The power of self-confidence
At age twenty I was drafted into the German Army. During boot camp I finally became aware of how powerful self-confidence can be. Up to that point I always had problems in sports. For instance, my mind kept me from jumping over those funny four feet tall wooden boxes. My drill sergeant never accepted no for an answer though. Hence I was forced to figure out how to jump anyway. Upon the first successful box crossing, I became aware of my self-confidence.
The High School years were grueling to me. My father kept telling me that I was fat up to a point where I started believing it. When I look at pictures from that time period, I cannot see how he arrived at that conclusion. My mind accepted this for a fact and caused me to fail miserably in sports classes.
At one point I belonged to a soccer club. My mind would not allow me to be competitive at all costs. Going for the ball would have meant to perhaps hurt someone or I just did not have the stamina. My mind would just allow it. I mostly occupied the bench during weekend games. Again, this was not a very positive experience. As a result I stayed away from physical activity.
The army helped changing this for me. In the first couple of weeks I lost a couple of pounds. This by itself did not inspire my self-confidence. Try picturing drill scenes from any good military movie. We had it all, from ten mile forces marches to lying in the cold mud. The ulterior purpose of the physical training was to also exercise one’s mind.
Today I am thankful for my drill sergeant’s persistence. I had to figure a severe problematic situation out for myself; and I could back it up with a successful experience. In pushing me to my physical and psychical limits I learned to explore the meaning of self-confidence and then being able to enjoy the rush that comes from stretching out and then reaching the goal. It helped me getting to know how far I can push my mind and body now and forever.
How far can you stretch? Never seek comfort, always invite the challenge.