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Belief–Principle 1

“They can conquer who believe they can.”

Virgil

I will probably spend more than one day on this subject for its thrust is massive, and I am gripped by the far-reaching tentacles of such understanding.

Principle 1

We must believe in ourselves if we are to succeed.

It is almost incomprehensible to imagine success for a person who does not believe in himself. Latent talent shrivels, inherent gifts fail to mature, and strategic ideas birthed in a brilliant mind find no nurturing soil, and thus fail to mature. The person who does not believe in himself will likely spend his days among shattered, ill-laid plans, wrecked relationships, and ultimate failure.There are exceptions, but typically whether or not a person believes in himself springs from an inner mirror that is reflected from those around him–his parents, his teachers, his minister, his neighbors. How the world perceives him, how they mirror it back, how they speak to him, of what goals and talents they converse–determine to a large extent the image that person grasps.
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The mantle, then, rests on you and me. We each are charged to touch our friends, our students, our family–especially our children–and to mirror our positive thoughts and aspirations for them. For it is only when man believes in himself that his finest work will be done. It is a powerful force we possess–that of helping another believe in himself.
I’m not sure where I read her story, but I want to bring part of it to you today. She was identified only as a 13-year-old student, and she tells of a very difficult time in her life…when she had totally lost hope. Thirteen years old, mind you…and she had lost all hope. She was lonely…and desolate. She told of being at school on the playground…and of being alone. She walked round and round the playground equipment, speaking to no one.
Finally she entered the classroom, watched as the teacher checked the role, and then says:
Sometime during the lesson, I began looking up from my books at the faces around me, and as I did so memories kept flooding back to me. Suddenly I felt hot tears build behind my eyes, and soon felt them falling on my face. I quickly lifted my textbook to cover my face. By this time tears were flowing freely down my face and burning my cheeks silently. I thought to myself, “Look at them! Not one of them cares that I’m here, NOT ONE!”
A sob escaped my throat, “Oh well, today will be the last day I’ll have to put up with this because tonight, tonight I am finally gonna do it! Tonight I am finally going to die……”
Yes, it’s true! That night I was going to commit suicide yet again. That’s right, again. I had tried many times before but I always woke up, threw up or passed out before I died. It was as though something wouldn’t let me die, as though I was meant to live for something.
The class was dismissed for recess, most of the students left the room, but the 13 year-old stayed at her desk–drawing, sketching, deliberating.
I never heard him approach me until he was practically standing on top of me. “Nice drawing,” he said in his usual happy way. “Thanks…,” I mumbled while fumbling with my pencil sharpener.
Before I knew it he had launched into the “I’m there if you need to talk,” comforting pep talk they spoon feed you from first grade. I politely looked at him while he said the same speech that I had heard so many times before, while quietly thinking, “Oh, my good Lord. You can’t be serious. I can’t believe he’s actually saying this..,” but then he said something, I would never forget–I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Later that night, as I lay on my bed, rattling my mom’s prescription pill medicine and thumbing a knife, I reflected on my life. Nothing! I popped the lid to the pills and dumped them into my mouth. As I was preparing to swallow, I raised the knife to my wrist and looked in the mirror…There I saw my reflection. I saw my long blond hair, tangled and messy. I saw my young self, scared and alone.

The pills felt huge as I swallowed them. Then I looked into my eyes, a tear escaped them; the words, “I Believe in You,” echoed soundlessly in my head.

I dropped the knife and ran to the washroom and threw up the pills. Then I walked back to my bedroom and cried. It was my teacher’s words–Mr. Godecki’s words–that showed me I was not alone. It was those words that brought me love, even if they were only spoken by a grade school teacher.

 

By speaking positive words to those humans with whom through life we jostle, we may see the development of excellent grocery men or truck drivers or artists or writers or teachers. And then again, we may recognize the saving of one or two from absolute destruction.

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My devotional blog is here.