“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can… I know I can.” ~Little Engine That Could
A couple of weeks ago my girlfriend and I had a golf lesson. Now if you knew us, this image would be funny. We prefer high heels over flats, beaches over plush greens, and lounge chairs over golf carts. Still, it was something we always wanted to try, so we gave it our best shot—or putt—as it were.
Our instructor took one look at us… and well, his expression said it all. This would be a joke—more like some time in the sun, rather than a real lesson.
After some brief instruction and an explanation of the fundamentals, we took hold of our clubs and practiced our swings. Soon we were hitting golf balls left and right. A few of our shots were actually pretty good!
Our teacher looked impressed.
I think he had taken one look at us and didn’t have high expectations. I think he thought we wouldn’t take it seriously, wouldn’t listen and would give up after the first few missed swings.
At one point he complimented us and I jokingly called him out. “You didn’t think we had it in us, did you?”
He admitted it was true. He didn’t have high hopes for us at the start of our session. We had a good laugh, hit some more golf balls and vowed to do it again soon.
The golf lesson led me to realize a fundamental life lesson.
It made me think about how so often in life people underestimate us for some reason or another. It’s our size. It’s our age. It’s our looks. It’s our education level or previous level of success. It’s because we talk too loud or too soft. It’s because we say too much or not enough.
Because they are underestimating us, we often do it too. We see ourselves the way they are perceiving us. In other words, we sell ourselves short.
There’s a saying we’ve all heard before. “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Now I’m all about being true and sincere, but there’s a little something to be said about approaching new life situations with a solid inner confidence. It’s the confidence that says—“I’ve done this before. I’ve got this.” (Even when that’s not the case.)
It leaves you entering new situations a little less nervous, and a little more amped up.
The thing is this. I went into that golf lesson feeling pretty sure I would do alright. I had been to a driving range before and I had the intention of wanting to learn, the willingness to try. Best of all, I was excited to be there.
The instructor didn’t see it right away, but he figured it out fairly quickly.
And the more I think about it, the more examples that spring to mind when this was true in the past.
So go swing some golf clubs or try something you’ve always wanted to. Just remember to have a little faith in yourself.
It’s a fundamental worth practicing. After all, if you don’t believe you can do it, you can’t expect others will.