I’m going to let you in on a secret. It’s something that not a lot of people really understand and you may have trouble believing it. That’s fine. You don’t have to believe it. It really doesn’t matter.
The secret is that belief isn’t really all that important.
People say, “Believe in yourself! You can do it!” and they mean well; but, there’s a problem there: What if you don’t believe in yourself? My answer is that it simply doesn’t matter. Don’t concern yourself with whether or not you believe in yourself. Beliefs are usually shaped be experience and if you don’t yet have the experience of success, belief is somewhere between difficult and impossible.
What if you said instead, “You know, it doesn’t really matter whether you believe in yourself. You still have the potential to succeed whether or not you choose to see it and acknowledge it. Human beings have incredible potential. You’re a human being, right? Why not assume you can succeed? Act as if it’s true. Act as if it’s going to happen. And, I’d be willing to be that if you do that, you’ll find that you really can succeed.” This different language pattern sidesteps the possibility of people getting hung up on the question of whether they believe in themselves or not.
I prefer “Operating Assumptions.” Sure, as human beings we can make mistaken assumptions. That doesn’t matter here. What matters is whether the assumptions that we work from, the ideas that we let drive our behavior, work for us or not. Some assumptions are much more useful than others.
Does it really matter if you believe in yourself so long as you choose to operate from the assumption that you can succeed? Does it make any real difference if you believe that you can run a marathon or whether you just act as if you could? I’d say that for most people there’s at least a kernel of doubt there up until the moment they cross the finish line for the first time. That’s when it becomes real. That’s when it really clicks.
But, until you cross that finish line, it’s the acting as if, the doing, the work that transforms the body and mind and creates the belief. It’s very rarely the other way around.
Does it matter if when you’re struggling you doubt? Not one bit. Those doubts are meaningless. Whether or not you believe in yourself is meaningless. It’s the choices you make that matter. It’s the choices you make that create results, not the belief.
There’s a hypnotic principle of the mind, “What you resist, will persist.” Resisting a thing is thinking about it. It reinforces it with attention. Forgetting about it (at least for a while) frees you from it. (And, no, it doesn’t matter if you really forget or just act like you’ve forgotten. Pretend you’ve forgotten and act as if you have and you’ll tend to really forget, at least for a little while.)
Just choose to act as if you had faith, act as if you had confidence, act as if you believe in yourself and you will find the successes and experiences that turn into real faith, confidence and belief.
Go ahead and pretend that the results you want are inevitable. Why not? What do you have to lose? What does it matter if you’re pretending or whether you really believe in yourself? It’s the doing that creates results. Sure, your attitude makes a difference in how you experience the process of doing; but, it’s not really optimism that brings results. It’s the fact that more optimistic people go out and try things and are more likely to find success because of that action.
Don’t get hung up on whether you’re an optimist or a pessimist. It doesn’t matter all that much. Why not act as if you’re an optimist? Why not take a leap of faith, even if you don’t know for sure how things will go? Does anybody really know how things will go before they happen? It’s all a best guess; and, we all guess wrong sometimes. Who cares? Why does it matter? Does it really matter or have you just been thinking it matters? Are those thoughts right? Why not try operating on the assumption that fearful thoughts are wrong? Maybe they are and maybe they’re not. I don’t know. You don’t know. Nobody knows.
But, if they are wrong, and you act as if they’re right, what will you miss out on?
If they’re right and you act as if they’re wrong, what do you really lose?