|They can because they think they can.|
When I do these fortune cookie posts, I often feign ignorance at what they mean to try to pull a post out of it, but for this one I want to make it clear that I completely understand the meaning. I just vehemently disagree.
I have heard the following phrase hundreds of times and know it has been used by sales seminars, self-help books and new age gurus:
"Whether you think you can or cannot, you are right."Stewie Griffin even said it once to Brian in an episode of Family Guy. The idea behind it is fairly simple. Often the biggest deterrent to your success is your own self doubt. I can't disagree with that. There are a lot of people who do not succeed because they never step forward to do what is necessary to succeed due to the fact that they do not believe in themselves. However, that is not what this fortune cookie said.
|While it is similar, it is not the same.|
I am sorry to inform all you bright eyed youngsters who believed your mother when she said, "You can do anything you set your mind to." It's not true. Your mother lied to you. It takes a whole lot more than just determination, belief, and a healthy self-esteem to accomplish most significant tasks.
Several years ago, my brother Trevor had just left the bar with a girl and was driving home when they came upon a bull in the middle of the road. Despite the fact that the ditches were shallow and he was driving a large jacked-up, four-wheel drive truck, he decided to get out and move the bull by hand rather than drive around it or nudge it with the bumper. Trevor fully believed that he could
When I was a teenager standing in the bed of my buddy's truck, I firmly believed that I would be able to jump into the bed of another friend's truck as he sped by. The idea that it might not work never even crossed my mind. A few minutes later, when my friends dragged my bloody body into the nearest bar to seek medical assistance (yes, we went to a bar), I fully believed that my shock-induced pick up lines were good enough to break through the sight of my injuries to the cute bartender who was tending to my wounds. As she was applying antiseptic and asked where else I was hurt, I started to undo my belt. She just left me bleeding in the back room.
My brother Kyle was about 8 years old when he believed he could do a flip out of the barn loft at our grandfather's house. He believed it because I thought it would be cool to see and convinced him he could do it. I did such a good job of pumping up his confidence, that soon I even believed he could do it…right up to the moment he leapt out and belly flopped onto the grass twelve feet below. Then, I believed Dad would make me pay for my idea. That belief was correct.
In each of these instances, not only was believing in success not enough to make it happen, but it was the firm belief that something could be done that got us into trouble to begin with. There is usually a reason for caution. Not everything can be done just because you are confident and believe in yourself.
Some people's belief in themselves is so deeply rooted that they can't see the truth even after it has been shown to them. In this video, the contestant truly believed he had what it took.
I have worked with youth for close to two decades and have met literally hundreds of teens who were convinced they were going to be professional athletes. There was no doubt in their minds. They didn't just want to do this, they believed it with their entire being. However, they were lacking a key feature needed in order to succeed: the necessary talent.
|NOPE! They can because they are good enough.|
Believing that you will go to college will not get you there. It takes work. Believing your business will be a success will not make it happen. It requires a good business plan, hard work, long hours, wise decisions and a host of other factors. Believing you are going to win American Idol because your grandma convinced you that you are better than any of those "screeching idiots on the radio" will not impress Simon or even the nicer judges.
I am not suggesting that people should not pursue their dreams and I will agree that success usually starts with someone believing that something can be done, but that belief is only the very beginning and is definitely not the factor that makes it happen. There is so much more involved. We've all met that incredible cocky person who believes they are the greatest in the world at something (or in some cases, everything). Yet, despite that person's incredible belief, they never accomplish anything worthy. Belief is overrated. Success is achieved by hard work and persistence. Sometimes, even then, it sometimes still doesn't come. I leave you with the wise words of the poet Shel Silverstein.
The Little Blue Engine
The little blue engine looked up at the hill.
His light was weak, his whistle was shrill.
He was tired and small, and the hill was tall,
And his face blushed red as he softly said,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
So he started up with a chug and a strain,
And he puffed and pulled with might and main.
And slowly he climbed, a foot at a time,
And his engine coughed as he whispered soft,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
With a squeak and a creak and a toot and a sigh,
With an extra hope and an extra try,
He would not stop — now he neared the top —
And strong and proud he cried out loud,
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!”
He was almost there, when — CRASH! SMASH! BASH!
He slid down and mashed into engine hash
On the rocks below... which goes to show
If the track is tough and the hill is rough,
THINKING you can just ain’t enough!