5 Ways to Train Your Mind to Think Like a Winner

One of the first things I learned as an FBI Agent was that to be successful, I would need to think like a winner.

When pulling a gun to make an arrest, there is no room for error—not only did I need to be right, I needed to come out on the winning side.

My state of mind directly impacted my performance. I needed to be mindful, in the present moment, and in complete control of what was surging through my thoughts even if I was nervous, stressed and under pressure.

Thinking like a winner is not rocket science; it sounds easy, but many entrepreneurs and business owners fail to do this because they are not consciously aware of their thoughts.

Without awareness of what we are thinking, we cannot control where the mind goes—and as we all know, the mind can sometimes have a life of its own.

Here are five ways to train your mind to think like a winner:

1. Run The Show To Think Like A Winner

Run the show by controlling your thoughts, rather than letting your thoughts control you.

To do this, you will need to become more connected to them throughout your day. Controlling our thought process isn’t as easy as it sounds because we don’t notice how little control we have over the way our mind thinks. One thought follows another, and out of habit, we let our subconscious take us through most of the day.

We have arrived at where we are today because our thoughts have brought us here, but where we end up tomorrow depends a great deal on where our thoughts take us.

Meditation is an excellent way move out of your subconscious and be an observer of your own thoughts, even the ones that frighten you.


As an investigator, I learned to continually question my assumptions about almost everything! But by doing so, I trained my mind to be alert about everything going on around me.

Move out of your subconscious by intentionally choosing to observe, question, challenge, or dismiss new pieces of information that come your way.

2. Stimulate Your Mind To Think Like A Winner

Introducing humor and playing with ideas are both extremely stimulating. If we train our brain to seek out new information, we no longer need to rely upon our external circumstances to provide mental stimulation.

This can be extremely important when we’re in a situation where we feel trapped or immobilized.


My fellow FBI agents frequently used humor to defray tense and stressful situations. Humor helps our mind change the way it views our stressors. Laughter is a physical response that relaxes us .

By training your mind to be playful, it will make it easier to take in new information from outside your current situation and then use this new information to help you think through problems.

3. Visualize Your Success To Think Like A Winner

The benefits of visioning our performance is based on solid science. The very act of giving our brain a detailed portrait of our end goal ensures the release of dopamine, a powerful mental toughness tool to steer us toward success.

Dopamine is the chemical that becomes active when we encounter situations that are linked to rewards from the past. It enables us to not only see rewards, but to move toward those rewards.

A Harvard study has demonstrated that our brain cannot tell the difference between a visualized image and reality.


Defensive tactics was an exercise in visualization because we were taught how to anticipate the movements of a person avoiding arrest. By visualizing what could go wrong, we prepared ourselves to be successful.

You can do the same thing: if you have a speaking engagement or a meeting, visualize what you will say and how you will say it.

4. Tap Into Your Inner Self To Think Like A Winner

Vicktor Frankl, a Holocaust and concentration camp survivor, described the source of his strength under extreme adversity. Frankl concludes that the most important trait of survivors is a strong sense of doing their best in all circumstances, while not being primarily concerned with advancing their own interests.

The actions of the survivors are motivated by an inner voice that taps into their sense of purpose—not by their external conditions. They had the mental toughness to keep moving ahead, regardless of their circumstances.


While the FBI is not a touchy-feely group of people, they are able to tap into their purpose and passion—it’s what motivates them to chase terrorists and other criminals.

If your only goal is to make money and buy more stuff, you are thinking liking a loser, not a winner. You are one of the narcissistic people who fall apart when external conditions turn threatening because you are only intrinsically motivated to help yourself.

5. Get Specific Sooner To Think Like A Winner

Getting specific requires us to:

  • Prioritize and make choices.
  • Identify our unique message
  • Become a master of a few things instead of a “know it all.”
  • Be humble about the things in which we are not an expert
  • Foster gratitude for the things in which we do excel

    The shotgun approach works only if you are not sure of your options, but a laser focused approach is what will yield the best results once a decision is made.

    Smart people specify, prioritize, and focus on specific opportunities that they know will most likely lead to their success. These 5 steps outlined above are embedded in common sense and validated by top notch research and science. Discovering how to make them work for you is your own secret to success.

    Training your mind to think like a winner is not always easy, and like anything else, it takes practice.

    How have your trained yourself to think like a winner?