Today is your day to celebrate! You are feeling great. Having fun with friends and feeling like you could conquer the world!
This is a wonderful feeling. Not everyone’s norm though.
You’ve had other times when you felt absolute fear and trepidation. Butterflies in your stomach, thinking you are going to vomit and fail. Maybe it was an exam, finding a date for an event, playing a championship game, giving a talk or starting a new relationship.
You were worried that you were just not going to be able to do it, even though you really wanted to.
You kept going though. Didn’t give up! And the more you got into it, the better you felt.
Oh yeah, there were so hard parts but you didn’t give up.
After some time, you became more confident and courageous. Then you knew you were destined for success in this. You had made a decision not to give up!
In essence, you just helped yourself to work on your thoughts to create your reality.
A wise old horse riding instructor once told me that “wanting something means you’re halfway there.” It’s true. If you want to do or achieve something, you’ll find a way to do it, regardless of what people are saying. You are amazing because you have the power to convince yourself to do so many things. Our daily thoughts create our feelings, behaviors, and the majority of the results in our lives. These same thoughts create self-fulfilling cycles throughout our lives as well. If you generally think more optimistically, more positive outcomes will be open to you. Likewise, it you generally think more pessimistically, more negative outcomes will be prevalent in your life. You have the choice to be tempted by the negative. Whatever it is, you can decide if it is the best course of action for you.
“If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you will be correct too.”
Very few people achieve positive results unless they think they can. Even then, they need to put the effort into whatever it is they desire, and keep going until they accomplish something and get the result they are seeking.
Here is a true story. As a small child on a sheep station in outback Australia, I convinced myself that I could go to university when I finished high school. I had no real idea what it meant to go to university yet that was where I wanted to be. Being a very isolated farming community in the outback, no one had ever been to university from where I came from. It became part of our family’s vocabulary that I would be going. I had good grades and I loved to read and study. It just became a natural progression. Both my mum and dad had won scholarships to university in Sydney yet had chosen not to pursue them in the 1940-50’s. Mum went to art school on a scholarship and was forced to drop out for family reasons while dad chose to take a management internship with a large Australian company. He didn’t stick that out and moved to the outback to manage sheep properties for his family.
As time went on during high school, my thoughts focused on how I was going to get to university. When application time came, I applied for 27 universities across the nation and was accepted at 25. That’s right. I didn’t know where I wanted to go. Just I wanted to go. My dad had already told his friends that I had been offered a scholarship to university and I asked mum what we would do if I didn’t receive one. She told me not to worry because my dad had saved the money for me to go. Then I was awarded a full scholarship to the University of New England, Armidale, NSW.
I like this story because when I got to university and was signing up for my scholarship, I was told that no one from where I came from had ever been on scholarship, and there was a slim chance I would make it because of this. In that minute, I made up my mind that I was there for 4 years and I would look for this person when I finished. Amazingly enough, it drove me on and I did finish with good grades. I went looking for this person and they were no longer working for the university.
In a nutshell, if you get to know yourself and your strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and so forth as outlined in my first article, “How to understand just who you are” in the Blog section, you will save yourself from drawing inaccurate conclusions about who you are and what you are capable of doing. Who wants to unknowingly limit their potential? No I!!
Now let’s consider some of the strategies you can use if you find you are making a fault-finding assessment of yourself. These thoughts will cause you to put less effort into everything you do. Putting in less effort will then cause you to not succeed, and even give up altogether.
Is this what you want to do when it comes to areas of your life that are important to you?
“If we change our thinking, we can change our lives.”
- Develop a positive belief about yourself in the areas you are feeling discouraged in.
If you think you are failing at something like school, learning a sport, work, or in a relationship, you will only see evidence of this because that is what you are looking for. Anything good that comes your way will be considered luck, not a result of your hard work and effort.
Many times, it is not your knowledge, skill level or a lack of talent that holds you back. It is your belief in yourself in being able to ultimately do something well. By creating a more positive view of yourself, and the results you are seeking, you will feel motivated that a positive result is within your reach. Positive attitudes are also more productive because you are willing to put in more effort when you feel cheerful. eg. Do you know any champion tennis or hockey players who are negative about their ability to succeed? Probably not. They may have times where they doubt themselves yet they soon pick up their racket or hockey stick and keep going.
Ask yourself, am I a Survivor or a Victim in whatever I am trying to succeed at? Survivors will do everything they can to keep going and be positive even in terrible situations. Victims will blame everyone else for their situation and often give up. They may complain about what happened for many years to come.
- Your beliefs will be reinforced by your behavior.
What you believe about yourself will be correct. If you think you can do something, you will put in the hard work, effort and hours necessary to be able to do it. It may be something like learning a language, learning a musical instrument, a sport or a relationship that is important to you in your life.
If you aren’t sure what your belief about something is, think about if it is important to you and why. Why is this endeavor important to you? Ask yourself WHY up to 50 times until you come up with a simple answer. Some answers can be:
“I want this person in my life because I love them and want to be with them.”
“I want to play hockey at a high level so I can play in college.”
“I want to learn Spanish so I can hold conversations with people when I am in Argentina for work.”
“I want to …………..so I can……………”
If you don’t believe you can do something, you will be correct too. Be honest with yourself and work out the “WHY” you want to do something. Your beliefs, thoughts and behavior need to all be in synch to create the reality you are seeking.
- Challenge any conclusions about yourself that are not working in your favor.
Think about some of the thoughts you may have had about yourself. Perhaps:
- I am not good enough.
- I am not good looking enough.
- I am too fat/too thin/too tall/ too short.
- I wish I was pretty.
- No one takes me seriously.
- I can’t afford what everyone else can.
- Why aren’t I able to play AAA hockey like other people?
- Why does everything seem to be against me?
And the list could go on…….
How you can shift your thinking paradigms?
How could we phrase some of these differently so they work for us? By practicing “shifting the paradigm”. Paradigms are unwritten beliefs or rules we have about ourselves, others and the way the world works.
How we can shift paradigms about ourselves is to think about them less, give them less influence over our lives and come up with new paradigms that are beneficial to who we are and what we are striving for in life.
Eg. “I am not good enough” can be changed to “I have self-doubt like everyone else does from time to time, however, I am going to persevere and prove to myself that I am competent enough to get this done. “
If we can dispute our conclusions about ourselves and replace the paradigms with something positive or strong about ourselves, we will eventually change our own thinking. Our reality will also change. Our degree of authenticity will also change and attract positive people into our lives. Remember, “Misery loves company.” Change your thoughts and then beliefs, and you will change the type of life you have. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen over time, if you persevere.
- Challenge your own beliefs about yourself and the world.
Jot down the beliefs you have about yourself. Positive or negative. Now say them out loud and test if they are working for you, or limiting your real potential. If it comes up that you have certain beliefs that need more than thinking to change, think about what you can do to help yourself.
I have a belief that I am becoming less fit. I can have a say over my health and well-being. The scales tell me I am getting a slightly heavier. I can do something about this. There is a gym 5 minutes from my house and I am a member. There is a weight loss group 10 minutes away and I am also a member. See, there is no excuse for this odd belief of mine because I can do something about it if I chose to. And I have!!!
What are some of your beliefs about yourself that you can do something about starting right now?
We read about amazing feats that people achieve because they have positive beliefs in themselves. They are no more talented than you or I. They just want something more and put the effort in to get it for themselves and sometimes, other people. A good example of this are the two dive bomber pilots depicted in the current true story blockbuster movie, “Midway.”
Their names were “Dicky” Best and Wade McCluskey and they were commanders in the US Navy during the Battle of Midway on June 4th, 1942. Check it out! Their effort and dedication to saving the US from Japanese defeat was second to none. Both of them changed the course of World War II in the Pacific region with their bravery and belief in themselves as pilots and thinkers. Neither waited for instructions on what to do. They made calculated decisions for themselves and made aviation history.
Be this type of advocate for yourself and do things that you positively believe that will add to your life.
In conclusion, you can help yourself and adjust your thoughts to create the reality you want. You have the power to master your mind and develop positive thoughts in the areas you may currently be feeling a little discouraged in. Remember, you are in control of creating your viewpoint on your life situation. It is what you think it is. Your belief in yourself and your ability will be reinforced by your behavior and you will try harder, for longer, to get something done. You won’t give up at the first sign of difficulty. And lastly, you will challenge any beliefs that you have about yourself that aren’t currently working for you and contributing to your trajectory forward. You have the skills to challenge both your own thoughts and the thoughts of others who may be trying to influence you.
Go forth and conquer!! You can do it!