The evidence that self-belief makes the difference
Greatness happens every day, not just in the inspirational quotes you see on your newsfeed. But, when greatness occurs it’s rarely world-changing, so we tend to go about our day-to-day routine without giving the greatness happening around us a second thought.
One of the greatest feats I love to witness is a person’s belief system changing right before my eyes.
Our minds are everything. I can rely on a bunch of famous quotes by world-changing and world-leading mega stars, but (much to my preference) I’ve stumbled upon a few modern-day people who produced amazing results. This is real evidence on just how strong and malleable our belief systems can be.
Ellen Langer — Harvard Psychologist, lowered the average blood pressure, weight, body-fat and “waist to hip” ratios of 44 women, simply by making one suggestion.
Langer sought out 84 female hotel workers across 7 very similar hotels and simply asked them how much exercise that ‘thought’ they were getting. 56 said they didn’t work out regularly, and the remaining 28 said they got no exercise at all.
Half of them were told cleaning 15 rooms daily, pushing vacuum cleaners, scrubbing tubs, and pulling bed sheets constituted moe than enough activity to meet the recommended half-hour of physical activity per day. The message was also posted in their lunch-rooms and lounges, to serve as reminders. Specifics were even given, on the number of calories each activity burned.
The remaining 44 women were told nothing.
One month later:
- The average study group weight loss was about 1kg.
- Systolic Blood Pressure had dropped by 10 points.
- The womens’ waste-to-hip ratio was reduced.
- The womens’ BMI was reduced.
- Even though there were no reported changes in behaviour or activity.
- These results weren’t found in the control group.
Could these results be the outcome of a simple change in mindset?
Additionally, Dr J. Bruce Mosely took part in an experiment to find out if the ‘placebo effect’ extended past medication, as far as relieving people of their pain, even when surgery seemed the only option to do so.
10 men were invited to take part, to receive arthroscopic surgery to relieve them of their osteoarthritic pain.
- All ten men were fully prepped for surgery.
- All ten men were leaving the hospital with crutches and pain pills.
- Only two people actually received the full surgery.
- Three people received only one part of the surgery.
- And the remaining 5 received only incisions, to look like they had the surgery. That’s all.
The Dr. himself had no idea who would be getting which treatment before the surgery was conducted, to make sure he gave no tip-offs in any conscious or unconscious way.
6 months later — all men reported that their pain was significantly reduced. These were serious medical conditions causing immense pain — gone in all men, even when there was no surgery performed.
The placebo effect is so significant, that according to Wired Magazine — “half of all drugs that fail in late stages of trials, fail because they were unable to beat the placebo effect.”
Could a resounding belief that an ailment has been repaired be the only reason these men were significantly healthier?
Let me introduce you to concert pianist, Nicolas McCarthy.
Born in 1989, making him only about 27 or 28 years old, he was a very late bloomer in the classical music world and started playing piano at 14 years old (great classical pianists are normally starting at 2 or 3 years of age).
He graduated from the Royal College of Music in London in 2012 (a very prestige and world-renowned facility), and since graduating, he’s started to appear in press all over the world
Nicholas has performed extensively throughout the world including the UK, USA, South Africa, South Korea, Japan, Malta, Kazakhstan. He has also supported Coldplay, and performed the Paralympic anthem in front of an 86,000 strong live audience, while more than a billion people worldwide viewed the performance through the TV screen.
There’s one thing you should know about Nicholas. He was born with only one arm.
Now, we can all talk about going to job interviews and feeling insecure about a few things, maybe we’re confident in our knowledge but still may have a few beliefs that are holding us back.
But a classical pianist, competing and performing on the world stage, with only one hand? Now that guy has a reason to feel insecure.
But he doesn’t. He never did. He never believed the criticism he was given by the performing arts ‘authorities’ as he was declined entry into the best musical schools in Britain. He simply convinced himself that there must be another way.
He didn’t limit himself due to his “disability”. In fact, he didn’t even know there were pieces of music created to be played with only your left-hand, until someone later had exposed him to it.
So he became the very first, one-handed pianist to graduate from the Royal College of Music in its 130-year history.
Could mindset be the one factor that produced such a significant result?
The experts certainly say so, and I believe it to be true.
We’re not talking about great minds of centuries past that have changed the world, in way we can’t relate. We’re talking about hotel cleaning staff, average people with arthritic pain, and a non-classically trained average kid, born with only one hand. They changed their own lives using only their mind.
So how does this relate to your career?
Self-belief is undoubtedly the most powerful tool in your career development repertoire. Stronger than any qualification, more valuable than any work experience, and always results in far better outcomes, happiness, and better human beings.
Some information on what we do:
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