In this article: Harness the power of believing in yourself and reach for your rainbows.
Whether You Think You Can Or Can’t – You Are Right
Perhaps Henry Ford said it best when he said, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t – you are right.” Your mindset can help you win or have you beat before you even get started with your chase, and the truth is, that nothing is impossible. Let’s be honest, the world isn’t short of blogs, books, posts, and videos that will motivate you. You don’t need that, though, what you need is belief.
Nothing is more useful to you in chasing the things that you want in life than belief – belief in self and belief in your goals. So many of us are lacking in belief, practical belief. It isn’t about hoping for the best and then sitting back while you wait for all the good things to happen. That isn’t a practical strategy, no, instead you need to use your ability to look at life in a more practical way.
Take a quick stock of the thoughts that are floating around in your head – they’re still there because you truly believe them. Thoughts like life sucks and you’ll never get a job you enjoy, you’ll never be a success, you’ll never find love, or you’re not good at your job. When you allow these thoughts to permeate your mind you aren’t just giving them space, you’re helping give them credence.
You are fueling their power over you and holding yourself back. With belief, you can shape your reality. Think about it, what is it that you believe? Don’t think about what your friends think or you hear on the news, don’t worry about what your family’s opinions are or what your co-workers say, shut out the other voices, and really ask yourself what you believe.
When you believe something it tends to create a fact from it – we generally observe life and decide from that which we believe and from there we have lift off. Here’s the thing about balancing belief – when you look at life practically you know that you will never be able to fly like a bird. It really doesn’t matter how much you believe you can or how hard you try to believe it, that isn’t practical, it isn’t possible.
There is a part of practical belief, which requires pragmatism – part of you has to keep it real. As much as you believe you should remember that it requires hard work and unless you are prepared to take action, nothing in your life will change. Without action, there is no outcome.
So, do you believe that you can live the life that you want to live? Do you believe that you can achieve your dreams? It sounds simple, yes, but it’s the crux of the issue and you first have to learn there is a big difference between saying you believe something and truly believing it.
The Fear Starts Young
If you are having difficulty believing that you are capable and anything is possible, it’s probably because fear is built-in from a young age. While not everyone is affected in the same way by the typical commentary, we hear during our childhoods, many of us are and this can set you up for a life of disappointment and frustration.
It starts earlier, but one of the big ones is the pressure that performing poorly in school will affect your ability to get into the college of your dreams, and then you will struggle to find a decent job because your degree just won’t count as much if you go to a community college. Rather dramatically, that thought swirls around in your brain and escalates to worrying you’re going to die alone and homeless.
These thoughts pull the panic trigger and it isn’t long before you realize that you truly believe that it’s true. Any time you attempt to step outside the box you will likely hear someone suggest you could end up homeless if you fail. That is often enough to prevent most of us from taking the necessary steps to do what we want. We are all guilty of trying to make the most important decisions in our life while guided by fear.
For example, do you despise your job? Yet, you set your alarm every morning and go to work as usual. Why? You’re too afraid to look elsewhere because you have bills to pay and you feel safe where you are, leaving would be a risk that could prevent you from being able to meet your financial obligations.
Perhaps you are deeply unhappy in your relationship, but you are too terrified of being alone (or dying alone), so you just stay put and remain miserable in a relationship that isn’t fulfilling you.
Do you have a creative side that you never share with anyone because you’re afraid people will laugh at you or tell you that you are not good enough?
Our brains tend to conjure up the worst case scenario for every situation, yet it’s rare for the worst case scenario to become the reality. Think about something that you really wanted – and the reaction you got from people when you tell them. There are lots of writers in the world, there are a lot of people who succeeded in the film industry. It won’t be easy, but if it’s what you want it will be worth it.
Sadly, many of us let people put us off by putting fear into us over chasing our dreams. We shelve the dream and walk down the road more traveled. Not everyone will regret making a practical decision, but people do regret giving up on their dream.
The problem is that we allow those early thoughts and advice to derail us and keep us locked in a place of fear. Sadly, many people even stop practicing their skill and lose touch with something that forms a big part of who they are as a person. More importantly, a big part of what makes them happy.
Believe To Achieve
So, let’s go back to that dream you had, that goal you wanted or just something that you wanted out of life. Why did you stop believing that you could get it? Fear? Who hasn’t been in that position, the problem is if you don’t shake it, it will just remain and it will always be there. You need to truly believe that you can live the life that you really want.
Self-belief doesn’t need to be complicated, you can think of it as an instrument, a virtue, or a trait. There’s nothing new about the concept, but it might be new for you. Believe it now and eventually, your actions will turn it into a fact. If you can think it… well, then you can achieve it.
The most important aspect of your drive for success will be your ability to believe in yourself. Yes, it is easier to say it than to do it. What will separate you into the success pile is your ability to use your confidence to your advantage. If you don’t believe in your abilities then you won’t succeed, even if you are incredibly talented.
Consider a difficult problem that you have faced and how your thinking played its own role in the process. When you are convinced that you have the ability to solve the problem then you will. Perhaps one of the greatest recent examples is the writer J.K. Rowling, known for her Harry Potter books. She faced rejection after rejection, all while unemployed, raising a daughter alone, living on welfare.
Yet, she kept going and eventually, Harry Potter took the world by storm and became a movie franchise that turned Rowling into a billionaire. Even horror writer Stephen King went through that, but they both persisted. Writing is their gift, but what is yours?
We all have one, it may not be as glamorous as to lead you to Hollywood, but it is something that will fulfill you and bring you joy and contentment. Before you can succeed you first need to fail, and there may be a lot of failures – but you need an unshakeable belief in yourself. If you don’t have that then you will likely fall at the first hurdle of failure. It’s common for that failure to put us off and it can cause you to lose your spark and choose to settle for less than you really deserve. However, with courage, belief, and the want to persist, you can achieve whatever you want.
Confidence Fuels Belief
Not only does confidence fuel your belief, but there are other aspects of you as a person who can help you turn your belief into success.
We mentioned how motivation is useless without belief, well, belief isn’t enough unless you have willpower. It will help you maintain your focus as you walk your chosen path and prevent you from giving in at the first obstacle.
There is a close link here, between willpower and self-management. Staying on track requires discipline and without it… well, the most successful people have it in spades and they are capable of remaining focused and driven even when it’s hitting the fan.
Your attitude is just as important to your ability to believe, negativity can easily derail your efforts. Your mindset will break you or it will make you. So, choose positivity – it will allow your brain to seek creative solutions. On the other hand, negativity will set you up for failure.
Doubt can be crippling and it is often the secret source of many of your failures. Rather than buying into those doubting thoughts, you should instead replace them with positive, affirmative thoughts that will help you stay the course. Doubt is powerful, but belief is even more powerful and if you believe in yourself and your ability to do whatever it is you want to do, then what can really hold you back?
The Role Self-Confidence Plays
While some people are naturally confident, not all of us are blessed in that way. That doesn’t mean you can’t nurture your self-confidence, though. Some people just have a knack for looking at life through positive lenses, and they’re lucky.
They can make their decisions without fear because they are of the belief that no matter what, they will succeed. It might be natural, it might be because they have been raised with that mentality or they discovered it later. Regardless, it’s never too late. Therefore, for the rest of us, the confidence can be learned and you can develop it, just as you would any skill.
We are all prone to feelings of doubt and negativity, but fostering your self-confidence is worth the effort. One of the greatest ways to start developing your self-confidence is through your mindset – to achieve you first must believe. It’s one of those statements that may sound completely obvious, yet we look beyond it and miss it entirely.
Have you ever looked around at friends or acquaintances that seem to have achieved everything they want, yet you haven’t been able to? It seems so far away for you, but they managed it and you just can’t understand why you haven’t been able to.
Success is obtainable and if you believe that then it will become a fact. You can think of it as a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Don’t give up just because you haven’t been able to succeed yet, there’s still time. The reason your friends have been able to succeed is that they believed that it was possible, and they went out and did it.
Think about it like this – if you are convinced that you are capable, the only reason that you would give up is because you have decided the reward at the end just isn’t worth the work that it will take. Otherwise, it’s a process that you need to go through. If you are in advertising and you want to walk away from it, why is that? Is it because it wasn’t what you wanted in the first place or is it because your confidence is shaken and you aren’t sure whether you can succeed?
If it’s a confidence issue then it’s time to make some changes to your mindset, and if it’s a case of it not being your dream… well, you can try to make an objective decision about continuing or changing your path. Fear can be a major factor in believing in yourself.
Overcoming Fear To Soar With Belief
Before you can take off with belief, you need to identify those fears that are holding you back. So, be specific. We’re guilty of generalizing our fears. For example, someone who is afraid of swimming may not have explored his or her fear properly. It might be the ocean that they are afraid of, as opposed to the swimming aspect, yet, rather than jumping into the deep-end head first, they don’t swim in pools.
Clarifying that fear would provide an insight, though, that can assist in tackling the fear. So, if the ocean is the true fear, the person can start swimming in the shallow end of a swimming pool or just dipping their feet in the ocean.
Something else that tends to hold us back is our inability to show ourselves compassion. When we deal with a fear, it’s common to react impatiently or to levy criticism upon ourselves. Yet, if someone else were afraid of something, you would probably show him or her compassion – why can’t you do that for yourself?
For example, when you send your child off to the first day of school they are more than likely experiencing trepidation, and you tell them they’ll have so much fun, that they’re going to meet new friends, and learn interesting things. You go out of your way to allay their fears and send them off feeling encouraged and supported.
Just because you feel afraid doesn’t mean that you could allow it to dictate your actions. Offer yourself compassion and then face that fear head-on. Are you ruled by fear, we can help you find out.
- You Always Seen The Downside – every single decision that you make will have a downside along with an upside. However, if it is fear that drives you then you very likely only see the downside. If you always, or only, ever seen the downside to everything… fear is driving you.
- You Under Think Everything – Yet you think nothing through. You’re so busy overthinking and over-analyzing everything that you never truly think anything through. Instead, you react rashly and it’s the emotions that you allow to permeate your thoughts instead of the facts and figures.
- You Avoid The Unknown – At one point, the fear was just a survival instinct, but it’s grown beyond that now. Now, it prevents you from even looking outside of your comfort zone. Even familiar situations that bring pain with them are seen as better than change or the unknown. Fear is paralyzing.
- In Fear’s Constriction, You Are Unable To Expand – Part of life is growing and if we give into fear, it is difficult to expand our horizons. Rather than pushing past our boundaries, we are happy to avoid potential rejections or failures. It’s constricting you.
- Your Intuition Is Obscured – You hear people talk about listening to their gut when they make decisions, but where there is fear it’s difficult for that voice to get through to you. Fear muffles it and leaves you incapable of identifying what your instincts are telling you.
- You Avoid Decisions – if you don’t make your choices… someone else will. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make the decision you want to rather than letting life decide? If fear keeps you second-guessing your decisions then it’s time to deal with fear.
It’s at the crux of many big decisions and moments, but rather than protecting us, fear is usually holding us back. The scariest thing about fear is what it could be stopping you from enjoying, whether it’s a change of career, a move, a relationship, or just standing up for your values or beliefs.
We can agree that the basis of fear is generally built around failure. We are scared to fail because it doesn’t feel good, but we all fail and part of failing is learning from your mistakes and moving forward.
So, when you experience a slip up do you try to cover it up or do you own your mistakes and move on? Do you try to pass blame onto other people or do you try to figure out where you went wrong? Do you deny that you made a mistake or do you hold your hands up and bounce back? Failure is simply a starting point.
How To Believe
Perhaps, the problem is that the phrase has become so overused that just hearing it makes you want to roll your eyes. You believed in yourself, but it didn’t work out. Let’s look at how to believe. We mentioned earlier that we often don’t take time to determine our own beliefs, instead of piggybacking on things we’ve heard from others or the status-quo.
So, what are your beliefs and once you’ve determined what you believe ask yourself where those beliefs came from?
Responding with a maybe or I’m not sure isn’t a belief, so start by choosing a positive belief that most people would find difficult to believe. For example, regarding weight loss – I will lose 15 pounds. You have created a belief. For anyone who is reading and has failed to lose weight, you’re probably already saying it isn’t possible, your self-talk needs some work.
Form The Belief
It won’t happen overnight but hammer the belief that you will lose that weight into yourself day after day. It’s a belief that you yourself have created and it is up to you to hammer it home. You may experience pushback from negative self-talk, but just keep pushing your new belief and you’ll find it overtaking your self-talk.
It’s at this point that most people will give up because it takes work to keep hammering at a nail when it’s refusing to slide into the wall. Nothing comes without work, and something like weight loss is a gradual process, which can be difficult for a society that is looking for instant gratification.
Stick With It
Take the time necessary to write out your new belief every single day. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s a weight loss goal you’re trying to achieve a new career or whatever… you can form any belief just the same. You can think of it as an affirmation as that is essentially, what it is. When you’ve written them down, keep them handy, and spend time visualizing your belief, too.
Every day, you should spend 5-10 minutes visualizing yourself achieving your successes. Associate with people who think and believe the same as you do or are interested in chasing the same dreams. Once you have done all this you will naturally see the evidence of it in your environment. Your reality will be shaped by your beliefs.
When this starts to happen, you can make a note of it in a journal, which will help you reinforce your belief that you will succeed in whatever it is you want to. It’s a bit like buying a new car that you never noticed on the road before and then suddenly seeing it everywhere once you’re driving it.
Once you start to truly believe you will suddenly see all of the people that are doing what you want to do, people who have succeeded.
Now it’s time to take action and put your newfound self-belief into action. You took time to enforce your belief so unlike the people who dive in headfirst and quickly run out of steam before giving up… you can sustain your chase to achieve your goals.
When you make progress, acknowledge it. If you decided to lose 15 pounds then you need to take the action necessary to make it happen. Once you lose the first pound you believe the second and third and beyond will come if you just continue exercising your belief.
The final step, of course, is to continue following the steps above every time you need to instill self-belief in yourself. Before you can light a fire you need to gather the kindling, and it takes work to get that fire lit and maintained.
It will grow, though, as you feed it continually – it may start small, but as the fire grows you can start throwing bigger chunks of wood in it, at which point you have a blazing fire on your hands and nothing can stop it. Nothing can stop you.
We all have our own fears and doubts that we allow to get in the way of our success, however, when those fears hold you back from chasing what you truly want in life – there’s a problem. Of course, when the most important parts of your life are impacted by your fears then the problem is even bigger. It doesn’t really matter what size they are, though, because you don’t have to be the victim.
You can overcome your fears, fill yourself with belief, and chase what you want in life.
Theodore Roosevelt, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning 26th American President, said, “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
He was right, and that quote still stands true because self-belief is what will unlock the door to a full life and without it, you will struggle to succeed.
If you don’t believe in you, why would anyone else? How can you inspire confidence in others when you can’t inspire it within yourself?
We are all made for something great, it’s up to us to find out what it is.
For some people it’s a lavish and grand goal, but for others it isn’t. Don’t let the goals of others put you off your own or sway you in your certainty over what you intend to get out of life. It’s your journey.
Belief is powerful, and beliefs that have been created through fear are just as powerful as the positive ones. Just think of a negative belief that you have, and look at how the same steps above were probably used to enforce it in your mind.
For example, I just can’t catch a break. It’s a specific belief and it’s absolutely been hammered in, so hard the nail is no longer visible.
They surrounded themselves with people who shared the belief and looked for indicators in their environment that enforced it. They took action that would confirm the belief, engaging in self-sabotage, and continuously acknowledge all of the bad that’s happened. It’s a vicious cycle, and it creates negative beliefs… and sadly, it’s far easier than instilling the positive beliefs that you need to fuel you for success.
The only way to replace those disempowering beliefs is to create new ones that will help you succeed. It isn’t going to happen overnight, but with the right attitude and perseverance, you can do it. Use the steps above to determine the belief that you need to succeed and work to reinforce its presence in your life.
You shouldn’t let anything stand in your way of chasing your dreams and achieving your goals.
You deserve to lead a happy and fruitful life, and allowing fear to stand in your way may be a natural impulse, but humans are problem solvers and overcomers.
That means that you can overcome and when you do, you can look back on the areas of your life where fear had a hold over you and realize how much better you are now for beating it.