I’m sure you’ve watched at some point the television series Gunsmoke, the long-running western starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon and Milburn Stone as Doctor Galen Adams. In more than one episode of the show, Doc Adams was seen making sugar pills to treat patients. In one such story, Marshal Dillon accused him of performing “quack medicine.” Doc Adams explained that the mind believes what it wants to and some patients believed the pills made them feel better; therefore, he was serving the greater good.

What does the sugar pill have in common with our personal or professional potential? A lot, from my perspective.

A placebo-sometimes called a sugar pill-is used in pharmaceutical research studies. One test group is given the placebo and compared against the rests of those who received "real" medication. The sugar pill has no medicinal qualities, but quite often people who are given placebos get better anyway. It doesn’t mean that the people who got better weren’t sick. It really is a potent testimony to the power within us-it is a testimony to the strength of our beliefs and expectations.

People are healed of illnesses because they strongly believe they are being healed. The power of expectations are apparent in more than medicine. School children perform up to the expectations of their parents and teachers, or down to them, for that matter. Also, employees perform to the expectations of their employers. If employees feel trust and confidence they will perform beyond expectations. Most important of all, you perform up or down to what you expect of yourself.

As Henry Ford said, "If you think you can, you will. If you think you can't, you won't." It is that simple. Belief and expectations are that powerful. Fortunately, we have the ability to choose our beliefs and to reject the ones that stand in our way or that hinder our performance.

What do you believe to be true about yourself? Make a list of those beliefs, and identify the ones that are holding you back. Why keep them if they don't do you any good? Replace them with positive, helpful beliefs and expectations. This is a way to increase the power within you. Try it; you have nothing to lose but a lot to gain. You will be measurably more successful and a lot happier for it.