Self-help gurus ranging from Norman Vincent Peale and his “Power of Positive Thinking”, through Tim Gallwey’s “Inner Tennis”, and the educational establishment’s misguided over- emphasis on self-esteem to today’s “life coaches” recognize the powerful impact visualization can have on a person’s achievements.
If we want to accomplish something it is necessary to be able to see ourselves doing it or we will not even try. One’s self-image can be a propelling force or a limiting boundary. This is true in every area of a person’s life.
My father was a man of enterprise. He saw challenges as opportunities and was the original do-it-yourselfer. If a thing needed doing, from remodeling our home and digging a full-sized in-ground swimming pool with a shovel and wheelbarrow to transforming a little girl’s swing into a mighty steed with the addition of a homemade saddle and hand-carved wooden horse head, he gave it his best shot.
His spirit infected me to the point that even today I assume that, until I’m proven otherwise, I can do almost anything. I joke about this with my friends, saying that I can still do anything I’ve ever done, until the day that I can’t. And since the last time I tried to do a somersault I succeeded, I can still do one. Even though the last time was more than 30 years ago, until I try again and fail, I’m still a woman with the potential of doing somersaults.
Of course, I recognize that if I were to try flinging my body around, right now, there could be tragic consequences, there is still the possibility that if I were to begin a training regimen with a skilled coach, in time, I might actually have another somersault in me. That attitude of potential is empowering, and helps me to accomplish much more practical goals.
In the eighties we sang the Sunday school song, “I Am a Promise”, that beautifully illustrated this attitude when the children sang, “I am a great big bundle of potentiality”. If you see yourself as a person full of untapped potential you are more apt to attempt to handle challenges, to expand your horizons and learn new things. You tend to be more optimistic about life in general.
Some people see the glass half empty, some see it half full and some can’t see beyond the smears and flaws in the glass. These latter folks are those with self-limiting self images.
When we tell a child, “You could grow up to be President”, we are not telling them that they are fully capable of performing the duties of that high office. We are trying to establish in them a pattern of imagining themselves achieving great things. Then we teach them skills and knowledge so that eventually they might attempt some of those things.
If I see myself as capable, as valuable, as worthy of respect, then my actions will reflect that self-image.
I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be. That is true of us at any age. I firmly believe that if a person is still on this earth, it is because God has something for that person to learn or to do. That person…you or I…has still got potential.
Your potential may be undeveloped and you may need some new knowledge or skills, but these can be acquired with effort…if you try.
Look into the mirror and see that potential, keep that promise.