Lesson 64: Believe in yourself

Published 3:45 pm Thursday, March 11, 2010

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.

Samuel Johnson

You can do virtually anything if you have confidence in yourself. If you dont have confidence, you must acquire itotherwise, youll be a failure before youve even begun.

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Ever notice how some people have a talent that just seems to come naturally to them? Maybe its music or basketball or trigonometry or cooking or public speaking. In many cases, the gift is as much a result of confidence as talent.

Michael Jordan didnt become the worlds greatest basketball player through sheer talent; other players could dribble, shoot, and dunk as well as he could. His greatness stemmed from his belief that when the game was on the line and the final seconds were ticking off the clock, no one on the court could stop him.

As we have seen elsewhere, your expectations will usually come true. Michael believed in himself completely: he expected to win. And because he believed, he was successful. This is a self-renewing cycle that starts with confidence, which leads to success, which creates more confidence, and so on right up the ladder.

Confidence alone is not enough, of course. And that self-renewing cycle doesnt always work the way we wish it would. In fact, confidence in the face of failure can sometimes be the key to ultimate success. As Jordan himself once said, I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On twenty-six occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…And I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely…why I succeed.

It has often been said that if you dont believe in yourself, you cant expect anyone else to either. Thats absolutely true, so you must foster a strong belief in yourself. Make it a conscious conversation with yourself: Whatever task is before me, I can handle it. Im smart, I have a good education, and Im learning more every day. The world is a better place because I am here, and I will do something to make it better this very day. You can do it. Believe it, and you will.

But what if you dont have confidence? How can you get it? Tune in next time to find out.

Excerpted from The Graduates Book of Practical

Wisdom: 99 Lessons They Cant Teach in School by

C. Andrew Millard, published by Morgan James Publishing, available in bookstores

and online. &opy; 2008 by C. Andrew Millard; all rights

reserved. For more information visit www.wisegraduate.com.