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January 22, 2019

Success all starts in the mind

My children’s outlook to life is quite different. The difference is never clearer than when they are involved in a race or an event. One of them, the eternal optimist, will say to me, “I will win all of them mom, I am awesome.” The other, the pessimist will most probably say, “Oh mom, the people Inam competing with are so much larger, better, etc I will most probably lose”.

The sad truth is that often their words become self-fulfilling prophecies. I am an avid believer that success is most often a mental exercise before it manifests in the physical and so I am always on the pessimist’s case, “don’t practice negative self talk.

If you think you have lost before you even begin then you have already been defeated.” It has been an uphill journey but slowly by slowly I am beginning to see his attitude changing. He has begun to realise the amazing truth that the battle is often won in the mind; if you think you can, you most often will.

I was reading an article once on the philosophy of successful people and a quote from a gentleman known as Dennis Waitley jumped at me: ”Winners think constantly in terms of I can, I will, I am.

Losers on the other hand concentrate their thoughts on what they should have done or what they don’t do.” In other words long before the success becomes visible, a winner is already convinced that they will win. They have a positive mentality.

Even when they fail, most winners see the failure as a lesson and do not equate it to being a failure. That one incident becomes a mere point in the journey towards ultimate success. A good case in point is America’s former president Abraham Lincoln.

As parents, it is important to teach our children to be aware of their own self talk. Each person has self dialogue and often this dialogue can be our number one enemy when it comes to being achievers. “I am so stupid, how could I do that? Who was I kidding enrolling for the race, I am such a loser” are statements that eat into our positive energy.

We need to teach our children to pay attention to what they say to and about themselves. Becoming aware will help them to speak positively and consolidate their energies towards achieving their set goals. It will set them on the path towards becoming self motivated.

I saw this truth become evident last weekend when one of my sons was going to compete for an inter school swimming gala. He was terrified of the fact that some of the other competitors were in the Kenya team.

He had a standing dentist appointment and had decided that he would use that as an excuse to get out of the race. One morning I had him having a discussion with his brother. “What’s wrong with you? Kwani that other person is not a person just like you.

Stop being a coward.” That was all the motivation he needed. The next thing I knew he had changed his mind and he was back on the race where he came second; the student who came first won by only two seconds. I guess he realised that the worst thing that could have happened is to lose without ever getting in the water.

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