It might surprise you to know that Stephen King wasn’t always the writing powerhouse he is today. In fact, he struggled for years to get that first big break.
That all changed one morning when he had an idea for a new book, a book about a teenage girl—poor, tied to a fanatically religious, demanding mother and high school peers who mercilessly tormented and teased her. Then, one day, she discovered she had a rare gift: she could move things with her mind.
King decided to call the book “Carrie.” It was a good book, possibly a great book he thought. But publishers had a different idea. More than 30 told him his book was sub-standard and, worse yet, that no one would ever buy it.
After a particularly insulting rejection, the young writer had enough—he threw his manuscript into the garbage. King’s wife, however, believed in him. She fished it out of the trash and chided him for his sudden lapse in self-confidence. She reminded him that he was an extremely talented writer. She insisted he try again.
That did the trick. With a renewed belief in himself and his abilities, he marched confidently into main office at Doubleday. He met with a publisher who was immediately impressed with his belief in his book and in himself. Doubleday agreed to publish his book—and the rest is history.
LIFE IS CHALLENGING
Stephen King understood that life can be tough. For him, that meant a decade struggling to leave his mark as a great writer. For you it might mean not getting the job of your dreams, a career that’s stalled, a failed marriage, a chronic illness or financial hardship.
But here’s the thing. While some people respond to life’s unexpected twists and turns by throwing in the towel and crawling under the covers, others take those hardships as a challenge because they know they have the ability to overcome them. Said differently, there are really only two types of people—those who believe in themselves, and those who don’t.
WHAT IS SELF BELIEF?
Everyone is different, of course, and self-belief means different things depending on your individual circumstances. That said, what people with self-belief have in common is the unshakable conviction that they are capable and can succeed, and that they can overcome any challenge because of their capabilities.
This is how Mindvalley describes self-belief and why it’s so important:
“Self-belief is that positive feeling you have inside that you are capable of anything. You feel empowered, confident and fueled with virility in the face of challenges and problems. And those who haven’t got it, those with negative self-belief, probably let many things go by undone. How many things have you let slip by because you lacked belief and doubted yourself?”
HOW WILL SELF-BELIEF TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE?
When you learn to believe in yourself, the world begins to look different. You feel freer, this because the occasional failure is transformed from proof that you’re incompetent to a learning experience. Where previously you saw only protracted problems, you now see opportunities everywhere.
There are in fact a host of benefits that come with a belief in yourself, including the following 5:
- You’ll feel free: self-doubt is like a heavy weight that anchors you to the past and everything that’s gone wrong in your life. You’re afraid to act because you’re convinced, you’ll simply fail again. When you begin believing in yourself, that weight is lifted. You’re no longer afraid of failure, because you know that if you fail, you’ll have the strength and determination to learn from that mistake and succeed.
- You’ll be receptive to new ideas and new opportunities: self-belief palpably heightens your perception, as well as your ability to consider new ideas and check out new opportunities to grow. For example, in the past if a friend had told you that your cooking was the best she’d ever tasted, you might have assumed she didn’t really mean it, thanked her and dismissed it. Now, you see an opportunity to start a catering business. Self-belief empowers you to continually change your life for the better and grow.
- You’ll become a problem solver: have you ever known someone who is the “go-to” person whenever anyone has a problem? They seek out that person because he or she has self-belief and knows how to solve problems. When you doubt yourself, even the slightest challenge looms over your thinking and seems insurmountable. With self-belief, your thinking becomes clear, spawning a new creativity, which also means you’ll be able to find creative solutions for even the most protracted problems.
- You’ll become proactive: people who lack self-belief tend to be passive, waiting for the “next bad thing” to happen. They’re convinced that the mistakes they’ve made (and we all make them) are irrefutable proof that nothing they do can improve their lives. People who believe in themselves on the other hand embrace their humanity and understand that, being human, they’re going to make mistakes. But unlike people riddled with self-doubt, they know those mistakes are speed bumps, not brick walls. They’re empowered with that knowledge they can proactively move forward. Said differently, if someone with self-doubt falls into a pit, he’ll sit there waiting to be rescued. People empowered with self-belief will have the determination to find a way out on his own.
- You’ll conquer your fears: fear can be toxic. That doesn’t mean of course that self-belief will eradicate all your fears. It will teach you rather that courage is not the lack of fear—it’s the ability to face and manage your fear. As Arianna Huffington notes in “On Becoming Fearless…In Love, Work, and Life,” living a fearless life doesn’t mean the absence of fear—it means the mastery of fear. Self-belief—and the fearlessness and insight that come with it—will help you take risks, try new approaches, fail, pick yourself up and move on to a more fulfilling life.
In “The Incredible Power of Believing in Yourself,” Matt Mayberry sums up the remarkable value of self-belief: “To live a life of high achievement, you must fully believe in yourself and your ability.” When you believe in yourself, you’ll live a life filled with freedom, fearlessness, creativity, new ideas and exciting opportunities. Achieving self-belief is itself a challenge, of course, and no two people will meet that challenge in precisely the same way. But considering the peerless benefits of truly believing in yourself, you owe to yourself to join the many others who’ve set out on that journey and arrived at a better life.