When we, as human beings, set out to do something new, we may find ourselves becoming timid, nervous, and/or even fearful because what we are setting out to do is unknown to us. And, often, the unknown has a mythical aura about it we can’t quite seem to understand because we do not know what the unknown contains. This view of the unknown is daunting and overwhelming; affecting how we think in a negative way, which can create a self-fulfilling prophecy for when we go through our unknown experience because we expected the worst.
On the other hand, if we go through the unknown with an open mind, we can create something far more powerful: a small win which creates the building blocks for our future success. When keeping an open mind as we go through the unknown, we realize that the experience was useful and it was not a big deal. And, there was not a mythical vail about it. The experience now becomes part of a key mental foundation to take us to new heights.
The primary source for our belief in our abilities comes from our experiences. The greater the amount of experience we have in achieving what we set out to do, the greater the belief in ourselves to do it becomes. Building our list of experiences of small wins helps build our belief in ourselves. In addition, these small wins strengthen the neural pathways associated with the behaviors we engage in during our experiences.
Our brains are made up of approximately one-hundred billion neurons which can “talk” to each other. When we engage in a behavior, certain neurons talk to each other and form a neural pathway associated with that behavior. As we engage in that action more and more, the connection between those neurons (the neural pathway) becomes stronger and stronger. So, in addition to gaining a greater belief in ourselves, we strengthen the neural pathway associated with the behavior giving us belief in ourselves.
Newton’s third law states, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. What that means in this regard is: when we are trying to form a stronger belief in ourselves, we also have to weaken the lack of belief in ourselves. For instance, if we want to create more confidence and lessen our lack of confidence, we have to strengthen our neural pathway associated with our confidence while weakening the neural pathway associated with our lack of confidence.
The shift and building/weakening of our neural pathways takes time and does not happen overnight. This is why small wins are so pivotal to creating our success. They help to build and weaken, respectfully, our neural pathways. And when this happens, something magical occurs. We start seeing what was once seemingly impossible is now possible. We have gained enough belief in ourselves through our experiences that taking the next step is now just a matter of putting our foot forward; rather than, taking a giant leap.
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