“Just believe in yourself, and you can achieve anything.”
“Pursue your dream, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”
“If you dream it, you can be it.”
Countless movies, songs, TV shows, and motivational speakers have preached this message. And countless teachers, coaches, and counselors preach the same message. Parents teach their children the same.
So, why would any young person ever doubt it? Most believe it 100% — until they experience enough reality that they realize that it’s a lie that adults tell to make children (and themselves) feel good. It’s just like the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and the Tooth Fairy. It’s something that feels good and right at the time, but eventually, life reveals that it’s just not true.
How many boys have spent hours each day playing basketball in the driveway because they knew that they could one day play in the NBA? How many make it? How many can even reach the simple goal of dunking? I know I tried everything to dunk, only to find that I was just not able, no matter how much I believed, how much I practiced, or how much I learned. I wasn’t good enough to play in college either. I wish someone (or several people) had told me something a lot more truthful, such as, “Quit trying to dunk and spend more time shooting because your only chance at playing in college is as a shooting guard. But don’t count on it, since the odds are extraordinarily stacked against it. Studying is much better for you than playing so much basketball.”
How many girls have spent endless hours singing in order to make it in the music business. How many make it? How many can even reach the simple goal of getting the lead part in their high school musical? How many high school musical leads get a recording contract? How many girls will be the next Miley Cyrus or Beyonce? What percentage of American Idol contestants succeed in getting fame? For millions of girls, it just doesn’t happen — no matter how much they believe in themselves and practice and learn and believe some more. It’s a fantasy.
It hinders kids to tell them that they can do whatever they put their mind to. And that’s in addition to the fact that it is a lie. It may be easy, feel-good advice, but it’s not true and it’s not helpful.
So what’s the solution?
Continue reading “Just Believe in Yourself”