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.”
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.