Despite the fact that there are more self help books available now than ever before, it seems that we humans continue to make the same mistakes over and over. But not all of us. Just, well – most of us! The puzzling question is why? I think I may have an answer.
In our quest to belong, be accepted, be OK and be cool, there are short periods or windows of opportunity in which we become receptive to change and improvement. They can happen anytime and are sometimes “catalyzed” by something specific – an event, an article, an experience. But generally we’re closed, so in our default mode when something goes wrong, we have a need to provide a feasible explanation for our inability to perform.
When challenged, an injury or genetic disease may be conjured up to justify this stance. But it’s probably a load of garbage, because these decisions rest in the mind, not the body. Bodies are genetically constructed with the capability, when fit to run about 25km in one go – quite easily if you’ve done some training and you pace yourself. If you’re inactive and undisciplined, don’t exercise, consume unhealthy food and drinks and have no interest it becomes unlikely that you’ll do something as simple as running – mainly because it’s unimportant to you. It’s just not something you see the point in doing.
If you can’t stop smoking, eating or drinking too much, it’s a lack of discipline. When you don’t take up something that you could probably quite easily conquer, it’s either ignorance, lack of interest or lack of motivation – or simply your choice. It’s far easier to claim lack of time, because that sounds much better and it’s fashionable to be busy (which most of us mistake for being productive). Everyone understands that excuse, as we all believe we suffer from this affliction much more than everyone else. Incidentally we very busy people are allocated just 24 hours a day like everyone else. Perhaps some of us really are busy.
I teach people to deliver brilliant presentations. More often than not they come to me fearful, lacking in confidence and skills – and unable to explain why, except to say that “This isn’t my strong point.” My response is quite predictable. “Well, if you say so.”
“I said if you say so. Because if you believe you’re poor at presenting then so shall it be. Who am I to argue this irrefutable fact.”
Consider the talented youngster who decides to become a professional footballer. The desire and motivation coupled with natural skills give him the drive and perseverance to propel him forward to success.
Consider the person who decides that they wish to become a brilliant presenter. They’re adamant because they’ve found a reason. They buy the books (and read them), attend courses, do more and more presentations, watch TED You Tube videos, acquire experience and persist with a kind of dogged determination. The more they continue, the better they get. What chance does this person have of remaining a poor presenter? Absolutely zero.
Now, you know what to do. So go and do it. If you’re already a great presenter, pat yourself on the back and take the day off. Or rather go and rehearse the flow of your next presentation. There’s nothing like creating positive evidence to prove to yourself that you can. Because that’s what we really need – evidence. The evidence we build up is the foundation of our future effectiveness – in anything.