“All you need is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.” – Mark Twain
Our world is full of stories about people who went through great suffering before they emerged successful and enlightened. We all love a good movie about someone overcoming a seemingly insurmountable obstacle.
While these are inspiring tales, they can also become a hindrance. Many of us believe that we cannot succeed, or become enlightened, without first suffering greatly.
The good news is that we can all be success stories. Rather than seek out our own version of Mount Everest to climb, we can begin by releasing our judgments about who we are and appreciating what we have.
When too much value is placed on suffering, we overlook all the good that is present in our lives. In fact, many of the stories about people who overcame great odds took a turn for the better when they realized that everything they needed was within them all along.
One of the goals of educating the students in our district is to explore and expand upon the ideas that they hold about who they are and what they are capable of achieving. We do this by sharing stories and perspectives that call forth and affirm their own innate power to live the lives that they were born to live. We encourage them to think beyond the limited views that they may have inherited from the world around them.
I worked with a student who had a wonderful talent for drawing. He did not speak much, and when he did, he often mumbled. One day I heard what he was mumbling and found what he was saying to be quite funny. In his mind, no one liked him, and he was destined to be a failure.
In truth, he was a funny and talented young man who was not being heard because he was withholding much of his energy.
Over time, and with encouragement, this young man started speaking up for himself. He also started sharing his drawings, and began referring to himself as a master artist. All it took was someone hearing him and encouraging him to let others do the same.
Whereas he had believed that he was destined to live a life of suffering and solitude, much of what he was experiencing was due to the choices that he was making.
Many of us have beliefs about who we are that do not serve us. By taking action on these beliefs we end up generating self-fulfilling prophecies. We often fail because we believe that is the only possibility.
As some say, “We give up before we get to experience the miracle.” This is the power of our mind in full effect.
However, by expanding what we believe is possible for us, we open up to an influx of new ideas and inspirations. In so doing, we unlock experiences that we once believed to be beyond our grasp.
Think about your own life experiences. Have you pre-ordained yourself to suffer in some way? Have you decided that you can never achieve that which your heart truly desires? Well, there is good news. The world is larger than we are capable of knowing, and the possibilities are endless. So forgive yourself for thinking that you were incapable, or unworthy of success, and open your mind to new ideas.
Take it slow. Sitting down to read this column was a great first step. Take some time to ponder what you would love to have or be. You can even start by reflecting on how you would like to feel. Make lists of all that is going well in your life, and of any evidence that you can think of to prove that you are indeed capable of living the life you dream of.
It will not take long before you realize that you are already living that life, it was just a matter of adjusting your perspective.
Edward Biagiotti is the Inclusion Specialist for Culver City Unified School District. He is also co-host of the popular radio show, Funniest Thing! with Darrell and Ed, to find out more go to www.DarrellandEd.com.