When I was about fourteen I went to a park with my brother and a friend. He had a pretty nice bike but mine was not so great. We went to the top of this steep, rocky, grass hill, it was time to ride the bike down, that was fun at fourteen. His bike had good brakes and was near new, he rode it down with ease, able to brake on the steep parts and reduce speed. I watched him go down and he waited at the bottom for me to follow. My bike was no way going to go down so well, the brakes were not smooth at all and the reflectors were loose. Well whatever, I thought, and went full speed down the hill. He still recalls it as the stuff of legend today, me racing down the hill, pieces of my bike flying off and dirt spraying, me eventually making it down and realizing that the other people in the park had stopped what they were doing to see if I was going to make it down the hill alive. Later on he asked me how I did that, how did I survive? The truth was, I just knew I could, and I was’nt afraid.
So how many of you can ride a bicycle? Probably alot of you. But maybe you suspect that won’t be the only question I ask you to think about today, that’s the easy one, so here it goes. How do you know you can ride a bicycle? Because you learned of course, you might say, because you’ve done it so many times that you feel confident you can do it again. You are not afraid, why should you be, it’s literally ‘like riding a bicycle’. But how did you learn in the first place? Why did you not just give up and say you’d never get it after the first fall? Why did you even try? Here’s my answer, and it goes not just for learning to ride a bike but for any new challenge you faced and overcame. People don’t like to mention faith alot sometimes, they prefer to say ‘positive thinking’ but later on I will tell you why I prefer faith. For now I will offer that the reason you learned to ride the bike is because, when you break it all down, you believed you could learn it and you wanted to enough to try, you had faith. Not religious faith in this context, not faith in a figure or system of belief but in that which is so often covered over and replaced with other things. What some, in seeming humility, mistakenly misplace and wonder why they feel inadequate. I mean faith..in yourself.
Faith in yourself can often be a hard thing to have. Why is that? You know you can do some things, like ride the bike, but when it comes to others things, you doubt yourself. There’s two main reasons I see, but they both go back to the bike example and I want to explain both and help you overcome the clouded thinking that leads to inaction. One is that if you never tried a thing it makes you nervous and can cause doubt. It’s natural, maybe learning to ride the bike made you nervous, but you did it and you mastered it. That’s the difference I mentioned earlier between ‘thinking positive’ and having faith in yourself. Anyone can sit around and try to talk themselves into something but there’s a difference between ‘trying’ to convince yourself and believing in yourself. People give you all kinds of advice in life, some is just repetition, nice sounding words of the “Don’t worry, it will work out” variety and others seem to be more heartfelt, those impact the soul toward healing and they mean something to us. You know the types, I bet you’ve even experienced both. I want you to think clearly on these two types though because they are very different. So which way do you talk to yourself? Sure, thinking positive is better than negative, not a bad thing, it may even be the first step. But somewhere, if you want to do something it must transcend just nice sounding phrases and become a deeper concept than that. A concept that meets you in your own soul and drives you to action, telling you that you can do this.
The second way you defeat yourself is by having tried a thing and failed at it, maybe many times. This may be a result of not believing in yourself but wherever it came from it creates the reverse pattern of the bicycle example. Instead of learning, somewhere you gave up, and now when you try that thing again you have the preconceived idea that you will fail. Science has shown that your brain records patterns, it uses these to help you identify objects and potential dangers in an instant, but it can also hold on to negative or positive experiences as well and manifest those feelings. These influence how you think in similar situations. Like learning to ride the bike and succeeding, this is the reverse. Say you fell a few times while learning and decided to give up. Now you feel like a failure in that area and whenever a bike comes up in life it reminds you, instead of a learned confidence, of a repeated weakness. But don’t get too depressed, it works in reverse as we have seen. Reverse to bad or to good. Your patterns are not locked in, they can change if you receive new information. When you start to take that area of your life where you feel failure and begin to believe in yourself you can create a pattern of new positivity that will not only have you doing a thing with skill but being able to tell others about it as a help to them through your own experience too. After all I’m telling you about my bike riding experiences are’nt I? It’s not any different for you.
Now you can take this and apply it to something you want to do. I used a bike as a common example, but its only an idea here, is there anything you want to do better? I bet there is. Don’t feel like a failure and don’t be afraid to try a new thing. What you think manifests in reality, why not believe in yourself and make it a positive one? Be the kind of friend to yourself that you would want to have, not giving yourself nice words with no impact, trying to talk yourself into something, but really knowing that you can accomplish things and talking to yourself in that way. Think of other things you did that were hard, you did those, why not this? Try riding the bike, or whatever it is in your life, without fear, don’t give up, and see where it takes you.