How to prime your thinking for success

The motivational speaker tells you success is easy. Just hustle more, visualize yourself succeeding, and really want it.

Your parents tell you to play it safe. Dreams are risky business — best left for people who are already rich and connected. “Welcome to the real world,” dad grumbles.

It’s the tension as old as time — the naïve optimist versus the hesitant pessimist.

When these two mentalities butt heads, as they’re seemingly obligated to do, which should you listen to? Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Is there a middle ground?

These are crucial questions because how you think impacts your choices. And your choices over time play a huge part in whether you succeed or fail.

Let’s examine both worldviews more closely.

The Optimist tells you anything is possible.
Your goals, even the big ones you dream about — but never mention — are well within your potential. The Optimist is right.

The Pessimist tells you the path looks steep and difficult.
You’re likely to start slow, fail often, and you’ll have to improve your skills to overcome the challenges you’ll face. The Pessimist is right.

The key is finding balance

If you want to reach your goals as a leader, entrepreneur, blogger or writer, both optimism and pessimism are indispensable points of view.

Optimism without pessimism is a recipe for disappointment.
Success demands hard work. When goals go unmet and progress seems microscopic, the Optimist will be shocked and dismayed, tempted to give up.

Pessimism without optimism is a recipe for regret.
Success is doable. By never trying, Pessimists never fail, but they also never succeed at the goals they dream about.

Optimists and Pessimists are roadkill lining the path to success. But when these two points of view make a baby, a powerful mindset is born.

Of course, I’m talking about realism, but what is a Realist?
Much like “activist” or “expert,” the title is often claimed by people who don’t deserve it — generally pessimists in disguise.

The goal of realism is to see things as they truly are.

The Realist knows success is possible and opportunity is everywhere, which gives her the courage to try new things.

She also knows big goals, such as launching a business or writing a book, require hard work, which prepares her to endure setbacks and disappointments.

Memorize these 4 thoughts to strengthen the healthy balance of realism in your thinking:

  1. I won’t be good at most things on the first try, but I can improve at almost anything through purposeful practice.

  2. I’m likely to start slow on my journey to success, but that’s normal. I can choose to press on. The experts I admire walked the exact same path and emerged victorious.

  3. Because I’m a unique human being, certain steps will be harder for me than for someone else, but that’s not bad. Everyone has areas of weakness, including the experts I admire. I also have areas of strength, where I’ll enjoy a head start.

  4. Normal people accomplish amazing things every day, and they do it by working hard, learning from their mistakes, and persevering through setbacks.


Optimism without pessimism is a recipe for disappointment. Pessimism without optimism is a recipe for regret.

When you catch yourself leaning too far in either direction, regain your balance. See success for what it is …

Available. Doable. Hard. Frustrating. Fun. Energizing. Tiring. Discouraging. Humbling. Time-consuming. Empowering. Transformational.

Want to go deeper?

Do you have big goals you long to achieve? The biggest threat to your success is simply giving up.

Become a finisher with my short book QuitterProof: The 5 Beliefs of Highly Successful People.

Download your free copy right here.

Kyle Young is helping creative people achieve big goals that matter.