see how the decisions that you made, the advice that you received, and the mistakes that you did have all led you to where you are today?

Can you now understand how this phenomenon will also impact your future?

Some day later, when you are 80, 90 years old – I don’t know, it is even possible that you live to 120 nowadays – you will look back at your life path. You will be able to connect all the dots.

And the question is: will you have achieved what you originally desired? Do the dots connect to something you truly believe was your life purpose?

Final story

I wouldn’t dare to tell you to follow these stories, to trust them blindly, or to assume that you don’t know some of them already. All I wanted was to share with you what I deeply believe can be the turning tide in anyone’s life that is on the cusp of taking action.

But above anything else, I would like you to think thoroughly about what we’ve talked here. I’m sure that by now you already know what you want to do, so it is time to implement it.

The purpose of this message is not to teach you what to do or pretend to give you some quick schemes and shortcuts.

My purpose was to share with you what are the stories that – I’d humbly say – most of the entrepreneurs, innovators, creators, and game changers have been telling themselves for centuries.

It’s not like we are aware that right now I’m applying the Theory of Chaos in my own life, or that tomorrow evening I will be practicing internal locus of control.

That’s not the point.

If anything, this message purpose is to help you solidifying the most crucial and core values that you already have, so that from this moment on you have a clear understanding that everything you do matters.

And if you already know what you want to have accomplished, when you look back at the end of your life, please do yourself a favor and take action today.

Because life’s really too short.

And nope, it is not a cliché.

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