“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” —Theodore Roosevelt
The Power of Belief
A major reason people don’t accomplish what they set out to do is not because they lack the experience, talent or skills; it is simply because they don’t believe they can do it! If you want something in life and have a big enough ‘why’ you want it, you also need to believe in yourself and your abilities to be able to make it happen. What Henry Ford once said is so true: ‘Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.’
Belief and Determination Beat Natural Talent
When interviewed, many top sports people and high achievers in other areas have said that they were not initially the most naturally gifted or talented person at what they do. They rate the total belief in themselves and their ability, coupled with their focused determination to succeed, and working much harder than others, as their winning formula.
In other words, because they believe they can do it, they are willing to strive and put in the hours of hard work and practice to achieve their dreams.
Ironman World Champion Chris Macca McCormack rates the importance of mental strength as the most important asset of an athlete. He has said that self-belief is something that you practice and a lot of people don’t focus on the mental stuff because they believe that physical strength and stamina are more important. He said that whilst physical training is essential, 90% of the time the person who wins the race is someone who also knows how to maintain a positive mental state even when pain and exhaustion kick in.
When he hits this point in an event, he has a mental checklist and focuses on the positives, reminding himself of the things he has achieved already and the sessions and events that have gone really well for him. He practices self-belief as much as he trains physically.
So How Do Our Fundamental Beliefs Come About?
A belief is a feeling of certainty about something. Because we believe something, we gather evidence to corroborate its truth. This strengthens the belief. The rational filtering system of the conscious mind doesn’t start to kick in until we are around the age of six. This means that as impressionable young people, we are wide open to external influences for the first few years of our lives. At this very young age, the communication and the actions of others and our experiences of the world, both negative and positive, can pass straight into our subconscious minds.
This is why psychologists often say that much of our conditioning regarding our character and self-worth begins when we are very small, when the subconscious is wide open to suggestion.
If the messages we receive about ourselves and the world around us are confidence-boosting and positive, then we start our lives with a good basis for growing up with a healthy amount of self-esteem and trust in ourselves and others.
Normally, however, without the intention of damaging us, our parents, teachers, or relatives unwittingly feed us with their own shortcomings, doubts, and fears (which, in turn, came from their own upbringings). This can be in the form of their actions and comments, or sometimes we just pick up these messages by observing our elders and unconsciously mimicking them, in the way that children do. This is how we learn, by observing and copying those older or bigger than we are.
Certain beliefs or ‘programs’ then become stored in our subconscious minds for later use. These limiting beliefs can become entrenched in our subconscious minds and can affect our decisions, our view of the world and our place in it. This is often a totally unconscious process and we’re not really aware of why we react to certain situations in the way that we do. But our responses to life’s events are nearly always controlled by what is stored in our subconscious. Any negative conditioning can unknowingly affect us for years, even for life, if we don’t replace and transform it into more helpful and empowering thoughts and beliefs.
The good news is that ‘reprogramming’ ourselves is totally do-able. The subconscious mind learns by repetition rather than logic. It is possible to retrain and reprogram your mind by repeatedly planting positive affirmations, beliefs, and visualisations to crowd out the old patterns, which eventually lose their strength and hold. Daily repetition of a new replacement ‘program,’ thought, or belief for a period of time will bring about profound change.
How Does This Reprogramming Help Us in Our Lives?
As our thoughts and beliefs around a situation change, so will our responses and actions. This brings about new behaviours, which in turn produce different results in our lives. This turn of events, resulting in more favourable things happening, compounds and strengthens the new habit, which persuades the subconscious mind to drop the old one for the new!
In Habit 3- Successful People Believe They Can Achieve Their Goals in the book Unlimited; 7 Habits to Unleash Your Full Potential & Get the Life You Want, we show you how to identify and transform your limiting beliefs into more positive alternatives, allowing you to go for what you want and live a fulfilled life!