How to be successful in Life – Success Principle #2

Back Track

I’m going to assume you’ve read my first article How to be Successful in Life – 10 things you must know! where I outlined the first principle of “The 10 Principles for Successful Living”.  If not, I recommend you back track and then come back to this article where I will be delving into How to be successful in Life – Success Principle #2.

Each Success Principle is important and deserves your attention in order for you to get the results and life you want.

If you’ve read my first article and are serious about making a change, I’m going to assume you have started to implement the strategies outlined around changing the boundary conditions of your thinking.  If so, congratulations!

Now it’s time to move onto the next Principle.  We’re building the muscle for success.

The 10 Principles for Successful Living

Principle Number 1:  Boundary Conditions


Refer to my previous article How to be Successful in Life – 10 things you must know and then come back here.

Continue to implement the strategies I gave you in that article.




Principle Number 2:  Cause and Effect

In Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and in coaching we realise that we have a choice to be at effect for whatever happens in our lives or we can be at cause for the things that happen in our lives. 

Think about dominoes.  We can touch one, cause it to move and it has an effect on all the others, knocking each one over in quick succession.  We have caused movement and motion.

So, think about this for a moment.  In your life, are you the person who causes the things that happen in your life or are you at the effect of things and do they just happen to you?

Now, I have another question for you. Which side is going to be more empowering – to be at cause or to be at effect?

It makes sense to be at the cause of the things that happen in your life as this is going to be far more empowering.

It’s got to be more empowering to know that rather than things just happening to me and it is way beyond my control and influence, I am at cause – I am creating this.

Now, you might be reading this and thinking this is really pushing my boundary conditions as I know I’m not at cause for everything that is happening in my life.

sign up for coaching tips

Beliefs are just thoughts

I have a belief that I am at cause of all the effects in my world.  I create everything that happens. Now that can really be pushing some people against the boundary conditions of their thinking and you might be thinking, how can I possibly be at cause for everything that happens?

Well the truth is, it may or may not be true.  I choose to believe that I am at cause (and if you are unsure pretend it’s so) because I know that beliefs can get you the results that you are looking for.

Beliefs are powerful and they can either work in your favour or against.

They can empower or limit us and our results and lives.  It’s important to know that beliefs are just thoughts and ideas and they can be changed.

All beliefs are just a feeling of certainty about what something means or what something is (including what we think about ourselves).  None of them are ultimately true or ultimately false, they are simply what you decide is ultimately true or false.


Possibility filters

So, it doesn’t matter whether a belief is true or not, it doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks. What matters is for you to appreciate that all of your beliefs are possibility filters.

Beliefs are possibility filters and that means if you believe it’s true, you will filter into your consciousness that possibility.

If you believe it is not true you will filter out any evidence of how it could be.

For example, if you had the belief that it is not possible to make more than $50,000 per year then you will filter out any evidence of anybody doing more than that or the possibility that you could.

If you had a belief that there is no limit to your earning potential, that it is purely limitless and is only limited by how much work you want to do or how smart you want to get with it, which is an even better belief, then guess what’s going to happen?  You will filter in evidence of that.

So, a belief is simply a possibility filter and it doesn’t matter whether it’s true or false or any of the old language you might have used.   None of that matters except whether you are filtering in the evidence that is going to assist you in getting the results that you want.

I really don’t mind if you make the belief that what everybody else is going to think is not true.  What I do care about is, is it an empowering belief and is it going to help you get the results you want to produce in your life.  That’s what matters.  That’s what matters in your life.

Being at Effect – reasons, stories, excuses

Let’s take a look at the effect side of the equation for a moment. 

People that are at effect let life happen to them, they are at the effect side of the world around them.  They will blame others around them.  They are going to have excuses.  Another word for excuses is reasons.

They will have excuses and reasons why they can’t do it.  And they will tell you all the reasons why they are not successful, they will say it’s because of my partner, because of my kids, because I didn’t have time, it was all too hard or because life got in the way.  I would have been a success except for whatever their excuse or story is, or their reason is.

You don’t want to accumulate reasons as to why you couldn’t do it or didn’t do it.  How satisfying and fulfilling will that ultimately be?

Being at Cause – where you want to be

Now let’s flip it and look at the other side.

What gives us much more momentum is the extent to which you choose to believe that you create everything that happens in your life.

It gives you so much more empowerment to make things the way you want them to be.

It gives you maximum opportunity and the maximum potential to create the outcomes that you’re looking for.

Because, if you dump all the reasons and you dump all the excuses and you dump all the stories about why you can’t, all that you can have left is the results.

Now, if you are not getting the results that you want that’s ok, but don’t move back to effect and go, “oh, but that’s not my fault”, say “ok, how can I get the results I want, what do I need to change, what do I need to do differently?”.

sign up for coaching tips

Be flexible

As a bonus, I want to share with you one of the success principles that comes from NLP and that principle is “behavioural flexibility“. 

We need to have sufficient behavioural flexibility to change the actions if they are not getting you the results you want.

Have the sensory acuity to think “ok, I am not getting the results that I am looking for and now I have got to have behavioural flexibility and be willing to do it differently”.

Everything you do is about moving to cause.

Never ever, ever buy into the excuses.  Right now, what we are looking at is a way of thinking, a way of believing, an attitude for success.

Getting stuck

If you are stuck at effect and just in blame mode or you are blaming someone else or you are telling yourself a story about why you couldn’t, you now know that you are at effect.  You will have excuses instead of results and that isn’t going to be satisfying for you.

So, realise that those stories are what is preventing you from getting the results that you are looking for.  It is that very excuse that is standing between you and the outcome you want.

Now identifying this is a good thing, because it means you can take responsibility, be empowered and can choose how to live your life.  You will not be at the mercy of anyone or anything external to you.

You can apply this to every area of your life.  Everything is our responsibility.  This is not to say that it is our fault, there is no blame around this.  But it is to know deep within ourselves that it is our responsibility.

The thing to think about is that the only thing preventing you from achieving what you want to achieve are the stories you tell yourself.  The stories you tell yourself about why you can’t or why it’s hard.  People who go through life on the cause side of the equation get results and have maximum power to create the life they want.

Move yourself from effect and constantly to cause.  Even in those times when you realise you are at effect, when you are having excuses, you are still at cause.  Why, because we are choosing to be at effect.

This is really empowering and yes it can be scary at the same time but it is also really empowering because it gives you maximum leverage to create the results you’re looking for.

So that is the second success principle for coaching – cause versus effect.

Which side of the equation are you choosing to be on and what kind of results are you going to get by being on that side?

Where do you think you need to be to create a life that is totally fulfilling and totally empowering that gives you maximum leverage to create the outcomes you are looking for.

Where to from here?

Your next steps to take:

1. If you haven’t already done so, start to become aware of Success Principle Number 1, the boundary conditions of your thinking and implement the strategies explained in this article.  Continue to monitor the boundary conditions of your thinking and move on to Step 2.

2. As you’ve just learnt, Success Principle Number 2 is about Cause and Effect.  So, if you’re game, choose to believe that you are at cause for everything that happens and therefore can create whatever life you want.

3. Write down all the beliefs you have about an area of your life that you want to change e.g. money, relationships, career, health etc.

You will start to identify where you have limiting beliefs e.g. all my relationships end in disaster or I will never earn enough money to… (fill in the blank)…..

Once you’ve done that, start to write down new beliefs. Write down beliefs that will serve you.

4.  Need some one on one help, get coached.  Visit Life Coach Hub or Life Energy Coaching

5. Check out my Top 10 Recommended Book List on how to change your life and master your mind.

6. Subscribe to my website (scroll to the top or bottom of the screen) so you don’t miss out on Success Principle Number 3.

Final Words

I’d love to hear how you get on with these strategies and any changes you are experiencing along the way whether big or small.

Life can be amazing if we choose to let it be.

Until next time I wish you well.


sign up for coaching tips


  • Mariella

    I have found a lot of insight and peaceful words in this post. I was especially struck with Forgiveness which is easy to talk about but hard to come by. Letting go of anger and lifting our filters will certainly make for a better life. Please keep these posts coming. They are exactly what I have been looking for.

  • Kedia Rattray

    Very interesting post. Agree it much more rewarding to be the cause! You create the outcome in your life but it also the path of sacrifice as our ego (flesh) likes to be in the effect mode – playing the blame game and being stuck. Thanks

  • Tim Marthinusen

    I believe that we are all responsible for our own destiny, that we were taught at school, at church and in our family life, that we must do as told, and not follow our own path. What you are saying, or teaching us, is that we must think for ourselves in order to grow in our lives. Sometimes difficult, as years and years in fact generations of teachings must be pushed aside.
    I look forward to your following articles. I will learn from them, I am sure.
    This is a well set out post, easy to follow and read, and full of interesting content.
    Kind regards Tim

    • Martine Brooks

      Thanks Tim. Yes, we are heavily conditioned particularly in our younger years. We often learn from others what they believe is possible (however limited or expansive that may be) and take that on board and often our childhoods are our frame of reference. People tell us who and what we are and we have believed it good or bad. We need to recognise the limitations imposed on us by others or rather recognise what we have chosen to believe and change them.

  • Angee

    A really good article for self reflection. I really enjoyed reading this and the emphasis on belief is so true to oneself. I would like to see myself follow through on my beliefs and be on the causation effect of things and taking responsibility. Love how you think so profoundly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error: Content is protected !!