Trust yourself

I equate a lack of self-confidence with not trusting one's abilities.

One of the best quotes I've ever heard in a movie was featured in the 2005 film "Coach Carter," starring Samuel L. Jackson:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us."

In case you haven't seen the movie, Samuel L. Jackson plays a high school basketball coach whose hired to reverse the team's dismal fortunes.

When it turns out that most of the players are flunking their classes, Jackson's character imposes a lockout until the players demonstrate academic improvement. Against all odds, the players succeed, and the team goes on to win a championship.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't trust my ability to do certain things. I've always been something of a bungling handyman, in part because my father, who's known to be great with a hammer, never really taught me the ropes.

However, casting blame on him isn't the right approach. Who's to stop me from teaching myself by grabbing a DIY book or watching an instructional YouTube video?

There's another underlying issue: I don't have the interest to learn. If the interest were there, I -- a person who loves learning new things and conducting research -- would have taught myself long ago.

We obviously trust ourselves when it comes to the things we're good at and enjoy doing. No sooner can you give me a paper to edit or proofread than I'm immersing myself in it and scribbling away with my red pen.

But if we want to learn new things, it requires coming out of our comfort zone every once in a while. As the quote above suggests, sometimes our fear of being competent in something we perceive ourselves as being terrible at masquerades as fear of inadequacy and failure. It's always easier to write ourselves off and say we can't do it.

But think of it this way: Even those who are really good at something -- the best athletes, cooks, writers, swimmers, painters, singers, carpenters, and so forth -- didn't know they were or could become so adept at it at one point. Whether they were born with that talent or had to cultivate it gradually, they likely made mistakes before achieving a high level of proficiency.

The bottom line is this: If you really want to learn how to do something, don't let your own self-doubt impair you from doing so.

By working hard and believing in yourself, you can achieve amazing things you never thought possible. Trust yourself. Instead of falling back on a negative line of thinking -- I can't, I'm not good at it -- believe you can do a great job.

If there's one thing in life that helps us get to the finish line, it's positive thinking. No one will believe in you unless you do so first. Banish negativity once and for all and watch yourself persevere in ways you never imagined.

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