You Can Make a Difference


I once read a life-giving quote. It wasn’t one of those simple thoughts that sounded nice, but are devoid of true lasting change. Instead, it was a quote that stopped me in my tracks and caused me to completely reevaluate my presumptions. Unfortunately, I didn’t make note of where I saw it and am unable to locate it. But the quote went something like this:

“Before you can be successful, you must believe you can be successful.”

I find inspiration in this mantra. Now, just to be clear, it isn’t a “just embrace the power of positive thinking and become incredibly successful” inspiration. Instead, it is the type of quote that forces me to evaluate my own intentions, motivations, and thoughts.

You see, before anyone will take the appropriate steps needed to chase success, they must believe two things:

  1. They must believe they have value to offer (e.g. a product, a service, or philosophy).
  2. They must believe they are capable of spreading it and equipped to deliver it.

This line of thinking has forever changed my view of writing and the opportunities for influence I pursue. For most of my life, I did not believe my thoughts were worth spreading. I knew them, but didn’t think they held much value for other people’s lives. As a result, I was slow to share them and rarely looked for opportunities to introduce them to others. Simply put, I didn’t believe “success” was something I could achieve.

I was unwilling to put in the hard work and extra effort to become a person of change because I did not believe in my message and/or my ability to deliver it. The first step, then, was to simply realize I held something of value that needed to be shared.

As you seek to find significance and change this world for good, believe in your message. Believe in the good you have to offer.

It may require time and effort invested into your message to further craft it into something life-changing and inspirational. But once it is and you begin to believe that it is, you’ll find the motivation required to seek out greater opportunities to deliver it.

Image: Wolfgang Staudt

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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  1. Lotta says

    Great quote.
    I think it firms the basis for minimalism too…. Until you can believe in yourself and believe your genuine desires then it will never be fully embraced.

  2. Amy C says

    This is so very true! Putting positivity ahead of everything you do creates an easy path to tread. Assuming the negative simply builds walls that you then have to climb over to get to your goal. A wonderful thought to keep for a long week ahead!

  3. says

    Thanks for the inspiration, Josh!

    This kind of belief can be hard to maintain. Sticking with it often requires putting in effort without any guarantee of success. But on the other hand, it seems most people stick with something for the long haul *do* find what they were looking for.

    Consistency is worth a lot!

  4. says

    Thank you for this quote. I was just recently laid off from my job and have looked at this as a fresh opportunity to take my talents to the next level. I like what this says because so many people want us to take the next thing that comes along — the any job is better than no job mentality. I think it’s important to realize we have value and that we can use it not only to help ourselves but to make a difference for others. That’s not something we can do as well if we settle for just anything. I really like this positive message!

  5. says


    I’m so, so glad you now believe your thoughts and philosophies are worth spreading. I can’t tell you how far they have spread into my heart and head. For that, I am grateful.

    I am also grateful you continue to spread your mission in new and evolving ways. I know Becoming Minimalist isn’t your full time thing, so when you take on a new book, expand your message with weekly emails, or commit to influence the influencers at SXSW in April, it’s a big deal. Keep believing, and we’ll keep believing right along with you.

    • NB says

      Exactly! In fact I was just returning to your site to find a post that I thought might help my brother. (The Lost Practice of Resting One Day a Week). Thank you for sharing your words and enabling us to share them to others who need them.

  6. says

    Belief is the key to the Way…
    another great post.
    Finding our way requires we find a path, and believe in our hearts and souls that we are on the right one. Find your calling, train, study, become a master of life. It all starts with believing you can!

    Find your beliefs… stick to your mission in life… let nothing stand in your Way

  7. says

    I’m thinking this philosophy can be applied to relationships as well…Until you believe you have something of value to offer someone, you won’t chase that relationship that will be a success.

    Good all around! Thanks.

  8. Melodie says

    i think you are referring to Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. A most excellent book, and that’s a line from it. Since he wrote it in 1960, I imagine the line has been used in many other places as well. I think if you have not read this book, you might enjoy it. An entire chapter is devoted to those who feel the need to “keep up with” the neighbors and acquire more ‘things’, and what a total waste of energy and time this is. While this is not a book on the subject at hand of minimalism, much of his writing can be applied to what you write about. Especially your post of today, you must believe you can be successful in order to BE successful.

    ps. My daughter introduced me to a column that led me over here to you and i have been with you ever since. I look forward to reading everything you have to offer. Peace.

  9. says

    Thank you for the inspiration, Joshua.

    Right now, I’m kind of in a crossroad in my life. I want to share my message to the world, but what holds me back is fear.

    I want to quit my day job and concentrate on sharing my message, but I fear for my family. How can we survive without a steady and sufficient income? I fear those that’s why I hold on to my 8 to 5 job even when I feel like my talents are wasted.

    But thank you for this post, as everything is becoming clearer. God bless!

  10. Meaghan Hall says

    Thanks for this. Your thoughts really encourage me. I feel like I am just at the beginning of figuring out what what I’m truly meant for and how to be content with what I have and who I am. Your thoughts really helped point me in a good direction.

  11. says

    I’ve found the reason I’ve had the success I’ve had is because I’ve never believed I couldn’t do anything. I thought starting my company could work, so I did (and haven’t looked back for 15 years). I thought writing a book, then another could work, so I did it.

    I’m definitely not smarter or better than other folks, I just think I’m sometimes more open to experimenting. I’ve failed many times (in business and other areas), but I keep trying new things, pushing my own boundaries and not letting self-doubt or fear guide me.

  12. says

    This is so true! There are so many things I want to do in life but when I sit down to do them, I feel like maybe I’m wasting my time, then go back to doing the everyday grind stuff. I’ve finally realized you have as much time as you think you do.. so go for it!

  13. says

    #2 “They must believe they are capable of spreading it and equipped to deliver it” is such the key! Very well said. Sometimes you have a good idea but just do not know how to implement it. You have to continuously tell yourself (even after setbacks or a slow start) that you are equipped.

  14. says

    ‘Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us’

    —Nelson Mandela

    So many times in our life, we have a good thought, good product or a good philosophy, but we just don’t have the right belief in ourselves.

    One solution to this is to surround yourself with people who are go getters and believers themselves. These are the people who will recognize ideas, reward excellence and pull you up when you are down.

    Our lives are too short to be lived alone anyway, so why not seek people who we can learn from, get inspired and hopefully inspire others in the future?

    Thanks for the article..Excellent read as always.

  15. says

    We all have messages that should be shared. We just don’t have to do them the same way. As a writer, I love helping others discover the writer inside them. When they see that first blog post or article come to life, they get a little spring in their step. Maybe we should spend more time expressing and less time in the express line at the store.

  16. says

    Beneficial information and facts. Happy myself I came across your blog by mistake, and i am astonished the reason why that coincidence did not took place earlier! We saved the idea.

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