I would be lying if I told you that my entire life I have been confident. That I have always known. That I have never felt held back. That I have always been fearless. That I have always been a positive person… Because in reality that is far from the truth. Wait… actually it is ironic. Ironic because my support system has always been those things for me: Confident, fearless, positive. Cheering me on every step of the way in this journey of life. Letting me know that I can do and/or be anything that I put my mind to with faith, a positive attitude, and diligence. So by default, all these things must be inevitably true in my life right? WRONG.
Let me explain why…
1. LACK of Confidence
At many points of my life, confidence was NOT my middle name. Sometimes it seemed the only thing I was confident at was playing a video game, and that is not an understatement. Now, I understand that most people go through phases of confidence but the confidence (or lack there of) I had was not normal, and for the longest time I couldn’t understand why? Why was my confidence level so low with all the support that I had around me?
Throughout life I always felt like I was never “good enough.” Telling myself I wasn’t good enough to play basketball at the division 1 and professional level because I had not been playing basketball that long, or wasn’t good enough to earn a degree in Finance because in grade school I was not good with numbers. It was almost like every time I turned around I was making excuses as to why I was not good enough for anything, which channeled my way of thinking in a negative way (that I will get into shortly). Was it because I was comparing myself to my peers who appeared better than me, or was told by someone else that I couldn’t (external influences)? Or was this truly an internal issue? These thoughts changed the way I approached opportunities, going from giving myself a chance to not giving myself a chance at all, and let me tell you that there is a fine line between the two! You know what I would do to relive some of my past opportunities just so that this time around I would have the confidence and faith to take FULL advantage of them? When you are confident in what you are doing, you give yourself a chance to be great. By any means does this guarantee you will be, because there are many factors that go into excellence, but it damn sure is a step in the right direction and it has taken me 24 years to TRULY realize what a little bit of self confidence can do for you. But like the old saying goes… “Better late than never.”
2. Negativity Lingered
How can a person focus or thrive in a negative environment?
Remember when I mentioned my support system and how positive they were about my personal opportunities in life? Well that might of been the only positive thing surrounding me sometimes, because at one point I was not bringing that same attitude to the “circle” on days I did not feel like it. Now there are different ways that a person could let negativity creep into their life, but the biggest root of my negativity stemmed from my attitude and who I let into my life.
Let’s start with attitude. The way I was thinking and channeling my mind was no where near where it should have been. A lot of the times I was looking at situations half empty, instead of looking at a half full glass. I remember thinking to myself on a few occasions, “that sounds crazy, that will never happen” or “there is no way I will be successful at xyz because so and so wasn’t…” Well GUESS WHAT, B? If you keep thinking that way, you are right, those things will never happen and you will not accomplish the things you want to in life just because of your attitude. Did I realized how poisonous these thoughts were back then? How they affected my life? Why some outcomes came out the way they did? Sure, on occasion. But hey that was not going to stop me from being negative.
But one day I finally realized why negativity lingered. Why it always stuck around and why my overall thought process gradually changed overtime. It was because of who I was letting enter into my life that was channeling the way I was thinking. It took me years to realize what effects negative people had in my life. When you listen to people around you speak negatively, it will rub off on you. When someone else complains, most times you will complain with them. When someone else gossips or has drama, most times you will give in and gossip too or be involved in that drama and the cycle goes on and on. I did not believe this until one day I woke up and realized that I could not shake the negative words, thoughts, or actions of certain people no matter how much I tried and ultimately this did not help the way that I was already thinking… NEGATIVELY.
But I had to look my own self in the mirror, because it was not on everyone else, it was on ME. No one else is me but me, and though negativity influences, it is up to myself to channel my energy elsewhere and focus it on all things POSITIVE.
3. Nothing but FEAR
I actually use to be afraid to talk about this topic (the irony). I saved this topic for last because fear has been one of the biggest question marks in my life and has definitely hindered me in one area or another. I never understood why I was so afraid of certain things in life? Why was I afraid to be excellent? Afraid to fail? Afraid to take chances? Afraid of not being good enough? Afraid to just go for it?
One thing is for sure, I have always been fearful of the JUMP. You know the jump that everyone talks about in order to reach a certain level of success? Yeah, that one. Most times I played it safe. You know you can’t wrong playing it safe, right? Not always. Like most people, I have always had these dreams, visions, and ideas for my life. Some have been executed, while most have not even been touched yet and they still remain dreams and visions. Do you know why they remain dreams, goals, and aspirations? Because I am playing it safe. Now there is nothing wrong with this approach by any means, but taking chances and going for it is what propels you to that next level in most cases.
I had a long conversation with my mom a couple of months ago when I got back from Italy about what I was fearful of. I think that might of been the first time that I had ever admitted I was afraid to ANYONE. I mentioned to her that I felt that I was afraid to go further in my life because I was afraid to fail. Actually let me rephrase that… I automatically assumed I would fail if I tried something new, different, or out of my comfort zone. DEFEATING myself before the battle began without even realizing it. The funny thing is, she shared with me her similar fears that she had when she was my age, but the only difference is she never took control of it until she reached her 40’s. I told her that I am just going to start taking those leaps with little to no fear of the unknown, and I meant every word I said.
For about a year I have been thinking about an outlet where I can share my thoughts other than on my primary social media accounts and my notes app on my phone. I thought about starting a blogging website but never fully committed to it because of the fear of failure. I was afraid of what others might think about it and ultimately would never go through with it because of those negative thoughts, lack of confidence in myself, and lack of faith in God’s plan (you can see how what I talked about earlier all ties together now).
But one day I felt a gravitational pull to try to pursue it once again, but this time, commit. This time around I was not afraid, but rather encouraged, enlightened and motivated. I was ready for my BREAKTHROUGH.
I Can’t Stop Me
It is one thing to recognize your shortcomings and bad habits, but it is another thing to actually make adjustments and correct those flaws because that is the only way you will grow. By learning from your past, analyzing where you went wrong, and making those adjustments until they become good habits and second nature.
Once I recognized I was lacking in those major areas in my life, I started to take action and do something about them. Instead of telling myself “I can’t” saying “I can” and “I will.” Instead of thinking negatively and being around negative energy, how about I think and spread positively into the atmosphere. Or support others, or spread love, or associate myself with positive people, or be confident, or be fearless, because guess what? All those things are just as contagious as its opposites.
So what type of life will I choose?… That choice is up to me. Completely, 100%. Even though I do know what path I am heading towards, it does not hurt to refer back to what I once was, because it allows me to compare who I am today and who I want to be in the future. I am not talking to anyone other than my past self, because he is the only one who can put a halt on how far I go in this life and hinder myself from going where God wants me to go. There is no doubt that negativity tries to hang out on occasion. That sometimes I feel discouraged, fearful or doubtful. But one thing I have learned is that it’s the way I handle situations now versus back then that is making the difference in my life. Those thoughts don’t control my life anymore like they once did. Always remember that misery loves company, especially if you allow it to comfort you. But it sure doesn’t like positivity. It sure doesn’t like fearlessness. It sure doesn’t like confidence. And it sure doesn’t like persistence.
No one else is living my life, just like no one else is living yours. So the question I have for myself is “how far do you want to go in this life?” And the response to myself would be:
I don’t know how FAR I will end up, but I do know one thing… You can’t stop me.
– Brandon H.