Picture this.  It’s 7 am on a Tuesday morning. You’re lying down in your nice, warm bed dreaming about your favorite celebrity crush when all of a sudden the high-pitched sound of the rooster alarm on your phone wakes you up. You sigh, bid adieu to your Hollywood lover, roll over in your bed, and while your eyes are still closed, you reach for your cell phone sitting on your night stand and silence your alarm with a light touch of your index finger. After a few minutes you open your eyes. First your left eye and then your right. The morning sun beams down on you as you pull yourself up into a sitting position. Stretching your arms overhead, you get up from off of your bed and groggily start your morning routine. You shower, brush your teeth, put on your clothes and shoes, do your hair, and then finish off your routine by sitting down for breakfast at your kitchen table. It’s been a morning just like any other, that is, until from out of the clear blue sky a brilliant idea runs across your mind while you’re munching on your bowl of cinnamon toast crunch and drinking your morning cup of coffee. You’ve had other ideas before, but there’s something about this one that causes a smile to creep slowly across your face. This thought that you had before even taking one step out of your front door to start your day is a thought that, if you decide to pursue it, could make you happier than you’ve been in years. Yes it may be difficult, but you’re willing to put in the effort if it means that you can be happy. You’re excited to tell everyone that you know about this glorious idea, but, alas, you have to go to work, so you decide to tell your friends and family about it after you get off that evening.

Five o’clock rolls around, and before you know it your at home, with your cell phone attached to your ear, ready to tell everyone about your life-changing idea. The first person you call is your best friend. You’ve been friends with her since you were in diapers, so of course she’ll be excited to hear about your news. The phone rings three times, and your BFF picks up. You excitedly recount your idea with painstaking detail, and you can’t wait until you finish with your story so your friend can share in your delight. After about ten minutes of explanation, and a few seconds of pauses to catch your breath, you have finished your story and excitedly await your friend’s response. After what seems like years, your friend finally responds, and much to your chagrin, her response is less than favorable. Yes she thinks that it is a good idea, but she doesn’t think that you’ll be able to pull it off. Of course, you’re a little upset by her comment, but you thank her for her opinion and decide to move on to tell the next person on your list. You find your mother’s number in your phone and hit talk. Based off of your friend’s reaction, you’re a little bit shaken up and nervous to tell your mom about it, but one person’s doubt isn’t going to stop you from sharing your news with the rest of your loved ones. You excitedly tell your mom about your big news, and she gives you the same response as your best friend. This time when you hang up the phone you’re slightly more discouraged, but you decide to plow on. You call your dad, brother, sister, significant other, cousin, and college roommate to tell them about your idea, but phone call after phone call after phone call you are hit with the same spirit crushing news. You can’t believe it. This morning your morale was high enough to touch the clouds, but now, fourteen hours later, you feel crushed. You can’t even begin to fathom feeling any worse than you do in this moment, and because of the negative feedback that you’ve received you decide that maybe this dream isn’t for you.

I wouldn’t be surprised if many people out there have experienced a moment similar to this. Maybe it wasn’t your friends or family telling you that you couldn’t do something that you’ve always dreamed of doing, or maybe it was. Perhaps it was a teacher or professor, a coworker, or quite possibly you may have been goaded into thinking that you can’t do something because of the messages that are circulated and spread within our society on a daily basis. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who start to buy into these messages and start to believe that they aren’t capable of pursuing a dream that they have. They start out believing in themselves and in their dreams, but then after listening to others tell them that they can’t, they start to doubt themselves and wonder if their dreams were ever valid in the first place. They give up on that dream that they once held so dear and settle for a life that is void of their deepest desires being actualized.

If you find yourself in this kind of circumstance right now then I have a question that I need for you to answer. Do you really want to go around the rest of your life wondering “what would’ve happened if?” Do you want to wake up ten years from now and think: “What would’ve happened if I had decided to go on that audition?” Would you be happy twenty years down the road thinking: “What would’ve happened if I had applied to Harvard?” Thirty years from now, would it bring a smile to your face to ponder the question: “What would’ve happened if I had believed in myself enough to ask my boss for that raise?” Instead of spending the rest of your life wondering “what if,” I challenge you positive thinker to take a chance on yourself and discover if you can do that very thing that you have had doubts about doing.

Positive thinker, don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can’t do something even before you’ve given yourself a chance to try. Don’t let other people or entities get into your head and prevent you from believing in yourself. Don’t pull out from the race because you’ve deemed yourself a loser even before stepping up to the starting line. Why not try running the race instead? You might be surprised by what happens.

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