Why don’t I believe in myself and what can I do about it?
Why do so many of us lack belief in ourselves? How can we solve
this problem and start discovering the huge power that belief in
Millions of people do not believe in themselves enough to achieve
their dreams or goals. They give up far too soon or they even
give up when the goal is in their grasp.
I teach a martial art which encourages students to work hard and
consistently to achieve their black belt. Some students drop out
after two or three months but amazingly a few drop out when they
are one grade away from their black belt.
I can only assume that some of these students do not believe that
they deserve their black belt or they do not believe that they
have the ability to pass the grading exam.
Some one has told them at some point in their lives that they are
a pushover or a weakling or a lazy good-for-nothing. They
believed that person and the belief lodged deep in their
subconscious mind. This negative view of themselves was enough to
stop them even attempting to take the black belt test.
Believing that we do not deserve success or lack the necessary
ability can stop us even trying. It can paralyze us so much that
even the smallest effort seems a waste of time.
One quick solution is to try anyway and not worry about the
results. When I took my black belt test in Taekwondo, I did not
believe that I deserved to succeed but I thought I would take the
test anyway and see what happened.
Even if I had failed the test I could at least have felt the
satisfaction of having given it a go. The real success lay in
being willing to risk the possibility of failure.
A couple of years ago I went to the Tony Robbins’ fire walk
seminar held in the Arena at London Docklands. I did not believe
I would walk unscathed over the hot coals. I took plenty of
antiseptic ointment to rub on my blistered feet. I reasoned that
as I weighed over eighteen stone, I would sink into the glowing
coals and not be able to move my feet out of danger quickly
Tony’s pre-fire walk talk did not help too much. He told us how
on his first fire walk he did not wash down his feet after the
walk to get rid of any hot coals that had attached themselves to
his feet. As a result he had a severe burn and when he
accidentally bumped his foot against a chair, the pus poured out!
He also casually mentioned that two people had died after doing
the firewalk at seminars not run by himself!!
As a result of all this, my belief that I would walk through the
fire unscathed was not strong. All the words we were meant to be
saying to ourselves as we did the walk went out of my mind. When
my time came there was no time to think. I just walked anyway.
Fortunately, the walk was short and the coals were not deep
enough to sink in to and two helpers were very quick to wash down
my feet at the conclusion of the walk. In the end I did not need
the antiseptic ointment. Doing the walk anyway had worked.
A more frightening seminar test was breaking an arrow whose point
was lodged in the throat. A board was held tightly against the
other end of the arrow and seminar attendees were encouraged to
take one step forward boldly and in a state of belief that the
arrow would break and not penetrate their throats!
Again, when it was my turn, I did not have any particular belief
in my mind ( apart from thinking myself an idiot for doing this)
but stepped forward anyway. Mercifully the arrow broke. Belief
was not essential; doing it anyway was all that was necessary.
Another solution (apart from going ahead anyway) is to understand
why people might have put you down in the past. If someone called
you a weakling in the past, they may well have been trying to
make themselves feel stronger at your expense. A really strong
person will encourage others to become strong.
Someone who is a failure does not like the idea that someone they
know will do better than themselves. They will, therefore, tell
you that you are wasting your time if you try to improve
I remember being called a big head at school when I moved up a
form into a class where everyone was one year older than me. Some
of the class could not bear to think that someone was doing
better than they were. As a result of the criticism I stopped
working hard for a couple of years and was fortunate to pass the
Of course, the class might really have thought that I did have a
big head both physically and mentally! To see the size of my head
for yourself check out the biographical section at my website -
When I reread this article it does come across as bigheaded! This
is not my intention; I am just drawing from my own experiences
rather than someone else’s.
Another solution to the problem of lack of belief is to repeat a
positive belief at speed so that doubts do not have a chance to
take hold. Dave O’Connor of Educo has a series of exercises which
develop this kind of instant belief.
Try this one. Stand with your eyes shut and your hands down by
your sides. Start saying at speed something like this: “My right
arm is attached to a helium balloon. The balloon is rising into
the air pulling my arm upwards with it. My arm is going up, up,
up, higher and higher, up, up, up. The more I resist, the higher
it goes. Higher and higher, up, up etc.”
See what happens! Usually at Dave’s seminars, most people’s hands
do go up. There is always someone, however, who is thinking
thoughts like: “This is silly. The man’s gone mad!” The hands of
such people stay down! Too many doubts have been allowed to nest
in their minds.
Once you get good at controlling your thoughts and beliefs
through exercises like the one above, you can apply the power of
belief to every activity in your life and start creating
John Watson www.motivationtoday.com
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