In regards to self belief, there are two kinds of people.
The people who
know they can.
The people who believe they can’t
If you are someone who knows you can. Then this post will provide nothing other than an insight into the other side’s (The cant’s) outlook on life. However, more commonly, you may be somewhere in-between the two archetypes.
You may feel you fit both archetypes in different scenarios. That may be true, but everyone favours one side overall. A simple litmus test to dictate your bias can be found in the question – ‘Was I born to do big things?’
Before you answer, let me make it clear that everyone is born to do big things. However, not everyone is born with the belief that they can do big things.
The spectrum of self belief can be defined by it’s two polarities. At one end, we have those who feel with every inch of there soul that they were born to change the world. At the other end, we have those who feel they are a waste of space and shouldn’t have been born at all.
Regardless of which camp you favour, I insist you read on as there is much to be learnt.
This post will be split into 3 Segments
- The reality of self Belief
- How you earned your spot on the spectrum of self belief
- What you can do to boost your self belief
1. The Reality of Self belief
Before I begin discussing the complications of ‘non-self believers’ . I must first make known my own belief of the nature of self belief.
It has become clear to me after prolonged, intensive observation of the most influential people in the world, that a person’s impact on the world is not defined by what they were born to do, but what they think they were born to do.
This means that your capabilities aren’t limited by real barriers, but merely psychological barriers. I am not by any means saying that if all people were operating at max capacity in every perceivable way, we would all be equal in all areas. But I do undoubtedly believe that the majority of humanity is operating far below their maximum.
Taking this into account, the bar of which we use to measure ‘success’ (However you define it) is far, far below where it could be. With this in mind, it becomes apparent that people of far less capacity, have the capability to surpass people with far more capacity.
So in what circumstance could this happen?
Let’s do a little thought experiment…
If you take someone ( person A) with the capacity for a hypothetical 150 success points – to identify a metric, and put them next to someone (person B) with the capacity for 100 success points. This does not make person A’s superiority of person B a certainty, but only a higher chance.
If person B was to spend more energy executing on their capabilities, they would most likely end up with a higher level of achievement ( again, however you wish to define that ) than person A.
If we extrapolate the results of this thought experiment into your real world circumstance, while also paying attention to the fact that most people are playing the game of life at level far below what they are capable of. It is safe to make the assumption that everyone and anyone is capable of surpassing the mediocre majority in whatever metric they choose – I will talk more on the cause of underachievement later in the post.
To conclude – we must realise that the bar of humanity is low enough, that even people with the smallest capacity for success are still capable of living far above the line of mediocrity in the current society. Simply because most humans never reach maximum capacity. Enabling those who try, to finish ahead of those who don’t, regardless of their “potential”.
Do not waste your time trying to identify your capacity. Spend your time exercising your capabilities and you will succeed, regardless of your capacity.
The lesson to be learned, is that no matter who you are, if you try to better yourself every day. You will someday have a profound impact on this planet, or at least attain whatever you desire.
2. How You Earned Your Spot On The Spectrum Of Self Belief
Now that we have identified that the road achievement is predominantly paved by your belief system, more so that your actual capabilities. We must address the question, What gives some people the audacity to believe they can succeed?
It is a very difficult question, with many contributing factors. I do however believe there are some fundamental contributions that can identified
Parenting – The large portion of our preconceived ideas of our own capabilities are formed by the influence of our parents. Most of the people who have a strong belief in their own capabilities – arrogant and humble – became that way as a result of constant affirmation from their parents.
The sad reality of this is that the development of one’s belief system derived from parental influences, Is often a replication of the parental experience had by their own parents. This can result in a self perpetuating cycle, until one generation becomes self actualised enough to disperse it.
Environment – The nature of the environment we spend our time in has a profound effect on the traits we develop. This is prevalent in all aspects of the human psyche, with self belief failing to be an exception. If you spend prolonged periods of time, particularly in early childhood, in a environment that is destructive to your self belief. It will have adverse affects on your self belief for the entirety of your life.
Inheritance – Through one way or another, of which I choose not address due to the controversy surrounding the topic. It seems that self belief is often a manifestation of inheritance. Whether this is a physiological or psychological phenomenon, I do not know. However, I often observe a distinct correlation between individual members of a family and their levels of self belief.
Experiences – The experiences you have are predominantly an outcome of the above 3 factors. However it is worth noting that some experiences are not analogous to parenting, environment or inheritance. Experiences in which the outside world forces us to discern the falsehood of our previously held self beliefs are no rarity. These experiences are often mutually exclusive to any factor under our own influence.
We can conclude that the above factors demonstrate probable cause for the level of self belief held by unique individuals.
3. What You Can Do To Boost Your Self Belief.
To conclude this post, I would like to demonstrate how one may boost their self belief. You now know the causes and effects of self belief, so it seems fitting to identify how one can boost their base level of self belief.
Self belief can be divided into two forms.
Conscious self belief
Unconscious self belief
Conscious self belief is easy. It’s a moment to moment experience that is easy simulate. Conscious self belief can be adopted through a slight alteration in ones mindset, inspired through the adoption of some simple philosophical concepts.
Before we experience conscious self belief, we must first desire it. The easiest way to create desire is to enlighten yourself of the expected benefits of self belief. Once you identify why self belief is worth having, a craving for its presence will be sure to follow.
Once you desire self belief, it is only a matter of filling your own mind with conscious affirmation. You may argue that you cannot influence your thoughts and that self denying thoughts arise on their own. That is why it is important that you remain consciously aware – hence the name conscious self belief. Conscious self belief can only be simulated while your are paying present moment awareness. As soon as your focus drifts to something else, your unconscious self belief will kick in.
Conscious self belief is powerful for summoning courage. You may not be comfortable doing something, but if you are able to conjure conscious self belief, you will momentarily have access to the courage required to execute the task at hand.
This is all well and good, but it is true that 99% of our utilised self belief is of the unconscious sort. Essentially, unconscious self belief is a result of the programming you have received thus far in life, in response to the stimulus of the outside world.
If you desire to boost your unconscious self belief, you have a difficult task ahead. But nonetheless, not impossible. In order to succeed in this endeavour, you must experience 2 circumstances.
- Positive external stimuli
- Positive internal stimuli
Think of your self believe as a rock. Positive stimuli is like a wooden hammer and negative stimuli is like mental hammer. Each negative and positive experience shapes your self belief in a certain way. However the knocks from the negative stimuli are more influential. This means the two experiences are asymmetrical in there impact on your self belief.
In order to restructure your self believe in a positive way. You have to experience significantly more positive experiences than negative. This reality is increased exponentially by the nature of your starting point. Those in the position of severely damaged self belief are much more vulnerable to negative stimuli.
So how do we tip the scales? What enables us to experience significantly more positive stimuli?
Internal positive stimuli – The only way to impact the predisposition of your internal stimuli ( thoughts and feelings) is to pay conscious attention to the thoughts and feeling you are experiencing. This practice is called mindfulness. By consciously observing your experience as frequently a possible, you can influence the nature of thoughts and feelings that present themselves. Furthermore, you mitigate the damage of all the negative internal stimuli by choosing not to judge them, therefore removing their potential to influence your self belief.
External positive stimuli – Many people will argue that you cannot influence what aspects of the outside world you are exposed to. While this is partially true, with some careful planning you can simulate a world experience that is far more positive than negative. Bare in mind, that your unconscious self belief is influenced predominantly by your successes and failures and not much else.
With this in mind, it becomes apparent that we want to expose ourselves to as many victories and as little failure as possible – while building our self belief ( Failure has a lot of value – but not in the self belief domain ).
Our likelihood of success is dictated strongly by the level of difficulty associated with the task at hand. Therefor it makes sense, if you wish to load the dice so to speak, to attempt tasks will a high success rate.
By now, I hope you are starting to understand the picture I am painting. In order to influence your unconscious self belief, you must experience positive external stimuli. Positive external stimuli in relation to self belief, predominantly take the form of successes. In order to accumulate as many successes as possible, we should initially attempt tasks with low rates of failure.
Alternatively – you can use a powerful technique, called re-framing. The idea of re-framing, is to look at your life through an optimistic lens. There is value in every experience, no matter how bad it seems. Re-framing, is about identifying the good and focusing on it.
Re-framing can be summarised by 3 questions.
Do you choose to focus on what you can or can’t control ?
Do focus on what you have or what you don’t have?
do you focus on the past, present or future?
To conclude – Developing unconscious self belief is a process of being mindful ( watching one’s thoughts and feelings ) and succeeding at our endeavours, which we can flip in our favour, by attempting small tasks with low difficulty. Enabling us to accumulate enough small victories, which we can then use to tackle bigger tasks with a higher chance of success because our success if defined more so by our self belief than our actual capabilities. The success you have with this practice is often defined by the light in which you view your experiences. For some, an empowered belief system requires nothing more than a switch in perspective.
“ Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”