Be careful about what you believe about yourself, because there are ramifications for every belief that you have.
Imagine seven people facing the same difficult problem: escaping from the top of a burning skyscraper:
- Nick believes that he is sharp-as-a-tack smart.
- Katherine believes she is resourceful.
- Mike believes he is unlucky.
- Ashley believes she is not good under pressure.
- Beth believes she is tough and determined.
- Ian is an optimist while Jen is a sarcastic always-blame-others pessimist.
Can you jump to the end of the story, and imagine how each would approach the immediate, life-threatening problem?
While it is easy to see how these seven people’s beliefs liberate some while they limit others in my life-or-death hypothetical, the same paradigm exists in everyday life.
Imagine the same seven people:
- in a tough job situation,
- parenting a difficult teen,
- having a chance to run for class president,
- attending a very competitive university in a tough major,
- breaking down in their car in the wrong neighborhood,
- deciding to interview for a new position,
- losing a leg in a car accident,
- running a 5K,
- getting a promotion to VP,
- running into financial woes,
- starting a new company, or
- losing 30 pounds and getting into the best shape of their lives.
A person’s chosen beliefs will cause him or her to handle the exact same situation in a different way.
When you look in the mirror, what are your beliefs? Are they conducive to success?
If a girl believes she is pretty and that her beauty will get her through life, what happens when she ages and Oil of Olay doesn’t live up to its hype? What if that girl believed she was ‘creative‘ and ‘unstoppable‘ instead?
Many people accept the beliefs handed them by family, teachers, coaches, and friends, but each of us has the freedom to choose. You must be careful when you decide what you believe. You must question everything. You must plan ahead and be deliberate when helping your family and close friends develop their beliefs. These beliefs can serve them well, or undermine their efforts. If you have influence, you can help or hurt their chances.
You can see examples all around. Does a person believe that he is a great speaker or does he believe that he wilts in front of a business crowd? Did Shaq believe he could become a better free throw shooter (probably not)? Did Sylvester Stallone believe he could be a success at acting (obviously yes)?
I believe that I can choose and cultivate my own beliefs. This belief-about-belief is all empowering. Do you believe that you can change and choose your own beliefs? If so, do you have some current beliefs that are limiting your potential? It might be high time to take an inventory and re-consider.