Saturday, August 20, 2011 Post By: Grayne Wetzky

Building strong belief in yourself

"Aim for the moon, even if you miss at least you'll still land among the stars". We have all heard this motivational quote, and as most motivational quotes it is usually quickly forgotten. While the quote is a little corny and nonsensical, it does hold in it the core of a very important realization.

The way we think about our goals and efforts greatly affect the outcomes we experience. If all we imagine and plan for are mediocre and dull goals we will never rise our sights and aim higher. Even if we manage to reach all the goals we have set, we will not be excelling if we never had the courage to set lofty goals. In order to achieve something great, we can't be afraid of dreaming big and having high expectations for ourselves.
People don't give themselves enough credit. The immediate internal response to big goals is often to think of reasons why we can't achieve them. The default response from our surroundings when we think of something amazing is to be realistic, to keep your head down and not set yourself up for disappointment. This social conditioning rubs off on us and makes us think in the same way. How many of us walk around telling ourselves that we can't be a #1 best selling author, an influential politician, a successful entrepreneur? What is stopping us?

One thing is for certain, achieving great things does not just happen by accident. It takes dedicated effort and serious amounts of trail and error. If you constantly tell yourself that something can't be done, you guarantee that it will never happen. Belief in yourself is the fundamental building block in any form of success.

Believing in yourself is important, but it is also important to know that self belief can be learned. Just like all the nagging instances of self doubt are learned behavior, so we can learn self belief. There are plenty of life coaches and self help gurus that would love to teach you to believe in yourself, but the only teacher you really need is yourself. If you find yourself constantly sabotaging your own progress by procrastination or making excuses it might be a sign that you would benefit from working on your belief in yourself.

The best way to develop your self belief is to hire yourself as your own life coach. Make it your job to give yourself positive backing. Make every effort to turn your self dialogue positive. A positive self dialogue doesn't mean that you should start fooling yourself and try to gloss over challenges and failures. It simply means looking for the positives in everything you go over in your mind. The opportunities you have, the skills you have mastered, the outcomes you will achieve.

One helpful tip for improving your inner dialogue is to imagine that you are talking to someone else. Most of us would never dream of heaping the kind of negativity we put on ourselves on another person. To build strong self belief you have to extend the same respect to yourself as you would to those who are close to you. When people tell you about their ideas, achievements or failures, always respond in a supporting way. Point out the things they are good at, back them up and encourage them to achieve their goals. Offer your help when you can.

Meeting other people with positivity and a helping hand will make you feel good about yourself and it will actually help you succeed in your own endeavors. Being supportive is just the right thing to do. So extend this way of thinking to yourself. When you come up with a plan or goal or dream don't shoot it down. Never tell yourself 'I probably wouldn't be able to do that' or 'That would be fun, but so many other people could do it better'.

Always respond to yourself with supportive and positive thoughts. Think things like 'I know this project will be awesome' and 'I have really gotten a lot better at this since I last tried it'.

For some reason, most people are not supportive of themselves. People tend to focus on negative thinking and self deprecating thoughts. It can be a hard pattern to break out of. If you are used to always resorting to negative thinking it can be a powerful mental habit to break. On top of this we are conditioned that being modest and self defeating is 'proper' and being full of yourself or cocky is bad. But thinking positive things about yourself doesn't mean you have to be a self-glorifying jerk. It just means you focus on the things that are good about you.

Break out of self defeating thoughts by increasing your mental awareness. Pay attention to your own thoughts. When you notice yourself getting down on yourself, stop it. Break your chain of thoughts and focus on something positive about yourself. You can even prepare a list of things that you like about yourself so you have positive thoughts at the ready when they are needed. The more you pay attention to your own inner thoughts, the easier it will get and the easier it will be to replace negative destructive thoughts with positive constructive ones.

  1. Håvard Hegtun, you are a really good writer! You are so right about believing in yourself and thinking positive thoughts. Ever heard of "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it people like me!"? Al Franken spoke those words when he was the character Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live, and now he's a Senator from my state of Minnesota!

  1. @Brian, the foundation of everything we do and accomplish in our lives lies in our own mind. If you tell yourself you can't do something, you'll most likely be right.

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