Episode 3: Believing Your Dream

Welcome back to The Dream Toolbox.  I promised you in the last session that I would talk about what you believe and why that matters.

Henry Ford, who created the automobile industry we know today once said:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.”

There is no more important concept to understand than this. Our belief systems determine where we will end up in life.  I am not talking about religious faith, although that can be a huge help if it is strong, but about those fundamental things we believe about ourselves.

So how do you change fundamental beliefs from “I can’t” to “I can”?  Without that change, success is very unlikely. The core beliefs about what we can and cannot do are embedded in us by parents, family, and friends almost from birth, and sometimes well-meaning family can be the worst.

Let me give you a personal example to illustrate this.  I spoke at a conference for High School and Middle School students a couple of years ago and told my own story of going from a family in which no one had ever finished college to attending Harvard University.  During the question and answer period, a young woman who was considering where to go to college told her story.  She had the grades and SAT scores to get into the college of her dreams, but everyone around her, family, friends, even school counselors was telling her, “Don’t do it.  You won’t fit in with all those rich kids and they will look down on you and you won’t succeed.”  

I heard her telling her story and interrupted to say, “That is nonsense. Don’t believe it. I entered Harvard as a poor kid from the Midwest who was terrified of the rich prep school kids who were in my class.  Within weeks, none of it mattered because we were all in the same boat, struggling to learn the same new and exciting things. You can create your own success.”  She burst into tears and said, “No one has ever told me that before.  Thank you.”  I later learned that she had entered a prestigious college and I have no doubt will end up near the top of her class.  What changed?   Her belief system about what was possible for her.

In the next segment, I’ll give you yet another personal example.