Tuesday 16 September 2014

Whether you think you can or you can't - you are right

When I was in Elementary school, I was a very good student. Some people may go as far as calling me a teacher's pet - and those people would be right. I loved school. I craved the teacher's approval. Nothing could please me more than those gold stars they would stick next to your name when you did well on your test. 

With one exception - Math. I was only decent the first four years of school, and gradually slipped down to somewhere in the mediocre/dismal category. But I was fine with that. Because my mom told me that she had always been terrible at Math. Lots of girls were bad at it. Nobody expected me to do any better - so I didn't. All my life I just accepted it as a fact: I couldn't do Math. 

Fast forward to the year 2006. After many trials and errors in the career department, I set my heart to go to x-ray school. It seemed like a good fit in many ways (it is), and I was very determined. The only fly in the ointment? I needed to have a B (or better - ha) in Physics and Math. Oh dear. Physics was in the same category as Math for me - something I simply wasn't good at. But now, I needed to be. What to do?
I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to. "Miriam", I said in my best no-nonsense voice, "you can do it. Well, you don't have a choice, you have to do it. You like bones, you like the job, you need Math. Simple as that. So stop messing around, get your shit together, and do it! You're actually not stupid, you surely can figure it out, right? Right???!!!" (That last one was delivered in a threatening voice to myself. I needed to scare myself straight.)

Guess what? I did it. I, of the firm conviction that I just couldn't do Math, didn't want to, hated it, would never get anything better than a C- (usually worse) - I managed to get that B that I needed.
Thus I awakened an unfamiliar force - the power of the mind.

Hearing about it is one thing. "You can do anything you put your mind to" is all nice and well, and I used to nod along to those words with the rest of them. But actually, truly believing that I could be that person? No, I did not.

You see, it's easy to sit around the campfire with friends, a couple of glasses of wine in, and philosophize about life. Seriously, there is nothing better. In those nights, with the stars shining bright above you, the glow of the fire warming you, and your friends nodding encouragingly beside you, you truly believe that anything is possible.

But then the next day arrives. And with it the sobering reality of work, having to pay bills, being just so tired, and Netflix beckoning at night. And before you know it, a year has gone by, and you still haven't even attempted to make those dreams a reality.

Time is slippery. It moves quietly, without attracting notice. People of a certain age will all tell you that they don't know where the time has gone. Honestly, I have yet to meet someone who says: "You know what, it's about time I finally reached 50, it took forever."

Don't wait for some magical time in the future, thinking one day you will have the wisdom, courage and time to fulfill your goals. Because that day never comes. You have to do it now. Don't be afraid if you don't know exactly how to do it. Take it one step at a time, puzzling it out as you go along. You can do it!

Because here is the thing. You have to understand, at a deep, profound level, how powerful your mind is. If you are determined, and believe in yourself, you will figure out a way.

Once you have set your mind on a goal, what is there to stop you?

Doubts. Ah yes, those little buggers. They are formidable opponents. If you are doubting yourself, really questioning your capabilities, starting to believe that you can't do it - you won't be able to do it. "Whether you think you can or you can't - you are right." 
The power of the mind at work again - but this time against us.
The good news is that you can turn it around.

Whenever doubts creep in (which happens frequently for me), I use this little trick: I look at other people who are doing what I want to do. I try to analyze them, their strengths and weaknesses, their secrets to success. I ask myself: "Is this person a genius? Are they super-smart?" And you know what? They usually aren't. It is not their superior brain power that got them were they are. They are not always richer, or more influential, then the next person. But what they always are, is this: determined. Focused. Not afraid to fail. Not afraid to work hard. Dream hard. Work out their goals - and then go for them.

Does that sound too simple?

Many difficult questions have simple answers. But the simplicity is deceiving: You have to dig deep inside yourself to find the answers that will make you happy.
Once you do though - believe that you can achieve it. Because if you do, you will!

Think positive!

xoxo Miriam

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  1. I needed this. Major time. Especially because today I had my first exam of the semester...
    I have doubts all the time. Actually, I did a whole post about it ("Somewhere in Between"). And there are people who are doing what I think I want to do, and I find myself wondering what they did to get there...all the time! Sometimes it seems like there's no possible way to get to where you want to go. Maybe it's school related (like math in your case), maybe it's just the general "know-how" of how to actually get "there". Either way, you're right: you CAN and you WILL if you're passionate and determined enough. Thanks for the little reminder!
    ~ Samantha

  2. I love this post Miriam! This is the kind of thing I've been thinking about a lot lately and trying hard to apply to my life. I'm capable of so much more than I give myself credit for. I'm inspired that you were able to face those things you thought you never could!

  3. I always was bad at math too. But, now I work as a cashier and kind of need to know math. Not Algebra or physics but still. So, I've gotten a lot better at math over the years. I agree it really is a mindset. People told me I had a learning disability but I managed to get out of all the special ed classes and take normal classes. When I was younger I was pretty tenacious and went after whatever I wanted. I need to get back to that place. I agree you only live this life once so you need to make the best of it and work at making your goals/dreams a reality.

  4. Totally yes for the: NOW and "I can and I will " are words to live by / for ..

  5. What a great post Miriam!! I love the graphic too! It can be hard to overcome that voice in your head that looks to hold you back, it's great to know it can be overcome! I'm not a huge fan of math, but I scraped by.

  6. YES!!! Love this post. Totally applies to my life right now. Thanks for writing this babe!

  7. Love this Miriam. You are wise beyond your years. Great advice.


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