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Power of Belief Part I

Jun 17, 2008
"Men often become what they believe themselves to be. If I believe I cannot do something, it makes me incapable of doing it. But when I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." - Mahatma Gandhi

The ability to achieve your highest aspirations and taste victory depends on two things: belief and action. And belief is the foundation. Belief shapes our thoughts, which determine our actions that lead to the final outcome. In fact, belief is so powerful that it also influences the thoughts and behavior of people around us.

Dr. Robert Rosenthal of Harvard University conducted an experiment in which an elite group of teachers were told by the principle that they would be specially assigned a group of the brightest students in the school because of their teaching excellence.

The teachers were told not to mention to these gifted students that they were selected for a screened class. The teachers were to use the exact same curriculum they were teaching their other students in the exact same way - and were told that very good results were expected from this high IQ class of students.

At the end of the year, these 'gifted' students topped the entire school district in academic achievement. Not much of a shocker, except, there was one minor oversight: the 'elite' group of students and teachers were randomly selected from the general school population. ["Pygmalion in the Classroom" by Dr. Rosenthal,as mentioned in Brian Tracy's Psychology of Achievement - Nightingale Conant program].

This true story conveys the raw power that belief has in forging people's destinies. What beliefs and expectations do you have of yourself? How about your employees, bosses, peers, and teammates?

Gandhi made a remarkable observation: "...When I believe I can, then I acquire the ability to do it even if I didn't have it in the beginning." If you really reflect on it, you will realize the truth in this transformative, life-changing statement. As Henry Ford said, "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."

The challenge is this: how do you strengthen your belief system to keep believing in your dreams?

In Power of Belief Part II (http://tinyurl.com/5greu8), I share some key strategies I've used that can help strengthen your internal belief systems based on some unorthodox training I received in the School of Hard Knocks.

For now, I'd like to encourage you to adopt a "can do" attitude. Turn down the volume of the negative voices inside you telling you you can't do something, and turn up the volume of your can-do self by making a long list of all the reasons why you CAN-DO what you've set out to do.

If you can't think of even one reason why you can-do-it, then I suggest reading the autobiography of any great personage who has risen to the top of their field from unlikely beginnings.

I'm currently reading the autobiography of Malcolm X who was raised in an oppressive can't-do culture: can't sit in front of the bus, can't go out at night in white areas, can't vote, can't dream lofty dreams. The voices of can't around Malcolm were a loud murderous din to his soul.

Once Malcolm's high school teacher asked him about his career aspirations and he replied he wanted to be a lawyer. This was his teacher's reply: "...A lawyer - that's no realistic goal for a (N word). You need to think of something you can be. You're good with your hands...Why don't you plan on carpentry?"

His family was violently threatened by the Ku Klux Klan; his father may have been murdered by the Klan although it was never proven; he was living in abject poverty; his mother was declared legally insane after suffering a nervous breakdown and was hospitalized for 26 years. Stealing, hustling, running numbers, hate - that was the world Malcolm X knew intimately growing up.

Despite all the controversy surrounding Malcolm X, I believe he began striving for peace and unity as he neared the end of his life and once hoped, "One day, may we all meet together in the light of understanding."

His story is a moving testament to the power of human redemption and transformation, as he rose from darkness, poverty, and despair to become an international hero and champion of his oppressed people at home.

When you read such an autobiography, your challenges will be put in perspective, and you will soon begin to see the reasons why you can.

Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. Believe in the possible. YES YOU CAN!
About the Author
Sharif Khan (http://www.herosoul.com; sharif@herosoul.com) is a freelance writer, inspirational keynote speaker, consultant, and author of "Psychology of the Hero Soul," an inspirational leadership book on awakening the hero within. (As mentioned in USA Today, Reader's Digest, and The Toronto Sun).
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