Chapter 79

Who Are Your Role Models?

Today's Empowering Quote

"If each of us can be helped by science to live a hundred years, what will it profit us if our hates and fears, our loneliness and our remorse will not permit us to enjoy them?"
-David Neiswanger

Today's Empowering Question

"What tiny step can I take today that will get me another degree closer to overcoming the fear that stops me?"

Today's Fast Session

The strange thing about education is that you never know where you'll get it and what shape it will take.

I know that a lot of people have the mistaken belief that who your parents are and what happens to you during your first few years dictates what you can and can't become in life.  I hope by now that, even if you haven't reached your potential, you've grabbed onto the belief that you CAN change anything about yourself you wish with the right attitudes and actions.

I know far too many people now who continue to teach me every day that growth can and should continue right up 'til the day we die.

I recently came across a study by psychologist Robert O'Connor on socially withdrawn pre-school children.  He wanted to see if he could reverse the pattern of social  isolation in children so that it wouldn't create persistent difficulties in social comfort and adjustment through adulthood.

He created a 23-minute video with 11 different scenes.  Each one began by focusing on a solitary child who watched the other children participate in an activity.  In each scene, the child joined the group to the enjoyment of all.

O'Connor then went to a number of pre-schools and selected the most severely withdrawn children and showed them his film.

The results were dramatic... In each case, these children immediately began to interact to the same degree of sociability as the normal children in the group.  And what was even more astonishing was that a follow-up 6 weeks later showed each of these children, who had viewed this single video only once, were now leading their schools in levels of social activity.

On the other side...

...the control group, the socially isolated children who didn't see the video, were as withdrawn as ever.

What this study and others like it strongly suggest is that when we have fears and barriers to achievements, it's important that we see other people similar to ourselves succeeding in spite of their difficulties.  This teaches our brains that if they can do it, so can we.

Marketers have known this for years.  But what I want for you is to be able to control your own thoughts, beliefs and actions as well as the commercials do.

I know this probably sounds like a broken record by now, but here I go again... Read the biographies of successful people.  Read about the people who were born in the back rooms of shanties, people who couldn't afford shoes, yet rose up to levels of success that they alone believed they could achieve.

When you meet people who obviously have achieved some degree of accomplishment, ask them how they did it.  Find out their beliefs.  Tell them what you want to do.  Almost without exception, you'll hear from these people that, while the effort was rarely easy, you've just got to believe that it's in you to achieve great things.

One thing I found out from all my mentors (even if they were only my mentors for 5 minutes) is that they like to be asked about their struggle to climb the mountain.

Ask people about their success and you'll likely have their attention for a good long time. Once you do, possibly your only challenge then is keeping the
conversations from stretching into the night.

My point is this... Just like those children, who probably thought, 'Those kids could do it and so can I,' you can do whatever you want to achieve, too.  And there's hardly anything as motivating as seeing a person who crawled from desperation and poverty to become a happy-to-be-alive success story.

Use the power of role modeling. It will never let you down.

Today's Winning Beliefs

-- I learn by the mistakes and successes of others as well as my own
-- I enjoy stories about people who beat the odds
-- If others can overcome my same challenges, I can too
-- Every day teaches me more about my limitless potential
-- I seek to learn something from everyone I meet or read about

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