Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right! Ford’s point is your attitude often determines whether you succeed or fail.
If you convince yourself that you will be victorious, you are more likely to be successful. If, however, you convince yourself that you are doomed to fail, then likely, you will fail.
I guarantee you, when Michael Phelps (28 Olympic Medals) stepped up on the starting block at the end of the pool he saw himself swimming all out, defeating his opponents. He did not picture himself belly flopping and coming in second!
When Larisa Latynina (18 Olympic Medals) mounted a balance beam, she pictured herself executing a flawless routine. She certainly didn’t imagine herself falling off the beam.
If you’re a golfer, you know if you are driving over water and you think, “don’t hit the water, don’t hit the water” the next sound you’ll hear is kerplunk as your ball hits the water!
Our Attitude Does Make a Difference!
Yes, our attitude does make a difference. A negative attitude almost always precedes a negative outcome. So, negative attitudes limit our success.
The thing is, many of our negative attitudes are distortions of reality and thus are false beliefs. John Townshend, in his book Leadership Beyond Reason, describes what he calls cognitive distortions, that limit our success:
- “I’ve tried, and nothing helps/works. There is nothing left to try.
- Afraid to take the initiative. You’re waiting for someone else to decide or do something.
- Fear of failure. This causes you to focus only on the negative. You may justify it as just being realistic, but it is anything but reality.
- Defensive thinking. You won’t own your part of a problem, and you rationalize your position.
- All-or-nothing thinking. You believe there is only one solution to a problem and can’t accept there might be other ways to handle a situation.
- False self-thinking. You try to be someone you’re not to fit an image you’re trying to project or to please others.
In each case, these cognitive distortions, or limiting beliefs, prevent us from seeing ourselves the way we really are. We don’t see a situation the way it really is. The result is limited success or outright failure.
These false views that limit our success are the work of Satan. They are not the attitudes that God desires for us.
God’s Desire for Our Attitude
As we read through the Scripture, we encounter people with limiting beliefs over and over again. Adam was defensive. At times Moses acted helpless and negative. Nehemiah had to deal with city leaders who were passive and thought falsely about themselves. The list of characters exhibiting one of these limiting beliefs goes on and on.
But this is not God’s plan. In fact, with nearly every case of a limiting belief, we see God refuting the limiting belief and encouraging the person to have faith in their success.
So how should we respond when faced with the unexpected, the frustrations, and the difficult, exasperating situations of life?
Paul wrote that no matter what happens we should respond with a Christ-like attitude.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27a).
Paul also said our attitude should be the same as Jesus’.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 2:5).
And Paul encouraged us to be imitators of Christ.
“Therefore, be imitators of God, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1)
We know there will be difficulties in this life. We need to respond with a Christ-like attitude, being imitators of Christ.
God did not give us an attitude of fearfulness, but of power. Paul reminded Timothy, his young protégé of this very fact.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment” 2 Timothy 1:7).
So let’s cast aside these limiting beliefs that are preventing us from achieving all that God has for us and instead let us be imitators of Christ with a spirit of fearlessness and power!
Join the Conversation
As always, questions and comments are welcome. Have you ever faced a limiting belief that affected your ability to accomplish a goal or to be successful in some aspect of your life? If so did you overcome it?
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Category: Personal Development | Character