“Whether you think you can or think you can’t – you are right.” -Henry Ford
(Founder of Ford Motor vehicles )
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I found this quote to be extremely true in my life. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this quote alone, if really taken to heart can absolutely change your life if you take the time to think about it and implement it into your day to day living.
There’s a story I once heard that demonstrates this quote perfectly. It was the story of how baby elephants would be caught, and chained to a thick stake in the ground. They’d pull and pull, but they couldn’t get away….So eventually they gave up hope. They always assumed that if there was something around their leg, they’d never be able to pull it up. So once the elephants grew up the villagers just had to tie a rope around it’s foot and steak it to the ground. The elephant could have easily run away, but he had believed for so long that he was chained to something he could never escape from, he would remain.
I had a very critical family. It seemed that if I didn’t automatically do something perfectly the first time, or show real passion about it, then it was because I sucked at it. This became a source of anxiety for me. My mother would want me to help her cook, and I’d get so nervous of messing up, that I would. I had a Bonsai in my room for a while and it was attacked by sugar ants that found their way in. I didn’t want ants in my room so I sprayed the poor plant with bug spray only to have it die, and soon talk about how I sucked at growing plants swirled around. More and more I felt like I sucked at everything! It was depressing.
I’ll be honest in saying it hasn’t been till recently and not without the help of some therapy that I began to really look at who I was as a person and what I was capable of doing. This changing of my thought process started off very small. At first it was “I’m going to bake a cake using cake mix.” Then it became, “I don’t have a mix for brownies…so I guess I could try to make them from scratch”. Gardening was much the same with buying one poor plant, and not expecting it to live very long, but seeing how long I could keep it alive. Eventually even my depression started to get smaller with baby steps like “What would happen if today I tried to think just a little bit better of myself?”
I’m pleased to say that I now have an actual garden on my porch in which I grow tomatoes, corn, blueberries, chives, several kinds of flowers, and I’ve even gotten brave enough to rescue orchids that are about to be thrown out at the hardware store. One blossomed this year! My cooking has gotten a ton better and cooking something complicated isn’t frightening to me any more, and I have confidence now that I never had growing up.
More often than not people are limited by nothing other than their thoughts. Sometimes we are told things as kids (like you suck at cooking) and we subconsciously take it to heart and assume because a grownup said it, then it must be true. Then we become full grown adults and we’re still carrying that limit that was placed on us when we were six or seven.
Know that no matter what challenges you face, or fears you have, that it’s all in your head. If you think, “Well, I’ll never be a useful member of society.”, or “I’ll never find a job I like.”, or “I can never feel confident.”, then you probably won’t. Not because you can’t, but because you’re so hung up on thinking that way that you’ll never try to think differently. Don’t be like that full grown elephant that thinks it can’t go anywhere because of what it was taught when it was a baby. Start to change your thinking about those things that you thought you could never do and go out there and make something great of yourself.