Sunday April 14th 2024

On the one hand……


Let’s be really honest with each other.  Wherever we are today is almost entirely down to ourselves.  I would like to believe that you aren’t someone who seeks to blame everybody other than yourself when things go wrong in your life.

Of course we can’t entirely dictate all the outside influences and circumstances which may affect us; but even when disaster occurs over which we have little or no control, it’s still our choice as to how we respond and react.

The greatest power that you and I have is the power to choose.

Now here’s the critical point:   It’s my belief that are three factors that influence most of the decisions and choices we make….especially the important ones.

The first is our ‘self image’.  This is the way we see ourselves and who we perceive ourselves to be.

The second is the habits we have formed.

The third factor is our environment.

Let’s take them one by one.

Self Image

Many years ago when I was running a large sales organisation I struggled to understand the reasons why people would behave in such different ways, even when the circumstances were the same. The answer eluded me for a long time.  Then one day I read a book written by Dr. Maxwell Maltz.  It was a truly ‘Eureka’ moment in my life.

Suddenly I was able to understand why some people succeeded while others continually failed, even though they had received the same training and were given similar opportunities.

This is what Maltz taught me, and I quote:  “All your actions, feelings, observations – even your abilities – are always consistent with your self image.”

To give you some idea as to how much importance I attach to this single revelation I have kept the same small card inscribed with this quotation for over 30 years!

So what does this mean to you?

Simply this; you have to begin to focus on all your positive attributes and start to feel good about yourself.  Remember that the word ‘image ‘doesn’t mean reality.  You can change an image. 

The way you currently perceive yourself is a result of all your experiences to date.  The things you were told and things which have been said to you, especially as you were growing up

 You’ve also been influenced by the expectations that people, such as your parents and some of your school teachers, may have had for you.

If these expectations were low then in all probability your own expectations may be low also….simply as a result.  But you can change your expectations. There is absolutely no need for you to become a prisoner of your past.

It’s vital that you develop high expectations of yourself because you will eventually live up to them…or down to them.

Please take time to question the validity of how you think about yourself. If you are positive about your abilities and where you feel you are headed that’s great!  But if not then now is the time to change your attitude towards yourself. And you can.

Now here’s a very important question for you, and before I ask it I’d like you to get a piece of paper so that you can write down a name.

Got it?  Good.

This is a question that I often asked when holding career development courses with groups of employees that we wanted to prepare for greater responsibilities.

OK here’s the question.

“Of all the people you know, who is the person you talk to the most, confide in and share your innermost thoughts and feelings with?”

Write the name of that person down on your piece of paper.

When I’ve asked that question in the past the most common answer for a female was either her mother or her best friend.  Men would probably choose either a brother or sister or a very good friend.

Interesting but wrong!

The name you should have written down should have been your own name of course!

We are talking to ourselves constantly. And we believe what we hear. And we will act accordingly.

It’s of paramount importance that in order to have more self confidence and improve your self esteem you have to think positively about yourself.  That doesn’t mean you should be delusional and have a totally distorted opinion of yourself. It means that you should become a ‘good finder’ rather than frequently finding fault with yourself.  Celebrate your victories and forgive yourself for your failures. We all have failures!

Recognise your strengths and resolve to work on your weaknesses.

If you concentrate on feeling good about yourself and giving yourself positive feedback you will quickly begin to have a very positive effect upon your ‘self image’. 

This will have an amazing effect on the choices you make.

We’ll talk about habits and environment in the next article.




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