KMJQ Featured Video
Dr. J Thomas Smith

Source: Dr. J Thomas Smith / Radio One Houston

Two Words Determine Your Success

I firmly believe that two words will determine your level of personal achievement and success in life.  All words have power. But, two words are the most powerful words you will ever think or speak. They are “can” and “can’t.”  One will drive you toward your goal, the other will drive you away from your goal.  Success comes in “cans.” Can moves you forward to achievement.  While “can’t” causes one to retreat or stall in failure.

Your Words Have Power

Your words have power.  Because your words have power, you have power. What is your vision of achievement? Do you believe that it is attainable? If you want to “do you” and be successful, you must reinforce your vision with words and phrases of affirmation such as “Yes, I can.” Or “Yes, I will.” If you can maintain a positive outlook and remain focused, you will attain every one of your clearly defined goals.

Damn the Torpedoes! Full Steam Ahead!

One doesn’t have to think long to name several famous and successful entrepreneurs. A few that come to my mind are, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Sam Walton, Berry Gordy, Ryan Seacrest, Cathy Hughes, Tyler Perry and Steve Harvey.  I am certain that if you had the opportunity to talk with either of them, they would tell you that in the beginning of their journey, most people attempted to “torpedo” their dreams with discouraging words such as “You ‘can’t’ do that!” Or, how about, “I couldn’t do that. What makes you think you can do it?”

Disregarding the “torpedoes”, successful people maintain their visions, move forward and achieve success on their terms. That’s what you must do. Disregard the negative forces around you and listen to your inner voice, and the encouragement of others who want you to succeed.

Self-Talk is Your Key to Success

The key to success in life is to realize that the most important person who speaks to you every day is you. The self-talk you engage will make or break you.  Train your inner voice to respond to every “You CAN’T” with “Oh yes I CAN!”

Success is an inside job. Why do you get up in the morning? What excites you about your typical day? It is important for you to continually explore your “why” in life.  As you do so, determine whether you are on course, or whether you have allowed yourself to drift toward a dead end or detour because someone told you, “You can’t do that!”  I was told: “You can’t become a disc jockey because you have a speech impediment.” But, I did. I was told: “You can’t work and attend law school full-time”, but I did – and I finished in two years. Even in pursuing employment, you can take a “NO” as final or you can continue the pursuit with optimism until you get a “YES.” It is all up to you. Do what you must do to make the greater good possible.

Turn Can’t Into Cans

Just as other successful people have turned “can’t” into “cans,” you can too. Never stop dreaming and planning for the goals you wish to attain. Never allow anyone to convince you that you should “forget about it!” YOU must take responsibility for your success or lack of success.  Take time to fill your subconscious mind with positive affirmations every day. And each day, work on at least one objective that will lead to you achieving your goals.

Be Still and Listen for Positive Words

Each morning, I meditate and visualize myself having a “success-full” day. Whether I am doing my radio show, consulting clients, writing articles, talking to colleagues at the court house or sharing free time with friends, my goal is to be a positive influence; to motivate and inspire others to be better at what they do.  If we all become better, the world will be a better place for us all.

An Attitude of Gratitude

Along with positive self-talk, we must cultivate an attitude of gratitude. We must be humble enough to realize that we never accomplish anything alone.  There are others who wish us to be successful, too. Focus on that.  Convince yourself that all of the forces in the universe are conspiring to bring your good about. I am ever mindful of those who have inspired me and helped me to remain focused and on course “doing me”.

So, right here and right now, I want to encourage you to “Do you.” Every day ask yourself, “Am I writing and reading positive affirmations?” “Am I giving thanks for those who have helped me?” “Am I listening to positive words from within or am I letting negative forces from the outside control my life?”  Think about it.  Stay focused. Stay positive. Do you!

 J Thomas Smith is host of “Sunday Morning Live” on “The Real Sound of Htown” KMJQ/Majic 102.1 (9-11 cst). He is an attorneyauthorkeynote speaker and mental health consultant. Your comments are welcome at or Follow on Twitter @drjtsmith102 on and

Also On Majic 102.1:
Rest In Power: Notable Black Folks Who We’ve Lost In 2021
34 photos