By Dan LeFave

We assume that we know what we want and why we do what we do. But how do you explain when things don’t go the way we want? How do you explain when others are able to achieve things that they want that seem to defy all the assumptions, such as like building and owning over 300 businesses?

The business tycoon I am referring to is Richard Branson.

Do you think he defied all assumptions? How did he do it and why should you care? He has a secret weapon.

Why is Branson so successful? He is more innovative and successful than most of the competition and yet, he is just another entrepreneur. He is just like everyone else. He has the same access to the same talent, the same mentors, the same business coaches and the same pool of potential employees. Why does it seem that he has some other advantage? There’s something else at play here.

About five years ago, I made a discovery that profoundly changed my view on how I thought the world worked and the way I operate in it. Turns out there’s a pattern. And if you look deep enough at any business leader, you will find patterns.

All the great and inspiring business owners and leaders in the world, whether it’s Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg – they all think, act and focus the exact same way and it’s the complete opposite to everyone else. All I did was codify it. It’s probably the world’s simplest idea and I call it the Success Circle.

This little idea explains why some business owners and some leaders can win and inspire where others can not.

Everyone knows what they do. Some know how they do it and teach others to do the same. But very few people know why things are happening to them. And by happening, I don’t mean it’s out of their control – that’s blaming. By happening, I mean events that are occurring in response to your consistent, repetitive and often chronic thoughts.

What are your attitudes? What are your beliefs? Why are you sometimes prosperous and why are you working so hard to make money most of the time?

If you believe you must work hard to deserve the money that comes to you, then money cannot come to you unless you do work hard. Success does not require hard work. It does require alignment of your thoughts.

You simply cannot have negative thoughts about the things you want and then make up for it with hard work and action. When you learn to direct your conscious thoughts, you will discover your true leverage.

Conscious thoughts only account for two to four per cent of your results and successes, while your subconscious mind accounts for a whopping 94 to 96 per cent.

Your senses are hardwired to your conscious mind, which does all your thinking. Your subconscious mind is where all your memories and emotions are stored. Your mind has already been pre-programed to either succeed or fail, but you have the option of changing it.

Your mind is the information centre and your body is the fueling centre. The mind is a super computer. Your conscious mind is like RAM memory and your subconscious mind is like your hard drive.

Why do we know so little about how our own mind and how it works? We train domestic animals so vigilantly and we harness the forces of nature to serve us, like building reservoirs to hold fresh water – yet when it comes to ourselves, the most valued of all, we let our thoughts run wild.

We can’t achieve our goals and ambitions until we learn to discipline our mental force and control our thinking. We can’t truly be successful before our mind is in order.

As a result, the way we think, the words we use, the way we act, the way we communicate is from the outside in. But the inspired leaders, regardless of their business or focus, all think, use words, act and communicate from the “inside out” – they use their subconscious mind. Here’s how it works:

Conscious thoughts repeated regularly and systematically sink into the subconscious mind and become habitual.

One thought leads to another. Your results in life are due to a combination of your dominant thoughts being added up over time. I call it focused attention.

The more attention you give an idea, the more it grows. Agreed?

Business grows where your attention goes.

Start today by writing down the 10 most important things you want and begin focussing your thoughts on three of them on a consistent basis.

Dan LeFave is the “Prepare for anything” coach, author,speaker, habit-changer and the creator of the online program Waking Up Productive - 12 Strategic Ways to Multiply Your Productivity While Working Fewer Hours. He has been profiled on radio shows, in magazines, articles and podcasts, from Manhattan to Vancouver. He says, “The thoughts you habitually think have the tendency to actualize themselves in physical conditions.” Visit his website.