Singing to millions of TV viewers around Australia, while performing in front of a large studio audience, can be daunting. Just ask the current contestants on Channel 9‘s The Voice. According to the show’s superstar-coaches, a singer must believe that he or she can be successful, and that it’s possible for the audience to believe in the song they’re delivering.
That can be tough to do. I know. My brother and I competed on “Holden Showcase” – a national TV singing competition. I remember standing in the glare of studio lights waiting for the cameras to roll and the orchestra to begin. In that split second, I wondered if we could actually do well enough. Right away, I brushed that thought aside. Hadn’t we practised, rehearsed and performed many times before, and hadn’t we learned from experience to trust our individual talents? When the ‘moment of truth’ arrived, I truly believed we could perform successfully, and we did.
Self-belief is a powerful state of thinking. It’s about the word ‘can’, and about being a ‘can do’ person. This means maintaining a consistent, positive attitude to achieving success, while also putting in the ‘hard-yards’. Such thinking involves more than just being wishful or hopeful. It takes determined practice to maintain a confident trust in one’s positive characteristics – to foster self-confidence and self-worth.
“There’s no such word as can’t”, my mother used to say. She was right of course – as mothers often are. No-one is ever too young or too old to tackle a new skill or take on something they’ve always wanted to do. That’s why in high school, I maintained a steadfast belief that I was going to have a singing career. And I did, in spite of my teachers telling me that I needed to get a ‘real job’.
While factoring in what someone else thinks about our capabilities may be helpful, it doesn’t have to define us, or our success in life. That comes down to what we accept as true about our ability to be an “I can” person. However, there’s a flip side to self-confidence. It’s a negative state of mind called self-doubt. It’s an “I can’t do this” pattern of thinking that, when constantly repeated, often breeds failure .
Although self-doubt is often accepted as a normal part of human nature, it can be overcome. It’s possible to conquer doubt in one’s ability to be successful, by taking a couple of mental steps. The first step, is to stop ruminating over, and constantly reiterating the “I can’t” negative thoughts. The second is to emphasize and strengthen the “I can” outlook. You can do this by having faith that you can accomplish the good results you desire.
According to Matt Ahlberg, a sport psychologist with Mental Notes Consulting, it’s necessary to “have consistent and repeated positive thoughts…Saying something once will not do it. The more you hear it, the more you believe it. The positive thoughts themselves need to be honest and realistic.” , and he says, “based on reality”. This is why he recommends writing down constructive thoughts that come to us and referring back to them.
Mary Baker Eddy, a leading exponent in Mind-body medicine, probably would have agreed with Ahlberg. She gives this advice in her book Science and Health. “Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” P. 261.
Ahlberg and Eddy seem to be making it clear that the more affirmative thoughts we hold in our thinking, the more self-belief we’ll have, and the better the outcome will be for us. While such guidance may seem simplistic, it can nonetheless inspire us to nurture honest, realistic, self-belief, while at the same time eliminating self-doubt.
Taking this type of approach to mental health, can be enhanced by inspirational texts such as: “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me”. This empowering statement reminds us that we can accomplish the good things that we want to experience with the help of that divine influence in our thinking. Through this sacred mental power we can strengthen our “I can” thinking, and thus benefit our whole outlook on life.