As an ACT instructor, I have heard negative comments in every ACT class I have ever taught:“I am terrible at taking tests.” “I am bad at math.” “I am going to fail miserably.” These words are toxic and quite often become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe you are bad at math, how can you ever improve? You’ve set such low standards for yourself that you not only accept poor performance, but also expect it. I’ve never met someone who was “bad” at something and suddenly produced amazing results. But I’ve taught plenty of students who were confident in their abilities and in their preparation and who believed in themselves that went on to achieve excellent scores on the ACT.
This idea of positive thinking is nothing new. Mahatma Gandhi said, “A man is but the product of his thoughts; what he thinks, he becomes.” Henry Ford agreed. He claimed “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, either way you are right.” In fact, so many famous leaders, philosophers, writers, inventors, actors, athletes, and other celebrities have provided quotations about positive thinking that after reading them, you start realizing these people know something that us non-famous people do not: you must believe in yourself in order to achieve greatness.
The same is true of your ACT success. You must believe that you will do well. If you slip and think “I am terrible at taking tests,” you must quickly correct yourself and add “but I am great at taking the ACT.” You need to repeat and believe three mantras in the weeks leading up to the test:
- “I am great at taking the ACT.”
- “I am great at Math, English, Reading, and/or Science.”
- “I will do well on the ACT.”
Still need inspiration? Below is a sampling of just a few of the quotations about positive thinking. Print them on index cards and hang them where you can read them every day. Put one on your bathroom mirror and another in your locker. Hang some from the ceiling above your bed. Leave a few on the kitchen table. Read them until you believe them and your scores are sure to increase.
“You create your own universe as you go along.”
“Everyone visualizes whether he knows it or not. Visualizing is the great secret of success.”
“Whatever the mind can conceive it can achieve.”
W. Clement Stone
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”
“Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will.”
“Man is what he believes.”
“The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.”
Frank Lloyd Wright
“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true either is true or becomes true.”
“They can conquer who believe they can.”
“If I have lost confidence in myself, I have the universe against me.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
“It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.”