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Dr. J Thomas Smith

Source: Dr. J Thomas Smith / Radio One Houston

If you are an entrepreneur, or you aspire to succeed in any other arena, you know that your success cannot depend on the opinions of others. Like the wind, opinions change.  And like the weather, opinions change very often. To realize success at any endeavor, you must stay on track, no matter what it takes!  This Motivational Monday, I have a few tips guaranteed to help you on your  journey to the top.

Avoid Negative People. Negative people are everywhere. The more you talk about your goals, the more they seem to appear.  These people often include our family members, our significant others, and our closest friends.  Too often, the most negative opinions come from complete strangers who know nothing of you and have no understanding of your motivations.  If a person does not know you or understand you, there is no way possible for them to have a reasonably thought out opinion about you.

I am not suggesting that you avoid those people who are close to you, however, there are areas of conversation that are less beneficial to you.  Choose to accept constructive criticism, but steer the conversation away from consistent negative banter.  Unless you take control, negativity will grow on you.

Encourage Yourself. I’m not suggesting that you puff yourself up with pride, rather you can be your best source of motivation by encouraging yourself. How might you do this?  Affirmations and visualization excercises are great. But I also suggest that you read the stories of entrepreneurs and other successful people who have gone before you.  Read contemporary success stories of people who have gone from simple means to great influence or from “rags to riches”.

You might include the stories of successful individuals such as Oprah Winfrey, Cathy Hughes, Tommy Ford, Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, Will and Jada Smith, Mark Zuckerberg, Robert Johnson, Perry Chen, Tyler Perry, Robert Gordon, Brandon Byrd, Sam Altman, Dr. Thomas LaVeist, Avonda Turner and numerous others. And yes, even those you may have read about in school such as Mae Jemison, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Thurgood Marshall and others can still help to inspire and motivate you.

Go Back to the Beginning. Sometimes we begin to doubt ourselves and our own motivation. That is the time we should reflect on what it was that caused us to take that “step of faith” from the very beginning.  Reflect on what is required to succeed in any endeavor: self-confidence, discipline, hard work, independence, sacrifice, and vision.  Look forward to the pay offs of your success: independence, work you love, a good income, and the like.  And last, recall the worst job you ever had, then imagine working there again.  If that exercise doesn’t work for you, use whatever it takes.

The bottom line is, “You Can, If You Think You Can”, but you must uproot the negative thoughts and nurture those that are inspiring, encouraging, uplifting, helpful, warm and friendly. You will remain on track to achieving great things if you remain focused and avoid allowing the negative words of others to derail your success train.  I’ll see you at the top.

 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