“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained”. Marie Curie
History is filled with examples of people who were dealt very difficult hands, but who chose to triumph – Helen Keller and Nelson Mandela being two of those examples. Another example, Dr Cival Mills, obtained an MB ChB degree from the University of Pretoria in South Africa in 1999. A year later, during an operation following a car accident, complications set in leaving Dr Mills with a neurological “locked-in syndrome”. This is a complication whereby a patient loses all voluntary muscle function except for the ability to move the eyelids. Long-term survival of the syndrome is not common; less so any degree of recovery. Cival Mills has managed to do both. More than a decade later, he is a living example of a medical miracle, brought about by his own determination and will to live and recover, assisted by a team of doctors, specialists, friends and family. He is no longer dependent on life-support machines, can sit up straight in his electric wheelchair, has regained tone in his facial muscles, communicates by means of a voice simulator and lives in his own house assisted by someone who comes in daily to attend to his needs. Using only the limited movement of his left thumb and an adapted laptop, he wrote his first book detailing his struggle to recovery after the accident, entitled “This too will pass”, which took more than four years to write. He has completed a second book, “The Truth about Wheels”, in which he shares the comical side of his wheelchair experiences. He has worked as a researcher for two medical aid companies and is now developing two different IT devices that will make computers more user-friendly for other disabled people with extreme limited hand function. These exceptional achievements in the face of extreme adversity illustrate the power within a person to achieve the near impossible if unleashed.
Negative self-talk and accepting the negativity of others around us and their views as factual can lead to the diminishing of your self-confidence. This becomes your reality if negative self-talk is allowed to take over and is constantly repeated. Negative thoughts cause anxiety and changes to your attitudes – these in turn affect your behaviour and the consequences of your behaviour. The human being, however, can learn to change the way thinking is stimulated and consequently the way one takes care of situations. Confidence grows as one attempts to behave in accordance with positive and creative thought processes and more successes are generated. So, how should one approach these difficulties? The following is probably relevant:
- Arrest negative thoughts or opinions – take control of any form of negativity and transform the same into a challenge that needs to be overcome. You can learn to change the way you think so that more positive things happen in your life. When things start to go right, you will feel better and more confident in the way you take care of situations. You may be surprised how much in control you feel as your confidence grows.
- Align your giftedness with opportunities as they present themselves – your inborn and acquired skills should be optimised to realise possibility. Be creative with them as you will be astounded at what you are able to achieve with determination and resolve.
- Seek others’ support and expertise when needed – although gifted, we are not good at everything. Others may be able to fill in the gaps where we are weak. There are plenty of people who are willing to assist and offer their abilities to complement our own.
- Evaluate your progress – keeping track of progress is essential. A mentor is usually helpful for objective opinion and to add further suggestions to realise your goals. Use collaborative networks to assist you in your thinking, aligning your attitude appropriately. Good behaviour follows good attitude.
We are gifted for something and this thing must be attained. Charles Wordsworth noted: “He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality, and will never, therefore, make any progress”. Changing our negative thought processes into positive ones will realise confidence gains and better results.