Belief In Yourself

I had a recent conversation with someone contemplating starting their own business. The topic of belief in oneself came up. It reminded me of something I had witnessed years ago which clearly illustrated the power of belief. It was an incident that has always stuck with me. I related it in my recent conversation, and I will do the same here.

While at university, I was at the weight room working out. There was someone using the leg extension machine who was absolutely unable to move the stack of weights at its current setting. They asked a passerby to adjust the resistance to select a lighter weight. Little did they realize that the person that they had asked was something of a prankster. It's important to point out that on this exercise machine one could not see the stack of weights while seated. Our prankster removed the pin from the stack of weights and then reinserted it at the exact same setting. Grinning, he told the person they were good to proceed with their exercise. I will never forget what happened next. The individual, who moments earlier had failed, now proceeded to complete their set without much difficulty.

What was different from just a few minutes prior when they couldn't even budge the weights? Nothing had changed, except the belief they were lifting less weight. They now believed that they could do it.

I have often thought back to that day and how fortunate I was to observe what transpired. We’ve all heard the variants of sayings such as “Whether you believe you can or can’t, you are right.” and “If you believe you can, you probably can.” While one can intellectually acknowledge these, witnessing the power of belief has a much more visceral impact. I will never forget the lesson of that day. It has influenced me over the years when I find myself faltering.

I recounted this event to the person uncertain about starting a business to strengthen the belief in their ability to succeed. Likewise, it is my hope to encourage the belief in yourself in those moments of self-doubt. What are your own limiting beliefs that are holding you back?

Originally published in LinkedIn Pulse.