Do You Think You Can?

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t.
If you’d like to win, but think you can’t
It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost,
For out in the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will;
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are.
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But sooner or later the man who wins
Is the one who thinks he can.

“Thinking” (also called “The Man Who Thinks He Can”) by Walter D. Wintle

And later, probably inspired by this poem, Henry Ford is supposed to have said much the same thing with; “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

And you know what? They were both absolutely correct.  If you think you can’t do something, then you almost certainly can’t do it, and so you won’t even try to do it.  Sometimes you’ll try and then surprise yourself, but most of the time you’ll meet your own expectations.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Take a look around you now.  Just about everything you can see was once an idea in someone’s head.  From the screen you’re looking at now, to the content that you’re reading on it were ideas that other people have had.  I’d even go as far as to say that most of the supposed natural world in developed countries were planned and sculpted by mankind.

Take my back garden for instance.

Somebody planned that it was going to be that shape, and so the garden was built that way.  Somebody else decided which plants and trees it would contain, and later when I bought the house and garden, I started to leave my mark on it too.

Because people thought it would be a good idea to do certain things, my back garden is the result.

Do you see what I mean?  What you think is very important, and if you wander around in an “I can’t do it” cloud then that’s exactly what will happen.  No surprises there.

But if you can learn to believe in yourself, then you can make incredible changes in your life.

If you believe you can make a full time living online, and even become rich, then you will.  Lots of people do all the time.

Just stop and think for a moment about wealthy people you may have met, business owners and the like.  Have you ever thought to yourself “Well she’s actually not that clever, how is SHE running her own business?”

The answer to that one is dead easy.  She thought she could, and so she did.

Here’s a big BUT though.  It may not have been at her first attempt.  She may have tried 3 other businesses first and failed before she found something that worked for her.  BUT instead of giving up like so many other people do, she kept on trying.

When it boils down to it, those are the only two things that separate the successful from everyone else.

#1 – They THINK they can do it – they believe it.
#2 – They don’t give up until they achieve what they believe they can.

And there you have it – the recipe for success.

I’ll just give one more example before closing.

A British comedian responded to an interviewers comment that he’d achieved incredible overnight success.

“Yes,” he said “and it only took me 15 years of hard work and failure to do it.”

So if you’re stuck in a job you hate, or just feel there should be more to life, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about what you can do about it, and most importantly believing you can do it.

-Frank Haywood

Posted by Frank Haywood


Cindy Bolley

Great Post Frank,
I will look forward to the next one.

We all need motivation, some more than others.
Cindy Bolley

Ian Carter

Absolutely right, Frank.
I once read my Chinese horoscope, which classified me as “a tiger coming down a mountain”, meaning that I’d find success later in life rather than earlier.
At age 59 I’m still looking for that big break, and even though times are really hard right now I haven’t lost my belief in myself.
I just need to convince others to believe in me, too.
Thanks for the post. I’ll be looking forward to reading the ones that follow.

David Pearce

Once when I was working for someone when , I was offered a franchise the cost was buy 500,000 leaflet from him. The leaflets were well thought out, but the but’s were there. Could I sell his product or even install them.

We went to the pub with one drink, we talked and he put all the (if) behind me. He be leaved in me. The product was well used on the continent but not the UK. He introduced me to his bank manager and we worked out a deal. Two weeks later I picked up 100.000 leaflets. Got the local newspaper to put them in their paper, over the next two weeks.

The leads came in and I put my best suit on and met the customers (Me a salesman no!) I sold 1 in 3 to begin with Got my friends to fit them. I was up and running we were making money lots of it. All because he made be leave I could.

Since I retired I,m trying to do it with the internet, I will get there!

Janet Combs

Frank, truer words were never spoken. I have tried and failed many times but I’m too stubborn in my middle age to give up. I’m working on a product launch right now, do I know if it will be a winner, heck no but at least I show up. Next time you see Alex J tell him Jan said hi. Thanks for all you do Frank, I enjoy your emails and posts. Jan

Arthur Webster

Hi, Frank,
People have always told me that you have only yourself to rely on. This is very true when everything else is normal. The last five years have hit me with health crisis after health crisis and they have taught me one thing above all others.

Sometimes you need help. I even finally learned how to ask for it.

The level of my self belief is as high as it ever was but as I struggle to see the screen of my computer through eyes that no longer do what they are supposed to do, I realise that far too many of the stand-by sayings only relate to people who are fit and well. Sometimes I wonder if Walter Wintle (I am familiar with many of his works) ever had a bad day in his life.

On the other hand, I do believe that I will beat the latest of my health problems, as I have all the previous ones, but I also have to be realistic and wonder where I will get the money from that I need to live on. For ten days before Christmas and until 29th December I had no food. Within a few days I will be back in that position.

Despite my handicaps, though, I do believe that I can live with them, I will look for more work that I am capable of and if I look hard enough, I am sure I will find it.


I am not beaten at the moment because I believed I would be beaten – I am beaten at the moment because circumstances don’t always obey simple rules made by simple men to cover simple scenarios. Reality is a bitch and you must suckle well from her to see what could be done and learn what can be done then go and do what must be done.

Romona Burns

Thanks for the inspirational post. For me, I know I can. It’s been 3 long years since I started online, but I have refused to give up. 2009 was an extremely tough year for our family, but I’ve not given up. I’ve had to go to the library a few times due to lack of internet, but I’m still here.

I have this awesome feeling for 2010. I have actually set up a schedule to get things done, and have limited the things that I tend to lose focus with.

I know this is the year that things will come together.


Pat Graham

Great post, Frank. I’ve had a project living in my heart and mind for a couple of years. I made a decision a week ago to get started on it and my membership site is now being actively worked on and I am gathering a brain trust to help me make it work.

Reading what you posted reinforced my determination to succeed at this project, regardless of how much work it will take and how scary the prospect of success might be in those dark moments that begin with “Holy S**T, what have I gotten into?”

Wish me luck. I’m going for it! And I know that I damned well will succeed!

Pat Graham

This is a great way to allow people to have some self confidence after all

I look forward to your responses

Jim Davies – The Web Professor


I love your attitude and appreciate the little encouraging reminders you put up from time to time!

I am with Ian! Iam now 74 and I plan for this to be my year!

Jm Davies – The Web Professor

Carl Ringwall

Thanks for this, Frank. My observation is that most of us expect instant results, and when that does not happen, we flit to the next ‘method’. If a person will stick with a proven formula and learn it well, then success will come.


Nice post for the New Year, Frank. I’ve always been a big fan of that Henry Ford quotation.

@IanCarter: I don’t mean to sound disrespectful (you’re my elder, after all), but a little bell rang in my head when you said “I’m still looking for that big break.” At 59, surely you must know that there are rarely such things as “big breaks” or “lucky breaks.” There’s another famous quotation (which I forget right now!) about opportunity being the meeting of circumstances with preparedness. That final quote Frank used from the comedian is pretty close to this idea.

My advice is to not keep LOOKING for a big break – which makes it sound (to me, at least) that you’re at someone else’s mercy or whims; that your success somehow depends on God, or “the universe” or Fate (or whatever) benevolently bestowing grace upon you after years of slogging away.

I don’t believe it works like that. I believe we MAKE our “big breaks” or “lucky breaks.” Yes, circumstances beyond our control might hamper our best efforts and at other times, a tailwind we never anticipated might just push us over the line when we didn’t expect it. But I doubt there’s anything “lucky” about what most people call “lucky breaks.”

And in those rare situations where someone achieves considerable success based mostly on happenstance, then I’d wager it’s short-lived. ENDURING success is that which is reaped from sowing and tending carefully – with FOCUS and DETERMINATION.

Also, on the point of “convinc[ing] others to believe in [you]”… You’re wasting your time and mental energy. You can’t MAKE other people believe anything. I assume you’re talking about your family or at very least your partner/wife/significant other.

The only thing that will mean they start believing in you is RESULTS. They don’t even need to be very big results. And, no, I’m not even talking about money in the bank. I’m talking about a CLEAR GOAL, a PLAN for how you’re going to get there, and FOCUS.

If you can DEMONSTRATE these things (and not just “tell” or “say” them; anyone can talk the talk, but only he who walks the walk wins the respect of others), then you’ll be a lot closer to changing their mind(s). But it’s still up to THEM to change their minds. No amount of HOPING it will happen will make it so. The world is only changed by DOING, as I’m sure you well know.

All the best with it!


P.S. Apologies about the CAPS – I’m not sure if this comment form accepts HTML for bolding and italicizing.


WOW! When I starting writing my response, there was only one comment (Ian’s)! Ha ha! How funny. When I hit “Submit,” suddenly there were all these other great comments, too.

Mark W. Bell

Good stuff and timing. Most of us are pumped to start the new year with a bang and by channeling this energy or harnessing it to help you stay motivated for all of 2010 rather than the first month will help you become successful. Whenever you need inspiration read this post again or better yet add it to your calendar so you get an electronic reminder to read it again in June 2010 as we all need a little push every now and again.

Pete Fulham

I have been on the web for longer than I care to remember. I first clicked that money could be made when a friend of mine was saying that he had a marine fish tank and had set up a web site about marine fish and was getting about £250 a month from Amazon as an affiliate, displaying their books on fish etc.
I knew If he could do so could I. And I have been trying ever since to make it replace my JOB income (now pension). However, I didn’t have an interesting interest like marine fish. So I spent a lot of time and money trying to find out how.
My biggest bar to success is my family, although I was doing this for them as much as myself (For instance I want to be able to get my wife to be able to retire) Yet I am put down and ridiculled by them. Oh! dads playing at making his millions etc. If you must do it don’t spend any money on it!
And to be truthful I have tried MLM’s and other business’s and failed but I know I will be successful, I have had a few bits of success but I have lost/spent more money than I have ever made. I love the internet and will not give up this opportunity.
I can and I will succeed.

I look forward to working with you Frank in February.

Art Howard

Hi Frank,

As always, you are a true inspiration for those looking to successfully make it big in the internet marketing world. Like most people, I’ve often found myself falling into that negative thinking trap, but thankfully have managed to break out of that old thought process.

So I’d like to contribute a thought that might add to this post in some way to help others achieve their goals in 2010…

Closely related to believing you can, is the need to overcome fear of failure. I read an interesting book a number of years ago that helped me immensely, called “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway,” by Dr. Susan Jeffers. Often times, people convince themselves they can’t do something simply because they are afraid they’ll fail, or they’re afraid they won’t be able to do something perfectly, or might look foolish. No matter what they are afraid of, if it’s something they truly want to achieve, they have to feel the fear and just do it, and have faith that simply doing will be enough. Heck, if they fail, so what? At least they will have tried.

I think I’ll use that poem on my quit smoking site. Perhaps it will inspire others to truly believe they can kick their smoking addiction.

Once again, thanks for another great post Frank 🙂

Here’s to a prosperous 2010 for everyone.


Stan Craigie

As someone once said, “the harder I work, the luckier I get”.

Another favourite one of mine comes, apparently, from Teddy Roosevelt.
I’m not sure how this one will format but here it is

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.
The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

We have to take responsibility for ourselves something that seems to be lacking these days.

OK, off the soapbox now

Thanks Frank


Vern Brown

This sounds so much like “The Little Train That Though He Could”, saying, “I think I can, I think I can” until he ‘did’… An American child’s story, but it still works today.

You are starting the year off with great, thought-provoking stuff that all of us, young or old[er] can relate to. It seems that all I’ve been hearing is that “2010 is the year to succeed”! So, let’s just “do it”!!

Thanks once again, Frank. Very timely!

P.S. As you can see, “I think I can…”

I think the comments are profound and provide a great tapestry of thoughts relating to varying backgrounds which is wonderful – how boring it would be for us all to have come from the same driving force. I look back, particularly over the last 3 years, and wonder how on earth did I manage to hang in and try things out long enough to feel that I could just keep my website updated and functional. I had been let down badly by the developers who decided they didn’t want to do websites any more – great. I was left in the lurch in a regional area quite devoid of well qualified and affordable techies and struggling very badly financially. It was a nightmare to start out with and I really didn’t want to become involved on the website side of things. I love technology and the internet though and have always been a keen learner. So it was a case of battling through learning a bit of html and just covering the angles so that the business could grow. It was all self-teach stuff. Today I measure success by looking at what I’ve been prepared to attempt, the stuff I didn’t know that I can now do and that desire and passion is the life blood of achievement. It really doesn’t matter what others think because their on their own journey and I’m on mine – it is lovely though to have some company along the way if possible. I’ve also found it a fruitless exercise to be involved in projects where my heart doesn’t lay. So perhaps it is a case of being true to oneself and putting all that you have into the effort – it is about the journey me thinks.

Allentown Storage

I absolutely agree with your message here. Your attitude and your belief in yourself is one of the most important factors in whether or not you can achieve something. I used to not really believe this, thinking it was just one of those cliche things people put on motivational posters, but at some point in my life it became clear to me that it’s true. I tried it out with my own life, shifted to more positive thoughts, and success really did come. Another important factor is having others who believe in you too. When faced with difficult times, belief in yourself is sometimes not enough but the reassurance that others believe in you too can make a huge difference.

Thats a good advice to always believe in yourself. Yes, if you are not going to believe in yourself then who else will?

Thank you for the uplifting words Frank. I really needed that because my business is not doing so well now.