Let me tell you a story and then I’ve got a question to ask you….
Last week, my 2 granddaughters (age 4 & 6) and my niece ‘L’ (age 6) were playing in my garden after school and I got the skipping rope out. My older granddaughter had learned to skip quite a while ago and I’d taught the younger one to skip a couple of weeks ago.
My niece hung back “I’ll just stay on the swing – I can’t skip” she said… with a sad little expression on her face…
Well there it was My Challenge…. To help L change what she believed was impossible to do – to learn how to skip…
“Hey L” I said “Didn’t you know that inside your head you really do know how to skip and you’ve just got to learn how to let it come out of your head and into your feet…? It’s all there just waiting to learn how to come out…”
She looked at me wide-eyed and was clearly turning my words over in her little head and there it was – that spark – a look on her face, that told me that her mind was opening up to the possibility that maybe her ‘belief’ that she couldn’t skip might be wrong and maybe she could… So I continued:
“Oh yes L, do you know that there really is no such word as ‘can’t – you CAN do anything you want to do, you can do ANYTHING that you see other people doing, you just have to keep practicing whatever it is you want to do and then one day you’ll be able to do it too, because it’s all just there in your head waiting to learn how to come out! Do you remember when you thought you couldn’t swing by yourself and now you can?…”
A sudden light dawning across her face and a belief developing that maybe if she could learn how to swing on her own perhaps she could also learn to skip….
I could see that she BELIEVED that maybe she could learn to skip if she tried so with a bit of encouragement from me and her 2 cousins (my granddaughters) she took the first step toward the skipping rope..
“Fabulous L – You can do it!” we shouted and within 3 or 4 attempts she took her first skip over the rope.
“Woo hoo L -wowzy woo woo!!”
Now it was just one skip, but that didn’t matter – she’d succeeded in doing something she had believed a few moments before that she couldn’t do…
“ hey L – do you know that you’ll never be able to say EVER AGAIN that you can’t skip because you just have haven’t you?” I laughed..
That first skip over the rope and a bit of encouragement was all it needed to change her belief and 10 minutes later she was skipping up to the count of 15 and had the most enormous smile on her face.
“There you go L – just remember this day because now you know that whatever you choose to do in the future you’ll be able to do it… All you need to do is to choose to let it out of your head and then practice for a little while, because now you really know that there’s no such word as CAN’T is there?”
When I picked her up from school a few days later and we came back to my house, with a beaming smile she said: “Aunty Wendy, can we do some skipping – I’ve been practicing at school and I can skip up to 30 now…”
Success! A transformation in the way that beautiful little girl thought. She believed she couldn’t skip so she didn’t try or maybe she’d tried once at school and because she couldn’t do it straight away and felt a bit of embarrassment, she’d given up and was left with the belief that she couldn’t do it.
All it took was a few simple words of encouragement and her belief was changed forever.
So here’s the question, What are you telling yourself you CAN’T do? Maybe you need to remind yourself that YOU CAN with a bit of practice and give yourself a bit of encouragement to take a first step toward your skipping rope…
It just takes that leap of faith to open your mind up to a new possibility and then keep taking action, small steps or gigantic ones (either way works..) toward your goal.
What is it that stops you?
Answer: YOUR BELIEF..
If you don’t believe me yet, what about this story…
In 1954, Roger Bannister broke the World Record and ran a Mile in under 4 minutes. It had been said for many years that it was ‘impossible’ for the human body to run a mile in under 4 minutes. Roger Bannister BELIEVED it was possible and he succeeded however, what was really amazing was that after he had succeeded, so did other men also because suddenly other people also believed in the possibility that they could do it too!
When we tell ourselves that we CAN’T do something we are usually absolutely right! We create a self-fulfilling prophecy…..
Ok – so maybe at age 55 I don’t fancy trying to run the mile in under 4 minutes like Roger Bannister did but that doesn’t mean I can’t run, if that’s what I want to do and then I could challenge my own goals to run further, longer, faster etc…
In the vast majority of cases, when we tell ourselves that we can’t do something, the reality is that we probably could do it if we chose to and we are choosing not to – often simply because we believe we can’t.
We tell ourselves things like:
“I can’t give up my job and go travelling..” “I can’t learn to ride a bike” “I can’t lose weight” “I can’t become a body builder” “I can’t change jobs”
“I’m too old” “too unfit” “I’ve tried before” “I may get hurt” “I haven’t got enough money” “I haven’t got time” …….
SO HERE’s THE BIG QUESTION….
What are you telling yourself you can’t do? What excuses are you giving yourself to support your belief?
(OK – I know – that’s more than one question.. So – I lied – what you going to do? Tell me I can’t lie – oops well actually I can and I just did!)
We can challenge our beliefs about what we think we can’t do and instead of lying to ourselves:
“I can’t do that because….” ask instead: “How could I do that?”
The first statement reinforces our belief (possibly the lie we’ve told ourselves) that something isn’t possible whereas the second question starts to open our mind to the possibility that there is a solution, that maybe we could do something if we learn how, develop a plan of action and then take action….
I’ve given 2 examples with my niece and Roger Bannister who both changed beliefs – in the case of my niece, she changed her own belief (with a bit of encouragement) and in the case of Roger Bannister, he created a new belief for others by showing them that something they previously thought was impossible was indeed possible.
There are lots of examples of people making a transformational change in their lives and doing things that may seem ‘impossible’. We only have to read some of our fellow bloggers posts to see how differently we could lead our lives if that’s what we chose to do like some already have.
That’s one of the secrets, find what really inspires you. Sometimes we say ‘Oh I’d love to travel the world’ etc. when in reality we really wouldn’t actually want to do that. It’s ok to have a whimsical dream and imagine what something would be like and be honest with yourself. Is this something I really want to do or is it just something I like to dream about but wouldn’t really want to do it…?
The language we use to ourselves makes such a difference. We often say things like:
“I want to do….” or “I should do” or “I’m going to….” – These all put something into the future – something we’ll do at some point…
We could try saying instead: “I’m doing…” or “I am…” – Our subconscious mind doesn’t understand the difference between imagination and reality and therefore by using the statement “I am..”, we can trick our subconscious mind to support a new belief.
Have a look at the following statements – which do you think will create the better possibility of success?
“I am losing weight” or “I want to lose weight”
“I want to go travelling” or “I am going travelling”
“I want to do something about it” or “I am doing something about it”
How did your beliefs about yourself develop? – were you convinced by someone else – a teacher, a parent, a sibling or friend that you ‘can’t do something’ or that you’re ‘rubbish at that’ – or have you just convinced yourself over the years with what you are telling yourself?
We read stories all the time of people having horrific childhoods and yet rising from trauma like a phoenix from the flames, to lead the most amazing lives and yet the majority of us get stuck in our rut and complain about our boring lives… What is the difference?
It’s simply having the Belief that we can if we choose to and to challenge what we convince ourselves is true about ourselves when maybe it’s not.