Some years ago, I was invited to deliver a talk to a so-called ‘failing school’. The school pupils all came from somewhat difficult backgrounds, and were not interested or motivated towards learning. Hence the school was bottom of the league table for results and exams.
The school headmistress talked with me and said that an end of term talk about setting goals for the future and general motivation was just what they needed. It was a mixed school and the age range was 13 to 18 years old.
When I arrived at the school hall to do my talk I could not help but notice what the faces were saying even before I'd started to do my talk. Some were saying ‘I don't care’, or ‘I'd rather be somewhere else’, or ‘I don't have the time or inclination to listen to what this person has to say’. If you go into our lives right now, how many of us feel like that at meetings or talks?
Back to the story. I started my talk by asking them what they wanted to do when they left school as a career. Normally, I would have expected answers like doctor, army, firemen, nurse, actress etc; This time I was met with stony silence. Eventually a young girl piped up and said ‘a fight’. ‘What’ I said, ‘do you mean by that’? Some of the children were giggling at this stage, but the girl was deadly serious. She mumbled ‘when I leave here, that's what I expect - a fight to get any job because I'm just not good enough’.
I wondered about where and how that little girl had developed such a limiting belief about herself, something that was seriously going to limit her ability in her future. Probably from a parent or teacher or, even from a friend whose parents had said that to them. At her age if you didn't change that belief, or someone to help her to change it, then it has all the hallmarks of affecting her for the rest of her life, holding back her potential and limiting her sense of possibilities.
Moral of the Story:
Firstly, beliefs are not true. They are constructs around which we organise our behaviours. So we each behave as if our beliefs were true. And, for this reason, all our beliefs - whether empowering or limiting, become self-fulfilling prophecies. You will get what your belief tells you!
Secondly, never allow anyone to say that you're not good at something or that you do not have the potential to do something. Only you can choose that for yourself. Great things happen to people who firstly, believe in themselves and secondly, give it a go!