a magician, obviously the subject of how things appear (or
disappear for that matter) is very important. In relation to the
individual and self-esteem, the ways in which we see ourselves,
as well as our abilities, is a key to development. This subject
is dealt with in great detail, as it is my belief that how we
look at the world and our relation to it is of primary
importance in building a strong base for a positive self image.
I feel that it is the most important first "key", because in the
process of developing a better sense of who we are, it is good
to identify our strengths and weaknesses. Being aware of what we
can and cannot do can really help improve our self confidence,
because when we know what we're good at, or what needs work,
then we have a good point of reference for learning other
I have a
wonderful illustration about how our first impressions often can
guide us to a limited perception.
As an example, three distinctly different sized ropes are shown.
I ask the group if the ropes are the same or different. They are
obviously different lengths, but other than that, they are all
exactly the same, i.e., color, material, each
has a knot on
the end, etc... Interesting how quickly we make distinctions
based on size, color, upbringing, what mom or dad does, how big
or small the home is, etc...
great impact on what
we are able to accomplish.
Much of the time, if we
believe we can do something, there is a much greater
likelihood we will be able to do so. However, when we have a
strong disbelief, even if we set out to try,
it can actually keep us from accomplishing what we so strongly
desire. In many instances, someone may say, "Oh, you could NEVER
do that!" which in turn becomes the very incentive necessary to
drive a young person to succeed, where otherwise they might not
have tried in the first place!
My main illustration here is that
while we do have differences, we share a great deal of
similar aspects as well. Recently, one very astute
student raised her hand and said, "We are all different, and
that makes us the same!" This is precisely my point, that we all
have unique talents and abilities, and that makes us special in
our own way. One particular arena that can cause problems for
young people is that we too often focus on outstanding
individuals, placing them on a "pedestal", making their
accomplishments much more important than other people. A good
example is the salaries of football, basketball, baseball and
golf professionals. Unfortunately, this can cause unrealistic
goals if a child is physically challenged, or happens to be a
small white boy who wants to grow up to be a 7' tall,
African-American basketball player!
where I talk about ways in which
perceive ourselves and the world we live in
can have a
Finally, a word about the word 'try'... I once knew a
motivational speaker who brought this most valuable of concepts
to me. He took a pen, set it on his outstretched palm, then
asked the volunteer on stage to "Try and remove the pen from my
hand". She of course reached over, and picked up the pen. He
then said, "No, I want you to try to pick it up. You did
pick it up!" There is a subtle difference, but one that is worth
noting. It is a matter of perception. A matter of thought. We
often look at a situation, and being uncertain of our ability,
we may say, "Ok, I'll try". Many times, when we do that, we have
set up an unconscious "pattern" that makes it very difficult to
accomplish the task. Especially when learning new skills (like
Algebra or Geometry, for instance) the perceived
difficulty makes the process of learning entirely impossible so
that no matter what one does, there is no way they will learn.
On the other hand, the reverse is also true, in that if we
approach learning new things from an excited and enthusiastic
attitude, we greatly increase the possibility for success!