At times it seems like it doesn’t take much to knock back our self confidence and leave us feeling that we aren’t as good as everyone else. By the same token, it can be just a very small achievement that begins to turn things around for us and lets us see that we really are worthwhile and capable of many more things than we previously gave ourselves credit for.
We carry a picture of ourselves and our capacity to act effectively around in our head and we can easily tell ourselves that we can’t do something, when the truth is actually the exact opposite. For many years I convinced myself that I couldn’t remember my car’s number plate. It’s only a couple of letters and numbers after all, but try as I might I just couldn’t bring the right combination readily to mind when I needed to. Such a simple thing, and I just couldn’t get the hang of it. To compensate for this embarrassing ‘failing’ I wrote the information on a piece of paper and carried it in a little wallet along with my driver’s licence.
Then I got a car with a number plate that sounded like a rhyme. All of a sudden it stuck in my brain and I didn’t need my crumpled little memory-jogger any more. So when that car was sold and I was faced with a new number plate to familiarise myself with, I had a choice about how I could react. I could tell myself that memorising it was beyond my ability or I could remind myself that I had successfully done it once and that increased my chances of being able to do it again.
Choosing the second course, I looked at the letters and numbers, read them aloud to myself a couple of times, tested myself a few days later, and I had it. It was so easy; I couldn’t believe that I had so effortlessly accomplished something that had eluded me for decades! It’s marvellous what a difference a little self-belief made. A small victory - but one with potential.
- What small accomplishements have helped to build your confidence?
- How can you use positive messages about yourself to motivate you to have a go at something new?