Belief is such a tricky subject. It seems so simple, yet is so complex. It is interwoven with your self-concept, judgment from others, and your why. It is completely distinct from expectations, data, and anything quantitative. Yet so often, we refer to data to direct us about what we should believe we are capable of. We look to others, external factors, recognition, to inform us about what we have earned the right to believe. We may be conditioned to think that we must earn our ability to believe in ourselves, earn our self-worth. I don't know who needs to hear this, but you don’t have to earn those things. You just decide what you want to believe. That is your prerogative. The simplicity, is that you just have to decide.
We do not need to delegate our ability to believe in ourselves to our data. We may think that we are looking to numbers to confirm what we want to believe about ourselves, but we're really looking to confirm what we doubt about ourselves. We all have a confirmation bias and the subtle, subliminal self-doubt in our head is the strongest of all. When you do this, it is clear that you have already decided you don’t believe in yourself and you are seeking arguments in favor of why you shouldn't try.
Belief is the first step. When you decide to believe and put yourself on the line; to try; you allow yourself to grow, improve, and strengthen your ability to take risks and be brave in the face of fear. There should be no gatekeeping for belief, especially from your own self. Have you been waiting to earn your ability to believe in yourself? To earn your ability to put your big goals out there? Have you ever shamed yourself for dreaming about what you might be capable of? Have you ever felt shamed by others when your dreams slip out with people you felt safe around? Sometimes people will shame others who believe in themselves without the data first. Fuck that. Or, some will ask others what their goals are to see what they should be expecting of themselves, where they stack up. We ask others what goals they have and then judge them for having self-belief and aspirations. That is a level of projection reserved for the insecure, and when you have made the choice to believe in yourself and put yourself out there, you are exposed and vulnerable to the projection of other's self-doubt. Do not internalize it. It can make people uncomfortable to see others believe in themselves. But remember, that is not yours to carry. And when people respond to you in that way, know it is their own self-doubt, not their doubt of you. And also, try to meet them with kindness, because they have not yet found the ability to be secure in themselves and their dreams.
Belief comes first. But having self-belief is not a reason not to fail. Failure is inevitable. You can believe really strongly, and you can still fail. You can fail over and over, and still believe. Belief allows you to fail and get back up. Like Captain America says, “I can do this all day.” He can, and even more so, he will. Why? Because he believes in the cause, that this fight is worthwhile. You must believe in your cause too. Your why is intricately woven with your self-belief. But remember, belief is not contingent on not failing. What happens in your training is not what determines your self-belief. There is always learning, always non-linear progression, yet always progress, and everything is always potential. Potential never ends.