Chopping Through Insecurities

I remember accompanying a friend of mine to a workshop and taking part in a little demonstration. We were put in teams of two. One person held a disposable wooden chopstick firmly in front of them with one end of the chopstick in each hand. Their partner took a business card and was instructed to break the chop stick with the business card.

As soon as this little game was explained I had a powerful thought. “I’m going to break that chopstick on my first try.”  I don’t know what made me feel so confident, but I just knew I was going to do it. Now mind you, I’m not particularly strong or fast. However, I was feeling particularly powerful and wanted to prove to my friend, and myself, that I could do whatever I set my mind to do.

My partner, Andrea, chose to go first. She whacked away with her business card until it was a pulpy mush. Other people whacked and smacked and swiped to no avail. It took a while, but eventually one person broke the chopstick. Then another and another succeeded. Now it was my turn. I took the card and made a bold swipe. The stick instantly broke in two. Andrea looked at me in disbelief. I just smiled. I did exactly what I imagined I would do.

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I wish I could tell you that I’m always so successful. It’s not that I (and you) are not capable of these little (and big) victories in life. We are. But little nagging voices of self doubt come marching in like ants to a picnic. Those old, sad stories of how we aren’t good enough, or smart enough, or talented enough tug at our self confidence and stop our efforts before we start. I have heard these nagging doubts referred to as “your evil twin” mocking any attempt at success.

You can’t tell other people to shut up (not safely anyway) but you can tell your evil twin to take a hike. And you should as often as the little creep whispers nasty nothings in your ear. As long as you believe these sad stories, they will continue to have power over you. Make it a practice to rewrite your life’s script and choose to believe the winning moments of your life as your model. Our actions are the direct result of what we believe we can do.

The proof of this is illustrated as my little story continues. I went home and repeated the chopstick demonstration to my 14-year-old daughter, Brittany. I got out a pair of chopsticks and a business card and tried to replicate my earlier success. There is something a little intimidating about a teenager’s disbelief and mocking smile. I took the business card and swiped it against the chopstick. It didn’t break. I took a moment and thought about my plight. What was different? It only took a second. A little self doubt had crept in. I paused, took a deep breath, mustered up the power I knew I had within me WHACK! The chopstick broke in two. Brittany was amazed. I was proud and relieved.

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So what is the moral of this story? If we believe in our personal power, rather than focusing on our failures, we can be heroes in our own life story. So, don’t just sit there reading. Go out there and do something amazing. Chop, chop.

Bio: Sally Marks is the co-author of the self-improvement book, Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within. The book is available on Amazon or through the author’s website, EraseNegativity.com.