You Get EXACTLY What You Expect
A mantra I keep coming across amongst people I respect - You get exactly what you expect out of life. No, not what you want people to think you expect - Not the falsely confident attempts at self convincing you perform when telling people about your dreams.
You get exactly out of life what you are fully convinced you will get from it.
This then begs the question "how?". How do we convince ourselves we're capable of great things? This is a question I've long pondered, and I presume will keep pondering to a degree for the rest of my life. I'm a believer that life has a way of teaching you the same lessons over and over again, each time with new depth. I believe that I, now in my early 20's, have at least stumbled onto the first dimension of the answer to that question.
Habits. The answer is habitual behaviors. Discipline. Consistent repetitions of behavior that represents the character you desire to become. If you are obese and your dream is to have a 6 pack, you will have an exceptionally hard time convincing yourself you are capable of doing so if you act like an obese person day in and day out. You will have a hard time expecting better results if your behavior doesn't reflect the results, even before they come to fruition. So a fit person who used to be obese, at one point was an obese person who behaved like fit person. This is a universal concept.
More important than your reputation with the world is your reputation with yourself. Have you proven to yourself that you are trustworthy? Have you been a man or woman of your word to yourself? Have you kept your self made promises? If not, you likely have very little faith in yourself, therefore you likely expect very little from your life. And very little, my friend, is exactly what you will get.
Billionaires, movie stars, professional athletes, and anybody who has achieved anything difficult and to a high degree all took gambles on themselves. There are a lot of people who gamble on themselves though. The separation in the success stories from the failure can be found in the belief that one's purpose is achievable and noble. And that belief comes from consistency of behavior and a positive reputation with oneself.
Joseph in the book of Genesis is deeply convicted by a vision at a young age that he will someday rule over his brothers. Because of this conviction, he is hated and sold into slavery. Yet even then, Joseph consistently behaves as though his destiny is before him and certain. He is so sure of his God that even being betrayed by his own brothers for his beliefs do not shake him. The Bible says that Joseph works with extreme excellent in Potiphar's house, becoming second in command of the whole household before being falsely accused of adultery and thrown in prison. Still unshaken, Joseph becomes an asset in prison, and is given a position of authority in the prison, as a prisoner, where he continues to work with excellence.
Finally, Jospeh's moment arrives, after years of reasons to get bitter and resentful, and he is given an opportunity to interpret a dream of Pharaoh. Then Joseph is liberated from prison, and put second in command to all of Egypt, just as he always knew he would. His conviction was deep, and remained deep because of his consistent excellence in everything he did. And for no other reason did he become second in command of Egypt.
Whatever it is you are after, the only way to succeed is to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it will happen. And the only way to know anything with that kind of certainty is to be honest with yourself and disciplined, not reliant on inspiration or motivation. And whatever it is that passes the test of honesty and discipline will be. Do not make the fatal mistake of assuming nothing of your life, because that is precisely what you will get from it.