No, this is not an “old school” story about walking up hill in the snow both ways to school and how tough it was compared to today’s children. Rather, it is a story about what we believe.
When we were children, we were “believers.” We believed in the impossible and we believed it when others said we had great potential and could accomplish great things. Sure, we also may have believed in the boogeyman and monsters under our bed, but we believed in our potential to do great things.
It may have been a parent teaching us how to ride a bike, shoot a basket, or finish a difficult math problem. It may have been a coach preparing us for the big game or just a tough practice. It may have been a friend who was the “adventurer” and helped us believe. When we were children, someone helped us to believe we had unlimited potential.
There was a time when we believed it. When we believed in ourselves to achieve great things.
Then something happened.
Someone told us we couldn’t do it and we believed their limitations. We may have fallen short one too many times. We may have grown callous to hope through time and experience.
As we continue to build and strengthen our character, we need to face the reality of what has impacted our ability to believe in ourselves and take the necessary steps to believe again.
When we strip away all the fluff, there is the reality of a few key areas that are at the foundation of how we became a non-believer:
- Fear. We all carry with us some fear. Fear of failure, humiliation, going hungry, of being alone, etc. Fear unchecked can cause us to be unbelievers. Fear as adults, most often resembles the monster under our bed. Our fear of whatever, many times does not come about and if it does, it is rarely as worse as it seems…just like the monster under our bed.
- Negativity. We finally gave in to the negative view that most often surrounds us. Psychologists say it takes most of us about 5 positive, affirmations to overcome one negative opinion. Often times, we have become overwhelmed by the negativity and slowly we moved down the path of no longer believing in our potential. Like the character in The Sun Also Rises when asked how did you go bankrupt? “Gradually and then suddenly.” Our emotional bank account just got too far in the negative that we have felt bankruptcy is our only option.
- Choice. We make the choice to believe or not to believe. We can pass the buck if want to, but the truth is, we own the choice and at some point, we chose not to believe.
Here are a few ideas to reconnect with our childhood and become believers again in order to reach our full potential:
- Faith. We all have faith. Whether it is faith in God, ourselves, our family, the truth contained in the natural law of the harvest (we reap what we sow), we all have faith that the sun will come up this morning and we face a new day. Don’t lose faith.
- Positive reinforcement. Whether we describe it as counting our blessings, stopping to smell the roses, or taking some inventory of our past accomplishments, we need reminders of the positives in our life. These small, consistent steps are our most effective way to pay off a huge deficit of negativity in our own emotional bank account.
- The company we keep. Often times, we become like those around us. Seek out the relationships that combine a view the world that is realistic and favors the side of positive and full of opportunity vs. negative and full of doom and gloom. When our closest, committed relationships have a negative bent, maintain the effort to stay on the positive and our influence will be felt over time.
When we were children, we were believers. It may be time for each of us to relearn the importance of believing in our potential to achieve the healthy goals we desire like strong, loving relationships, productive employment to make a positive difference in the marketplace and the home front, and those really big dreams that many times we have kept to ourselves.
As Teddy Roosevelt believed, “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
It is time to become believers again and step back into the ring.
As we make the choice as adults to believe again, we will continue to build and strengthen our character and Character Creates Opportunity® to reach our full potential and have a great impact on those around us.