Dude, You’ve Got This

It’s Saturday afternoon and I am rock climbing. It’s just me and another climber at UW’s bouldering wall. For confidentiality let’s call him Ryan. I’m taking a break so I sit back and watch Ryan climb.

He starts on a route that takes him from the back wall, across the roof of the cave, and finishes over the roofs edge. Ryan reaches the crux of the route and then falls. He sits down for a quick break. Five minutes later he’s back at the crux. Five minutes and two seconds later he hits the ground.

It’s not that Ryan is a bad climber. He’s actually really good. But that doesn’t seem to matter as he falls for a third time. I’m starting to leave as he gets up for his fourth try. He finishes chalking his hands and stands up. We make eye contact and I say “Dude, you’ve got this.” He smiles in surprise. I don’t think he was expecting encouragement from a stranger. He begins to climb. This time he nails it.

Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” Smart guy. Henry Ford knew that what we believe about ourselves has a powerful effect on our lives. Our minds hold us back far more often than any tangible obstacle could. We believe we are bad at math and we fail our math test. We believe we are ugly and then we get rejected. We don’t believe we will be successful, no wonder we fail.

Just as our mind can limit us it can also set us free. We believe we smart and we find solutions. We believe we are a good athlete so of course we’ll score the game winning shot. We believe we are brave and that pushes us to face our fears. Unfortunately we spend too much of our time thinking we can’t and not enough time knowing we can. How can we overcome the doubts in our mind?

Reminisce on the good times

When aren’t feeling confident it is easy for all the reasons why we can’t run rampant in our heads. It is important to never justify failure. Especially before we have tried. I can’t lose weight I have low metabolism. I’m going to bomb this test I didn’t sleep well last night. I can’t perform the crowd is too loud.

This thinking is self-destructive. We are literally giving ourselves excuses to fail. But the real kicker is that this thinking assumes we are already going to fail. We never consider the opportunity to succeed. Derail the negativity train, think about the good times.

If your about to write an exam I want you to think about the last exam you crushed. Big presentation tomorrow, then recall a time you delivered an awesome presentation. The closer the good memory is to the situation the better. Not only will this put you in a good mood but it will remind you that you’ve got this. You’ve already done something similar. Can’t dig up a good memory of a situation. That’s okay remind yourself about another time you’ve done something great. Remember that you are great.

Can’t be positive, don’t be negative.

With all those positive memories shouldn’t we always be confident? Wouldn’t that be great. Yeah it would be. But when we find ourselves deep in self-doubt blusterous self-talk isn’t always what we need. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell yourself you are great, if you don’t believe it then you the fakeness like a slap in the face.

That doesn’t mean we have to embrace negative thinking. If you can’t be positive, just avoid being negative. Being neutral isn’t such a bad thing. Not pumping yourself up is infinitely better than shooting yourself in the foot. Like you were taught as a child if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. This includes the things you say to yourself.

Practice? We’re Talking about Practice?

Suppress your inner Allen Iverson. We are going to talk about practice. And if you don’t believe in yourself you should do some more of it. The better we are the more reasons we have to be confident. It’s that simple. Do you ever wake up in the morning and doubt your ability to brush your teeth? Or to take a shower? Of course not. These are things we have done a million times. We know we can do those things since we have already done them so often.

Nervous for a presentation? Rehearse more. Rehearse until you can present it in front of the Prime Minister. Then rehearse it some more. People will see you present and say that it looks effortless. Like you’ve done it a million times. Smile to yourself. Their number is far too low.

I want you to believe in yourself. I want you to look in the mirror every day and tell yourself that you can do this. Tell yourself that today you are going to be great. Belief is not the absence of doubt. There will always be times when we unsure about something. Belief is selective hearing. It’s ignoring all the bullshit and only hearing the voice that tells us we can. Our true voice. Belief is the feeling a child has when he’s wearing his superman cape. In that moment he is unstoppable. Do you want to hear a secret? So are you.

Matt

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