Believe in Yourself (And Why Nothing Will Work If You Don’t…)

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
—John F. Kennedy

I’m writing this on Thanksgiving Day in America. I’m sitting in the home where I was born and raised for my entire life. My family is scattered around the room just a few short feet away.

As I sit back and think about what I’m thankful for this year, I’ve settled on one thing that seems to have made the difference in my life over and over again. I’m thankful that I believe in myself.

This quality is partially who I am and partially a result of the family and friends that have supported me throughout my life. Regardless of where it comes from, it is the one quality that allows me to not only talk about what I’m grateful for, but also to live it out.

Nothing Will Work If You Don’t Believe In It

Earlier this week, I posted an article on 2 psychological tricks that offer easy ways to lose weight. The article was well–received overall, but I also heard a complaint from someone who identified themselves as “NoSalt” (the internet is a strange place).

Here’s what NoSalt had to say…

None of these techniques will work for me:

1. Let your plate control your portion.
My problem is that I eat until I feel full. Sure, I can use a small plate, but I’ll just keep going back until I feel full.

2. Pick a color that makes life easy.
How can normal people possibly do this? I don’t want to have 3, 4, 5 … different sets of dishes for every color meal that I have.

3. Try the holiday version of intermittent fasting. Literally. Simply don’t eat for a 24–hour period. This strategy is one form of intermittent fasting.

What do I do about my hunger pains? What do I do if I want food? I’ll end up snapping at people around me, and chewing all my fingernails to the bone.
—NoSalt

I did my best to answer the questions with actionable advice that would help the reader overcome the problems mentioned. But there is something much more important going on here.

Are You Determined To Fail?

Do you notice the theme throughout all of the questions? There is an undercurrent of self–doubt and vulnerability. The unspoken thought that drives these questions is, “I don’t believe these ideas will work for me.” Or, stated another way, “I don’t believe I can make these ideas work. I don’t believe in myself.”

Worrying about not being able to implement a few diet changes is just one, tiny example of this fear. But a lack of belief in yourself will limit you no matter how great the ideas or opportunities are that you are exposed to.

My biggest question to the reader above would be this: Why are you determined to make these ideas not work for you? Why are you searching for reasons why these ideas won’t succeed instead of figuring out a way to make something good happen?

The biggest difference between successful people and unsuccessful ones (in health, in business, and in life) is that successful people are determined to make the situation work for them rather than playing the role of the victim and searching for reasons why a situation won’t work.

No idea will work for every person on the planet, but many ideas can work for most people … if you believe that you can make them work. You have to be willing to not just think differently, but to also to experiment with new ideas and trust that you’ll discover a way to make them work.

Believe in Yourself

The biggest difference I’ve noticed between successful people and unsuccessful people isn’t intelligence or opportunity or resources. It’s the belief that they can make their goals happen.

We all deal with vulnerability, uncertainty, and failure. Some of us trust that if we move forward anyway, then we will figure it out. As I sit here on Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that I’m one of these people.

When I started my business, I was the only entrepreneur in our family in the last century. I didn’t have anyone to learn from, but I trusted that I would figure it out anyway.

When I was kicked off a train in the middle of the night while traveling through Hungary, I was lost and confused. I couldn’t find anyone who spoke English, so as the train pulled away I ran along side, hopped back on, and trusted that I would figure it out anyway.

When I’ve discovered an opportunity that sounds awesome but that I’m not qualified for (which happens often), I trust that I’ll figure it out and go for it anyway.

I believe in myself. This confidence has made the difference for me again and again. I didn’t need intelligence or opportunity or resources. Just a simple belief in myself.

Do You Believe That Change Is Possible for You?

One of the most foundational beliefs of this community is that you can become better.

We believe that it is possible for human beings to improve. We believe that it is possible to raise the bar in your own life even if the world around you accepts average. We believe in ourselves and in each other. We believe that if you want better health or more happiness or a more meaningful job that you can make those things happen.

And because of this belief we are willing to test, experiment, and try new things even when we feel uncertain. If you don’t believe that it’s possible to make new things work, then it’s hard to make any progress. I don’t care how good the ideas are, nothing will work for you if you don’t believe in it. And more importantly, nothing will work if you don’t believe in yourself.

5 Comments

    • Well said, I too can appreciate the perspective of NoSalt and while a daunting thought at times, I’m grateful the answers are within – time to tap into this resource and strengthen the trust in myself.

  1. I happen to come across this article on Thanksgiving exactly one year later. I am one of many that had to work during the holiday, and as I was sitting at my desk I just kept thinking of how angry I was at myself for not having the courage to pursue another job, and to change the things in my life that make me the most unhappy. I am what is standing in my way of believing in myself and in believing I can change things for the better. I know what I have to do, but it is already set in my mind that I will fail. I often look back at times that I did manage to overcome several obstacles and thought, “If I was able to overcome this before I can do it again. I am more stronger than I realize.” But these thoughts are often overshadowed by the belief that the negative experiences have outweighed the positive, that I’m not the type of person that will continue to experience positive things in life. I think what makes me continue to hold on to the belief that I cannot change things for the better is my comparing myself to my mother. She suffers from life long depression, and is absolutely unwilling to change the things in her life that make her unhappy. She is afraid of things she does not know and things that will take her life in a different direction, and I believe that I share this same fear. I would like to think that I do often take steps to improve myself, such as going to therapy, reaquainting myself with activities I enjoy doing, even reading articles such as this to get advice. But I ultimately go back to the belief that if my mom can’t change, what makes me think that I can do any better. The fear trying to change things is absolutely crippling, and the determination to try is drifting further away. So on this holiday I am thankful that I came across this article, a good reminder that I am the one that has the power to change things

  2. I can appreciate your thought process … yet I am at a point where the believe in myself has been reduced to rubble during the last 8 months … where literally everything I touched professionally has failed.

    So in my mind I have “proven” to myself that I did fail … I know eventually I’ll hopefully snap out of it again … but for the time being all advice is being met with a cynical grin … especially on the benefits of having a positive mind … trust me I had it for the longest time.

Leave a comment Share your knowledge and experience.