A couple weeks ago I had dessert with some friends that own units in my condo building. During the discussion, partially focusing on how bad the surrounding area was, a number was thrown out: there had been four murders in the new apartment building near ours this year. Yes, four.
Facts aside, this was the story that was being told. No idea where it came from, but it was out there. (Admittedly, the neighborhood is rough. But, use the research tools on https://data.seattle.gov and you’ll see it’s simply not true.) I suspect this “fact” of recent murders in the neighborhood offered us reasons for our falling property values or propped us up as the beacon of safety and lawfulness in the area.
Either way, it made me realize that the stories we tell ourselves (and others) are vitally important. Some of my neighbors had convinced themselves of this stat. As we all do with different challenges and obstacles in our lives.
“I’m too short.”
“I’m the wrong ethnicity.”
“I’m fat and the other kids make fun of me.”
Well, I was born without arms. But, I am also fiercely independent and I rarely let circumstances influence what I tell myself I can or cannot do. Generally, I just assume I’ll be able to figure out how to get past a physical challenge.
I’m stubborn, strong-willed and if you tell me I can’t do something, you can bet that I won’t give up until I figure out how.
Now, I’m not talking about ignoring reality. I’d have never made it as an NBA player. And, I cannot lift the hood of my car. All of us have limitations — let’s be honest.
However, you’ll be far better suited with a positive attitude when you approach obstacles. Assuming that you’ll figure out a solution to a problem instead of entering the arena defeated.
My parents frequently read The Little Engine That Could to me when I was growing up and I bet it was so I learned to say, “I think I can. I think I can.”
Tell yourself that you can today.