Many people never find out what they can achieve until life has passed them by and with it the chance to discover what they are capable of. In Rambo III, the hero hijacks a Soviet attack helicopter in Afghanistan during the Afghan-Soviet war. His friend, the Colonel, asks: “Can you
Rambo’s reply is memorable: “Let’s find out!” He wastes no time climbing aboard and ‘finding out’. Of course, he can not only
Notice that he does not confidently say: “I can
I disagree. Wimps don’t try even when there is a possibility of success. They give up before they even start or at the first hurdle. Strong people try without boasting that they will succeed. Reality demands that they walk before they can run or
Reality teaches again and again that the most confident and the most experienced don’t always succeed. Even the great Muhammad Ali and Iron Mike Tyson were eventually defeated.
Unlike Muhammad Ali, the fictional Rambo never boasts about what a great fighter he is. The Colonel does that for him. When a Mujahadeen fighter doubts Rambo’s abilities in battle, Rambo makes no comment. He lets his actions win respect as he rescues the Colonel.
Sports teams and their fans often boast that they will win before a game although, to be fair, they are frequently joking. Time and again, their boasts are proved wrong. However, if the team tries hard, their fans will usually forgive them. They will not forgive a lack of ambition or effort. They will not forgive a team that fails to try.
Sometimes, teams that try hard against teams that are supposed to be far superior to them find that they are doing better than they thought they would. Their confidence rockets and they end up victorious.
In one of the first matches of the 2008 Six Nations Rugby Union Championship, Wales played England at Twickenham, the home of English rugby. Wales had seldom beaten England on their home ground and had exited the 2007 World Cup early. England, on the other hand had reached the final.
No one was surprised that England was leading at half time. But in the second half, Wales started to try harder and, as their point score went up, the Welsh team grew in confidence until they were playing like men possessed. Wales won and have gone on to beat every other team they have played so far in the championship. They achieved all this simply because they began to try and to try hard.
Recently, in what some call the greatest club soccer competition in the world, the FA cup, teams from the lower English and Welsh leagues have beaten the top teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. These shock results took place in early March 2008.
They succeeded because they tried very hard. They could easily have rolled over and made the reasonable excuse that the top teams have huge financial resources which allow them to buy up the best players in the world.
Beverly Sills highlights the importance of trying: “You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”
If you don’t try, you won’t fail but you won’t achieve much. Even if you fail, you will learn lessons and your skills and knowledge will grow. No one enjoys failing but it may be the quickest road to eventual success.
Sometimes we don’t try or we try in a half hearted manner because we have been convinced in childhood or later that we are useless at something. We need to clear our minds of such thoughts and find out the truth for ourselves.
We also need to believe in ourselves enough to try. If we lack enough belief to even try, we can test out methods like affirmations and visualizations to see if they will help us to develop the necessary belief. Google ‘affirmations’ and ‘visualizations’ and you will find many websites that can help you learn how to make affirmations and how to visualize.
One site, for example, suggests a variety of ways to affirm effectively. You can affirm while you are walking or exercising. You could for example say: “I am strong and healthy” or “I am improving daily.” Repeat this affirmation as you walk or train.
When I was at school in the Isle of Man, I soon discovered that cross country running was not my strong point. However, I improved by repeating one word “Faster” as I ran or, rather, struggled along! I never achieved “fast” but I did achieve “less slow!”
I suggest to my martial arts students that they say to themselves phrases like: “I am becoming faster and stronger.” They can say these at training sessions and at gradings when they need to replace nervousness with confidence.
A typical NLP technique suggests that when you say or think something negative like “I am no good at making money,” listen in your mind to the phrase diminishing in volume until it disappears. You can then replace that phrase with a positive one like “I am getting good at making money”. Let this phrase become louder and louder in your mind until it dominates your thinking.
Another method uses writing. Write down what you want in your life about fifteen times a day. You could write “I am healthy, wealthy and wise.” Writing things down is an effective way of releasing the power of your subconscious mind.
The website I visited suggested several affirmations like: “I radiate good health” or “I have all the energy I need to accomplish my goals and to fulfil my desires” or “I am healthy and full of energy and vitality.”
Visualization also helps. I tell my students to imagine receiving their blackbelt. If you want to receive money rather than a blackbelt imagine a huge cheque being presented to you instead. Alternatively, you could visual pound notes and/or dollar bills raining down on you from the sky. You will, of course, need to visualize for some time and to take appropriate action daily before these images become true.
Do not imagine coins raining down from the sky for obvious reasons.
You could imagine things you don’t want like that broken down car spinning away from you and then visualize a smart and powerful car spinning towards you. Imagine it stopping before it knocks you down!
Imagine yourself performing that skill which you are trying to master. See yourself doing the necessary movements with ease. If you are learning how to dance like a Zulu (one of my secret ambitions), imagine yourself stamping on the ground and waving your arms about like one of the best!
Like Rambo, we should climb into that helicopter and try to master the controls. We could find that we, too, can