The message behind so many movies, books and traditional tales is that it’s really important to believe in yourself. You can see this in the "Wizard of Oz" as Dorothy finds out she has the power to get home within her all the time. You can see it in the "Rocky" movies, as Rocky Balboa slugs it out in the ring, fueled only by his stubborn determination and self-belief. You can even see it in how Dumbo the elephant learns that he can fly without his magic feather, because the magic was inside him all along. So many famous stories are about having faith in your own strengths and believing in your potential.
But in many of us there’s this hesitant, skeptical part who thinks, “Well, I know I probably should believe in myself more, but what if I’m deluding myself, what if I’m not actually good enough?” And of course it’s true that some people can sometimes be over-confident. For example, if you were to invest all your life savings in a tempting ‘get rich quick scheme’, fully trusting in your ability to know a good thing when you see one, and then it turned out to be a scam and a swindle, and you lost all your money, that’s a situation where too much confidence could get you into trouble. Nobody is asking you to completely ignore the skeptical, doubting side of yourself; you would be doing yourself a disservice. There are times in life when being cautious can keep you safe from harm.
But when someone tries to be cautiously realistic about themselves, they’re usually likely to misjudge how far to take it, because you can never be completely objective about yourself. Your attitude towards yourself actually changes who you are and how well you perform. The psychologist Richard Wiseman found that people who believe they are generally lucky are statistically more likely to spot a bill lying on the sidewalk that was put there by an experimenter. Their belief in their own ‘luckiness’, their expectation that things will often turn out well for them, becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.
In another example of the power of positive expectation, back in 1968, Harvard psychologist Robert Rosenthal got together with the principal of an elementary school to devise an experiment to be carried out at the school. All the students were given an IQ test, and then the teachers were privately told which students had IQs in the top twenty per cent of the year. They called these students the ‘spurters’ — the ones most likely to race ahead over the year. But in reality, the researchers had selected these students at random, because the experiment wasn’t about IQ scores at all, it was about how teachers’ expectations can influence their students’ academic success. Lo and behold, at the end of the year, the randomly selected ‘spurters’ were all getting higher scores than the other students, as measured in independently marked tests. The teachers’ expectations had objectively changed the students’ abilities.
The same is true when it comes to your expectations about yourself. If you try to be cautiously realistic and skeptical about your ability to succeed, your cautious, skeptical expectations may well become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if you have faith in yourself, you objectively become more likely to succeed — you tip the odds in your favor.
Hypnotherapy and life coaching help you to be much consistently more encouraging and supportive towards yourself, so that you that you give yourself a fair chance in life, and stay strong even when you’re faced with challenges or criticism from others. Because when you really start to believe in yourself, and in your potential to grow and develop, that kind of positive attitude will bring out the very best in you, so that you are able to draw on all of your strengths and resources as a human being.
Read more about how hypnosis and hypnotherapy can help building up self-belief and strengthening self-confidence.