Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Forrest Gump: How to Build Your Self-Confidence

The history of the world is full of men who rose to leadership, by sheer force of self-confidence, bravery and tenacity.
-Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) Preeminent leader of Indian nationalism.

Have you found yourself riding on the emotional tidal wave when you stumbled upon an interesting idea for several days only to end up flirting with another idea that intrigued your mind with the touch of magic? What made you abandon the original idea as an after thought or a bad dream? Have you changed jobs or businesses often in the vain hope of striking the passion of you life? You are not alone.

It’s a contagious disease that has intoxicated the brightest amongst us. It’s a maelstrom in our own mind that can reduce our mighty ambition to a measly hallucination. It is the awesome power of our own mind working against us by throwing us into the whirling depths of watery self-doubt and self-sabotage to achieve a fraction of what we are born to achieve.

I’m ceaselessly amazed to witness the brightest people with the highest IQs living mediocre lives at best while those with an IQ of 75 achieve things beyond our wildest imagination. The secret lies in these two words — Self-Confidence.

If I have to think of a role model to prove the fallacy of IQ when it comes to human achievement, Forrest Gump leads the pack. He received the Congressional Medal of Honor, became the world ping-pong champion, got President Nixon impeached, built a national shrimping empire — made a fortune with his investment in Apple Computers, and, last but not least, taught Elvis how to dance!

How did Forrest Gump achieve these incredible feats with a mediocre IQ? He achieved these feats by his mastery of self-confidence — his yearning for the positive outcome and his ability to defy the failures by his willingness to persist and try harder.

Lesson # 1. Never allow imagination to hold you hostage.

My Momma always said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” - Forrest Gump

We have to learn to visualize our success. When we embark upon an idea or a goal, we are told to constantly visualize the end result. It may have some truth, but it also can be our Achilles Heel. Obsessive visualization creates a phobic sense of self-defense. We tend to harbor a creature of our mind called “self-doubt.” Often we feel paralyzed by this overwhelming sense of defeat that derails our visualization wagon. Forrest Gump had an obvious edge. With his limited power of imagination, he was boundless in his pursuit to keep working at his skill in catching shrimp. When we bite every chocolate of opportunity that comes our way without thinking about its taste, we learn to immerse the best of our ability with boundless energy that knows no defeat. The universe takes care of its part by delivering success to reverberate the power of our self-confidence.

Lesson # 2. Never label the outcome.

When I had to go… you know… I went. — Forrest Gump

Often with our higher IQ, we tend to subvert our focus and attention by engaging in the mindless game called - “Analysis of paralysis” After all, our smartness has to rein in its power, even if that ends up stealing our passion. Forrest Gump had a distinct advantage. With the IQ unworthy to possess smartness, Forrest Gump could do what he loved to do without analyzing the finest details of his actions. His actions were dictated by his passion. Forrest Gump spent days learning how to catch shrimp. He caught boots and license plates instead of shrimp but that didn’t shake his determination. His endless pursuit eventually made him a fortune with his shrimp empire. Success comes to those who have an attitude to keep doing what they love and to do it long and hard enough.

Self-confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.
– Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) British author.

Lesson # 3. Claim your confidence.

Now you wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but I could run like the wind blows. — Forrest Gump

We all have a companion, which follows us more than our own shadow. The moment we wake up till going to bed, this companion chatters with our mind. It is more destructive than our worst foe by constantly dragging us into the pit of negativity. “I can’t do it!,”, “I’m never going to succeed!,”,” How am I going to pay my bills?,”, and so on. If we don’t believe in ourselves, who else will? If we constantly undermine ourselves with negative self-talk, soon it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Guard your mind with your strong suits or accomplishments when the influx of negative waves sweeps through your mind. Forrest Gump knew how to run, and he shamelessly bragged about it. We can double up our self confidence simply by reminding ourselves what we can do rather than throwing ourselves into a bull pit of self-pity.

Lesson # 4. Do something for others.

Jenny taught me how to climb. And I taught her how to dangle. — Forrest Gump

Obsessive thoughts of ego nurturing elevate your own imaginary woes to decimate your self confidence. When we focus on others, we develop thoughts of positivity and tranquility. Our positivity transcends our own woes and transforms our attitude to one filled with passion and self confidence. Another aspect of giving is receiving. As paradoxical as it sounds, by giving - we receive from others the act of kindness with interest. We are destined to climb the mountains of our life with an abundance of self-confidence if we help others while they are “dangling” from their own tree of life.

Lesson # 5. Always give your best effort.

– Forrest Gump’s response to sergeant’s claim that he had set a company record for assembling rifles.

The easiest way to crucify our self-confidence is by doing less than what we can. Most people don’t achieve greatness not because they are less smart or less intellectual than those who achieve greatness — they simply give less than the best of their untapped energy to whatever they pursue in life. Regardless of the fate of the outcome, the way you really feel about yourself matters most in life. When we are excited about our work and give it our best, everyone around us feels positive vibes from us. Our positive attitude generates new energy for all of those who work with us. Forrest Gump could have replied to the comment of the sergeant in a lackluster way with the gentle reply, “Yes Sir”. Instead, he chose to portray an abundance of positivity with his response. Try this form of attitude for several days in your personal and professional life and see for yourself the astounding results it produces.

Lesson # 6. Maintain your integrity.

I gotta save Bubba! — Forrest Gump

bubba.jpgIntegrity to our self-confidence is like what oxygen is to our survival. When we try to fool ourselves, we are depriving soul nourishment to our self-confidence. How can I stand tall if my act is so short? How can I dream big when my thoughts are spiraling down in the depths of self-pity? Our acts of benevolence come back to us in multiple ways by our giving to others. Forrest Gump made Bubba his partner posthumously and made sure to share the profit with his family when he built a successful Bubba Gump shrimp empire. He never forgot the fact that it was his friend Bubba who inspired him to go into the shrimp business.

Lesson # 7. Run to lead.

My momma always said you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where the go, where they’ve been. I’ve worn lots of shoes, I bet if I think about it real hard I can remember my first pair of shoes. — Forrest Gump

Running creates a wave of excitement within and around us. The natural act of running breeds a great sense of positivity in our attitude and the way we view our life. Even those who add a little pep in their walk feel a jolt of positive feelings by creating an impression that they are on an exciting journey — to learn and to achieve more in life. The Universe never fails to respond positively to these people. When Forrest Gump ran three times across the nation, he found loyal followers running behind him. Amazingly enough, when he stopped, they stopped to hear the words of wisdom from a guy with an IQ of 75.

Once we believe in ourselves, others will begin to believe in us. Once we place a high value on our self-confidence, others will surely bid our value even higher. When was the last time you felt proud of yourself? When was the last time you felt great about the fact that you are unique; that there was never anyone like you before and that there will never be anyone like you ever again?

Those who believe that they are exclusively in the right are generally those who achieve something.
– Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) British author.

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Samantha said...

Great post. It's interesting to know that building self-confidence can be as easy as ABC. Interestingly enough, www.confidencebuildingcourses.com offer good tips too. Might be interesting to check it out.

Samantha said...

Great post. It's interesting to know that building self-confidence can be as easy as ABC. Interestingly enough, www.confidencebuildingcourses.com offer good tips too. Might be interesting to check it out.