Friday, 5 December 2014

"This will never work" and other negative messages people hear everyday. Choose self-confidence and go after your dreams

"This will never work," is a remark that you will hear too many times. In all your ventures, personal or professional, you will face moments of discouragement. You will wonder why on earth you are attempting to improve anything. You will question if progress, however small, is possible at all.

This is not foolish thinking. Doubts are justified. The proof that achievement is impossible lies perennially all around. It is something that, if you had looked before, you would have found. You can bury your dreams as deep as you wish.

The foundation of resilience

  • Ninety-two per cent of new businesses shut down within five years. In some countries, the failure rate goes as high as ninety-five out of a hundred.
  • Two out of five marriages end up in divorce.
  • Major companies reject more than a hundred candidates for every new hire.
  • Some people need to date for ten years before they meet someone who is a good match.
Misery and self-pity are well grounded on reality. On the other hand, so are serenity and confidence. Pick up a biography of anyone remarkable and you will read how many horrendous mistakes he made. Talk to someone who is successful and hear him recount the formidable obstacles that he had to surmount.

Are both positions correct, optimistic and depressed? The facts are the same, the difference lies in the inner flame. Fearful views are restrained, upbeat visions enjoy a wider range. The right perspective will enhance your personal effectiveness. Philosophy is the foundation of resilience. These are my recommendations for turning low spirits into confidence:

Ignore comments that don't make sense

When people make remarks outside their field of expertise, they usually don't know what they are talking about. Don't get angry at those who try to discourage you or describe your situation as hopeless. Even friendly judgements are often passed without knowing all the facts. If you hear advice that makes sense, use it. If criticism becomes virulent, shrug your shoulders and keep calm.

Mistakes are part of the cost of living

In most fields of human endeavour, demands for immediate perfect results are unrealistic. Each person possesses unique natural endowments and disadvantages. Individuals are dealt different cards in terms of talent, looks, material resources, and family connections. Comparing your opportunities with someone else's is a meaningless exercise. Accept your misfortunes and errors as part of the cost of living. Make new plans and move on.

A recipe for your success

Life offers no one a guarantee of success, but intelligent persistence works. Action and ambition always bring about problems and mistakes. Through reason, we can learn from a setback, remedy a lack, and change our track. Errors are not isolated strains, but links in a learning chain. A long-term perspective makes you deserve as many chances are you may wish to claim.

"So far, this has not worked, but the game is not over yet," is the sensible reaction to problems and mistakes. Taking a long-term perspective will help you climb the next steps also in periods of stress. Your boat has still a long way to go. Adjust your course and continue to row. Choose self-confidence and go after your dreams.

For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living


[Image by MrGuilt under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under]