Ryan Harris sitting on a high end sofa.

Put The Cart Before The Horse: How Positive Thoughts Lead to Championships

There’s something to be said when we arrive at a conclusion all by ourselves. When someone gives us a piece of advice, we may or may not take it. But if we can think and feel the information ourselves, we can incorporate it into our lives.

In fact, some of the most valuable things we hold onto for our entire lives are things we find ourselves. We know them to be true and we feel them in every aspect of our being.

Islam and yoga do that for me. They challenge me. They stand as markers in my life. They make me say: “This is who I am. This is what I do.”

What works for you? What ignites your mind and body? The key is finding something that works for YOU because that’s how YOU make progress as an individual. What is something you can do to cultivate positive thoughts?

You need positive thoughts because they mark where you are in relation to your dreams, goals, and even your happiness. When you have something in your life that brings positivity, it will stay with you thick and thin. You could be at work, at home, on the field, or in a meeting room. It doesn’t matter. You own the positive thought.

The best part? Positive thoughts ALWAYS come true.

I’m shocked by how many people think that success leads to positivity. That’s entirely wrong. It’s actually the other way around, which is why I say to Put The Cart Before The Horse: positive thoughts proceed positive action. You want success? Harness the power of positive thinking.


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I was crawling up the stairs after an injury. Literally. I couldn’t walk. Even though everything in that moment told me otherwise, I said to my (now) wife: “I’m going to be walking again someday. I can’t wait for that moment.”

And that moment came. I recovered and was able to walk again. I also realized something valuable in that moment:

Positive thinking leads to positive action, but positive thinking by itself is not powerful enough.

They are two electrons of the same atom.

You don’t necessarily have to believe in your positive thoughts, but you DO need to believe in your positive action. Take my favorite quote from Muhammad Ali: “I called myself the greatest before I knew I was.”

Positive thoughts matter because they help you when you’re at your lowest. They help you through your most embarrassing moments. They get you to see the other side and they get you to take positive action.

A coach once told me in the middle of a meeting: “You’re a soft player and you’re going to be out of this league soon.”

What could I say back? I was embarrassed. I had to think positively:

> I’m in the NFL because I have great talent.

> I can continue to work.

> I will choose to improve. (There’s the positive action.)

Positive thoughts ignite positive action, and positive action crystallizes the belief you have about yourself.

You begin to stop caring what others think because now you’re approaching life from a different perspective.

…AND IT’S CRAZY how everything looks different from this perspective! Your workouts look different. Your meetings look different. Your whole life looks different.


You can choose to give up when setbacks come your way. Or you can choose to use positive thoughts to your advantage, but here’s the catch…

You must sustain the positivity somehow.

I had 3 back injuries during my football career. During my recovery periods, I couldn’t go anywhere near the football field because I felt worthless. I saw my dreams disappear right in front of me.

During recovery, I needed positive thoughts to get me to a place where I could take positive action. Then I needed to try new things in order to keep my mind away from negativity. That meant I was swapping a practice field for a swimming pool. Weight room for a yoga mat. I was setting a new schedule for myself. I was even trying new restaurants.

I learned that new things bring excitement. Trying something new after a setback will distract you from a ‘negativity creep.’

The NFL has physical setbacks, but in the corporate world you have psychological setbacks. Perhaps you didn’t get the job you’re qualified for. Or maybe you’re not applying for a job because you think you’re underqualified.

Can you think of a recent setback you’ve experienced? How could you distract yourself from the feelings of disappointment or embarrassment that come along with it?


When you’re able to pick yourself up and keep moving forward, you become impervious to setbacks. “Failures” begin to fuel your achievement.

Not many people have this skill, but it’s magical if you do.

Things that used to distract you, piss you off, or ruin your day cease to exist. Doubt means nothing to you at this stage. You’re on top of the world and no one can take that moment away from you.

It’s one of the greatest experiences anyone — in any profession — can have. It comes from having positive thoughts AND taking positive action. It comes from choosing how you’re going to face any and every obstacle. It comes from persevering through the obstacles. It comes through growing yourself. I want everyone to enjoy a moment like this.


Look for new opportunities around you. Look at what’s in front of you.

  • What can you improve upon?
  • What questions do you need to ask?
  • Is there a mentor you can find?
  • How will you hold yourself accountable to positivity?

Choose positivity and focus on what matters. Take positive action. When you do, you’ll be winning before the game even starts.