Everything just works

The universe is weird, yet perfect. I say that because everything strangely just works. If there is a divine or ultimate Creator, then they’re pretty damn good at their job. 

When I observe nature, everything just works as-is. Bees pollinate flowers. Seasons change like clockwork. Planets orbit the sun. And humans create—or destroy, depending on the context—using this awesome creative power bestowed upon us.

Everything works perfectly:

  • Photosynthesis: Plants efficiently convert sunlight into energy, producing oxygen as a byproduct – a process crucial for life on Earth.
  • Ecosystem balance: Predator-prey relationships naturally regulate population sizes, maintaining biodiversity.
  • Human immune system: It can recognize and fight off millions of different pathogens without prior exposure.
  • Genetic code: The universal nature of DNA across all life forms suggests a fundamental “language” of life.
  • Atomic stability: The precise balance of forces within atoms allows for the existence of stable matter.

But it’s not just nature. Humans create, too, maybe to a lesser degree than nature’s offering, but no less amazing:

  • The Internet: A global network of computers, seamlessly connecting billions of people and devices.
  • Smartphones: Putting the world’s knowledge in our pockets, these devices work by harnessing principles of physics, chemistry, and computer science.
  • Global financial systems: Despite their complexity, money flows around the world, enabling trade and commerce on an unimaginable scale.
  • Language: An intricate system of communication that evolves naturally, allowing us to express complex ideas and emotions.

No need for readjustments. No need to manipulate anything. Things just work.

Shit just works

Some universal law or structure governs everything and ensures that life is born, grows, decays, dies—and repeats the cycle ad infinitum.

That goes for you, too. You work flawlessly. Your mind and body operates with such precision, helping you to survive and, hopefully, thrive on this planet.

Likewise, your body and mind ‘just works’ to produce every result you get.

So when humans say, “I just want to be successful,” I wonder to myself, ‘Are you not already? Doesn’t everything just work?’

Because success is the natural order of things.

If you’re still not convinced, read on.

How success really works

If success is a universal constant, then why do people think they fall short?

I used to think that I fell short of ‘success’, but I was missing a critical piece of information: I didn’t understand how we humans create our individual and collective reality.

And this process of creation is simply unstoppable. We can’t prevent it. In other words, nobody can stop the act of creation working within everyone—unless we die or somehow become incapacitated.

Again, people make things happen every single moment of our existence—and it cannot be stopped or stalled.

And make no mistake—the ability to create is a skill.

How stuff gets made graphic

We think. We speak. We do (or don’t do). We get results.

It’s consistent, relatively predictable, and always works.

Here’s what I mean.

Enzo the Engineer

Enzo is a software developer who believes he’s not creative enough to start his own company.

  • Think: Enzo constantly thinks, “I’m not creative or business-savvy enough to start a company.”
  • Speak: In conversations with friends and colleagues, he says things like, “Oh, I could never start a business. I’m just not cut out for it.”
  • Do (or don’t do): Enzo doesn’t take entrepreneurship courses, doesn’t network with startup founders or mentors, and doesn’t try to develop his own app ideas.
  • Results: Enzo remains in his comfortable job, never experiencing the challenges or rewards of entrepreneurship.

Is Enzo successful?

Enzo succeeds spectacularly—at not being an entrepreneur. His thoughts, words, and actions (or lack thereof) are perfectly aligned to produce exactly the result he expects.

Again, this process always produces something.

Whether your mental health is intact or you have addictive behaviors—you’re successful.

Whether you’re rich or mired in poverty—you’re successful.

Whether you think you’re a ‘loser’ or ‘grateful’ for the life you have—you’re successful.

How? Because if you focus on something long enough and act on it, you will produce results. Simple.

The kicker? Enzo’s success at not being an entrepreneur (“I’m just an engineer.”) is just as valid as someone else’s ability—and determination—to build a thriving business. Both succeed at being exactly who they believe they are.

believing is seeing

Believing is seeing?

The invisible world of beliefs and their influence is well documented. How do we form those beliefs in the first place? Through the power of experience, and consuming whatever’s in our environment on a daily basis.

Generally speaking, if you grew up in China, your views are going to be very different from someone who grew up in Brazil.

The stimuli from your environment during your impressionable years have a lasting effect on how you see the world, how you act in that world, and what results you get.

Seeing is believing, right? Or is it ‘believing is seeing’? Or both? Hmmm.

While it’s true that the physical world’s influence on our inner world is massive, the mind is powerful enough to overcome its immediate environment, and even create a new one.

There’s plenty of evidence of the power of beliefs to shape our experience of reality, including:

  • Placebo Effect: Ever heard of sugar pills curing pain? That's the placebo effect in action. In one study, patients with knee osteoarthritis who received sham surgery reported pain relief comparable to those who had actual surgery. Your brain is so powerful that it can produce real physical changes just because you believe something will work.
  • Confirmation Bias: We're all guilty of this. In a study by Lord, Ross, and Lepper (1979), participants were given identical evidence about the death penalty, but interpreted it differently based on their pre-existing views. It's like your brain has a filter that only lets in information that matches your existing beliefs.
  • Priming Effects: This one's wild. In a study by Bargh, Chen, and Burrows (1996), people who were exposed to words related to old age actually walked slower afterwards. Your unconscious mind is constantly picking up cues and shaping your behavior, often without you realizing it.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Remember that teacher who thought you were brilliant and then you suddenly started acing tests? In Rosenthal and Jacobson's famous "Pygmalion in the Classroom" study (1968), teachers' expectations of students' performance actually influenced student outcomes. Other people's expectations of us can shape our performance, but more importantly, our expectations of ourselves are even more powerful.

These aren’t just quirky psychological phenomena. Beliefs shape perception, and, as they say, perception is reality. Your mind constantly absorbs and interprets the world around you, and those interpretations, or perceptions, are your reality.

What happens when 8 billion worlds clash—or collaborate?

Put another way, humans share one external world, but in reality, there are 8 billion plus inner worlds on this planet right now. And your inner world determines the level of success your experience in the outer world.

This has always been true. The question is, when will you look inside and examine your beliefs? When will you shape them so that they can shape and change the trajectory of your life?

Cybernetics

Maltz coined the term ‘psycho-cybernetics’ meaning that humans are goal-seeking creatures. The primary (not only) goal we all strive for? Our self-image.

Cybernetics isn’t just some fancy psychological term—it’s a fundamental principle that governs how we operate in the world.

Think of yourself as a highly sophisticated GPS system. You’re always honing in on some goal, even if it’s just to sit on the couch and binge-watch Breaking Bad.

Cybernetics and Success

Every action you take, every decision you make, is your internal navigation system working to get you to some ‘preprogrammed’ destination—your self-image.

And this GPS is always operating. You’re always taking action—or inaction—towards some goal.

Back to this principle of cybernetics. What how you see yourself becomes your ultimate goal. This drive towards your goal happens whether you’re aware of it—or not.

Some examples might help:

A ‘Loser’ Mentality

If you see yourself as a ‘loser’, then your mind/body will do everything in its power to achieve that, despite any objections from your present self. You might sabotage opportunities, avoid challenges, or interpret neutral events negatively – all to confirm your ‘loser’ status.

An ‘Innovators’ Mindset

See yourself as an ‘innovator’? The mind/body will do everything to achieve that goal. You’ll seek out difficult problems, challenge norms, and build unique solutions that confirms your ‘innovator’ status.

The ‘A’ Student

Your mind gets very specific. See yourself as a hard worker who gets straight As? You will naturally succeed in producing those consistent results. You’ll study harder, ask more questions, and go the extra mile – all to align with your self-image.

Of course, even A students get Bs, and even though your A depends on other people—namely teachers. If you see yourself as an A student, you’re much more likely to fight for that A than someone who sees themselves as a C student.

This goes for income, the type of work you’re into, gender, and pretty much any self-defining characteristic you can name. And these self-defining characteristics tend to express themselves in some way—even if you don’t want them to.

Here’s where it gets really interesting: the results you ‘achieve’ consistently are a direct consequence of how you see yourself, your self-image, and identity. It’s a feedback loop. Your results reinforce your self-image, which in turn produces more similar results.

A Note on Basic Drives and Self-Image

While we focus on the self-image as a primary goal in cybernetic systems, it’s worth noting that humans also operate on more fundamental, often unconscious drives. These include:

—> Survival instincts

—> Cultural assimilation

—> Basic biological needs (sometimes humorously referred to as the four Fs: feeding, fighting, fleeing, and mating)

These drives form a foundation upon which our more complex self-image goals are built. The interplay between these basic instincts and our self-image creates a rich, multi-layered system of cybernetic loops, all working together to guide our actions and shape our experiences.

Power of Self-Image Identity

Once your identity is firmly planted in your mind, anything that goes against it is considered a ‘free radical’ and must be avoided or extinguished—even if you don’t like the current results you’re getting. This is why change can be so hard – you’re not just changing behaviors, you’re challenging your very identity.

I know—it’s complicated. But understanding this mechanism is the first step to harnessing its power. Because if your self-image is driving your results, then changing your self-image, or changing how you see yourself, is the key to changing your results.

Remember, you’re already succeeding at being exactly who you think you are. Is this acceptable to you? Do you want to continue down that path?

A note on ‘self-sabotage’.

Nobody unconsciously sabotages themselves—if they’re conscious of their actions, then that’s a different story.

In this framework, yes, you can ‘sabotage’ opportunities, but ‘self-sabotage’ rarely, if ever happens. What’s actually happening is that sabotage-like behaviors are simply the mind-body correcting and aligning itself with the self-image.

Example 1: A person who sees themselves as “not good enough” might procrastinate on a big project. This isn’t self-sabotage; it’s their mind-body aligning with their self-image.

Example 2: Someone who believes they don’t deserve success might turn down a promotion. Again, not sabotage, but perfect alignment with their self-concept.

Meaning that, if you see yourself a certain way, and actions and behaviors are misaligned from that self-concept, then you might perceive certain actions as sabotaging yourself from more success. In actuality, you’re simply demonstrating how much your body is aligned with your mind, your behaviors and how you truly see yourself.

This perspective shifts our understanding from blame (“Why do I keep sabotaging myself?”) to curiosity (“What does this behavior tell me about my self-image?”). It’s not about fixing a flaw, but about understanding and potentially updating our self-concept.

How to succeed at something new

If you want to be successful at something else, then your next move is clear: think, do, and focus only on that. Sounds simple, right? But we all know it’s not that easy.

You don’t like the mess you’re in? Then change the inputs so the outputs are different. 

You’re always consuming your environment. So, what’s in it? What information are you constantly feeding your five senses?

Because ‘information’ shapes you within — in-form (to shape within) — and if that information doesn’t match the direction you want to go in, then new success will elude you.

Information = in-form (to shape)

If that bothers you, then something will have to change: either the information you consume—or your goal.

Because information shapes your invisible world—the world that shapes the physical realm, your outcomes, and environment. 

So, the obvious question now is, “How do I set a new course?”

In other words, how do I change my self-image? How do I change how I see myself?

Remember: you will always do what’s consistent with your current self-perception, and will ‘succeed’ without fail.

Bad with money

Tom, a 35-year-old who always saw himself as “bad with money.” He consistently overspent, avoided looking at his bank balance, and felt anxiety whenever financial topics came up.

Here’s how Tom changed:

Step one: Recognize the problem

Tom realized his “car-focused” self-image was a real problem. He believed that his car needed the latest sound system and gadgets money could buy. One day he met with an old friend and saw that he was doing much better than himself. He had a house, a nice car, and challenging work that brought in just enough money to build a future on.

When Tom compared himself to his friend, he realized that he wasn’t even living paycheck to paycheck—he had already borrowed against his future income. Tom felt embarrassed and didn’t want to blow his future on trivial things anymore. This emotional drive was crucial— without it, change would remain a wish, not a goal.

Step two: Tell the truth

Tom got brutally honest with himself. He admitted that his spending habits were out of control, that he used his car as a form of status and emotional comfort. He also realized his financial illiteracy was a choice, not a fixed trait.

Step three: Envision a new identity

Tom asked himself, “What would a more financially savvy person do?” He learned to work within a budget, educate himself about personal finance and investing, and made intentional spending decisions that wouldn’t mortgage his future away.

“I’m smart with money.”

Step four: Take action

Tom started small. He simply started by tracking his expenses and reading one personal finance article a day. When he came across a sound idea, he would try it. Each action reinforced his new self-image as someone who was smarter with money.

Step five: Persist through challenges

There were setbacks. Tom overspent some months and felt the pull of old habits. But he reminded himself that these were just course corrections, not failures.

Over time, Tom’s finances improved—and his relationship to his car. But more importantly, his self-image changed. He started seeing himself as financially competent, which led to even better financial decisions.

Remember, this process is simple, but it’s not easy. Your self-image won’t change overnight, but with consistent effort, it will shift.

And here’s the beautiful part: once your self-image changes, your new success becomes inevitable. Because you’ll always succeed at being who you think you are.

So, who do you think you are? And more importantly, who do you want to be?

Thank you for the go-ahead. Let’s wrap this up with a powerful conclusion that ties everything together:

Conclusion

So, here’s the deal: You’re already successful. Right now. At this very moment. You’re succeeding at being exactly who you think you are deep down.

Every breath you take, every thought you process, every interaction you have—it’s all a testament to the incredible success of your mind and body working in perfect harmony. You’re a walking, talking miracle of success.

But here’s what matters: If you’re not happy with your current “success,” you have the power to change it. Your self-image isn’t set in stone. It’s malleable, shapeable, like clay in your hands.

Remember Tom? He reshaped his self-image from “bad with money” to “financially savvy.” It wasn’t easy, it took time, but it’s simple. He recognized the problem, got honest with himself, envisioned a new identity, and took consistent action. You can do the same in any area of your life.

The universe, or nature, doesn’t play favorites—only people do. It responds to what you put “in” there—your thoughts, beliefs, and self-image—because this determines what you put out there.

If you fill your mind with beliefs of inadequacy, your actions will manifest those results. Conversely, if you cultivate beliefs of capability and worth, your actions and outcomes will reflect that. It’s a cycle: what you put in shapes what you put out, which in turn reinforces what you put in.

believing is seeing cycle

Your mind is like that airplane on autopilot, constantly course-correcting to reach the destination you’ve set—your self-image. The good news? You can change the destination anytime you choose.

So, the next time you catch yourself thinking “I just want to be successful,” remember: You already are. The question is, are you succeeding at what you want?

Your success is inevitable. You get to choose what kind of success you want in your life. So choose wisely, because whatever you choose, you’re going to be damn good at it.

After all, everything just works. Including you.