There is much to be said for the oft quoted saying of Dale Carnegie, “If you want to be enthusiastic, act enthusiastic.” It stands as an example of motivational approaches of numerous people including Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, Tony Robbins, and the great Zig Ziglar. All of these motivators offered the advice (in their own way) that how you speak of yourself affects who you become. If you give yourself good “self-talk” then you will see yourself as good. If you want to become something, you can “fake it ’til you make it.”
Now I certainly have shifted a bit in my thinking through the years. From my early days in sales when I “ate, drank, and breathed” Ziglar and Carnegie…to the place where I am today as a follower of Christ with a growing base of understanding about a person’s worth, I have seen “truth” in the underlying premise of the great motivators.
Our understanding (the internalized and driving assessment within us) of our ability and worth has a “shaping” affect on who we become. This is true in both a positive and negative light. If we see ourselves as devalued, we often will become just that. If we think of ourselves as “capable,” we will often demonstrate capability in an area we were once uncertain of.
Now I disagree with statements like “fake it ’til you make it,” because the diction gives an air of deceptiveness. At the same time, our view of ourselves can become a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Furthermore, I believe the Bible itself speaks to this underlying principle in some degree.
The Apostle Paul said:
Philippians 4:8 (NASB95)
8Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
Ephesians 5:18–19 (NASB95)
18…be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;
Colossians 3:16 (NASB95)
16Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
In the command, we are told to direct our speech in a positive way based on our understanding of a higher truth (the Word of God) and meditate on these things. We are told that this is possible because of the Spirit of God in us.
How does this facilitate a self-fulfilling prophecy? How we speak to one another and how we think of ourselves sets a tempo within us and among us. If we think we are “losers,” then we are already halfway there…even before the contest begins. Every “set of downs” will either bear this out, or delay the inevitable consequence (of losing) in our minds. If we think a tax audit is terrible, it probably will be. What if, though, we saw it as an attempt to find an error in our favor? What if…when we meet a difficult client and we know that we are one of three salespeople vying for the assignment…instead of assuming we will not get the job, we CHOOSE to think of our capability and how tough it is going to be on the others? Might our demeanor in the interview shift? (I say yes.)
Here’s truth to stand on and to leave (this article) with:
- God gave you His Name after He sought you and adopted you. (1 John 3:1).
- He knew you and did not see you as a liability in His economy. He saw you as valuable (giving His own Son’s life in exchange for yours).
- He is in the process of doing a great work in your life for His own glory. (Romans 8:28)
- The outcome of God’s work in your life is ALREADY determined to be glorious! (Romans 8:29-30).
- It is impossible for God to fail or EVEN FOR YOU to thwart His plan (Romans 8:31-37).
Today, you can say, “I can’t help it. I am who I am” and see doom and gloom…or you can choose to understand and speak within yourself, “I can’t help it! I am who I am! I am a valuable, growing, work in progress committed to the hand of God who is working all things together for good in my life that I might reflect Christ to His own glory! God’s victory in my life is ASSURED!