“It’s no use, we’ve failed.” “If some things don’t change, I want a divorce.” “I regret to inform you but that mass we removed is cancerous.” What strikes me about news like this is the wide variety of ways it is received by people. Why is it that one person will hear something like this and simply give up, while to another person this news is viewed as a challenge and all resources are mobilized to conquer whatever lies in front of them?To answer my own question, it boils down to how you think about yourself. In David Schwartz’s 1959 book The Magic of Thinking Big, he stated that the greatest human weakness is that of self-deprecation – selling oneself short. Look around; people everywhere are walking around filled with self-doubt, guilt, shame, weakness, fear. They seem afraid of being who they really are, or more likely, they aren’t even sure who they really are. It’s understandable really, if you do come across confidently and sure of yourself, you may be viewed by others as arrogant, cocky, or if you’re female you may be viewed with even more colorful terms which I will not write here.
For years philosophers have stated this advice: know thyself. For as long as this advice has been around, it seems to have been interpreted as know only thy negative self. Most mental lists of self-evaluation consist of faults, shortcomings, failures, and inadequacies. While it is valuable to realize our inabilities, since this reveals to us the areas where we may improve, focusing on only the negative side of ourselves is only half the story. Thinking this way produces small value within people.
In order to help overcome thinking small about yourself, try this. Take some time and list your five greatest assets. Such as education, technical skills, personality, sense of humor, appearance, attitudes, experience, etc. Enlist a couple of close friends or family members to assist in the development of this list. Be sure to pick people who will give you an honest opinion. After the list is created, under each asset list the names of two or three people you know who have achieved large success in life yet do not have the particular asset to the same degree as you. This exercise is not intended to denigrate or diminish others; it is simply designed to more accurately view your own size. I think you will find that you will outrank others in at least one asset. The conclusion, you’re bigger than you think.
Let the world know who you are. Live large. Or an even better way to put it; let the world feel the weight of you and let them deal with it. Since most people are constantly seeking love and attention, give them something to notice. Be who you always wanted to be. More than likely it will be well received. Next week we’ll turn this same idea towards relationships and discuss how thinking small relationally harms you and your family. Until then, live life out loud! I think you’ll enjoy it.
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