Whether you’re working your way up from the mailroom or sitting in the corporate office, achieving your next level of success is, first and foremost, a mind game.

It’s long been established that the way you think about the world influences the experience you hold, and there’s no more powerful evidence than this than the fact that the people who think they can achieve something, generally do, while those who doubt their own abilities often find that success remains always just out of reach.

From the business perspective, this idea first became popular with the advent of the law of attraction, and the popularization of that law through books like Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill, who was infamously commission by Andrew Carnegie to research and write the definitive book on success.

Here are a few other top books I’d recommend.

Recommended Books for Success

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind

Vishen Lakhiani is the founder and CEO of Mindvalley, one of the fastest-growing businesses in the meditation, consciousness, and success industry.

The company started out selling meditation cds and packets, and quickly grew to become an international organization with partnerships with some of the world’s most prominent thinkers and teachers on how mindset creates success.

In The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, Lakhiani outlines the principles he lives by, and how he uses cutting edge science to develop life hacks leading him to success. From remaining disciplined enough to do 50 pushups on command, to how he thinks about his business, this book will revolutionize the way you think about success, and the mind’s role in it.

Find the book here, or get The Code of the Extraordinary Mind audiobook.

Start With Why

Written by author Simon SInek, Start With Why became an instant bestseller a few years ago, and remains equally relevant today. The book talks about how important it is to find a driving passion that pushes you towards success.

When you clarify the reasons why you want to do something, the path towards actually achieving it becomes much clearer, according to Sinek. This isn’t just opinion: neuroscience shows that having a definitive focus helps the mind to find solutions and opportunities that are unavailable to others.

You can read more about it when you download the ebook or buy the Start With Why audiobook.

Applying Success Principles

Reading these books is only the first step. No matter how much you read, nothing will have any impact for you if you don’t take the time to apply these principles to your life.

If you’re trying to figure out where and how to get started, the best thing you can do is simply to take action towards a goal. This requires you first to make sure that you are clear, upfront, and honest about what your goals really are, and the effort you’re willing to put in to get there.

Then, it’s all about creating a realistic plan of action and following through, day in and day out, until you achieve the success you want.

Get the right mindset, focus in on your goal, and persist until you breakthrough. That’s the formula for success at anything in life, whether it’s business, academics, health, or just about anything else.

Let’s Bring Back Music Education To Our Schools

It’s a tale as old as time: budget cuts force schools across the country to reduce their “extra” programs, which almost always included music and arts programs.

While that seems like a sensible choice to many school supervisors, how many of them have actually asked the question about what our society would look like if we didn’t bring up well rounded kids with a firm grounding in music and arts?

The Importance of Music and Arts in Schools

What would happen to our national culture? Our identity? Those are two of the easiest areas to look, but you can even go a step further and argue that music education forms a mental stimulant that propels students to great achievements.

It’s no secret that many of our nations leaders have been excellent musicians, including former President Bill Clinton (who played saxophone) and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was a classically trained pianist). Take it a step further, and you’ll realize that college and universities often look to outstanding music and arts backgrounds as something that distinguishes students and sets them a cut above their peers.

This trend is most prevalent in our leading, and most prestigious schools, where increasingly high percentages of students have studied an art or musical instrument.

So why, then are we cutting back on school music programs?

El Sistema Inspired Music Programs

Maybe we should take inspiration from Venezuela. Despite huge internal struggles and social unrest, one of the few things that Venezuela has done right was to create the El Sistema program, which helps youths avoid violence and grow into model citizens through music education.

This philosophy has inspired several programs in the US, including Play On Philly, which works to keep underprivileged Philadelphia teenagers off the streets and in the classroom…playing music.

Is Music Education A Cost Issue?

Obviously there’s a cost to running music programs, but the question really is: what’s the cost of not running them?