Why do so many of us lack belief in ourselves? How can we solve this problem and start discovering the huge power that belief in ourselves brings?
Millions of people do not believe in themselves enough to achieve their dreams or goals. They give up far too soon or they even give up when the goal is in their grasp.
I teach a martial art which encourages students to work hard and consistently to achieve their black belt. Some students drop out after two or three months but amazingly a few drop out when they are one grade away from their black belt.
I can only guess that some of these students do not believe that they deserve their black belt or they do not believe that they have the ability to pass the grading exam.
Some one has told them at some point in their lives that they are a pushover or a weakling or a lazy good-for-nothing. They believed that person and the belief lodged deep in their subconscious mind. This negative view of themselves was enough to stop them even attempting to take the black belt test.
Believing that we do not deserve success or lack the necessary ability can stop us even trying. It can paralyse us so much that even the smallest effort seems a waste of time.
One quick solution is to try anyway and not worry about the results. When I took my black belt test in Taekwondo, I did not believe that I deserved to succeed but I thought I would take the test anyway and see what happened.
Even if I had failed the test I could at least have felt the satisfaction of having given it a go. The real success lay in being willing to risk the possibility of failure.
A few years ago I went to the Tony Robbins' fire walk seminar held in the Arena at London Docklands. I did not believe I would walk unscathed over the hot coals. I took plenty of antiseptic ointment to rub on my blistered feet. I reasoned that as I weighed over eighteen stone, I would sink into the glowing coals and not be able to move my feet out of danger quickly enough!
Tony's pre-fire walk talk did not help too much. He told us how on his first fire walk he did not wash down his feet after the walk to get rid of any hot coals that had attached themselves to his feet. As a result he had a severe burn and when he accidentally bumped his foot against a chair, the pus poured out!
He also casually mentioned that two people had died after doing the firewalk at seminars not run by himself!!
As a result of all this, my belief that I would walk through the fire unscathed was not strong. All the words we were meant to be saying to ourselves as we did the walk went out of my mind. When my time came there was no time to think. I just walked anyway.
Fortunately, the walk was short and the coals were not deep enough to sink in to and two helpers were very quick to wash down my feet at the conclusion of the walk. In the end I did not need the antiseptic ointment. Doing the walk anyway had worked.
A more frightening seminar test was breaking an arrow whose point was lodged in the throat. A board was held tightly against the other end of the arrow and seminar attendees were encouraged to take one step forward boldly and in a state of belief that the arrow would break and not penetrate their throats!
Again, when it was my turn, I did not have any particular belief in my mind (apart from thinking that I was an idiot for doing this) but stepped forward anyway. Mercifully the arrow broke. Belief was not essential; doing it anyway was all that was necessary.
Another solution (apart from going ahead anyway) is to understand why people might have put you down in the past. If someone called you a weakling in the past, they may well have been trying to make themselves feel stronger at your expense. A really strong person will encourage others to become strong.
Someone who is a failure does not like the idea that someone they know will do better than themselves. They will tell you that you are wasting your time if you try to improve yourself.
I remember being called a big head at school when I moved up a form into a class where everyone was one year older than me. Some of the class could not bear to think that someone was doing better than they were. As a result of the criticism I stopped working hard for a couple of years and was fortunate to pass the exams.
Of course, the class might really have thought that I did have a big head both physically and mentally! When I reread this article it does come across as bigheaded! This, hopefully, is not my intention; I am just drawing from my own experiences rather than someone else's.
Another solution to the problem of lack of belief is to repeat a positive belief at speed so that doubts do not have a chance to take hold. Dave O'Connor of Educo has a series of exercises which develop this kind of instant belief.
Try this one. Stand with your eyes shut and your hands down by your sides. Start saying at speed something like this: "My right arm is attached to a helium balloon. The balloon is rising into the air pulling my arm upwards with it. My arm is going up, up, up, higher and higher, up, up, up. The more I resist, the higher it goes. Higher and higher, up, up etc."
See what happens! Usually at Dave's seminars, most people's hands do go up. There is always someone, however, who is thinking thoughts like: "This is silly. The man's gone mad!" The hands of such people stay down! Too many doubts have been allowed to nest in their minds.
Once you get good at controlling your thoughts and beliefs through exercises like the one above, you can apply the power of belief to every activity in your life and start creating miracles. You can learn to shut out the negative thoughts and focus on the positive ones.
So then, go ahead anyway even if you lack belief in yourself. The belief will come after you have acted and seen the results. Realise that many people don't like to see the success of others. They will try to make you think you are a fool if you try anything ambitious. Finally, think and move fast so that doubts have no time take root in your mind.
Alexander the Great, led his men into battle without letting them rest before the battle. He did not give time for doubts and fears to nest in their minds. So go ahead anyway. Ignore the critics and get a move on!