Have you ever thought about the question “what do I know”? In a book that I just started reading by Oprah Winfrey, called What I know For Sure, she explores those lessons that life has taught her and for that she confirms what she actually knows. For example, she discusses her well documented abuse and how she overcame the things that happened to her by saying; “I know for sure that healing the wounds of the past is one of the biggest and most worthwhile challenges of life”.
In order to “know for sure” you have to know yourself. Especially for our youth today. You are a unique person. You have strengths, weaknesses, dreams, and fears. You have traits and characteristics that are uniquely yours. Different people or situations seem to turn you into a different person. That’s because you have three different “selves” that affect your behavior.
Each of your “self’s” has its own function, and projects itself like a voice within. Although you may not always hear the words, the message will affect your behavior. All three “self’s” need expression at one time or another, and all play a valuable role in your development as a total person and a leader.
Your first “self”, your rules and values self is called your critical self. Your critical self helps you obey rules, to do what you know is right, and to please others. Listening to this self will often make your journey through life more enjoyable. However, your critical self may limit your potential to explore new horizons and realize goals if you let it become too restrictive. Another self is composed of your feelings and emotions. The emotional self. This self includes very natural feelings of joy, sadness, love, and anger. It also includes feelings that you have “learned” as a result of your experiences. When this self is in control, your feelings control your behavior. The third self is the rational self. It is rational and objective in dealing with facts and decisions. It enhances your ability to ask questions, to reason, and to make decisions. Who, What, When, Where and Why are words that are included in its vocabulary. This self logically calculates information and makes decisions accordingly. It is your thought concept of life.
Early conditioning will determine which “self” will dominate our personality and therefore our attitudes. I remember early in my development probably as early as four, my dad would have me sing and dance for his friends to James Brown. This early conditioning helped me develop confidence. I am like the “god father of soul” I concluded. In fact, my dad would ask me “who is the number one man in the world”, and I would answer back “James Brown”. Then I was asked who was number two, and I would answer back “you dad”, with the next question being who was number three? And since I was number three, I knew or at least felt I was pretty special even at four years of age. This and other early conditioning like this helped me to develop a pretty healthy self-esteem and confident attitude about being in front of people, performing in athletic events and or school plays.
Our attitudes are a result of our conditioning, some of which was probably negative. That negative conditioning continues as we go through life and can actually continue to reinforce the negative attitudes we’ve developed. The attitudes you need to fuel your future success must be positive and encouraging. Positive attitudes are going to be a result of the conditioning you provide for yourself. This is best done through affirmations. Affirmations are positive statements that help us to focus on our strengths and values. I encourage my clients, kids I coach and others to use affirmations every day, both in thought and conversation. Affirmations are often ideas you have taken from some other source – quotations, scripture, family savings – which reinforce your values.
Today start writing your affirmations, Be Positive, Present Tense, Start with “I”, make them Believable and Related to your Goals.