“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.”
~ Bertrand Russell.
I have been teaching for over four years, yet my career choice still seems new and surprising. I find myself trying to analyze my students to determine what prevents them from being as successful as they should be. And even when you take away the obvious problems like not studying enough; not knowing how to study; or not having a strong grasp of basic educational concepts; there seems to remain a strong emotional component. There are many students who appear to lack a belief in their own ability to succeed.
Have you ever been paralyzed by doubt? Has the fear that you may do the wrong thing prevented you from doing anything at all? When we sit there and listen to the negative messaging our mind is delivering, we often miss out on the amazing opportunities that life has to offer us. We permit all of the critics and judges in our lives to take up residence in our head and inform us of all of the many reasons why we will fail. Yet if you can push away those thoughts and motivate yourself forward, you will amaze yourself with your own capabilities.
This may be more of a female problem than a male problem. I have observed (unscientifically) that self-doubt does not seem to plague the male student as often as the female. Of course, that may lead to the evil twin of doubt, over-confidence, which can just as easily lead to failure. As parents, we have a role to play in encouraging our children (male and female) to believe in themselves, to try new things, to just get out there and do it. But our actions must back up our words. If we are over-cautious, if we don’t try new things ourselves, if we hold back and don’t push ourselves to be the best we can be, then our children will see the discrepancy and ignore our words.
Last week my close-knit group of co-workers was rocked by an event cleverly called ‘right-sizing’, a term which is supposed to transform the negative connotation of lay-offs into a positive and uplifting act. One of the victims of this situation was our immediate boss, a woman both loved and respected. We did not take the news well, and have been wandering around like headless chickens since it happened. She, on the other hand, demonstrated class, confidence, cheerfulness and optimism. In the face of adversity she showed that if you face the future without doubts, you will readily grasp opportunity when it peeps in through the door.
How many prospects have you missed by wallowing in self-doubt and self-pity? It is hard to see what the future holds when your eyes are blurry with tears. Often after we pass through what seems to be the worst period of our lives, we can look back and see that it was only because of those challenges that we grew into better people, stronger, more able to face whatever life throws our way. And sometimes, it is because of the act which forced us to pause and re-evaluate that we set off in a whole new direction, one which we hadn’t even seen before.
This Friday morning I challenge you to examine your own doubts and fears. What is preventing you from doing something which could change the trajectory of your life’s path? What have you always wanted to try, but are sure you could not possibly do? And if you try it, what is the worst that could happen? No matter what happens, you will have gained experience and learned a lesson. And when those doubts, those negative messages pop into your head, thank them for their input and then send them on their way. They are merely thoughts of your own making. The same way you can create unconstructive criticism, you can create upbeat affirmations (I think I can, I know I can!) and achieve your wildest dreams.
To my co-workers (who read my messages and constantly throw my own words back at me when I am not practicing what I preach!) I must thank you for being a great group of people to work with. We will learn from this and grow, and continue to motivate new generations of students to achieve their dreams.
One Love Family! Overcome your doubts and live your dreams! Have a great Friday and a fabulous weekend!