Here it is. No fluff, no over explanations. I will give you the plain and simple truth. No one can expect to succeed with an attitude of self defeat. Okay no more needs to be said, end of story. Now take a moment and think about that. It is something you probably know that already and now you may feel let down. This remedy is like telling a blind man he cannot see because he was born blind. Try telling an overweight person that he should lose weight and see what sort of reaction you will get.
The point to that is simple, there are no simple answers. Life is very complex and the various elements that are at play need clarification and consideration. I tend to look at the world through 2 points of view. Tangible elements, ones that you can touch and see and experience externally; while intangibles are usually the internal mechanisms that affect a vast array of perceptions within.
The whole intangible/tangible question is where I want to explore. Much of how you feel about yourself is derived from the thoughts you possess. Any feeling you have about whom and what you are comes from an outlook that humans have that makes our brains unique. I want to explore the conceptual aspect of our self being. The very essence of which is and can only be produced by thought. These thoughts are both defining and shaping. They present us via our inner self with a score card that defines our role in what goes on externally. If you look at your own world and see the people that you work with, hang out with and live with; you see a small example of this at work. Recently, I began to think about how my relationships with my siblings has changed. I come from a family of 4 boys. We are all the alpha male type and have always tended to be very competitive. Without naming any names one of my brothers has grown to be very self conscious about where he stands in life, he equates self esteem to financial success. I have grown to be much more pragmatic and see success on different levels and not only as results measured by one’s bank account. Another one of us could not care less about status and or material things, he has more of a existentialist attitude. The last brother is a mixed bag of materialism and tempered by a newly developed dose of pragmatism. One cannot understate the value of what your environment does to you. I compete hard and tend to put it on the line more often than the average. The net result is that I face both success and failure more often and therefore have to be prepared to deal with these outcomes. I survive by possessing a mixture of self belief and self esteem. These are seemingly similar concepts that I will discuss.
Self belief drives my life, I am very inclined to believe that if I want it, I can get it. I push this ideal on anyone that will listen and much of my motivation writing and lecturing can be attributed to this. Over many years of trial and error, experience taught me that my capabilities are only being held back by my own limitations. I have tried to set limited goals and found myself overcoming. I began to realize that I suffered a self esteem issue; I set easy goals in order to avoid being disappointed. When I realized what I was doing I began to challenge myself and learned to hone my focus and energy on succeeding. This had to positive affects on me. First, I was building real self esteem by realizing that you cannot win at everything. Also, I must accept that I may be cut out for everything that I desire. Secondly, I learned that confidents is about accepting everything about whom you I am. The good, the bad and the ugly. You can work to change what is changeable but you must also accept what you cannot. Just remember that acceptance comes from within, your salvation doesn’t come from others. Another sign of maturing and coming to grips with my own humanity was the realization that the individual wins and losses are meaningless. There is a big picture that is much more important. The fact that I never stopped believing eventually fuelled my victory in some cases. The stick-to-itiveness is a very tangle factor in how far you can go. The question has and always will be how badly do you want it and are you willing to make whatever sacrifice to succeed. The complex weave of self esteem and self belief is a powerful catalyst in my life. I believe in myself therefore I am willing to try and I am willing to take chances. When I succeed I rejoice but when I don’t I do not fall apart either. I learned to accept that I did not win today but that there is always another shot tomorrow. The choice is mine, I can also decide not to pursue anymore, there are some dreams that are not meant to be. You need to have the confidents and maturity to accept that.
Now self belief alone is one component of a whole arsenal of tools that success can be built on. So to summarize the two strong influences on my life are self esteem and self belief. They are twins and yet very different beasts all together. Self esteem is liking yourself and the other is about believing in you capabilities. Very different yet very much the same. In fact I would say that there is symbiosis at play here; you cannot have one functioning properly without the other.
There is a simple test that you can perform for yourself. Go through old photos and find as many as you can over a span of a couple of decade or more. One thing don’t concentrate one event, make the sample as random as possible for the best results. Scrutinize your facial expressions, go back in your mind and try and remember how you felt. Make a note and when the process is done see where your mind is at. You have to be really honest with yourself, how do the photos make you feel. When I have run this experiment with clients the results can be very eye opening. I have been surprised to discover that many people find that walk down memory lane difficult. Others don’t even notice that they tend to hate being photographed. It is interesting to see how many admit that were wearing an external mask that covers how they were really feeling.
Often when I conduct a thorough interview with a test subject, I will ask them a broad range of questions about their life. When I touch on dreams aspirations, accomplishments, regrets and current desires, some people begin to get noticeably irritated. Especially when I compartmentalize time periods like childhood, adolescence and the present time. Almost no one wants to talk about the unfulfilled dreams from their childhood or adolescence. In retrospect they talk more openly about the present. When asked about what they would like to change about themselves, they tend to qualify their reluctance to do anything. Which is not what I asked them about. So in many ways it is the same reluctance to open up and talk about it. When I can get someone to talk about the past, they talk about not wanting to be disappointed and more commonly not believing that they will ultimately succeed. Would it surprise you to find out that some of these individuals score high on the self esteem scale. They are often successful too. Their basic fear is not succeeding because a lack of self belief is affecting them.
That was not always the case, some of the results shows quite clearly that there is a lack of both self esteem and belief going on. Which is why I stated that human psychology is complex and is a result of complexity; no simply answer here. A person might have great self esteem but suffer from a lowered self belief and vice versa.
In some cases when an individual takes into account the results, they felt empowered and were able to overcome their obstacle. They found that knowing of the existence of the problem made them more aware of what they were doing. They were actively taking on these challenges and succeeding. The net result of which is they learned as I did that limits are only mental. They are far more capable than they realized. A good internal outlook and attitude powered by a health belief in you can take you wherever you want to go. This my friends is the power of self belief.