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The Little Engine That Could was way ahead of her time.You may have outgrown children’s stories, but their messages still ring true well into adulthood.
She knew the power of positive thinking could help her defy impossible odds. It may have seemed like a simple children’s story back when you were young, but if you take a minute to revisit the principle, you’ll find a powerful message that is the foundation of one today’s popular psychological buzz words. Self efficacy.
For years we’ve worked on our self-esteem with regular reminders that we have value; that our worth is based on who we are and not how much we have. For the most part, it seems to have worked. But for so many that’s where it ends. Ask those who claim to have high self esteem to tackle a fairly difficult task and you’ll receive an emphatic, “Oh, I don’t know how to do that, or “I couldn’t possible complete something that difficult.” That, my friends, is the best way to undermine self worth; believing you do not have the ability to do something.
Bottom line, if you question your ability to do something, it undermines how you value yourself.
How Do I Improve My Belief in My Ability to Perform a Task (or Self Efficacy)?
- Take One Step at A Time – Develop self efficacy through small successful steps. Pick one, small change and go for it. Then another. And another.
- Draw from Your Past – Think about times when you succeeded at accomplishing things you didn’t think you could do. What did you accomplish? How did you accomplish it? How can these accomplishments direct you toward achieving future goals?
- See to Believe – Visualization is a powerful tool. Not only is seeing believing, believing is seeing. It’s important to look at the small steps you’ve taken so far to take to reach your end goal.
- Find a Role Model – When you see someone else succeed, especially someone who you identify with, you are more likely to believe that you can achieve, too.
- Accept Self-Doubt…but Put it in its Place – When self-defeating thoughts bubble up, accept them as part of the process and move on. These types of thoughts don’t necessarily reflect your true capabilities. The key is to not let them stop you from moving forward.
- Get Happy – Pharrell Williams gets it. In his song “Happy,” he writes, “Can’t nothing bring me down.” If this song isn’t on your play list, put it there now.
- Solicit Social Support – Find encouragement from friends and family and to stay away from Negative Nellies. Invite your best advocates to be part of your campaign for change.
Make these last few lines from The Little Engine That Could your new daily script.
But as she puffed down the mountain,
the Little Blue Engine seemed to say…
“I thought I could,
I thought I could,
I thought I could,
I thought I could.”