Do you believe in fairies? Or perhaps in Father Christmas? Or do you believe that UFOs exist? Do you believe in anything? The holiday season brings back home the power of belief to millions of people at the same time. Whether it is children writing letters to Father Christmas, people going to church to celebrate the birth of Christ or just believing that there is something good at Christmas, the powerful message for me is that we all have to believe in something to keep our spirits alive.
And even more powerful is the strength it gives you, when you truly believe in something. My children are being brought up in 2 cultures, the English culture as we live in the UK, so Father Christmas visits our home every year. And the Spanish culture as my wife and I have Spanish roots, so we get an extra visit from the 3 Wise Men (Los Reyes Magos) on the 6th January (this is a Latin tradition where children receive gifts brought by the 3 Wise Men) So my kids get 2 sets of presents. You can imagine this raises some questions with children at their school, “why do you get more presents and we don’t?” or “are you sure such thing exist?”
How do you deal with this as a kid? Well, with the power of belief!
Often human behaviour manifests itself in its purest form with children; through the innocence of their minds. And belief is a very powerful thing in children as they don’t know better or can’t question it. So my kids stand in front of their friends at school and reply “that’s because you are not Spanish like we are!” and that is the best answer they could ever give! This is not just believing that the 3 Wise Men exist but belief in their culture and upbringing.
This brings me back to where I started; do you believe in anything?
There are many theories on belief and the power of the mind. I am sure many of you have either attended a seminar on this or read one of the many reputable books published on this subject. And I don’t pretend to be an expert on this or indeed hold any professional qualifications in the subject, but guess what? I do have belief and I have seen it work! May be this does not qualify me to advice anyone, but it does give me the opportunity to share my experiences with people and hopefully inspire some of you to do the same.
So what do I believe in? If I did a list, it would be as long as the river Nile, but let me tell you what I think helps me every day.
First, I do believe that anyone can do anything! In the animated Pixar film “Ratatouille”, Gusteau is a famous chef that believes “Anyone can cook” and this inspires Remy, a rat that happens to have culinary talents, to become a chef. Think of the powerful message this film is sending to kids? You can do anything you want! But does the rat become a chef just because he is talented? Of course not, it takes Remy conviction, hard work and belief!
I also believe that people have talent. And talent is paired off with belief. There is not such thing as “I am turn deaf therefore I can’t sing” Unless there is a physical impediment that stops you from listening to music or using your vocal cords to produce a sound, anyone can sing! And talent is developed, nurtured and grown. If you put the time, dedication, passion and belief, you too can become a great cook! And cooking is a good example here. I often say “I can’t cook” what I really mean to say is “I don’t like to cook” It does not interest me, I find it boring and tedious, so I can’t cook, I won’t cook. But I could if I wanted! Could I become a famous chef like Jamie Oliver? Sure I could! The only difference between him and I is that he has the passion, conviction and belief in what he does. So he works hard at it and he is a famous chef. It would never excite me to be cooking for a living, even if it has all the money attached to it like he has!
So can I become anything I want? I believe you can. You can train to do anything, you can learn to do anything and you can do anything you really want to do.
Let’s look at it from another angle. Take fear. Think of any fear you have; heights, flying, water, spiders, these fears stop you from doing anything related to them. I do not like water, I respect water as an element, and it scares me! So I don’t swim, never have. Can I swim? Yes, sort of! Now, my son was just like me, he hated water, not sure why as I don’t think fears are inherited but he hated water. And guess what? Yes he could not swim! And he was convinced about it. My wife wanted him to be able to swim, “a good skill to have if you are in a boat” she said “you never know when he will be in a situation where swimming will save his life” and I thought about what she said and she was right. I hate water and swimming because when I was a kid I got pushed into a swimming pool and I didn’t know how to swim and almost drowned. That, combined with the embarrassment of all the kids laughing, made me hate water and swimming.
So she pushed my son to take lessons and now he is a like duck in water. Will he ever be an Olympic swimmer? Well, he could, if he had a passion for it, but I don’t think swimming is his thing. But now he can swim very well so it proves that anyone can do anything.
I guess then that leaves the question how good can you become at doing things? And the answer lays in the passion you have for something. If you really want to be the best at your field, at what you do, you will work hard to achieve this. And your level of skills and talent will be determined by the amount of work you put into mastering your skills, your area of expertise. Have you ever look at someone with an MBA and thought, “how do they do it? I don’t have the brains for it!” Again, unless you have a physical impairment, your brain is just as good as the person who did the MBA, the difference is they wanted to spent hundreds of hours studying while you would have been doing something else.
So belief is a very powerful tool we have as humans. And we can apply it to anything in our lives; belief in yourself (you can do anything) belief in someone else (there is good in everyone) belief in the system (things will get better) belief in faith (there is something superior to us) and belief in anything that will make our lives better.